Senators criticise governors for ignoring summons

By: DENNIS ODUNGA

Senators have lashed out at governors who decline to appear before the Senate on grounds that they should first appear before county assemblies.

The Senate, as the custodian of county interests, has constitutional powers to give any Kenyans with a genuine concern against county governments a hearing, according to the Senate Finance Committee.

Senators Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu, ODM), Mutula Kilonzo Jnr (Makueni, Wiper), Dr Wilfred Machage (Migori, ODM), Paul Njoroge (Nominated, TNA) and Zipporah Kittony (Nominated, Kanu) said it is upon the governors to prove any allegations against them wrong through appropriate evidence.

Mr Njoroge, who represents the interests of disabled people, reminded the governors that they had powers to recommend punitive actions against those who present false information to the Senate.

“Leave that decision to us. It is upon us to trash any petition to the Senate if we find it lacking in content,” Mr Njoroge said Sunday.

The lawmakers were reacting to claims by some governors that the Senate has taken over responsibilities that ought to be undertaken by members of county assemblies (MCAs).

Last week, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua stirred a storm when he claimed that senators need to review the threshold for determining complaints from counties that should end up in the Senate.

Some petitions, he argued, are too petty and a waste of valuable time because they are politically motivated to portray governors as failures, especially by those eyeing their seats in the next general election.

Dr Mutua said many governors have been reluctant to appear before the Senate because they feel the lawmakers are derailing their development in the counties and might not get a fair hearing.

“A lot of governors feel as if they are under attack and the level of trust towards senators is not as high as it should be. They feel impeachment has been sponsored by senators,” he said.

The governor who appeared before the Senate Finance Committee cited a petition by Mr Festus Ndeto, an MCA who is claiming that he had ignored his Kola Ward in terms of development.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION