NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 1 – The Speaker of the Senate Ekwe Ethuro has lauded the Supreme Court’s advisory on the Division of Revenue Bill saying that it is a step in the right direction.
Speaking soon after it was read out on Friday, Ethuro said that the Supreme Court has ensured that the rule of law was followed by both the National Assembly and the Senate.
He emphasised the need for cooperation between the two Houses saying this will enable devolution to move forward progressively.
“We are extremely happy that the action taken by the Senate in terms of following the rule of law and ensuring that whatever contests that was there between the two Houses has been resolved. We went to the Supreme Court and it is not a matter of who is winning and who is losing. As we embark on the devolution, it is important that the two Houses work together,” he said.
He further pointed out that both Houses should heed the advice of the Supreme Court and work harmoniously in all aspects.
“We are interested in the way forward and we did not put that in our pleadings. What has passed has passed and to undo that might cause more problems than you are trying to address,” he stated.
The Supreme Court framed seven issues for determination in the petition challenging the validity of the law that will regulate finances for the 47 county governments.
The petition, filed by the Senate Speaker and Clerk Jeremiah Nyegenye, was heard by the seven-member bench on August 20.
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi in return filed a preliminary objection seeking the dismissal of the petition on grounds that the court has no power to adjudicate on the contentious Division of Revenue Act, which was signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta on June 11.
The parties mutually agreed to file their written arguments within seven days to facilitate an expeditious hearing.
The first two issues were whether the Supreme Court should exercise its advisory jurisdiction or it has the power to render an opinion regarding the constitutional process in the enactment of the disputed Act.
The other sticking point was the role of the National Assembly versus the Senate in the origination, consideration and enactment of the Division of Revenue Bill.
The fourth issue was the meaning of a Bill concerning county governments as enshrined in the Constitution.
The court was to determine whether the Division of Revenue Bill concerns county governments and if it is a “Money Bill” under the Constitution.
The Senate accused the National Assembly of unlawfully rejecting the restructuring of the Bill and passing it on to President Uhuru for assent without following the mandatory mediation process.