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Senators raise apprehension over contempt of court by Governors

Members of the Senate Liaison Committee, have voiced concern over what they term, as blatant disregard of court orders by a section of Governors, whom they oversight.

Led by Senate Deputy Majority Leader, Tabitha Mukami Karanja Aka Keroche, the Senators said if allowed to continue, the situation would lawlessness in the country.

“If only 10 governors gang-up and decide to disobey the Court Orders, the counties and country at large may descend to anarchy and the country may be ruined,” Karanja said.

Consequently, she urged all senators to come together, to ensure that governors are operating within their constitutional mandates, devoid of misuse of power and manipulation of security apparatus to their advantage.

Karanja was speaking in Naivasha, Tuesday, during the opening of Senate Liaison Committee`s retreat ahead of opening of third Session of the House, which will be on February 13.

The Senator cited the case of Nakuru County, where the County Government led by Susan Wakarura Kihika, has been accused of disobeying court orders emanating from the case of forceful takeover of the War Memorial Hospital, which has dominated the media for the last few weeks.

Karanja said in November last year, the Nakuru County Government stormed the Nakuru War Memorial Hospital, in a bid to forcefully take over on allegations that the Hospital lease had expired and sent enforcement officers in the middle of the night, where patients were chased and forcefully removed from dialysis machines, leading to loss of lives after the disruption.

“Several lives were lost during the uncoordinated transfer of patients and removal of dialysis machines, while patients were on them and many of the patients have had to travel hundreds of Kilometers to access Dialysis in towns like Eldoret and Nairobi and the end proved not sustainable for many of the patients,” she narrated.

The Senator alleged that currently, over 50 dialysis patients are stranded since their medical covers had Nakuru War Memorial, as their treatment centre through various covers and now, goons have taken advantage of the situation and vandalized the hospital.

“Even after the Directors of the Hospital had gone to court to seek redress, the Nakuru County government disobeyed the court orders and in a case of evil alliance with the Police led by the Nakuru County Commander of Police,” Karanja remarked.

She informed the senators that after the courts pronounced themselves on the matter and issued a warrant of arrest to the County Police Commander, he obliged but instead of providing security to the Hospital management to continue with services as ordered by the Court, he handed the facility to the over 200 goons, who took the management of the Hospital in full view and presence of the police.

“This blatant disregard of court orders by the Nakuru County government and the use of goons have had a very negative effect, as many investors are scared by the happenings and actions of the Nakuru governors and the impunity exhibited by the police, who are supposed to offer protection, but instead expose them to goons,” Karanja claimed.

The Senator hailed the recent operationalization of the Senate Oversight Fund, which she said will go a long way in addressing the gaps that existed in our mandate and provided by the Constitution of Kenya.

“I hope that Senators will take the opportunity to establish structures that will withstand the challenges presented in our oversight work and at the end of this retreat, we shall come-up with modalities for enhancing the committees, to effectively discharge their mandate with a view of providing the best oversight across our counties,” Karanja added.

Acting Vice Chair of the Senate Departmental Committees Senator, Mohammed Chute, said court orders must be respected by the executive, otherwise disobeying of such orders risks throwing the country into disorder.

Chute who is also the Marsabit Senator also welcomed the senate oversight funds, noting that it will help the senators, to undertake their oversight role by Governors effectively.

“The funds will also enhance their oversight mandates to curb increased mismanagement of county funds and ensure the funds geared towards public service delivery is well utilized,” he said.

The Senator also added that  the retreat will enable the Senate committees to review their mandates, highlight challenges faced and solutions needed as the parliament starts its third quarter operations.

Senate Majority Leader, Aaron Kipkirui Cheruiyot, said the Senate committees had built a reputation beyond the plenary and the senators who are tasked with oversight of counties, have realized the value of committees.

He attributed this to their due diligence and professional work, the number of summons or invitations by County governors,  that have been honored has gone down.

“The first senate was faced with issues of Governors ganging-up not to honor summons but with time they realized that the committees we lead are professional,” said Cheruiyot.

Majority noted that in the second session of parliament, 62 Bills were introduced into the Senate out of which 11, have been assented to including key Health Bills and so far, the assented Bills include revenue Bills, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Bill, the Public Finance Management Amendment Bill, and the Climate Change Bill.

By Mabel Keya –Shikuku

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