, NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 17 – There was uproar in the Senate on Wednesday over the proposed membership of the key Rules and Business Committee, with some lawmakers saying it excluded representatives of some groups and that it did not have regional balance.
Senators Hassan Omar Hassan, Amos Wako and Wilfred Machage warned that the success or failure of the second Senate in Kenya’s history will depend on how the committee asserts itself.
They expressed reservations with the composition of the list arguing that it did not reflect constitutional provisions of inclusion and regional balance.
Omar complained that there was no representative from northern Kenya and the Muslim community, despite the House having 12 members of the religious faith.
The 12-member committee, chaired by the Speaker, is the most powerful body that sets the agenda of the House.
Leader of the Majority, Senator Kithure Kindiki (Tharaka Nithi) described it as a critical component of the House and urged members to approve it due to the heavy legislative agenda that is in the House’s tray.
“The list may have shortcomings but we shall do things better as we move on. We need to forge unity of purpose in matters of this nature so that in future every party is involved in establishing similar committees of the House,” Kindiki said.
Among those who will sit on the committee are Kindiki, Minority Leader Moses Wetangula (Bungoma), Majority Whip Beatrice Elachi (Nominated) and Minority Whip Johnson Muthama (Machakos).
Others are Senators Beth Mugo (nominated), John Lonyangapuo (West Pokot), Charles Keter (Kericho), Kiraitu Murungi (Meru), James Orengo (Siaya), Nominated Senators Janet Ong’era and Agnes Zani.
Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale and Vihiga’s George Khaniri supported the approval of the names, but complained about the exclusion of small parties in the committee.
“This list does not include any member of UDF and the party has three members in this House. The rules stipulate that a party be represented in committees if it has more than two members,” said Khaniri.
In the end, however, the proposed list was approved without amendments.