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MPs to debate new House rules

NAIROBI, October 7 –  Radical changes that will see Parliament become more efficient and transparent will be top on the agenda of the just reconvened House.

Members of Parliament are expected to rubber stamp radical changes that will see more efficient and transparent House operations.

Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende told Capital News on Tuesday that the second session of the 10th Parliament would prioritise debate on the amended Standing Orders.

“The effort that we are making is to liberalise Parliament so that business is conducted faster. We are seeking to expedite our business; we are trying to make sure we are more effective,” he said.

For the first time in the country’s history, said Mr Marende, 45 minutes would be set aside weekly for the Prime Minister to respond to MPs questions.

He also said the new rules have clarified the roles of the Prime Minister and Leader of Government Business in Parliament.

According to the amendments, the Leader of Government Business will also be allocated 15 minutes to articulate the government’s legislative agenda.

“The Leader of Government Business will tell members what business the government will be bringing; the Prime Minister will now be answering questions pertaining to the performance of the government. I don’t see areas of conflict,” he said.

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The Speaker said the Committee on Standing Orders proposed to reduce the number of days used to discuss the Budget speech from 21 to seven, while those allocated for debate on the President’s speech would be reduced to three from seven.

Mr Marende said the extra days would be used to allow more time for Parliament to debate new legislation.

Live coverage

Other amendments include live coverage of Parliamentary and committee proceedings, and the Speaker said media houses would now be allowed to cover House proceedings for two hours, an addition from the previous one hour.

Currently Kenya Broadcasting Corporation relays the sessions live on TV and radio.

Mr Marende said he hoped MPs would draw their focus on the House business to clear the pending 15 Bills including the crucial ones regarding constitutional review.

During Tuesday’s sitting Kamukunji MP Simon Mbugua, Sotik’s Joyce Laboso and Beatrice Kones of Bomet were sworn in.

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