, NAIROBI, Kenya, July 1 – History was made on Tuesday as the Senate held its first sitting at the Old Chambers of Parliament for the first time since 1966, when the Independence Senate was abolished through President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s decree.
In a communication to the Senators, Speaker Ekwe Ethuro welcomed members to the refurbished facility after it was declared ready for use.
“The Senate was deliberately created by the people of Kenya to be the guardian of the devolution which goes to the heart of the new constitutional dispensation. As we settle into our new chamber, I therefore appeal to you to rededicate yourself to this cardinal duty,” said the Senate Speaker.
He added: “It is therefore my pleasure to welcome you to the Senate Chamber, which I believe will be a permanent home (and it has nothing to do with my nomadic nature) and to wish you all the best in your endeavour in serving the country and the people.”
Senators Kindiki Kithure (Tharaka-Nithi), Moses Wetangula (Bungoma), Boni Khalwale (Kakamega), James Orengo (Siaya) and Gideon Moi (Baringo) said the relocation to the ultra-modern chamber will enable them to practice their duty effectively.
“Let us not delude ourselves that all is well, if we do not exert our position and take our rightful place as senators we are in a very precarious position,” Senator Moi cautioned.
Khalwale said: “Now that we are here we have the proper voice to push the executive of this country to not only ensure that those grand projects continue but also to ensure equity in distribution of the resources in the country”
Orengo reminded his colleagues of the pivotal role the Chamber played in the independence struggle of the country.
“This is the chamber where (the late) Jaramogi Oginga Odinga was thrown out for saying no independence without Kenyatta,” narrated the Siaya County Senator.
Since the House first sat in April last year, Senators have been operating in temporary chambers; first at Shimba Hills Hall on the first floor of KICC and later at County Hall.
Senators were unhappy with Shimba Hills Hall which was a makeshift chamber that at one point Siaya Senator James Orengo christened it as a garage.
They later moved to County Hall in September last year. But here too it was not all rosy as technical hitches of the communication and transmitting systems hampered the quality of proceedings.
The relocation to the Old Chamber follows that of its political leadership last June.