Composition and Tenure

 

kenneth marende speaker of the national assembly

 

 

Kenneth Marende, Speaker of the National Assembly

 

 

 

Under the Old Constitution, Parliament was made up of 3 types of memberships: elected, nominatied and ex-officio. Article 31 of Chapter 3 - Parliament, Part 1- Composition of Parliament, excerpts:

31. Subject to this Constitution, the National Assembly shall consist of elected members ........, nominated members ........ and the ex officio members.

Each elected Member of Parliament represents a single constituency. Excerpts from Article 32:

32. (1) Kenya shall be divided into constituencies ........, and each constituency shall elect one elected member to the National Assembly ........

Nominated members, who were nominated by political parties, represented special interests:

33. (1) Subject to this section, there shall be twelve nominated members of the National Assembly appointed by the President following a general election, to represent special interests.

The Electoral Commission determined the proportions and composition of these nominees to the National Assembly:

33. (3) The persons to be appointed shall be nominated by the parliamentary parties according to the proportion of every parliamentary party in the National Assembly, taking into account the principle of gender equality.
(4) The proportions under subsection (3) shall be determined by the Electoral Commission after every general election and shall be signified by the chairman of the Commission to the leaders of the concerned parliamentary parties, the President and the Speaker.
(5) The names of the nominees of parliamentary parties shall be forwarded to the President through the Electoral Commission who shall ensure observance of the principle of gender equality in the nominations.

Ex-officio members of the Assembly were the Attorney General and the Speaker:

36. The Attorney-General shall be an ex officio member of the National Assembly, but he shall not be entitled to vote on any question before the Assembly.

The Speaker was elected from among the members of the Assembly, and had no voting rights. 

37. (1) There shall be a Speaker of the National Assembly, who shall be elected by the Assembly, in accordance with the standing orders, from among persons who are members of the Assembly or are qualified to be elected as such members, other than the President, the Vice-President, Ministers, Assistant Ministers and the Attorney-General.

(4) The Speaker shall be an ex officio member of the National Assembly, whether or not he is elected from among the members of the Assembly.

It is noteworthy from Article 37. (1) that the Speaker could be sourced from outside of the National Assembly. However the common practice was for the Members of the Assembly to elect one of their own as Speaker. Upon election, the member gave up his constituency seat:

39. (2) An elected member or a nominated member of the National Assembly shall vacate his seat as such if he is elected as Speaker.

Under the Old Constitution, the MPs could resolve to remove the Speaker and the Deputy Speakers from office. However they could only legally do so by at least a three-quarters majority vote of all the Members:

37. (2) The Speaker shall vacate his office - (c) if the National Assembly so resolves, by resolution supported by the votes of not less than seventy-five per cent of all its members (excluding the ex officio members).

The Deputy Speaker, who was not required to give up their constituency seat, but could be removed if they ceased or were disqualified to be a Member of the House through other legal processes such as election petitions, bankruptcy, etc:

38. (3) The Deputy Speaker shall vacate his office - (d) if the National Assembly so resolves, by resolution supported by the votes of not less than seventy-five per cent of all its members (excluding the ex officio members). (c) if he ceases to be a member of the National Assembly otherwise than by reason of the dissolution of Parliament; ........

The Old Constitution provided for additional members of the National Assembly to provide administrative and supportive functions to the Assembly. These officers were seconded from the Parliamentary Service:

45A. (1) There shall be a service to be known as the parliamentary service.

(2) There shall be a Clerk of the National Assembly and such other officers and staff as may be appointed for the purposes of the National Assembly in accordance with section 45B.
(3) The offices of the Clerk of the National Assembly and the officers and other staff provided for under subsection (2) shall be offices in the parliamentary service.

A special Commission generally composed of stakeholders in the business of Parliament, existed to plan for and direct the business of the Assembly:

45B. (1) There shall be a Parliamentary Service Commission which shall consist of - (a) the speaker of the National Assembly who shall be the chairman; (b) a vice-chairman elected by the Commission from amongst the members appointed under paragraph (e) of this subsection; (c) the leader of Government business in the National Assembly or a member of the Assembly deputed by him; (d) the leader of the opposition party with the highest number of seats in the National Assembly or a member of the Assembly deputed by him; (e) seven members (other than the President, Ministers, Assistant Ministers and the Attorney-General) appointed by the National Assembly from amongst its members, of whom - (i) four shall be nominated by the parliamentary party or parties forming the Government; and (ii) three shall be nominated by the parliamentary party or parties forming the opposition.

The number of elected and Nominated Members in the 10th Parliament was 222. (Further details on what the numbers mean in terms of Representation is discussed under the link). A minimum number of only 13% of the 222 MPs were enough to form a valid quorum in the Chamber and to vote on a decision. Excerpts from the Part 2 - Legislation and Procedure in the National Assembly, Articles 51, 54: 

51. If any member of the National Assembly who is present takes objection that less than thirty members of the Assembly (besides the person presiding) are present in the Assembly and, after such interval as may be prescribed in the standing orders of the Assembly, the person presiding ascertains that there are still less than thirty members of the Assembly present, the person presiding shall thereupon adjourn the Assembly.

54. (1) Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, any question proposed for decision in the National Assembly shall be determined by a majority of the votes of the members present and voting.

Under the Old Constitution, the National Assembly had a five year tenure unless dissolved earlier or extended by way of specific constitutional provisions to accommodate unusual circumstances of war. Excerpts from Part 3 - Summoning Prorogation and Dissolution of Parliament:

59. (4) Parliament, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for five years from the date when the National Assembly first meets after dissolution and shall then stand dissolved.

59. (5) At any time when Kenya is at war, Parliament may from time to time provide for the extension of the period of five years specified in subsection (4) for not more than twelve months at a time: Provided that the life of Parliament shall not be extended under this subsection by more than five years.

 

Find Us On FaceBook - Image

Follow me