Kenya Parliament prorogued

February 27, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 27 – President Mwai Kibaki has prorogued Parliament.

This in effect means the second session of the 10th Parliament has officially come to a close.

Members of Parliament will now wait to be recalled by the President for the State opening of the House most likely in mid March or shortly after the Easter holidays in April.

"In exercise of powers conferred by section 59(1) of the constitution of Kenya, I prorogue parliament with effect from 27.02.09", a statement form the Presidential Press Service read.

Parliament adjourned sine die (indefinitely) on Tuesday without completing crucial business that necessitated its early recall in January.

The House went on recess without passing laws to allow the establishment of a Special Tribunal to try post elections violence suspects, and constituting an Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) to replace the disbanded Electoral Commission of Kenya.

A fortnight ago, MPs rejected a plan to establish a special court to try suspected perpetrators of the post-election violence by voting against a Constitutional Amendment Bill seeking to alter the constitution to create the court.

Lawyers had argued that once the House was prorogued, the government would be able to reintroduce the defeated Bill earlier than the six month mandatory period  required, if the house was still in session.

Parliament also rejected a list of IIEC nominees on Thursday last week after MPs expressed reservations about the inclusion of some of the members, especially the proposed chairman Cecil Miller.

The Third Session of Parliament will see new Standing Orders come into force. Under the new rules, time will be allocated every Wednesday for the Prime Minister to field questions from MPs.

Under the rules, the Speaker of the National Assembly will interrupt the business of the House for 45 minutes for the PM’s time.

Other rules include a 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 before the courts 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, a new committee known as the Parliamentary Broadcast Committee will be established.

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka who is Leader of Government Business, said he was happy with the performance of MPs during the session which began in March pointing out that more than 20 Bills were passed.

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