Bernard Gitau @benagitau
Kenyan-born Australian Senator Lucy Gichuhi has opposed calls for the scrapping of the Senate through amendment of the Constitution. Gichuhi is in the country for the first time since she was sworn-in as the only black African member of the Federal Parliament of Australia.
“Kenyans should not entertain debate on the need to scrap Senate because it is a crucial House that safeguards the devolved system,” she said. She said the need to address a bloated wage bill should not lead to scrapping the Senate and other positions, instead we should embrace prudent use of available resources.
Gichuhi, who was accompanied by Nyeri Senator Ephraim Maina, said there was need to empower the Senate. “In Australia, senators are professionals and their job entails waiting for bills to be passed by the House of Representatives (Lower House), they later evaluate the bills and check on what the government wants,” she said.
She expressed optimism that the Kenyan Senate will find its rightful position as the Upper House, adding that constitutional amendments are necessary to fill gaps in strengthening devolution and democracy.
The Senator stressed the need to safeguard and respect separation of powers between Judiciary, Legislature and Executive. Maina, however, said he cannot call for a Constitution amendment as a Jubilee Senator because President Uhuru Kenyatta is laying foundations for development projects to spur the country’s economy growth.
This comes amid calls by MPs to scrap the Senate. Since the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution, Senators have consistently called for constitutional amendments to give life and meaning to the Senate.