Dinah Ondari and Winstone Chiseremi @dinahondari
The Senate will this week hold its inaugural sittings at the Uasin Gishu County Assembly chambers, breaking away from its traditional venue at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi.
Plans to hold such sittings took shape in March when the House set aside Sh196 million for sittings outside Nairobi.
The move is in accordance with Article 126 of the Constitution, which allows Parliament to hold such sessions. “A sitting of either House may be held at any place in Kenya and may commence at any time that the House appoints,” states the law.
The sittings running from today to Friday will include plenary sittings, public hearings, 12 committee sittings and various meetings between senators and Members of the County Assembly (MCAs).
According to Senate leadership, holding such sittings will strengthen devolution. Senate Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki last week said such sittings would accord the House the opportunity to showcase and entrench its place as the institution mandated to protect the interests of the counties as per Article 96 of the Constitution.
“The sittings will also give senators opportunity to interact directly with county governments and the citizens to understand their challenges and identify areas where they can intervene to ensure devolution succeeds,” he said.
Host senator Margaret Kamar, who led an advance delegation to the county last week told the press in Eldoret that residents will have the chance to voice challenges facing the counties. The 67 senators are set to pay a courtesy call to host Governor Jackson Mandago in his office.
Meanwhile, the ad hoc committee on the maize crisis co-chaired by Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula and Kamar, over the weekend started a tour of Trans Nzoia and Nandi counties to meet farmers.