There was a heated debate during the Fourth Annual Legislative Summit which is taking place in Kisumu after members of county assemblies (MCAs) from across the country put the Senate on the spot for delaying the passage of crucial Bills thus denying them certain privileges.
Top on their agenda was failure to enact a legislation that would provide them with car grants and one that will ensure that those who serve two terms have pension when they exit.
Nominated Senator Agnes Zani, who was representing the Senate in a panel at the summit, was at pains to explain why they are yet to pass more than 30 Bills that have been brought to them.
Acting County Assemblies Forum Secretary-General Rebah Wabwile stirred the debate when she accused the Senate of not doing enough to support the county assemblies.
She stressed that MCAs, just like any other legislator, should enjoy some privileges, which she said they are not getting because of some Bills are “stuck” at the Senate.
Among the Bills that are yet to be passed include County Government Retirement Benefits Bill, which Ms Wabwile said has denied pension to MCAs serving their second term.
“Some of our leaders are in their second term, yet since the first House, they are not cushioned because they do not have a pension scheme like our brothers at the national level,” said Ms Wabwile.
Other Bills that are still at the Senate include the County Printers Bill, County Attorney Bill, which would allow counties to appoint advocates and solicitor generals, Public Participation Bill and County Wards Equitable Bill.
But Dr Zani defended senators saying legal hurdles have slowed down the process of passing the Bills. She, however, said that most have passed the second reading.
“The Bills are on course and this year we will expedite the process of their enactment. For instance, the pensions Bill is in its second reading,” said Dr Zani.
MCAs have also been pushing for enactment of a law to provide for a ward fund. But Senator Zani indicated that it will be difficult to give funds to wards directly.
“What we proposed at the Senate is having projects directly to the wards and not specific funds to avoid issues of money within wards. But the progress is good,” said Dr Zani.
The Senate normally looks at Bills passed by county assemblies to ensure they conform to the Constitution and the laws passed at the national level.
The MCAs had demanded pension, office space and staff and car grants.
But Kisumu East Shakeel Shabbir, who also spoke at the summit, told the MCAs not to dwell too much on their personal welfare at the expense of service delivery to the people.