Senators: ‘Amend the BBI report before subjecting it to a referendum’

The Senate has now ruled out endorsing the current BBI document as it is noting that it needed major amendments before going to the referendum.

Members of the Senate Liaison committee warned that there were fears that the upper house could be done away with or its powers reduced if the current report was endorsed in its current form.

Ahead of the Naivasha meeting on Sunday, the Senators were however quick to add that they supported the document but called on the need to involve all stakeholders.

Addressing the press after a two-day meeting in Enashipai Spa in Naivasha, Senator Johnson Sakaja said that all stakeholders should be given time to relook into the new government.

The Nairobi Senator, hit out at those proponents who were saying that the window of recommendations had been closed adding that they should first improve on what they have.

“We cannot endorse the current document in its current condition and we should use the remaining time to make recommendations on some clauses,” he said.

He hit at those coining names that there were splinter groups for those supporting and rejecting the report terming this as divisive tactics.

“As it stands all people support this document and if we can reason and seat together we can come up with an uncontested document for all,” he said.

This was echoed by his Kiambu counterpart Kimani Wamatangi who said that the country needed a stronger senate so as to oversight the counties.

He termed the report as great but was quick to add that there were some grey areas that needed to be ironed out during the Naivasha meeting.

“We fear that under the current document, the Senate which plays a crucial role in oversight could be ended and what we need is more funding so that we can have a stronger institution,” he said.

Wamatangi questioned some sections of the report mainly on appointment noting that under the current recommendations one could appoint even his wife to some of the top seats.

Nyandarua Senator Mwangi Githiomi noted that for years the Senate had been underfunded in its oversight role thus failing to effectively monitor use of funds by counties.

This had led to embezzlement of funds noting that this would get worse with the county allocation being increased from 15 to 35 percent of the national budget.

He warned that if the Senate was not retained and empowered, Governors would have a field day looting from the public coffers and doing as they wished with the taxpayers money.

“We fully support BBI and in the current scenario it’s either we have the Senate or none as the current document does not recognize our role,” he said.

This was echoed by Senator Moses Kajwang’ who said that the move to increase counties revenue allocation meant more work for the senate.

He questioned some proposals in the BBI wondering if they would work adding that there was a need to revisit the documents and forge the way forward.

“We should therefore strengthen the Senate and this can be done in relooking and amending the current BBI report before we go to the referendum,” he said.

Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka who kept away from the debate welcomed the ruling by the High Court which nullified 24 laws passed by parliament.

“I shall in the coming days meet with my counterpart in parliament Justin Muturi so that we can discuss this ruling and the way forward,” he said.

Lusaka at the same time put on notice several institutions in the government for ignoring summons from the Senate and failing to act on recommendations on tens of reports.

“Senate is concerned over failure by the ODPP and EACC to act on various reports from the Senate mainly dealing with corruption cases,” he said.

  

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