, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 25 – Council of Governors Chairman Isaac Ruto has faulted the Senate for defying a court order barring the Public Accounts Committee from summoning governors.
Ruto said on Thursday that the Speaker of the Senate was not superior to orders issued by the courts of law.
“The ruling of the Speaker does not expand the mandate of the Senate, neither does it expand the mandate of the National Assembly; the mandate of the Speaker ends within the provisions of the Constitution in terms of their functions; and it has nothing to do with the Judiciary,” the Bomet governor stated.
He went on to say that the Governors would abide by the courts ruling.
“As far as we are concerned, we obey the courts, in terms of the rulings of the courts—I don’t operate within the jurisdictions of the Senate Speaker,” Ruto added.
On Tuesday, Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro dismissed a High Court order barring the Senate from summoning governors, saying it was not served properly.
In his ruling, the Speaker directed the County Public Accounts and Investments Committee chaired by Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale to disregard the court order and continue its sittings.
“I want to confirm in the interim that nobody can injunct Parliament and its committees – and for the specific matter of Dr (Boni) Khalwale’s committee. You cannot be served, you can only serve the Speaker and the Speaker is not Dr Boni Khalwale. You can only serve the Clerk on behalf of the Senate, you cannot serve the committee chairs,” said the Speaker in Tuesday’s ruling.
The Bomet governor also acknowledged that the Senate has an oversight role on County governments. He, however, said he had an issue with the laid-out procedure.
Ruto further told off National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale over persistent attacks on him, insisting that he should be penalized for failure to appear before the Accounts Committee.
“I have nowhere to report to Duale, nowhere as a Governor am I supposed to report to Duale on an issue. Accountability is a matter for the institutions established by law to carry out those accountability questions and as Bomet County we are accountable to Auditor General, County Assembly, to the public and Kenyans in general and we are also accountable in the general sense to the Senate—Duale is taking it out of context.”
He went on to accuse Duale of engaging himself in matters that do not concern him.
“I can forgive Duale because he is more versed with things like foot and mouth diseases which he is likely to be suffering from, I think he did some veterinary science somewhere in some polytechnic , maybe he got infected recently, ” quipped Ruto.
Ruto is among two other governors (Kiambu and Kisumu) who have defied summons to appear before the Senate’s Public Accounts and Investments Committee to respond to audit queries.
On Wednesday, Wajir Governor Nadhif Jama also joined the list of Summoned governors after he was summoned to appear before the committee on October 14th for failing to appear before the Boni Khalwale – led committee.