NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 12 – The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) has now come to the defense of President Uhuru Kenyatta for assenting to the Division of Revenue Bill.
Commissioner Kamotho Waiganjo told Capital FM News on Wednesday that the President had to assent to the Bill to beat the tight timelines within which the Budget must be approved.
He said that the Head of State acted for the greater good of the country because the legislators would have held the country at ransom.
“We are now on June 12 and we need to have this Bill passed so that the Budget can be confirmed and the Counties can prepare their budgets,” he explained.
“So in a sense the National Assembly and the Senate put the President in an awkward position where his options were limited.”
The President had on Tuesday argued that his hands were tied after MPs failed to agree on a way forward.
He said that his powers were limited to vetoing the Bill or assenting to it because failing to act would mean that the Bill became law within 14 days. Vetoing it on the other hand would have led to further delays in the budgetary process.
“The most prudent cause of action was to assent to the Bill in order to facilitate the timely conclusion of budgetary process and avert the risk of bringing Government business to a halt,” he explained.
Waiganjo however maintained that the Senate’s input on the Bill should have been included as required by the law, adding that the example set should not act as a reference point in future.
“The more important issue is to ensure that this does not recur because it is very unfortunate for any interpretation to oust the Senate from a discussion of the Division of Revenue Bill. We should have these very critical institutions talking to one another,” he said.
The CIC further expressed concern over the move by Members of Parliament slashing the budgets of all independent commissions by 15 percent regardless of their mandate.
Waiganjo argued that the move would cripple civic education and deter efforts directed at implementing the Constitution.
The MPs slashed the budgets after the independent commissions criticised them for threatening the Salaries and Remuneration Commission over their pay demands.
He further accused the MPs of using their legislative powers to settle personal scores against independent Commissions noting that it would interfere with their independence.
“It is only when the budget cuts are not informed by reasonable facts but by vendetta that the problem arises and we do hope that in future when institutions speak against Parliament, their budgets will not be cut,” he stated.