You will not get money as long as we are MPs – Duale to Senators
The National Assembly has dared the Senate to make real its threat of mobilising far reaching amendments to the constitution, to clip its powers.
In yet another trigger to the unending supremacy wars between the two chambers of Parliament, the National Assembly argues that the Senate should be abolished, since its functions could be handled by the National Assembly.
The National Assembly was in an abrasive mood, barely hours after the Senate convened a special session to hit out at its sister house for slashing its Ksh 1 billion that was meant for oversight functions in the 47 county governments.
The Senate, terming the National Assembly a rogue house, mooted a plot by appointing a nine member committee that will come up with a raft of amendments to the constitution that will tame the National Assembly by chopping several key functions.
“We have a house that thinks it’s the Alfa and Omega, we must tell them that every 5 years, 75% of MPs never make it back, and this batch will be no exception,” said Moses Wetangula, the Bungoma Senator.
National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and Budget Committee Chairman Mutava Musyimi, who came under a barrage of criticism by the Senate, were quick to reiterate.
“They wasted all their time discussing me instead of issues of national interest,” noted Musyimi.
“We want to tell the Senate, for as long as we are in this house, they will never get the money they are asking for,” said Duale.
Conflict of interests in CDF
The 9-member committee set by the Senate will identify the clauses in the constitution that should be amended to clearly define it as the upper house, and also take away the function of vetting nominees to public offices from the National Assembly.
“It’s Kenyans who gave them few functions, it’s not us. They should have for more serious seats if they wanted to be powerful,” added John Mbadi the Suba legislator.
In the meantime, the National Assembly is silently seeking input from stakeholders as it crafts a bill to address the issues raised by the High Court when it declared the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) inconsistent with the constitution.
The Senate, however, insists such a bill will not yield much, citing conflict of interest by the National Assembly members.
“We have seen some of them in barazas with cheques. That money can only be managed by the county executive or the national government executive,” said Kipchumba Murkomen, the Elgeyo Marakwet Senator.
The National Assembly has already allocated Ksh 35 billion to CDF, and the committee plans to present a bill that will outline the functions that will be allocated the money at the constituency level.
The Senate select committee has 90 days to present a report to the house on the clauses in the constitution that should be amended to make it a more powerful house compared to the national assembly.
Francis Gachuri contributed to this report