Members Urged to Embrace Unity of Purpose for the Good of the Country

The Post-Election Seminar entered day two, with emphasis being placed on the need for both Houses of Parliament, as well as the two sides of the political divide; the majority and the minority, to work together for the common good of the Kenyan people.

First to make her presentation was Hon. Alexandra Mendes, a member of the Canada House of Commons and a Vice Chair of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, who took members through the Canadian experience on the subject: ' Political Party Organization in the Legislature. She called upon Members to uphold accountability as a means to promoting good governance.

Making his presentation, the Director of Government Relations and Communications at the National Democratic Institute, USA, Mr. Jerry Hertz called for inclusion of all Members when transacting the legislative business. “I have worked twice with the Majority and with the Minority, and my advice to you is though the Majority may have the numbers and the power, it is always good to be inclusive ", he noted.

Kenyan-Born Australian Senator, Lucy Gichuhi while sharing her experience in the Australian Senate, narrated her ordeal that culminated into her becoming a Senator. She implored upon Members to use whatever is within their capacity to empower each of three arms of government, so they may work independently and effectively as envisaged by the Constitution. She also urged the members to protect the Senate as there is need to have a second House to keep the other in check, while entrenching controls that will prevent one House from developing legislative excesses. She challenged members to use their political careers in addressing the concerns of the people that they are elected to serve, for the purpose of building lasting legacies.

The Clerk of the Australian Capital Territory Mr. Tom Duncan, while speaking to the subject of the “Experiences, Building Synergies and Overcoming Challenges within a Bicameral Legislature”, argued that from his lessons and the Australian legislative experience, there is need to have good communication between the two Houses; between the two Speakers and the two Clerks in order to enhance the execution of the roles of Parliament. He further advised Members to explore the possibility of establishing joint committees between the two Houses so as to foster their capacity for oversight.

The Chair of the Budget and Appropriations Committee in the 11th Parliament, Hon. Mutava Musyimi reminded Members that the budget making process is a critical role of the House, adding that the budget that the House makes belongs to the people and it is the people of Kenya that are sovereign. He reiterated that the struggle for a new constitution, in which he played an active role in, was all for equitable distribution of resources and power.

He challenged members and especially those in the Budget and Appropriations Committee to undertake that role with diligence and the sanctity it deserves, noting that the House has donated that role to the Committee in full trust. He also urged the House to manage the national debt noting that it could be “getting out of hand now.”

Kitui Central MP, Hon. Makali Mulu while contributing on the subject of the “Role of the Legislature in budget-making: from a Member’s Perspective”, spoke on the need for effectiveness of Members in the budget making process. He urged Members to develop capacity to effectively execute this role. He also called upon the House to impose sanctions on government agencies where resolutions of the House in regards to their budgetary priorities and discipline have not been adhered to.

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