MOMBASA, Kenya, Apr 16 – The Senate has come under fire from County Speakers who are accusing the institution of abandoning them.
The County Assemblies narrated the trouble they have undergone in their attempts to perform their role, with Embu Speaker Kariuki Mate telling the Senate they had lost hope in them.
The criticism emerged during a consultative meeting between the two institutions to initiate participation and deliberations to ensure the Constitution is implemented and that the two bodies perform their functions fully.
“Members of the County Assemblies have been forced to go to bed with the Executive; it may be too late for the Senate to undo the damage that has been done,” he said.
Busia County Speaker Bernard Wamalwa reiterated Mate’s sentiments imploring the Senate to hastily resolve the issue of funding as already Governors were taking charge of all their activities by limiting the flow of funds.
It is becoming impossible for any committee to do anything. The county executives are grossly underfunded and members of the County Assembly are unable to do their work, the assemblies are actually on the verge of being compromised, and Executives will use them at their will,” said Wamalwa.
“In the next two to three weeks, most of the assemblies will shut down as most have already gone on recess and cannot function,” retorted Patrick Mariru (Laikipia County).
Speaker of the Senate Ekwee Ethuro noted the concerns raised by his counterparts from the counties saying cooperation between the two was mandatory and consultation was not a choice.
“While the Constitution provides that the levels of government are distinct, our Constitution also requires us to cooperate with each other to ensure optimal productivity while delivering services to the people of Kenya,” said Ethuro.
The Speaker’s called for financial empowering of the County Assemblies Forum to ensure it could match up to the Council of Governors saying the Isaac Ruto-led COG received funding from each county and could thus champion for the rights of governors easily.
Nyandarua Senator Muriuki Karue acknowledged the speakers concerns stating that Senators were willing to ensure the county assemblies are empowered further adding that even in the recently passed Division of revenue Bill they had recommended that County Assemblies receive separate funding to prevent the County Executive from holding them at ransom.
“We want them to have facilitation so that they can do their work, we need to get County Assembly properly facilitated but it should be rational,” said Karue.
The pertinent issue of budget ceilings also came up, this time however, the MCAs were not totally opposed to them; they noted the importance of having the set limits but said they should be realistic so that they do not hinder them from performing their roles.