Interpreting the Power of the Kenyan Senate to Oversee National Revenue Allocated to the County Governments: Building a Constitutionally Tenable Approach

Authors Conrad M Bosire

ISSN: 2521-5434
Affiliations: Katiba Institute, Nairobi
Source: Africa Journal of Comparative Constitutional Law, 2017, p. 35 – 66


Article 96(3) of the 2010 Constitution of Kenya provides that the Senate can exercise oversight over the national revenue allocated to county governments. However, the meaning and the implication of the constitutional provision is not clear. This is due to the fact that county assemblies, established as one of the alternate organs, sharing in governance authority in a separation-of-power framework, have the primary role of oversight over the county executives. However, a plain reading of article 96(3) of the Constitution suggests that the Senate may play a similar or shared role with regard to the county assemblies. Courts, scholars and the Senate itself have interpreted this provision in various ways. Despite the varied interpretative approach, the Constitution prescribes how its provisions should be interpreted and constructed. Using the constitutional interpretation tools espoused under the Constitution, and through an evaluation of comparable literature and practices, the article proposes an ideal interpretative approach that can be utilised to provide an appropriate clarification of the scope and extent of the power of the Senate to oversee national revenue allocated to county governments.