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Mzalendo Trust: Parliament agenda does not reflect Kenyans expectations

13th Parliament

The two Houses of Parliament have for the last 10 months considered a total of 66 Bills, reveals the 2023 parliamentary scorecard by Mzalendo Trust.

The maiden assessment for the 13th Parliament covering the period between 29th September 2022 to 30th June 2023 gives an overview of the Bills passed so far, unfortunately indicating that the Houses’ priority was on recurrent public finance legislation.

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Other businesses considered by the National Assembly during the period under review include; 191 Motions, 297 Questions, 59  Statements and 32 Petitions.

In the Senate, 31 Bills were considered, with two originating from the National Assembly.

The Bills that were passed into law from the Senate were the County Governments’ Additional Allocation Bill, 2022, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and the Division of Revenue Bill, 2023.

61 motions were also filed at the Senate, 315 statements sought and 24 petitions filed.

In terms of members’ contributions, a member of the National Assembly averagely spoke 10 times, with a staggering 187 (68.14%) members speaking less than that. Conversely, a Senator spoke an average of 41 times, with only one Senator speaking less than 10 times.

Unlike the National Assembly, all Senators also managed to contribute in the plenary.

This the Parliamentary Monitoring organisation attributes to the difference in numbers between the two Houses with the National Assembly having 349 members while 67 members sit in the Senate.

The report further names the most active counties in Parliament with Nandi County at the top (7.8%), Nairobi County (6.0%), Kisumu County (4.8%), Laikipia County (3.9%) and Bungoma County (3.9%).

On the other hand, the least active counties were Tana River County (0.30%), Tharaka Nithi County(0.30%), Vihiga County (0.50%), Nyandarua County (0.60%), Samburu County (0.70%) and Garissa County (0.70%).

With Kenyans’ high expectations still unmet, the lobby group is rooting for inclusive public participation.

“The 13th Parliament’s legislative agenda should reflect the expectations of Kenyans. This can be done by entrenching public participation, and ensuring it is not a mere procedural technicality,” Mzalendo Trust Executive Director, Caroline Gaita, says.

With the bicameral Parliament heading into the second year, Gaita warns Kenyans to anticipate a raft of constitutional amendments to give effect to the proposals contained in the Presidential memo dated 9th December 2022.

They include the implementation of the two-thirds gender rule, entrenchment of the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF), National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) and Senate Oversight Fund together with the establishment of the Office of the Leader of Official Opposition.

As it stands, Parliament has already amended the Standing Orders to allow Cabinet Secretaries to appear before the Houses while the remaining proposals are yet to be effected.

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