Kenya: Senate pushes for more control on key issues

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Senators have unveiled a raft of proposals to amend the Constitution in a report tabled in the House yesterday

The lawmakers want counties to receive more cash, the Senate to have a say in budget making and enactment of all bills among other radical proposals. The senators have made good their threat to protect their turf, going by the seven key suggestions detailed in a report that seeks to ensure seamless operations of the bicameral parliament and bring to an end the persistent rivalry between the Senate and the National Assembly. The nine-member Senate Committee on Constitutional and Legal Review chaired by Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen set in motion another crusade to amend the law through a populous initiative that will see the National Assembly cede some powers to the Senate. Tabling the report, Mr Murkomen issued a notice of motion to begin the process of legislation on a bill to march toward a referendum. The committee members said they are optimistic that if they fast-track the process, the referendum can be done by January 2017 or latest August 2017, however, they are open to consultation with various stakeholders. See also: Kenya’s governors must keep tabs on costs incurred under their watch According to the report, the role of Parliament is re-defined to include considering bills, vetting nominees, taking part in the budget making process, approving deployment of the Kenya Defence Forces in security situations in the country and increase of county allocation.

“Our proposal will confer a full legislative mandate on both the Senate and the National Assembly. The proposed bill will provide passage of all bills by both Houses so they only become law after they are passed by both Houses,” said the chairman. While the senators want the National Assembly to confine itself to representing people in the constituencies, the Senate will also discharge its mandate of representing counties and serving to protect their interests, including oversight over revenue allocated to, raised by or otherwise received by the county governments and their expenditure. Further, Murkomen explained that the referral of bills for presidential assent will be done by the two speakers, Ekwee Ethuro (Senate) and Justin Muturi (National Assembly), through signed certificates.

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