Senators fault Uhuru for signing controversial bill

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019 00:00 |
Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka.

Senators yesterday criticised President Uhuru Kenyatta for assenting  to the Division of Revenue Bill, 2019 saying it had an “irregularity” inserted by the National Assembly. 

In a heated debate on the floor of the House yesterday, the lawmakers  who are conducting sessions at the  Kitui County Assembly, trailed their guns on  the President and the National Assembly accusing them of being determined to kill devolution.

The President signed into law the DoRB yesterday to free fund to the cash-strapped counties.

While Senators passed the meditation version of the bill to take effect upon gazettement, their counterparts in the National Assembly passed the same bill and backdated it to July 1.

But senators said Uhuru had assented to a “wrong” bill insisting the version by the National Assembly that was assented into law had an “irregularity”.

Senate Minority leader James Orengo said the National Assembly and the Executive were using the “back door” to sanitise illegality that they committed when they enacted the Appropriations Act in July.

“When you normalise one illegality that is the beginning of impunity,” he said.

“The National Assembly is drunk with its own wine but as the Senate, we should not take their route. This is not the last time they are hearing of this matter.”

The Siaya Senator warned that it was illegal to enact the legislation before the passage of the DoRB which splits the money generated nationally between the national and county governments.

“When a law is made to apply retrogressively, somebody wants to validate what has taken place before. Something has happened which is wrong. Someone is trying to correct an illegality which has happened,” he said.

Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula said the Executive and National Assembly were entrenching impunity. 

He asked Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka to write to his National Assembly counterpart to protest the content and dishonesty in the letter.

“What we are seeing is absolute disdain for institutions and the executive has found a boggy boy in the Senate to bully,” he said.

Mandera senator Mohamed Mahamud, the Senate Committee on Finance and Budget chair,  challenged the President to respect the law saying his action was “contrary to the spirit of the Constitution”.

But Nominated senator Isaac Mwaura challenged the Senate to rise to the occasion warning that as one of the Houses of Parliament, it has continually allowed the Executive to dictate Parliament and demanded the House defend the law. 

Senators Ledama ole Kina (Narok) and Cleophas Malala (Kakamega) urged the Senate to stall County Allocation Revenue Bill—the legislation that splits among the 47 counties the Sh316 billion allocated to the devolved units in the now Division of Revenue Act, 2019.

Lusaka denied signing the documents of mediation that accompanied the bill forwarded to the President for signing.

Last evening, Senate adopted a procedural motion to extend sittings to midnight to debate the County Allocation of Revenue Bill that will allow counties to start receiving disbursements effective tomorrow.

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