Africa-Press – Kenya. High court has suspended operalisation of the Senate Oversight Fund.
Justice Lawrence Mugambi said the funds will not be disbursed until a case filed by six nominated senators is heard and determined.
The six senators are Raphael Mwinzagu, Catherine Mumma, Tabitha Munene, Hamida Kibwana, Miraj Abdillahi and Crystal Asige.
The orders were issued after the nominated senators argued that the decision by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) to exclude them from the fund was unconstitutional.
The Senate is currently composed of 67 senators 20 of whom are nominated. The nominated senators thus account for 29.3 per cent of the senate.
The purpose of the fund as initially proposed was to facilitate all senators to fulfill their constitutional mandate of providing oversight to counties.
The court documents state that the initial proposal was that 10 per cent of the fund would be allocated to nominated senators while the bulk 90 per cent would be allocated to the 47 members elected to represent county constituencies.
“On September 13, the PSC resolved that the funds be deployed towards activities for the support of the operations of the 47 members elected to represent single member county constituencies and thus the 20 nominated members’ operations will not be supported out of these funds,” the six say.
They expressed worries to the court that PSC might hurriedly operationalize the fund and disburse the funds without first establishing procedures and systems for proper and effective management.
The nominated senators further argued that the decision of the commission to exclude the nominated senators from the fund is discriminatory.
“All senators regardless of their mode of election have a constitutional mandate of exercising oversight over county affairs. The constitution does not distinguish between elected and nominated senators in exercise of their roles.”
PSC established a senate oversight fund into which Sh500 million was allocated in the 2023/2024 budget. Senators have over the years lobbied to have an increased allocation of oversight funds for the effective conduct of their functions.
The six nominated senators were directed to serve PSC with the application within seven days. Responses are to be filed within seven days from the date of service.
Case to be mentioned October 12 to confirm compliance and further directions.