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Speaker Lusaka halts planned Senate inquiry on Nairobi take-over

NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 3 – Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka has vacated orders on a planned inquiry by a Senate joint committee on the controversial takeover of Nairobi county functions by the national government.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko signed off key functions of Health, Transport and Planning in a deal signed at State House, Nairobi.

While giving the verdict, Lusaka said the initial ruling by his deputy Kindiki Kithure to initiate an investigation on the Nairobi take-over issue would amount to an illegality considering the debate that led to the decision was a motion of adjournment.

Kindiki had on Wednesday directed the Devolution and Justice and Legal Affairs Committee to jointly kick-start a probe on the takeover that seem to have given Sonko a lifeline, with the Tuesday suspension of an impeachment motion against him, just two days after President Uhuru Kenyatta hosted MCAs at State House.

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, Attorney General Kihara Kariuki and the Chairperson of the Council of Governors Wycliffe Oparanya had been lined up as persons of interest for the grilling session that was to shed light on the intrigues that led to the signing of the deal.

“Taking into account the provisions of Senate standing orders 1 and 34 and further taking into account relevant procedures of comparative legislations, I hereby find that no direction can ensue upon the conclusion of a debate on a motion of adjournment on a definite matter of urgent national importance. Accordingly, the earlier directions given on the matter are hereby vacated,” he ruled.

The motion was tabled last week by Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, leading to a clash among Senators.

Lusaka’s ruling was prompted following an objection by the House Minority Leader James Orengo who argued that under parliamentary practice a motion similar to the one that was moved by Murkomen only allows members to make their contributions.

“Let us not go beyond authorities that are created under the standing orders. If there is a definite resolution that the House wants to make, then we need a substantive motion,” he said.

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