Mohamed Machele, Oscar Sudi among most inactive members in parliament

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Mvita Member of Parliament Mohamed Soud Machele and Lamu Women Representative Muthoni Marubu are among the most inactive members in parliament.

This is according to the Mzalendo Trust report released on Wednesday.

According to the report, Kwale Senator Issa Juma Boy, and Wiper nominated Senator Shakilla Abdalla have also been rated among the least active members in Parliament.

The report dubbed 2023 Parliamentary Scorecard showed that others who have not contributed anything on the floor of the House include; Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), George Aladwa (Makadara) and Samuel Arama (Nakuru).

According to the report, Members who are yet to make a maiden speech in the National Assembly include Ronald Karauri (Kasarani), Mohamed Soud (Mvita), Paul Chebor (Rongai), Ernest Kagesi (Vihiga), Joseph Iraya (nominated), Teresia Wanjiru (nominated), Elizabeth Kailemia (Meru Woman Rep) and Muthoni Marubu (Lamu Woman Rep).

Meanwhile, Kilifi South MP Ken Chonga was rated among active members in parliament along with Dr. Makali Mulu (Kitui Central), Beatrice Elachi (Dagoretti North), James Nyikal (Seme).

Among the issues they raised in the National Assembly were food security, drought, and conservation of the environment.

In the Senate, the top contributors were Samson Cherargei (Nandi), Eddy Oketch (Migori), John Kinyua (Laikipia) and Mohamed Faki (Mombasa).

Some of the issues that they raised touched on historical land injustices, the promotion of mental health, and education for learners with disabilities.

During this period, key areas of concern among Kenyans were the high cost of living, high rate of unemployment, prolonged drought, insecurity, the Shakahola Massacre, cost of energy, migrant workers, state of healthcare and NHIF, food security, police brutality, climate concerns, state of mental health and land matters.

It also emerged that UDA nominated Senator Karen Nyamu, and her ODM counterpart Hezena Lemaletian are among young legislators who are inactive in parliament.

However, there were mixed reactions to parliament’s response to these issues, based on legislative outputs and members voting along party lines.

In the consideration of legislative business, concerns were also raised over the significance of public participation.

According to Mzalendo Trust Executive Director, Caroline Gaita there has been a mismatch between citizens’ expectations and Parliament’s actions. Whereas citizens have invested heavily in public participation, the results have not been reflected in the most anticipated legislative proposals.

“For instance, despite public outcry on the high cost of living, members of the National Assembly did not heed to Kenyans’ calls to reject certain punitive clauses of the Finance Bill, 2023. The exercise was marred by political chicanery and sharp partisan positions that obscured objectivity,” said Gaita

Bills

In debating the proposals of the Bill. In addition, the Senate voted down the Division of Revenue

Bill 2023 that had proposed an additional allocation of KES 22 billion to counties.

The 2023 Parliamentary Scorecard which covers the period between 29th September 2022 to 30th June 2023 also shows that the two Houses considered a total of 66 Bills.

An overview of the Bills passed indicates that the Houses’ priority was on recurrent public finance legislation, a focus area of the Executive.

Other businesses considered by the National Assembly included: 191 Motions, 297 Questions, 59 statements and 32 Petitions. In the Senate, 31 Bills were considered, with 2 originating from the National Assembly.

The Bills that were passed into law from the Senate were the County Governments’ Additional Allocation Bill, 2022, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and the Division of Revenue Bill, 2023.

61 motions were also filed at the Senate, 315 statements sought and 24 petitions filed.

Contributions

In terms of members’ contributions, a member of the National Assembly averagely spoke 10 times, with a staggering 187 (68.14%) members speaking less than that. Conversely, a Senator spoke an average of 41 times, with only one Senator speaking less than 10 times.

Unlike the National Assembly, all Senators also managed to contribute in plenary. This can be attributed to the difference in numbers between the two Houses with the National Assembly (349 members) while 67 members sit in the Senate.

Counties

The most active counties in Parliament were Nandi County with (7.8%), Nairobi County with (6.0%), Kisumu County (4.8%), Laikipia County (3.9%) and Bungoma County (3.9%). On the other hand, the least active counties were Tana River County (0.30%), Tharaka Nithi County (0.30%), Vihiga County (0.50%), Nyandarua County (0.60%), Samburu County (0.70%) and Garissa County (0.70%).

As Parliament heads to the second year of operation, Kenyans can anticipate a raft of constitutional amendments to give effect to the proposals contained in the Presidential memo dated 9th December 2022 which included: the implementation of the two-thirds gender rule, the entrenchment of the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF), National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) and Senate Oversight Fund together with the establishment of the Office of the Leader of Official Opposition, said the report.

Parliament has already amended the Standing Orders to allow Cabinet Secretaries to appear before the Houses while the remaining proposals are yet to be effected.

Consequently, according to Mzalendo Trust, the 13th Parliament’s legislative agenda should reflect the expectations of Kenyans.

 “This can be done by entrenching public participation, and ensuring it is not a mere procedural technicality,” says Ms Gaita.

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