Senators headed to Supreme Court in row with MPs

November 17, 2014 7:05 am
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Kindiki says the leaders of both Houses have had fruitless discussions in the last two months, and the Senate is now prepared to seek the Supreme Court's opinion on the matter Tuesday/FILE
Kindiki says the leaders of both Houses have had fruitless discussions in the last two months, and the Senate is now prepared to seek the Supreme Court’s opinion on the matter Tuesday/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 17 – Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki says dialogue with the National Assembly to resolve the tug of war over 46 Bills touching on devolution has failed.

Kindiki says the leaders of both Houses have had fruitless discussions in the last two months, and the Senate is now prepared to seek the Supreme Court’s opinion on the matter Tuesday.

“Those who think that the Senate is a pushover should think again; we cannot be intimidated. We demand respect and freedom to perform our role,” said Kindiki.

The two Houses of Parliament have in the past few weeks been trading accusations.

The National Assembly is accusing the Senate of not understanding its role, and calling the Upper House a ‘cry baby’ while the Senate is insistent that the lower House is undermining its role in legislation.

Devolution which will be the Jubilee government’s biggest triumph if successful is now under threat, according to Kindiki.

“There is a group of people who are keen on ensuring that devolution doesn’t work… they know that if devolution fails, it will be translated as the Jubilee government failure. We have 46 laws that were passed without the input of the Senate and must be revised,” cautioned Kindiki.

The Senate further regrets that some of the contentious legislation has already been assented to by the President and questions abound over what happens if the Supreme Court rules in favour of the Senate.

The latest controversy surrounds the Mining Bill which was recently passed by the National Assembly but which has not been debated by the Senate.

At the same time, the Tharaka Nithi Senator has come to the aid of Tharaka MP, Alex Mwiru, who is facing removal from the Lands Committee which he chairs over claims that he is cushioning Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu over the Karen land grabbing scandal.

Kindiki warned Jubilee MPs from supporting the petition saying the move would be translated as hostility towards the county.

“He is serving every Kenyan well; he is the only one we have in Meru and Tharaka Nithi and will not let go. His removal would mean hostility and we don’t expect Jubilee MPs to be part of it,” said Kindiki.

He further cautioned Jubilee MPs against being used to wreck havoc in the ruling coalition by persons who wanted to see the party disintegrated, adding that Muiru was being targeted because of his stand on the resolution of deep-seated border disputes in the region.

Moses Ole Sakuda(Kajiado North), Esther Mathenge(Nyeri) and John Kihagi(Naivasha) are among other jubilee MPs in the committee who joined in accusing their embattled chairman of colluding with Ngilu in the Karen land saga.

On Thursday, twenty four MPs who sit on Parliament’s Lands Committee signed a petition for a vote of no-confidence against Mwiru claiming that he was sabotaging the probe into the 134-acre Karen land saga.

“During our deliberations we saw that there were a lot of grey areas that we did not understand. The committee did a resolution that we as a committee are losing confidence in the manner that the chair of this committee is handling affairs of this committee in terms of communication, in terms of threat messages. This committee has initiated a process of having a new chairman,” committee vice-chairman Sakuda told journalists after the MPs held closed-door talks.

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