, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 25 – Members of the Senate on Thursday concluded debate on President Uhuru Kenyatta’s speech which he delivered during the opening of the 11th Parliament.
Debating the speech for three days, the Senators expressed divergent views which dealt on devolution, reducing the public wage bill, issuance of laptops to standard one pupils and job creation among other things.
Contributing to the debate, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi urged the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to consider the demands by Members of the National Assembly for a review of their pay.
Moi argued that for the legislators to effectively carry out their duties they needed to be well remunerated. He said there were better ways to cut down the wage bill without denying the MPs a decent salary.
“Whatever they are asking for I think is within reason and in my humble opinion the kind of money they are being offered is rather low,” Moi said.
On his part, Nyeri Senator Mutahi Kagwe lauded the president’s speech terming it as development oriented. Kagwe said he was particularly impressed by the new government’s plan to be fully digital.
He urged the president to consider putting fiber optic cables in all counties in the country. He said this would make the country truly Information Communication and Technology complainant.
“Putting fiber optics will help people set up business which will reduce unemployment in the country. And these businesses are not just good but they offer better jobs,” said the Nyeri Senator.
Siaya Senator James Orengo called on the president to urgently tackle corruption. He said Kenyatta should, in particular, ensure the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission thoroughly investigates the alleged fraudulent procurement of election equipment by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
He said the faulty equipment was to blame for the issues that followed the March 4 General Elections. He also urged the president to ensure the next elections are credible.
“There is usually a lot of conflict in many countries when elections are deemed to be fraudulent. So there is need to ensure that any election held in Kenya is acceptable to the people in future. Kenyans don’t want to feel cheated again,” Orengo said.
Following the conclusion of debate on the president’s speech the Senators moved on to approve names of members to serve in 12 House committees, tabled on Wednesday by Senate Majority leader Kithure Kindiki.
The teams include the Finance Committee which will consider matters related to share of national revenue among the counties and the national budget.
There will also be a Committee on Commerce and Economic Affairs to consider trading activities, commercial law, local tourism, cooperative societies, investment and population planning and policy.
The Senate will also have a Committee on Health, Labour and Social Welfare, a Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs and a Committee on Local Government.
There will also be a Committee on Agriculture, Land and Natural Resources, one on Education, Information and Technology, and another on Energy, Roads and Transportation.
There will be a committee on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity and another one on Equal Opportunity. There will also be one on Implementation and another one on Delegated Legislation.
All the 67 Senators will server in at least one of the committees.
The House also elected Senators Kipchumba Murkomen and Elizabeth Ongoro to preside at any sitting of the senate in the absence of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker.