, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 4 – The animosity between Governors and Senators played out again on Thursday as Meru Governor Peter Munya engaged Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen in a Law Society of Kenya-mediated debate on the Governors’ push for a referendum.
Munya fired the first shot when he explained that one of the reasons they are pushing for a referendum is to, “strengthen the Senate as they have no work,” and therefore created work for themselves by demanding Governors constantly appear before them to defend their governments.
Usurping the powers, he continued to say, of the County Assemblies instead of focusing on matters revenue.
Murkomen responded by accusing Munya and governors alike of exhibiting arrogance that would, “shock the saints,” by alleging that Senators had no work and were therefore harassing the governors to gain relevance.
An accusation, he said, aimed at keeping the Senators away from their books of account which he said should be open regardless of who held the oversight role over the county governments.
“I have a right to wake up one morning, walk to the governor and ask how have you used my money? Don’t show me Constitutional provisions. It is a right because this money is tax payers’ money. And a governor arrogantly speaks in the public telling people Senators are useless?” he posed.
He went on to accuse the governors of greed in their push for pesa mashinani (money at the grassroots) questioning where the revenue collected by the county governments went.
“You’re only talking about the money KRA collects and the national government shares with you. What about the money you don’t share. The parking fees I pay in Nairobi, rates?” he asked.
He also questioned the County governments’ abilities to handle the security function they were seeking to share with the National Government through a referendum.
“Reports in the media which I have confirmed is true is that a governor once slapped an MCA. Now if you are going to do these kinds of things as governors, how shall we trust you with guns?” he posed.
Overall, he said, the grievances the governors wanted addressed through a referendum, could be addressed through dialogue with the national government.
“I mean was it necessary to announce that county workers would not get paid before engaging the National Treasury?” he posed.
Munya however insisted that they wanted their propositions enshrined in the Constitutions as, “we don’t want MPs changing things to punish us when they get mad at us as they often do.”
That being said the Chairman of the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution Charles Nyachae reiterated that it was too soon to start making amendments to the Constitution as the implementation period has not even lapsed.
But even after hearing these arguments, LSK Chairman Eric Mutua said they would not take a position on the calls for a referendum until they’d given both the proponents and opponents a fair hearing and then looked at what the law stated.