, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 19 – The National Assembly suspended business during Wednesday afternoon’s sitting to criticise the Judiciary for what members termed as interference with business of Parliament, after the High Court barred the Senate from summoning Governors.
Majority Leader Aden Duale kicked off the debate when he urged the Speakers of National Assembly and Senate to convene a meeting with the Chief Justice and President to discuss recent court rulings which he claims were likely to cause “a constitutional crisis and anarchy.”
“If you the leaders of Parliament, the leaders of the Executive and the leaders of the Judiciary don’t sit together, then the end result is a constitutional crisis; the end result is a constitutional coup where every arm of government will decide to do what it feels it is empowered to do under this Constitution” said the Majority Leader.
MPs William Cheptumo (Baringo North), Olago Aluoch (Kisumu Town West) and Christopher Omulele (Luanda) cited the recent ruling which barred Governors from appearing before a Senate Committee as an example where the Judiciary has violated its mandate and tried to block the Legislature from scrutinising the expenditure of the county heads.
Speaker Justin Muturi pledged to meet the President and Chief Justice in order to communicate the sentiments of the National Assembly over the apparent clash amongst arms of government.
“They must be forewarned that the views of the people have been heard right here in Parliament and like they said in Ancient Greece; the voice of the people is the voice of God,” said Muturi after MPs spent the whole afternoon discussing the court ruling which stopped Governors from honouring summonses by the Senate.
Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir and his Kitutu Chache counterpart Jimmy Angwenyi proposed that during the coming budget, the House should slash the allocation to the counties from 32 percent (they got this year) to the minimum 15 percent of the total national revenue.
The rest of the money, they said, can be directed to the Constituency Development Fund which they observed had done more for devolution. Nassir added that County Woman Representatives can be allocated a share of the money hived off from the county allocations to do development work.
“The court has gone back to where Kenyans fought so hard to try to reform them from; the court order goes to the highest bidder and I am not afraid to say that,” said Nairobi Woman Representative Rachel Shebesh.
“I have just seen from the 411 (SMS news alert), that they have reinstated the Governor,” Shebesh continued. “What is the point of the Senate, if their work is rubbished… if they cannot hold Governors to account? What will be our work here, if we cannot summon ministers?”
Suba MP John Mbadi and Ugenya MP Dave Ochieng were categorical that the Judiciary cannot purport to block Parliament from performing its oversight role.
Mbadi cited the Public Finance Management Act which places the Governor as the person responsible for the expenditure of public funds at the County level.