Kenya: It Is Wrong to Give Senators Money

A proposal by senators to get government funding to enable them to monitor the implementation of devolution may finally come to pass.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi says a supplementary budget, which will see the senators receive Sh300 million, apparently for supervising projects in the counties, will be tabled in the House next week for debate and approval.

This allocation is questionable. When the matter first came up last year, we raised issues about the allocation on the basis that it was not justifiable.

The public was also not convinced about the need for this venture.

For a while, it seemed the matter had been dropped. However, it has now come back and is likely to be approved, which is why it should be challenged.

The role of the Senate is to oversee the implementation of devolution through approving budgetary allocations to the counties and later ascertaining whether the funds were used properly.

Playing an oversight role does not mean that the senators have to physically go to the counties to inspect projects and audit expenditure.

AUDITOR-GENERAL ROLE

That is the province of the Auditor-General. Indeed, the Auditor-General prepares annual reports on government expenditure, which are presented in Parliament for debate.

Essentially, the findings of the Auditor-General are expected to provide the basis for penalising those found culpable of misappropriating public resources.

Moreover, it is understood that MPs and members of county assemblies, who represent smaller units, are able to ascertain whether projects in their constituencies or wards that have been allocated funding are implemented.

In other words, MPs and MCAs are responsible for monitoring projects and do not require facilitation.

It defeats logic, therefore, when senators demand to be given funds to play an oversight role.

The framers of the Constitution did not anticipate a situation where the Senate would be seeking funding to carry out such activities.

If the senators want to assess whether cash allocated to counties is properly used, there are established State agencies to do that.

A while ago, the senators sought to change the law to create county development committees, which they would chair and through which they would monitor the goings-on in the counties.

The plan failed because it did not have any basis. This latest move should not be allowed to succeed.

It should be rejected by the National Assembly. There is no justification for giving senators cash that cannot be accounted for.

Source: All Africa