Senators’ hopes that President Uhuru Kenyatta could decline to sign a Bill passed before they could agree with MPs on funds due for counties, were dashed.
The President signed it into law, barely a day after it was passed.
The lawmakers’ eyes were set on the President after the MPs decided to overstep an ongoing constitutional process and approved the Appropriation Bill. The Bill provides for how the national government will spend its revenue next financial year.
Senators who faulted the MPs for locking them out of the process have termed the president’s decision unconstitutional.
They said, the Division of Revenue Bill, which determines the amount of money shared between the national government and the counties must be in place, before the appropriation bill is finalised.
The Appropriation Bill issues out of Consolidated Fund Sh1,266,794,262,462 for public expenditure in the financial year ending on June, 30, 2018.
The Bill further appropriates the money granted for services and purposes based on the estimates for the 2017/2018 financial year.
Both Houses differed on the amount of money that should be allocated to counties, prompting the creation of the mediation committee, to strike a compromise.
“The president should have returned the bill and pointed out that the mediation process was pending,” Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetang’ula said.
Mr Wetang’ula said by rejecting the Bill, the President, could have demonstrated that he upholds constitutionalism in the management of the country’s affairs.
MOVING TO COURT
The senators are now contemplating moving the court, saying it was wrong for the president to side with the MPs who had colluded to commit an illegality.
“Senators and the Council of Governors have no option but to move to court to have the Appropriation Act, declared unconstitutional. What the National Assembly has done supported by the President might lead to a case where counties go to the elections before their respective budgets are passed,” Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr told the Nation on Saturday.
The National Assembly’s representatives on the mediation committee are Mutava Musyimi, the chairman of the Budget Committee, his deputy Mary Emaase and members Chris Omulele (Luanda) and Samuel Gichigi (Kipipiri).
Members from the Senate are Finance Committee chairman Billow Kerrow (Mandera), Agnes Zani (nominated), Beatrice Elachi (nominated) and Kilonzo Jr.
Prof Kindiki said the Senate cannot bend the procedures that must be followed to ensure resources are justifiably allocated between the two levels of government.
“We must resist this crude, uncouth and illegal behaviour by the National Assembly,” Senate Majority Leader, Prof Kithure Kindiki said.