Nyamira senator floors Khalwale to head powerful committee

Wednesday February 17 2016

Kakamega senator Bonni Khalwale chairing a past session investigating the impeachment of Embu governor Martin Wambora. Khalwale on February 17, 2015 lost the chairmanship of the powerful Senate Public Accounts and Investments Committee after his colleagues overhauled the leadership of the House team. FILE PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kakamega senator Bonni Khalwale chairing a past session investigating the impeachment of Embu governor Martin Wambora. Khalwale on February 17, 2015 lost the chairmanship of the powerful Senate Public Accounts and Investments Committee after his colleagues overhauled the leadership of the House team. FILE PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JEREMIAH KIPLANG'AT
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Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale has lost the chairmanship of the powerful Senate Public Accounts and Investments Committee after his colleagues overhauled the leadership of the House team.

Dr Khalwale, who has chaired the committee for the last two years, was defeated by Nyamira Senator Kennedy Mong'are during elections held on Wednesday.

Dr Khalwale got only three votes while Mr Mong'are got six.

Mombasa Senator Omar Hassan was also replaced by his West Pokot counterpart John Lonyangapuo as the committee's vice-chairperson.

The committee is reconstituted every year like other sessional committees and members pick the chairmen and their deputies at the beginning of every session.

Dr Khalwale has been firm on governors who have appeared before the committee to respond to audit queries contained in the Auditor-General's reports.

On Wednesday, he said he was not bitter after being removed from the helm of the key committee.

"I will support the new chairman. We believe in devolution so much and we shall do everything possible to make sure it is a success. We shall support Mr Mong'are. I am not bitter," said Dr Khalwale.

Mr Mong'are said he was ready to replace his predecessor, saying he will make sure the committee does its work effectively.

"Dr Khalwale did not work alone. We were around to support him. A committee is not about an individual. I am sure he will also support me," said Mr Mong'are.

The committee was created in 2014 to look into how counties spend billions of shillings allocated to them every year.

Initially, governors refused to appear before it, saying the committee did not have a mandate to summon them.

However, a constitutional court overruled them, indicating that senators had powers to summon governors.

Over the last two years, the committee has been scrutinising the Auditor-General’s reports on each county and has summoned governors to respond to queries raised.