NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 28 – Timothy Wetangula, the Member of Parliament for Westlands Constituency, was the first to be sworn into office in Parliament on Thursday morning.
The swearing in was preceded by debate over how the ceremony will be conducted and in what order the National Assembly representatives were to be sworn in.
Gem MP lawmaker Jakoyo Midiwo proposed that they should take their oaths in batches of five and in alphabetical order in order to save time.
“Assuming it takes two minutes to swear in each member of this assembly, it will take us 12 hours to do it. So I think you could follow the alphabetical order, and take us in batches of five… we still have the election of the speaker and the deputy.”
Budalangi constituency’s Ababu Namwamba however expressed concern that by swearing in the members of the assembly en-masse, would deny those elected to the House for the first time the opportunity to take personal pride.
“This is a historic moment for these honourable members; especially honourable members that are sitting in this house for the first time. I do believe that even if it takes us 36 hours, we should proceed and afford them the opportunity to feel the pleasure of taking a personal oath.”
In the interest of time, National Assembly Clerk Justin Bundi agreed with Midiwo declaring that the members of the assembly would in take their oaths of office in groups of five.
“Standing Order number 3 guides us on how to administer the oath but if there is consensus for the convenience of the house, we can go the way proposed by honourable Jakoyo Midiwo.”
There are 290 elected members of the Assembly, 47 Women’s County Representatives and 12 nominated representatives who will vote in a Speaker and Deputy Speaker once the swearing in is concluded.
There are four candidates who were cleared to run for the position of Speaker including the immediate former Speaker Kenneth Marende.
The Speaker will be ex-officio member of the House and although required to hold the qualifications necessary for the National Assembly, should not be from among those sworn in.
The Deputy Speaker on the other hand should come from among the members of the house in an election carried out by the Speaker after he is sworn in.
There are two candidates in the running for the position of Deputy Speaker: Joyce Laboso representing Sotik constituency on a United Republican Party ticket and Abdikadir Omar Aden representing Balambala on a Orange Democratic Movement ticket.
When there is a joint seating of Parliament, together with the Senate, the National Assembly Speaker takes precedence over the Speaker of the Senate according to Article 107 of the Constitution.
“At a joint sitting of the Houses of Parliament, the Speaker of the National Assembly shall preside, assisted by the Speaker of the Senate.”