In their latest outburst, the senate and the national assembly have taken their supremacy battles to the devolution conference in Kirinyaga.
Senators have renewed the push to have more powers so as to make the Senate superior to the National Assembly, as the debate on Constitutional changes gains momentum.
Speaking on the third day of the devolution conference in Kirinyaga County, Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr said senators would support the referendum on condition that the Senate is strengthened.
“If we give counties more, you must make the Senate the Upper House. That is not negotiable because there is the possibility of creating counties that will become monsters as a result of increased funding,” he said.
He argued that devolution can be strengthened only through increased funding, and with greater oversight by the Senate.
Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka also insisted that the Senate must be given more powers.
“The referendum should focus on directing more resources to the counties. But as we strengthen devolution, we must also strengthen the Senate because it is the institution with the mandate to oversee devolution,” he said.
In a similar manner, county assembly members revived also their push for financial autonomy to increase their capacity to oversee governors.
County Assemblies Forum chairperson Johnson Osoi asked the Senate to enact legislation that would allow ward representatives to make financial decisions independently, citing delays in release of funds to county assemblies.
County assemblies have been pushing to control their own budgets and not have the money channelled through the county executives.
“Assemblies cannot, six years down the line, still rely on county executives to access their funds. The autonomy of county assemblies must be taken seriously since it is a very important issue,” Mr Osoi said.
“We are open to the referendum debate, as long as it will strengthen the counties. The citizens of this country are already enjoying the benefits of devolution and we can only add value to this,” he said.
Meanwhile, governors were accused of defying summons by the Senate to answer audit queries.
Mr Kilonzo told the meeting that governors are often reluctant to appear before the Senate’s Public Accounts Committee to answer questions pertaining to financial management.
At the same time, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Chairman Eliud Wabukala said no one involved in corruption would be spared.
“We shall not relent in the battle against this vice. We are working jointly with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and Directorate of Criminal Investigation to slay corruption,” he said.
And Auditor-General Edward Ouko praised the governors for showing a keen interest in implementing recommendations he made to counties.