Senators fight back after National Assembly threatens to abolish Senate


Senators fight back after National Assembly threatens to abolish Senate
Elgeyo Markwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen speaks on the floor of the Senate on July 3, 2019.

In Summary

  • MPs, during the morning session, questioned the relevance of  the Senate accusing it of  overstepping its mandate and duplicating roles that constitutionally belong to the National Assembly.
  • The Senators however fought back with equal measure of venom led by Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen and his minority counterpart James Orengo.
  • Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, speaking during the afternoon Senate proceedings, slammed MPs for having what he termed as “inferiority complex.”

The fight between the two Houses of Parliament on Wednesday took a nasty turn when the Senate hit back at calls by the National Assembly to have it scrapped off.

Members of Parliament (MPs) had previously questioned the relevance of  the Senate accusing it of  overstepping its mandate and duplicating roles that constitutionally belong to the National Assembly.

The Senators however fought back with equal measure of venom led by Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen and his minority counterpart James Orengo.

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, speaking during the afternoon Senate proceedings, slammed MPs for having what he termed as “inferiority complex.”

Murkomen, breathing fire and baying for blood, threw tirades at the National Assembly comparing it to a high school classroom, adding that the functions of the Senate are well within the confines of the law.

“The numbers in the National Assembly are like those in a high school; and some of the behavior of their leaders are like of headmasters I saw when I was in high school,” he said.

“If you have people behaving in the manner in which they behave in that House, it brings the reputation of the House to the level of a High School.”

Murkomen also dismissed allegations by MPs that the Senate has in the past passed laws “with less than 24 people” in the House.

“There is no single legislation that has been passed by this House by less than 50+1 (percent) Senators; yet if we go to the National Assembly they pass laws by just acclamation, we cannot even find on the record whether there were 10 or 15 people in the House despite the fact that they have a quorum of 50 people out of a House that is like a class of 4 streams,” said Murkomen.

He added that, as Majority Leader of the Senate, he will be taking the squabble between the two Houses to court to seek an interpretation of their roles according to the laws of the land.

“We’re dealing with universal matters; we’re not dealing with matters that are related to a small office here and there. So I want to tell these characters that we are beyond intimidation,” he stated.

“We want to tell these people who are suffering from inferiority complex that we are not interested in entering a pig fight with them; we’re more interested in what we can deliver for the benefit of the people of Kenya.”

Siaya Senator James Orengo, on his part, expressed shock at the comments made in the National Assembly saying they amounted to an attempt to kill devolution.

Mr. Orengo also urged his counterparts in the Senate to show up in court in large numbers when the matter is finally brought up to show unity.

“I urge my brothers and sisters, distinguished Senators to remember the words of Michelle Obama that when they go low we go high. I would urge you, let us not look like we’re discussing the National Assembly,” he said.

“The issue that we’re discussing is an issue that goes to the core of the constitution. And this constitution was enacted in order to avoid concentration of power in any one institution.”

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Story By Ian Omondi
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