Senate, again, to seek justice against National Assembly in court

June 21, 2019 - Reading Time: 2 minutes - By The Vellum Team

The two Houses of Parliament are set for another contest in the courts after the Senate agreed to a motion to institute proceedings to challenge laws senators say were enacted illegally in the last Parliament.

Senators on Thursday approved a motion co-sponsored by Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen and his minority counterpart James Orengo to seek the annulment of 15 Acts and the preparation of 83 Bills.

At the heart of the matter is the interpretation of the term “money Bill” from the provision in Article 109 (5) that “a money Bill may be introduced only in the National Assembly.”

The Senate will also be seeking a final determination of the procedure to be followed in respect of all Bills that are pending before Parliament so as to ensure compliance with article 110(3) of the Constitution and for future work.

With the Judiciary cautious about sparking another fight with the Legislature, it is unlikely that work on current Bills would be stopped. 

The decision was borne out of the disgruntlement within the Senate from the decision by the National Assembly to approve the Budget estimates and Appropriation Bill before the same is done on the Division of Revenue Bill.

The Senate maintains that a precedent has been set to brazenly violate the Constitution and that poses a threat to devolution.

This is not the first time that the Senate feels shortchanged by the National Assembly and outfoxed in the bid to get more money for the counties and exercise its limited mandate, even after the Supreme Court gave an advisory opinion on the matter.

Despite the guidance from the highest court, the two Houses of Parliament are yet to agree on the processing of legislation in Parliament as contemplated by the Constitution.

The Senators fault the National Assembly for passing the estimates in the absence of the Division of Revenue Bill agreeable to both Houses and a condition precedent to budgeting at both levels of government.

Among the raft of complaints by the Senate is that the National Assembly originates and passes Bills without reference to the Senate despite containing matters concerning counties.

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Justin Muturi, has also been faulted for not seeking the concurrence of the Speaker of the Senate as to whether the Bills generated in the National Assembly Bill concern counties.

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