September 29, 2020

Senate Voted to Postpone CRA Debate What Next? Mungatana

Danson Mungatana. Image: (Courtesy)

Hon Danson Buya Mungatana MGH, Commissioner COMESA Competition Commission, Advocate of High Court of Kenya, Lecturer Business law.

Yesterday Tuesday 4th August 2020, the Senate convened with all Kenya waiting for the debate on the Commission of Revenue Allocation formula.

This was not to be because the Hon Senator Murkomen, moved a motion of adjournment to allow the Senate more time for consensus building. The motion was carried 34 to 26 with one abstention. 

I had earlier warned that because of the stakes, there would be pressure brought to bear on Senators to coerce them to support the new formula. Hon Senator Sakaja confessed to a lot of pressure being put on him. 

Now that the Senate has postponed the debate and taking a decision by voting so that there’s more consensus building, what’s next? All must head to a Kamukunji.

What is this Kamukunji? It is an informal gathering of members of Senate to get a possible solution to a difficult motion or bill or any question that needs to be resolved in the house.

 It is a part of the traditions borrowed from the National Assembly that allows better interactions between members in search of a deal under a freer atmosphere. 

So what are the advantages of a Kamukunji as opposed to a normal formal seating of the Senate?

Senate Buildings. Image: (Courtesy)
  1. It is private, meaning that the press is not invited to listen in thus allowing the Senators to be more open and giving more opportunity to strike a deal. The pressure on performance before live TV coverage is removed…..no need to take hard stances for show to electorate and party bosses. 

2. The Speaker of the House may preside over the deliberations or any other ranking member, but the normal limitations of time, the points of order, points of information or any form of interruptions are absent. This means that the members can take time to educate, cajole, convince or at least get the other side to empathize or sympathize with the position of the other. 

3. The members can invite experts to the meeting to either advice or give unbiased information on the topic of contention. This will help in decision making that is knowledge based as opposed to party based loyalties. 

My humble appeal to Senate is to really utilize this opening to build a win win situation. I propose that the Senate uses more experts to simulate the different scenarios that can evolve if the weighting of population and land mass are changed so that no county loses.

I propose that the people who have come out too strongly like Senator Kangata take a back seat and allow more moderate members take the lead.

Majority leader Irungu Kang’ata, Image: (Courtesy)

Whatever they do, they must know that we want to avoid the greater marginalization of Counties like my home County Tana river. God bless Kenya. 

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