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Governors, senators, MCAs meet to chart way forward

By Hillary Mageka
Friday, October 30th, 2020
From left: Senate Deputy Speaker Margaret Kamar, Leader of Majority Samuel Poghisio, Speaker Ken Lusaka and Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja during a meeting for the Senate Liaison committee in Naivasha. Photo/PD/ Kirera Mwiti
In summary

Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka

Governors, senators and Ward Reps have lined up separate caucuses and town hall meetings starting today, to discuss and develop consensus on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report.

While the Senate leadership has slated their two-day meeting in Naivasha, governors are trooping to the coastal town of Mombasa to  study the document and firm up their position.

“The Senate Leadership and Liaison Committee (Committee of Chairpersons) will today starting 9am hold a two-day meeting to discuss among others; the State of Devolution, the Economy in and post Covid-19 Situation (Recovery Strategies) and effective Oversight and Interlinkages with Independent Offices,” a dispatch from the Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka said.

The meeting, according to sources, will also discuss the matrix of kick-starting the process that involves drafting a referendum bill, collection of one million signatures, and eventually coming up with a referendum question.

It will bring together senators from both Jubilee and Opposition benches allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, to devise a mechanism of pushing through the BBI agenda in the House.

In an interview with People Daily yesterday, Lusaka disclosed that a joint team of Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) from both Houses were yesterday holed up in meeting at Windsor Hotel in Kiambu to trash out key issues in the document.

Sources at the meeting indicated that the committee, co-chaired by Nyamira Senator Okong’o Omogeni and Kangema MP Muturi Kigano, had identified several clauses in the proposed constitutional amendment Bill, which are inconsistent with the Constitution.

“We have tasked JLAC to look at the document critically, point out issues, make proposals so that its report will guide the House once it resumes next week,” he said.

However,  senators allied to Deputy President William Ruto yesterday criticised the meeting, terming it a waste of public resources.

“I have not been invited to the retreat. It is for the pro-BBI in exclusion of those who have reservations on certain clauses of the report,” Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei told People Daily.

Transacts business

Speaking separately, former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale also termed the meeting illegal.

 “There is no Act of Parliament providing how BBI should transact business.

In the absence of that, the process is illegal, unconstitutional and any expenditure on BBI is against the law. If we fail to answer questions asked by DP Ruto at Bomas, BBI will flop,”

Addressing over 6,000 delegates at the Bomas of Kenya during the launch of the report on Monday, Ruto and Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi criticised several clauses, and warned that unless amended, they would water down the mandate of the Senate.

The County Assemblies Forum (CAF), which represents MCAs and speakers of the 47 county assemblies’, has organised a retreat at the Whitesands Hotel, Mombasa, today to state their position on the document.

They are expected to discuss among others, the proposal to establish a ward development fund.  

The fund is to be used to carry out development projects in the various wards with governors required to set aside five per cent of the county revenue every Financial Year for the kitty.

Governors on the other hand started converging at the Whitesands hotel yesterday to deliberate on various proposals in the BBI report touching on devolved units.

At the centre of the deliberations is a proposal seeking to increase revenue allocation to counties from the current 15 to 35 per cent.

However, failure to create a third tier of government as championed by Raila has dampened the spirits of some 22-second term governors who had hoped to remain politically relevant upon the expiry of their terms.

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