By Andrew E.K Maina
With the dust finally settling in Kenya’s general election, Kenya’s 12th parliament opens on the 22nd with comfortable majorities for Jubilee in both the Senate and the National Assembly.
In the National Assembly the ruling party won 164 seats in the National Assembly, and together with its affiliates secured 183 of the contested 349 elective seats.
In addition, Jubilee will receive a majority of the 12 nominated MPs, further strengthening it’s hold on the National Assembly. In the Senate, Jubilee secured 26 of the 47 elective seats, which means they are set to fat a majority of the 16 women nominees as well.
At the top of the agenda for this parliament are the issue of gender balance in the National Assembly, Selection of Kenya’s representatives to the EALA (East Africa Legislative Assembly), as well as a number of bills passed by the outgoing Senate requiring debate in the National Assembly. Also with the window for reviewing constituency and County Assembly Wardsdu set to open in 2020, Midway through the life of this parliament.
On Gender balance, there still remains no mechanism for ensuring a 2/3rds gender balance required by the Constitution in the National Assembly. As things stand at present Parliament has already violated the 5 year transition period, as well as the 1 year extension, provided for it to pass legislation to pass legislation connected to aligning Kenya’s institutions with the Constitution. If a resolution to this impasse is not arrived at rapidly the house risks being declared unconstitutional and being dissolved.
On the election of EALA members, National Assembly majority leader, was quoted in the Daily Nation saying that “We (parliament) will start fresh the election of EALA members and we are determined this time to conclude the matter.”
Outside of that the Parliamentary Bill tracker, indicates that there were as many as 93 Parliamentary bills (mostly amendment bills) in the various stages of passage into law, as of 16th June 2017. This includes the Constitution and amendments required to meet the gender balance requirement.
All in all as the country waits the outcome of NASA’s presidential election petition, parliamentarians, both in the National Assembly and the Senate will need to be ready to hit the ground running as soon as they are sworn in to office and begin their terms.