The National Assembly starting Monday
will hold a four-day Post Election Seminar (PES) for Members in conjunction
with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA).
The event which as per practice within the Commonwealth fraternity takes place at the beginning of the term for newly elected legislators, will be officially opened by President William Ruto who is also expected to make a key note address.
The seminar runs from 30th January to 2nd February, 2023, at the Prideinn, Paradise Resort, Convention Centre and Spa, Mombasa County.
The forum comes hot on the heels of a week- long House Committees’ Induction which concluded on Saturday The main purpose of the induction retreat was to give Members of various Committees the tools that they need to discharge their Constitutional mandate of representation, oversight, and legislation effectively and efficiently.
The forum will be key in enhancing the capacity of Members of National Assembly to efficiently and effectively perform their constitutional mandate; strengthening Members’ understanding of parliamentary practices, procedures and processes while developing a better understanding of the legislative system and democratic processes.
It also expected to manage the seamless transition of new Members to ensure they accustom to life in Parliament through the sharing of experiences and managing expectations.
In an earlier Communication to the Members regarding the seminar, the Speaker of the National Assembly Moses Wetang’ula noted that the seminar is aimed at building capacity for the legislators in all aspects of good parliamentary practice, as well as promoting national values and ideals of parliamentary democracy.
The Speaker further told the legislators that besides the Commonwealth Secretariat, the National Assembly would reach out to its other partners beyond the CPA jurisdiction so as to promote the sharing of experiences on matters touching on Bicameralism and Multi-party democracy.
He noted that the seminar would help them to gain a better understanding of parliamentary systems and processes while also affording an opportunity to hear and interact with members from other parliaments.
“Most importantly, the sessions will provide Members with a window to gain a better understanding of parliamentary systems and processes in established jurisdictions within the Commonwealth jurisdiction and beyond, while also affording an opportunity to hear and interact with resource persons who posess immense experience in governance and the Parliamentary Discourse”, he explained.
He further noted that the crafting of the seminar’s program informed by the fact Parliaments around the world are continually in transition, especially where constitutional democracy is entrenched.
“Every election cycle ushers in new and returning Members. This therefore calls for collective approaches and interventions to facilitate Members to settle into their respective roles, have a deeper understanding of their work and gradually engage with experts to deepen their exposure and grasp of parliamentary practice and procedures”, the Speaker observed.
On his part, the Clerk of the National Assembly Samuel Njoroge reckoned that Post-election realities tend to be challenging especially for Members serving their first term and therefore require timely interventions at the nascent stages of a new Parliament to enable them to effortlessly settle into their new leadership roles. Striking a balance between competing interests that include parliamentary and constituency duties can be a very daunting task.
“The Seminar will underscore the need for continuous retooling and reskilling of the new and returning Members in order to enrich the performance of the individual Member and that of the National Assembly in delivering its constitutional mandate to the people of Kenya”, he explained.
Among the key facilitators during the forum is the Prime Cabinet Secretary, Musalia Mudavadi who is also expected to make a presentation on ‘The Linkage between the National Assembly and the Executive’. Given the nexus between the functions of the newly established office of the Prime Cabinet Secretary and Parliament, this subject will shed light on the approaches for the marshalling of legislative business in the National Assembly.
The session will also provide an opportunity for discussing mechanisms for mutual performance of constitutional duties including the coordination of the Question Time in the National
Assembly as part of the oversight and accountability of State organs.
Other thematic areas set to be covered include: Legislature in the 21st Century: The Role of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA); the Doctrine of Separation of Powers, Checks, and Balances; Parliamentary Procedures and Practices in the Commonwealth: Emerging issues; Leadership: Behaviour, Ethics, and Standards and Powers, Privileges, and Immunities of Members of
In Parliament, the Members will also be taken through The Role of the Legislature in Budget-making; Role of Select Committees in Parliamentary oversight; Parliamentary Diplomacy, Networking and Parliamentary Assistance; Protocol and Etiquette; Marshalling Business in a Bicameral System, and Effective Media Engagement.
Other topics to be discussed include: The Making of an effective legislator; Member-Staff Relations, as well as Emerging issues in national, regional and global security.