, NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 17 – The National Assembly on Wednesday overcame minimal objections from opposition and government members to establish committees that will run business in the House, starting with the House Business Committee.
Majority Party Leader Aden Duale moved the Motion asking his colleagues to approve 32 members proposed for the House Business Committee (HBC).
”We have an agenda for this country; we have an agenda for the people who voted for us. We have an agenda to execute as per our mandate,” he said.
Parliamentary Standing Orders state that the committee which is to be chaired by House Speaker Justin Muturi shall have 32 members chosen from the 350-strong National Assembly.
The Jubilee Coalition has 15 and the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) 14 MPs on the list. The remaining three are the Speaker, the Leader of the Majority and Minority parties to complete the list.
A section of MPs has accused their political party leadership of ignoring gender representation when drawing up the list of members to sit in the House Business Committee where some felt that women had been short-changed.
Harrison Kombe (Magarini MP), Rachael Shebesh (Nairobi CWR) and Agostinho Neto (Ndhiwa) led opposition to the list saying that it did not represent the number of women in the House.
“As far as this list is concerned Mr Speaker, by simple calculation, we should have 11 Honourable Ladies unfortunately we only have eight. I would like to ask that the person concerned conform to the Constitution,” said the Magarini MP.
“I think it will be a very dangerous precedent to set and the ladies of the House if they sit and let this pass they will have themselves to blame,” stated Neto on his opposition to the list.
Several County Women Representatives opposed the list and especially a claim by Kisumu Town West MP Olago Aluoch that striving to meet the two-third gender rule will over burden the women in the House.
Aluoch said: “The number of women in this House is fairly low, if we are going to insist that we must have that parity of 30 percent we are going to overwork our sisters here, and we don’t want to do that.”
“I would like to emphasise to our colleagues that we have not as women said that we are tired or will be overworked. If that happens we shall inform you,” said one of the County Women Representatives, a position which was created to encourage women to participate in elective office.
The MPs claimed that there were only nine women in the committee list which consists of 32 MPs which does not meet a third gender composition required by the Constitution for all public offices.
However Deputy Minority Leader Jakoyo Midiwo urged MPs to support the list saying parties had done their best to incorporate them.
Nominated MP Amina Abdallah who is making her third appearance in the House as a nominated member also supported the list saying that the Supreme Court had ruled that the gender representation provision should be gradually implemented by 2015.
The House however approved the list to the committee which is expected to constitute the business to be transacted.
Mt Elgon MP John Serut is the only Independent MP while Matungu MP David Were is the only United Democratic Forum (UDF) party MP on the committee.
The House Business Committee members are;
Chairperson, Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi,
Majority Leader Aden Duale
Minority Leader Francis Nyenze
Katoo ole Metito
Dr Victor Munyaka
Dr Rachael Nyamai
Joyce Emanikor Akai
Mwashetani Khatib Abdalla