NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 9 – Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi has called upon the House Leadership to consider introducing amendments to the Powers and Privileges Act, 2017 with a view to ensure it fully responds to the spirit and provisions of Chapter Six of the Constitution of Kenya which seeks to inject integrity within public Leadership.
Muturi who also chairs the House Powers and Privileges Committee, observed that since the Committee presents its report to the Floor of the House, where the Speaker will be required to again preside over debate on the report, it would be more prudent to have another Member, and not necessarily the Speaker, chair the Committee.
While taking the Committee through the provisions of Chapter Six of the Constitution, the Speaker revealed that most legislators may have violated some the provisions without their knowledge due to lack of sensitization on the provisions.
He thus opined that the establishment of a Committee on Ethics which could help step up enforcement to the implementation of the law.
The Committee membership further underscored the need to either strengthen the 21-member team or simply establish a specific House Committee to deal with any complaints on Standards and Ethics of Members of Parliament and staff to fully actualize the provisions of Article 75 (Conduct of State Officers), Article 76 (Financial probity of State Officers) and Article 77 (Restriction on activities of State officers) of the Constitution
Drawing experiences from reports of increased scrutiny of Parliaments and Parliamentarians in a the Congress of USA and number of other legislatures and which places ethics, standards and accountability among the top tenents that the public wish are demonstrated by their elected representatives, the Committee holds the opinion that while in the past the House has focused on the privileges of legislators, it would be important to raise the bar as contemplated under Chapter 6 of the Constitution.
The Committee, which is this weekend attending a workshop on Ethics and Standards, has also cast a spotlight on the need to review the structure of the Powers and Privileges Committee, as well as its leadership to ensure that the Committee lives to the billing of its set mandate.
The workshop is co-hosted and facilitated by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in partnership and the House Democracy Partnership.