, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 16 – Parliamentary Service Commission nominee Samuel Chepkonga says if he is confirmed to the position, he will be at the forefront of pushing for Senators to be facilitated to perform their oversight mandate in counties.
The former Ainabkoi MP told the Senate Committee on Labour which was conducting his approval hearing that it was irrational for the Senate to be denied an oversight fund while County Woman Representatives were given a Sh7 million kitty to counter the CDF of the National Assembly members.
“I have always been a supporter of the independence of Parliament, both the National Assembly and the Senate. I feel pitied particularly with the Senate – you some of us have been contemplating running for Senate but when you look at the resources that is placed in the hands of a Senator, it does not exist.”
“We should be able to create kitty for the Senators. In any event, we are talking about 47 Senators I have never understood why that should be a problem. You should be equipped as the members of the National Assembly, so if you approve me, that will be one of my tasks of ensuring that you are given sufficient resources to do your job. We don’t want you to look irrelevant in the county and the constituencies,” Chepkonga said.
Senators want Sh2.7 billion allocated for this function to be handled by the PSC rather than the Ministry of Devolution which they claim will hamper parliamentary independence.
The Senate Committee Chairman Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi) led members Samson Cherarkey (Nandi) and Samuel Poghisio (West Pokot) in calling for a review of the process saying that it should be done by a selection panel instead of having a nominee being questioned by his peers.
Chepkonga also said the recent claims of bribery in Parliament should have been handled by the Powers and Privileges Committee to avoid it tarnishing the image of the House.
“I think what we are seeing in Parliament is a conflict of interest. You know people from sugar growing areas and others so many things are clouded that they forget to protect their own interests. They don’t know when you claim the other has been bribed you are injuring your own reputation. These are issues that should have been dealt with by the Privileges Committee. If there are problems they should go and complain to the Speaker so that it is dealt with, but I guess that is politics also because everybody is playing to the gallery in the constituency,” he explained.