The second edition of the Senate county sittings have kicked off in Kitui, exciting residents and rousing the town’s economy, with most hotels recording full bookings.
The plenary and committee sittings will be held outside Nairobi in Kitui County from September 16 to 20, to bring the Senate closer to the people.
The inaugural sittings dubbed “Senate Mashinani” were held in Uasin Gishu in September 2018.
According to a notice published by Senate Clerk Jeremiah Nyegenye, the sittings to be held within the precincts of County Assembly of Kitui with public hearings at the Kitui Multi-Purpose Hall, will give an opportunity to Kitui MCAs and staff to learn and borrow from best practices.
The senators will transact several national legislative agendas during their plenary sessions with various committees dealing with local issues from Kitui and neighbouring counties of Makueni and Machakos.
Among the Bills lined up for debate is the County Allocation of Revenue Bill which will divide among the counties the revenue allocated to county governments on the basis determined in accordance with the resolution in force under Article 217.
It is a significant law for all the 47 counties because it gives effect to the Division of Revenue Act and determines what each devolved unit will get out of the Sh316 billion equitable and sharable revenue approved last week by the National Assembly.
The Bill to be debated on Wednesday is eagerly awaited because it will avert a possible shutdown of counties. This is because without it, they cannot access their share of national revenue. It allocates funds based on a formula developed by the Commission on Revenue Allocation.
Last week, the Council of Governors had threatened to shut down counties for lack of funds to offer essential services owing to the standoff between Senate and the National Assembly over the amount of money that should have gone to counties as equitable share.
Other Bills lined up for debate include the County Tourism Bill, the Street Vendors Bill, the County Hall of Fame Bill and the Commission on Administrative Justice Bill.
Governors from Nyeri, Machakos and Makueni counties have been summoned to appear before the sessional committee on County Public Accounts to answer to audit queries raised by Auditor-General reports on their financial operations.
Governor Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri) is scheduled to appear Tuesday while governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) will appear on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.
Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu will also have her day before the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Budget Tueasday to answer to queries over the budget standoff between her executive and the county assembly.
Sources told the Nation that Kitui will play host to about 300 guests including the 67 senators, dozens of Senate staff led by Speaker Ken Lusaka, drivers and bodyguards of the lawmakers.
A spot check revealed that most local hotels are fully booked for the entire week, with the business community hoping to reap from the once in 47 years’ event.
Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua said the Kitui senate sittings will accord residents an opportunity to interact with the legislators and petition them on any pertinent issues affecting them.
Senator Wambua said the fortunes of Kitui Senate Mashinani sittings are already being experienced even before the actual sittings start on Monday and that every trader will be conducting booming business throughout the week.
“The attention of the whole country will be focused on Kitui County for a week so whatever engagement you are going to have with our visitors, remember that you are the image of our county,” he said.
He urged locals to handle the visitors with decorum and give each one of them a reason to want to go back to Kitui, saying such a historic event can only happen again after 46 years.
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