, NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 4 – A group of Members of the National Assembly working under the Parliamentary Caucus on Evidence-Informed Oversight and Decision Making have resolved to champion for the use of data and research for the effective execution of their mandate.
Speaking during a consultative meeting the Caucus chair Makali Mulu (Kitui Central) decried that in this era of open governance and entrenched parliamentary democracy, legislators have continued to carry out their budget making role and oversight without the benefit of good research background or credible data.
“There are a lot of generalities in our debates at the Floor of the House and in Committees. We need to partner with institutions that carry out research in the country so that MPs can make well researched contributions,” Mulu observed.
In her remarks, Evaluation Society of Kenya founder and chair Jennifer Mutua noted that Kenya is a country that fears data.
She expressed the fact that data has now become the most important resource globally and that countries experiencing immense social economic transformation have done so by recognizing the place of data and research in their development agenda.
Bondo MP Gideon Ochanda called on government and private institutions undertaking research to ensure that their research is credible enough to drive policy.
He lamented that the Houses of Parliament have more often than not transacted business without embracing sufficient research evidence.
He challenged the National Treasury, to develop a database on the research institutions both within and outside government so that the institutions can concert their efforts.
The Director of Monitoring and Evaluation in the National Treasury Samson Machuka, urged Members to entrench the usage of monitoring and evaluation reports as key elements of the standard operating procedure by parliamentary committees when over-sighting government agencies. He further urged MPs to push for the enacted of law on monitoring and evaluation.
Kabondo Kasipul MP Eve Obara and her Kitui Rural counterpart David Mwalika called for the sensitization of the various Parliamentary Committees on the importance of inculcating monitoring and evaluation in their oversight role.
They noted that this would be necessary if the government is to win the war against corruption and promote prudent usage of resources.
Kiambu Town MP Jude Njomo lamented that though the House is at the heart of the budget making process, there has not been a clear system of monitoring and evaluating how effective the budgeted projects are to the country.
Addressing the forum, former MP and founder Member of the Caucus Hon. Dr Susan Musyoka urged MPs to work closely with the Parliamentary Research Office, terming it as a very useful department which MPs rarely utilize.
She urged the members of the caucus in the 12th Parliament to soldier until Parliament fully embraces use of evidence in decision making.
The 13 member Caucus which was inaugurated during the 11th Parliament, advocates for research and evidence uptake among MPs, in undertaking their constitutional mandates of oversight, legislation, resource allocation and representation.
Its formation was informed by the need to increase the interest of Parliamentarians as policymakers to appreciate the use of evidence in undertaking oversight and in the process of making policy decisions.