Representation at the House of Representatives

 

The country’s Constitution provided for the delimitation of constituencies so as to facilitate the conduct of elections in newly-independent Kenya. Chapter IV -  Parliament, Part 1 - Composition of Parliament, excerpts:

49. (1) For the purpose of elections of Elected Members of the House of Representatives, Kenya shall ........ be divided into such number of constituencies (not being more than 130 or less than 110) .......

At that time, the determination of electoral units in Kenya started with creation of 117 Constituencies based on a clearly established principle that all constituencies contain as nearly as possible an equal number of inhabitants (leading to some really expansive ones). It also provided that no constituency could cut across any two of the 7 administrative Regions to which Kenya was divided:

(2) ........ no constituency shall form part of more than one Region or of both the Nairobi Area and a Region.
(3) All constituencies shall contain as nearly equal numbers of inhabitants as appears to the Commission to be reasonable and practicable, but the Commission may depart from this principal to such extent as it considers expedient in order to take account of: (a) the density of population and in particular, the need to ensure adequate representation of urban and sparsely-populated rural areas; (b) means of communication; (c) geographical features; (d) community of interest; and (e) boundaries of existing administrative areas.

The 7 administrative Regions, which later came to be known as Provinces, were Western, Nyanza, Rift-Valley, Eastern, North-Eastern, Central, and Coast. The constitution at independence provided for 41 Districts which formed the basis of geographic representation at the Senate. These were based on ethnic considerations as opposed to majority rule tenets. "In 1962, immediately preceding independence, the Regional Boundaries Commission divided Kenya on the basis of either ethnic homogeneity, i.e. one tribe per district, or compatibility, i.e. more than one tribe per district or province where they were happy to coexist. The Commission recommended the eight provinces and 41 districts which were the basis for Kenya's administration in the 1992 elections" (Fox, 1996).

Indeed, the Commissioners' report did not conceal its rational of delimitation, which clearly went against Article 49. (3) of the 1962 Constitution, as shown above: "In certain cases strong tribal affinities or a close community of interest have induced us to delimit constituencies well below what might be considered the mean figure for a constituency, having regard to the total population of the country." (Maxon, 2009).

At that time, Parliament (then known as the National Assembly), was made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Excerpts:

34. (2) The National Assembly shall comprise 2 Houses, that is to say, a Senate and a House of Representatives.

The House of Representatives had 117 directly elected members known as MPs representing the 117 geographic constituencies (as delineated by the Electoral Commission) and a further 12 nominated members. Excerpts from Article 39 of the 1963 Constitution:

39. (1) The number of Specially Elected Members of the House of Representative shall be the number which results from dividing the number of seats of Elected Members of that House by ten or, if that result is not a whole number, the whole number next greater than the result. 

These Specially Elected Members were elected by the Elected Members of the House of Representatives:

(2) The Specially Elected Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected by the Elected Members of that House in accordance with the provisions of Schedule 6 of this Constitution.

For purposes of clarity, it is important at this juncture, to make mention of the fact that local units of representation existed through which the people of Kenya elected Members of the Wards to represent them at the local Councils. It is also at the Ward level of representation that citizens from minority language groups had the best chances for representation. These local councils were semi-autonomous and largely concerned themselves with service provision.

The next eight tables give the breakdown of the 117 Constituencies by Region and District for a better perspective.

 
Table 1.1 Central Region

 

Constituency
District
Party

Githunguri

Kiambu

KANU

Kiambaa

Kiambu

KANU

Kikuyu

Kiambu

KANU

Limuru

Kiambu

KANU

Thika-Gatundu

Kiambu

KANU

Gichugu

Kirinyaga

KANU

Ndia

Kirinyaga

KANU

Kandara

Murang'a

KANU

Kangema

Murang'a

KANU

Kigumo

Murang'a

KANU

Kiharu

Murang'a

KANU

Aberdares

Nyandarua

KANU

Mathira

Nyeri

KANU

Nyeri

Nyeri

KANU

Othaya-South Tetu

Nyeri

KANU

Total: 15

Total: 5

KANU:15 KADU: 0

 

Table 1.2 Coast Region

 

 Constituency
District
 Party

Kilifi North

Kilifi

KADU

Kilifi South

Kilifi

KADU

Malindi

Kilifi

KADU

Kwale East

Kwale

KADU

Kwale West

Kwale

KADU

Mombasa Island North

Mombasa

KADU

Mombasa Island South

Mombasa

KADU

Mombasa Mainland

Mombasa

KADU

Lamu

Lamu

KANU

Taveta Voi

Taita

KANU

Wundanyi

Taita

KANU

Tana River

Tana River

KADU

 Total: 12  Total: 6
KANU: 3 KADU: 9

 

Table 1.3 Eastern Region

 

Constituency
District
Party

Embu North

Embu

KANU

Embu South

Embu

KANU

Isiolo

Isiolo

KANU

Kitui Central

Kitui

KANU

Kitui East

Kitui

KANU

Kitui North

Kitui

KANU

Kitui South

Kitui

KANU

Machakos Central

Machakos

KANU

Machakos East

Machakos

KANU

Machakos North

Machakos

KANU

Machakos South

Machakos

KANU

Machakos West

Machakos

KANU

Yatta

Machakos

KANU

Marsabit-Moyale

Marsabit

KANU

Rendille

Marsabit

KANU

Meru Central

Meru

KANU

Meru South

Meru

KANU

Meru West

Meru

KANU

Nyambene South

Meru

KANU

Nyambene North

Meru

KANU

Tharaka

Meru

KANU

Total: 21

Total: 6

KANU: 21 KADU: 0

 

Table 1.4 Nairobi

 

Constituency
District
Party

Doonholm

Nairobi

KANU

Nairobi Central

Nairobi

KANU

Nairobi East

Nairobi

KANU

Nairobi North-West

Nairobi

KANU

Nairobi North-East

Nairobi

KANU

Nairobi South

Nairobi

KANU

Nairobi West

Nairobi

KANU

Total: 7

Total: 1

KANU: 7 KADU: 0

 

Table 1.5 North-Eastern Region

 

Constituency
District
Party

Garissa North

Garissa

KANU

Garissa South

Garissa

KANU

Mandera

Mandera

KANU

Wajir North

Wajir

KANU

Wajir South

Wajir

KANU

Total: 5

Total: 3

KANU: 5 KADU: 0

 

Table 1.6 Nyanza Region

 

Constituency
District
Party

Alego

Central Nyanza

KANU

Bondo

Central Nyanza

KANU

Gem

Central Nyanza

KANU

Kisumu Rural

Central Nyanza

KANU

Kisumu Town

Central Nyanza

KANU

Nyando

Central Nyanza

KANU

Ugenya

Central Nyanza

KANU

Winam

Central Nyanza

KANU

Kitutu East

Kisii

KANU

Kitutu West

Kisii

KANU

Kuria

Kisii

KANU

Majoge-Bassi

Kisii

KANU

North Mugirango

Kisii

KANU

Nyaribari

Kisii

KANU

Wanjare-South Mugirango

Kisii

KANU

Homa Bay

South Nyanza

KANU

Karachuonyo

South Nyanza

KANU

Kasipul-Kabondo

South Nyanza

KANU

Migori

South Nyanza

KANU

Lambwe

South Nyanza

KANU

Total: 20

Total: 3

KANU: 20 KADU: 0

 

Table 1.7 Rift-Valley Region

 

Constituency
District
Party

Baringo East

Baringo

KADU

Baringo North

Baringo

KADU

Baringo South

Baringo

KADU

Korossi

Baringo

KADU

Marakwet

Elgeyo Marakwet

KADU

Elgeyo

Elgeyo Marakwet

KANU

Kajiado

Kajiado

KADU

Belgut

Kericho

KADU

Bomet

Kericho

KADU

Buret

Kericho

KANU

Kericho East

Kericho

KANU

Laikipia-Nanyuki

Laikipia

KANU

Nakuru East

Nakuru

KANU

Nakuru Town

Nakuru

KANU

Nakuru West

Nakuru

KANU

Nandi South

Nandi

KADU

Narok East

Nandi

KADU

Nandi North

Nandi

KANU

Narok West

Narok

KANU

Trans Nzoia

Trans Nzoia

KADU

Turkana North

Turkana

KANU

Turkana South

Turkana

KANU

Uasin Gishu

Uasin Gishu

KADU

West Pokot

West Pokot

KANU

Total: 24

Total: 12

KANU: 12 KADU: 12

 

Table 1.8 Western Region

 

Constituency
District
Party

Elgon East

Bungoma

KANU

Elgon-Central

Bungoma

KANU

Mount Elgon

Bungoma

KANU

Elgon South-West

Busia

KANU

Elgon West

Busia

KANU

Ruwamba

Busia

KANU

Butere

Kakamega

KADU

Ikolomani

Kakamega

KADU

Lurambi

Kakamega

KADU

Emukhaya

Kakamega

KANU

Hamisi

Kakamega

KANU

Mumias

Kakamega

KANU

Vihiga

Kakamega

KANU

Total: 13

Total: 3

KANU: 10 KADU: 3

 

The MPs were then known as Constituency Members and met as the House of Representatives. All had equal weight of vote. Looking back, the 117 constituencies of the 41 Districts made for uneven representation. For example, the vast but sparsley populated Kajiado Constituency had one representative as did Lamu with a much smaller area and population. The House of Representatives had 12 Nominated Members of which only one came from the opposition KADU. 

 
 
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