Saturday, 18 March 2017

National Assembly too bloated, scrap it instead - Ethuro

Budget committee chairman Mutava Musyimi Photo/File
Budget committee chairman Mutava Musyimi Photo/File
Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuru said it is the National Assembly that should be gotten rid off as it has more representatives.
The National Assembly is made up of 349 MPs while the Senate has 67 elected and members.
"Those are dark forces. I am yet to read the report but my first reaction is that the Senate should make the Upper House and have final say in all matters of government. In any case, if the proposal has anything to do with reducing the wage bill, it should be the National Assembly that we should do way with. Senate does dual function, that of oversighting counties and the national government," Ekwee told the Star on phone.
On Thursday, the committee on Budget and Appropriations proposed that the Senate be scraped or be strengthened.
“After lengthy deliberations, the committee recommended that a referendum question be part of the 2017 elections to allow the amendment of the Constitution. This will initiate a debate on the role of the Senate and whether it is sustainable,” The committee chaired by Mbeere South MP Mutava Musyimi said.
Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang and his Makueni counterpart Mutula Kilonzo Jnr described the move as ill-timed and misapprehension of the Constitution saying it is an agenda by anti-devolution forces.
"It will take a revolution to remove devolution and the Senate from the Constitution. I advise them to abandon the obvious flights of fancy," Mutula told the Star.
"There is need to review the Constitution but as we do so, the House we should be thinking of doing away with is the National Assembly. The people behind the move are similar to those who pushed for scraping of Senate soon after independence," Kajwang said.
He added: "If we retain the Senate and do way with the National Assembly, we will not be struggling with the gender rule because you will only need another 47 nominated Senators of either gender to balance".
Nominated Senator Beatrice Elachi described the proposal as populist saying the work of the Senate is well defined in the Constitution.
The committee has also recommended that Governors be required to nominate a running mate from the opposite gender.
In the radical proposals, the committee also recommended that the number of constituencies be reduced and the nominated MCAs be restricted to one per constituency.

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