Senate for the ninth time failed to resolve the controversial third basis for sharing revenue among counties after the house adjourned the morning special session over the arrest of three senators.
In a heated debate in the House Monday, members endorsed a motion by Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei that sought the adjournment of proceedings on revenue formula until the senators said to have been arrested in the wee hours of Monday morning were released.
While adjourning proceedings to the afternoon, Senate speaker Kenneth Lusaka directed the chair of the security committee to convene meeting bringing together concerned parties and report back on the whereabouts of the three senators to the house at 2:30 pm.
Bomet Senator Christopher Langat, Cleophas Malala of Kakamega and Samburu’s Steve Lelegwe are said to have been arrested on Monday in an operation allegedly conducted by officers from the directorate of criminal investigations.
Officers are said to have camped outside the homes of the senators from Sunday seeking their arrest.
While contributing to the adjournment motion, Vihiga Senator George Khaniri expressed concern that the three arrested senators belonged to a particular persuasion in the debate.
“It is not a coincidence that all are member of team Kenya. We must condemn this in the strongest terms possible,” Khaniri observed.
Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja calling for the need to defend the sovereignty of the senate saying the power of the people is expressed directly through its representatives.
“We cannot allow parliament to be desecrated. We must defend this institution,” Sakaja said.
In supporting the adjournment motion, Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior said the house could not debate on the revenue sharing formula until the three members appeared in the house.
“It is not feasible that you can lead a house where your members are under siege. Whoever has numbers will carry the day,” said Senator Mutula.
While quoting an incident in 1642, where King Charles the first entered the house of parliament accompanied by armed men to arrest five members accused of treason, where speaker of the House of Commons William Menthol declared allegiance to the house of parliament, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said Members of Parliament should enjoy privilege.
“We are facing an assault on the constitutional order of the republic. The integrity and independence of Parliament is on trial. The independence of this house must be protected,” said Murkomen.
“The motion moved by Nandi Senator Cherargei is bigger than the revenue sharing bill,” he added.
Murang’a Senator and Senate majority whip Irungu Kang’ata said every parliamentarian is entitled to freedom of choice even as he called on members not to politicize the matter.
“Let’s settle this issue once and for all. We are no longer discussing revenue sharing formula. We are in the realm of politics.”Kang’ata said.
Leader of majority and West Pokot Senator Samuel Poghisio said it was important to know the details of the arrest of the three senators.
“It must be clear that their arrest is not connected to proceedings in this house,” Poghisio said.
Minority Leader and Siaya senator James Orengo, while supporting the motion had called on the speaker to have Interior Cabinet Secretary, his Principal Secretary, Inspector General of Police, Director of Criminal Investigations and the Attorney General appear before the security committee of the senate with the committee expected to report on the matters in question by 2.30 pm.
Senate speaker Kenneth Lusaka had pushed forward debate on the third basis to Monday citing technicalities that prevented the house to hold proceedings on Thursday as earlier scheduled.
The house is now expected to reconvene Monday afternoon in the latest push to conclude the revenue formula impasse that has divided members amid calls to conclude the matter in the wake of a cash crunch among county administrations that has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.