Governors angered by Uhuru remarks on Senate row

February 22, 2014 10:04 am


The Governors are meeting in Mombasa to to arrive at a common ground on the row with the Senate. Photo/FILE.
The Governors are meeting in Mombasa to to arrive at a common ground on the row with the Senate. Photo/FILE.
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 22 – Council of Governors Chairman Isaac Ruto says President Uhuru Kenyatta has no business commenting on the stalemate between Governors and Senators since the matter is pending in court.

Speaking at the start of the governors retreat in Mombasa, Ruto emphasised that the head of state should have waited for the court ruling before commenting on its merits and demerits.

“The President should not have commented on the issue which is before court. That is not his business,” Ruto said, “he should have kept away from the issue until it is resolved. He should have respect for the Judiciary.”

Ruto said the president’s remarks will not solve the matter in any way “what he did will only serve to worsen the situation.”

He was reacting to sentiments by the president on Friday in Kericho where he urged Governors to respect the senate whenever summoned to account for their expenditures.

The Bomet Governor further accused the Jubilee Government of embarking on what he termed as a “smear campaign against County Chief Executives” and a plot to undermine devolution and the progress made so far.

“The situation as it is shows that the Jubilee government has removed its mask. It is now clear that they have waged a war against devolution,” Ruto said, adding “They have also embarked on a smear campaign against the Judiciary.”

He said the governors meeting in Mombasa will discuss the matter at length to find solutions of safeguarding devolution.

CORD leader Raila Odinga too accused the president of an attempt to “bring an end to all autonomous institutions in the country” by commenting on matters pending before court.

“A pattern of a return to repression is taking shape,” he warned in a statement sent to newsrooms on Saturday, adding “What is being attempted currently is to establish a country of presidential and legislative tyranny, and where no other institution in and out of the government will be allowed a voice.”

“It is unfortunate that the presidency has now explicitly and publicly endorsed this charade,” the former Prime Minister said, and urged the Jubilee government to respect “the doctrine of Separation of Powers.”

“I believe the alternative to adherence to this doctrine is the law of the jungle where one person can purport to perform the functions of president, judge and parliament at the same time.”

Ruto and Raila are unhappy with sentiments made by the President who told governors to always respect the Senate, after nine of them obtained a court order barring them from appearing before the committee on Economic Affairs and Finance, barely a week after Martin Wambora was impeached by the Senate, only to get court orders suspending the action.

Wambora argues that his impeachment was illegal because there was a court order in place barring the senate from taking up the matter.

Governors subsequently moved to the Supreme Court to seek a constitutional interpretation on whether the Senate can summon them, raising a storm in both houses which have now scheduled a Kamukunji on Tuesday.


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