Kenya, China agree to push forward parliamentary exchanges

Written By: Eric Biegon
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National Assembly Deputy Speaker Hon. Moses Cheboi & Vice Chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Mr. Cao Jianming at Parliament Buildings, Nairobi in 2019. PICTURE/COURTESY

Enthusiasm appears to define the existing diplomatic exchanges between Kenya and China. The latest demonstration of deepening ties being an undertaking between Nairobi and Beijing to broaden their relationship in the area of the legislature.

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On Friday, the leadership of Kenya’s Parliament and their counterparts in China, came together in a webinar to take stoke of existing ties and propose new ways to consolidate the gains made out of the decades-old cordial relations.

Indeed, the National Assembly Deputy Speaker Hon. Moses Cheboi led a delegation from the chamber in a Virtual Conference with members of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC )  led by Cao Jianming, the Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of NPC, which is the highest organ vested with great lawmaking power in China.

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“During the conference themed “Strengthening Parliamentary Exchanges to Promote Mutual Development,’ the legislators deliberated ways in which the two countries can partner in the fight against COVID-19 Pandemic & and economic recovery strategies post-pandemic.” Read a statement from Kenya’s National Assembly.

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The Deputy Speaker acknowledged China’s assistance to Kenya in various sectors and expressed willingness to strengthen friendly parliamentary exchanges as part of the effort to boost the development of bilateral relations.

Friday’s conference was a follow-up to a meeting held by the two sides last year when Cao led a delegation from China’s NPC to a meeting with Cheboi and Senate Deputy Speaker at the time Kindiki Kithure in Nairobi during their visit to Kenya.

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In recent years, Kenya and China have heightened their Parliamentary engagements. Almost every year, official visits to Nairobi by the top leadership of China’s legislature have become a feature while their counterparts from Kenya make reciprocal travels to Beijing.

It will be remembered that in 2018, National Assembly speaker Justin Muturi hosted a delegation led by Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Chairman Wang Yang in Nairobi. During their meeting, Muturi noted that Kenya’s parliament has a lot to learn from the Chinese legislative system.

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According to Muturi “Chinese legislature has done well in incorporating the views of common citizens in policy formulations.”

There is consensus that Kenya’s parliament can also benefit from assimilating particular aspects of the Chinese governance structure.

Already, a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between the two legislatures is in place having been signed in 2016 when the Kenyan Parliament played host to the then Chinese top Legislator, the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, Zhang Dejiang.

During Friday’s video meeting, the two sides expressed optimism that the current exchanges will play a unique and important role in the development of relations between the two nations and their people.

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