NAIROBI, August 21 – New rules to govern Parliament could be effected by March next year if amendments on House Standing Orders, adopted by Members of Parliament (MP) during a two-day retreat, are passed when the House resumes in October.
Among the proposals is the allocation of time every Wednesday for Prime Minister Raila Odinga to field questions from MPs.
Under the proposed rules, the Speaker of the National Assembly would interrupt the business of the House for 45 minutes for the PM’s time.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Standing Orders Gitobu Imanyara said female MPs would also be allowed to carry their handbags into the Chambers.
Speaking at the close of the retreat held at a Nairobi Hotel on Thursday, Imanyara said leaders from foreign nations would be allowed to address Parliament when they visited the country.
Other proposals include the provision for MPs to recall Parliament during recess to discuss a matter of national importance, voting through secret ballot during a division and the continuation of debate from the point left before recess.
Allowing matters in court to be discussed in the House and security checks for all members would also be enforced.
With the introduction of live broadcasts of Parliamentary sessions Imanyara said a new committee, the Parliamentary Broadcast Committee, would be established.
While officiating at the closure of the retreat Prime Minister Raila Odinga lauded the 10th. Parliament under the tutelage of Speaker Kenneth Marende, and said it had earned its place in history as it had over its short life proved top cynics that democracy is not incompatible with Kenyan cultures.
He applauded the plan to introduce a committee of the House to interrogate the Annual Budget saying this was one of the watchdog roles of Parliament aimed at ensuring that there was equity in sharing of national resources.
Speaker Marende said now that he had completed plans for live television coverage in the House, his next priority would be to undertake renovations to the Chambers.