NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 14 – Speaker Justin Muturi has denied claims that the National Assembly has ganged up with the Executive to undermine the spirit of devolution following the enactment of the Division of Revenue Bill by the president.
Speaking in Mombasa after opening a retreat of the Parliamentary Service Commission, Muturi defended President Uhuru Kenyatta saying he acted within the law by assenting to the revenue law.
Muturi said the Constitution mandates the National Assembly to ensure that not less than 15 percent of revenue raised goes to the county governments.
“The National Assembly has allocated more than 30 percent of national revenue to all counties… is that killing or building devolution? We need to be honest,” said Muturi.
The Speaker said it’s only the National Assembly that has the mandate to allocate funds to all levels of the government and not the Senate.
He said the decision by The Senate to move to the Supreme Court will not reverse the revenue allocation in the 2013/2014 financial year.
“The dispute in court is not open for me to begin canvassing, let’s leave it to The Judiciary to make its decision; The Senate is only seeking an advisory for the future because anything about revenue for this coming financial year is a done deal,” said Muturi.
The Senate wants the Supreme Court to determine whether MPs’ rejection of their changes to the Bill and the president’s assent to it were unconstitutional and a breach of Senate Standing Orders.
It has also asked the court to determine whether Parliament followed the legally acceptable procedure in passing the Bill.
The Senators further want an advisory opinion on 10 constitutional points, among them the meaning of a “Money Bill” in relation to county governments.
The Senate is only seeking an advisory for the future because anything about revenue for this coming financial year is a done deal
Whereas the National Assembly and the Treasury initially agreed on Sh210 billion piece of the pie, the Senate added an extra Sh48 billion to ‘facilitate proper operations’ on the counties.
But when the Bill returned to the National Assembly, MPs ignored the Senators’ input and sent the Bill in its original form to the President.
President Kenyatta assented to the controversial Bill on Monday, a move that saw Senators and Governors threatening to marshal countrywide support for constitutional amendments to address ambiguities they claimed were a threat to the devolved units.
President Kenyatta indicated that he assented to the Bill in pursuance of the national interest and with a view to safeguarding the integrity and timeliness of the budgetary process.
The Bill determines financial allocations between the national government and the 47 county governments.