NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 2 – Barely two weeks since the Senate resumed its sittings following a month-long recess, it has once again adjourned for 21 days after members voted in favour of a Motion by Majority leader Kithure Kindiki to allow it to mediate in the progressing conflict in Makueni and Isiolo county governments.,
The Motion which received a fair share of praise and criticism is meant to give the senate time to probe the situation in Makueni and Isiolo which have affected service delivery to the people and further curtailing the implementation of devolution.
“Following the challenges in the management and operations in the Makueni and Isiolo County governments the Senate resolves to alter its calendar although known as irregular sessions, for an adjournment commencing today, Thursday 2nd October 2014 to resume on Tuesday 21st October 2014 to allow the Senate intervene in the reconciliation process in the two counties,” ruled the temporary Speaker.
The motion elicited a debate over the relevance of the adjournment with members reading mischief into the move saying it was not justified.
Questions were raised on why the Senate was not taking advantage of the Devolution Committee which is already probing the Makueni incident and what value the adjournment would bring to the feuding counties.
“I do not see anywhere in these standing orders that requires that the whole Senate becomes a committee that could go and interrogate issues that they have been assigned to,” said Nominated Senator Janet Ongera.
She went further to quote the standing orders which mandated the committee on devolution to be the body that deals with issues affecting counties and their governments.
The order states that, ‘the sessional committee on devolved governments’ shall consider all matters related to inter-governmental and inter-county relations, governance and management of county governments, cities, towns and urban areas.’
Some members wanted to find out whether a framework had been developed to guide the process of mediation since the mover of the motion did not give insight into how the senate was going to arbitrate in the conflict.
Nominated Senator Janet Ongera who from the onset opposed the motion read mischief into the move accusing those supporting the motion of having a hidden agenda and using the Makueni-Isiolo conflict as a scapegoat.
“Perhaps some members here have thought that they want to travel somewhere to The Hague—time has come when we in the Senate must become serious on how we want the public to view us in the discharge of functions, “ posed Ongera.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has been summoned by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to appear before it on October 8th for the status conference in his case and it is rumored that over 100 legislators will be accompanying him.
The Devolution committee chaired by Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen has already iniated a three-day probe on Makueni, starting 14th October where the governor and County Assembly will present their grievances.
The controller of budget and the public will also be involved since the governor has accused Members of the County Assembly of refusing to pass crucial bills.
The governor has publicly announced that he has commenced the process of collecting signatures for the suspension of the County Assembly.