Senate reorders key committees monitoring counties

Thursday February 11 2016

The Senate in session. The Senate Labour Committee approved a Sh1.5 million lump sum payment and Sh30,000 monthly stipend for former councillors. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The Senate in session. The Senate Labour Committee approved a Sh1.5 million lump sum payment and Sh30,000 monthly stipend for former councillors. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JEREMIAH KIPLANG'AT
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The Senate has reconstituted key committees overseeing the devolution process and monitoring how governors spend public funds.

The terms of the four committees ended last December and had to be reconstituted before the House embarks on its business this year.

Senators on Thursday made slight changes to the powerful County Public Accounts and Investments Committee (CPAIC), replacing Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen (URP) with his Narok counterpart Stephen Ntutu (URP).

This committee has been chaired by Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale (UDF) over the past two years and has been at the forefront in pushing the 47 governors to account for the billions of shillings they get every year.

Mr Murkomen became deputy majority leader, replacing former Kericho Senator Charles Keter, who resigned to become Energy Cabinet secretary.

CPAIC is currently finishing its review of the Auditor-General's reports on counties for the 2013-14 financial year. Next will be the 2014-15 audit reports. Dr Khalwale is expected to retain the chairmanship.

The House also remade the Committee on Devolved Government but retained its membership for the previous three sessions. Mr Murkomen has been the chairman of this committee but told the House on Thursday that he would not vie for the chairmanship.

Mr Murkomen also replaced Mr Keter on the Energy committee, chaired by Baringo Senator Gideon Moi.

INSTITUTIONAL MEMORY

The Delegated Legislation and the Implementation committees were also constituted again but without any changes.

Senators on Thursday said they did not see any need to make major changes in the key committee, saying members should be retained in order to finish the job they had started.

“We felt that members should be retained so that they continue doing the great job they have been doing,” said Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki (Tharaka-Nithi, TNA), who moved a motion to reconstitute the committees.

Other senators agreed with him, saying the House had made a decision previously to retain the membership to preserve the committee’s institutional memory.

“For consistency, it is important to retain the membership. A number of sessional committees have been visiting counties and I am sure they have a lot of work remaining,” said Deputy Minority Leader Abdirahman Hassan (Wajir, ODM).

Mr Murkomen challenged the committees to work harder to ensure they consolidate the gains made in the previous years.

“This is the only remaining one full calendar year. This is the year to consolidate the gains we have made as a House,” he said.

Though he supported the retained membership, Migori Senator Wilfred Machage (ODM) said it was not right to keep the same members.

“I am worried by the precedence we are setting as a House. The necessity of having sessional committees is for them to be changed every session and fresh minds to be included,” said Dr Machage.