NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 24 – The National Assembly may be forced to change its Standing Orders to allow each of the 349 MPs to serve in a departmental committee.
This is after a section of MPs complained about the membership of the committees in which they accused their political party leadership of ignoring gender, regional and religious representation when drawing up the lists.
The Leader of Majority Party in the National Assembly Aden Duale said that unlike in the 10th Parliament where 94 legislators served in the committees, under the new dispensation, MPs will play a vital role in governance, which can only be done through the relevant committees.
He said the Committee on Selection had found it impossible to place all 349 MPs in the 28 committees of the National Assembly.
“We have come to the conclusion that if we use the numbers we have now, some of the Members of Parliament will miss a place in committees and under the presidential system, committees of the House are the nerve centre of governance in Parliament,” said Duale.
MPs Nicholas Gumbo (Rarieda), Harrison Kombe (Magarini) and David Bowen (Soi) suggested that the Committee on Selection should consider the speciality of each legislator to ensure that leaders are able to tap their professional skills and expertise to that committee.
“All honourable members in this House are equal to the task so don’t go back to George Orwell’s Animal Farm where some animals are more equal than others,” said Gumbo.
Runyenjes MP Cecily Mbarire complained that female legislators were relegated to junior committees while their male colleagues were conniving in the corridors of Parliament to deny them opportunities.
“As much as it is a good committee, we’re not here to cater for people. We’re here to make laws,” she said.
The MPs were contributing during a Motion to approve members to sit in the Procedure and House Rules Committee.
The committee which is chaired by the Speaker has the mandate of reviewing and amend the House Standing Orders.