NASA left behind as MPs approve Parliamentary committee members

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A file photo of NASA MPs during a media briefing in Parliament October 10, 2017. /HEZRON NJOROGE

MPs have approved members to 32 Parliamentary committees on Thursday despite the Opposition failing to nominate members.

House Clerk Michael Sialai will from Tuesday next week preside over the election of committee chairpersons and deputies.

The committees have been expanded from 29 to 32 to enhance representation and inclusiveness of all 349 MPs.

Speaker Justin Muturi directed that Sialai issue notice to MPs, detailing the date, time and venue of the first meeting of the respective committees.

Sialai, who is the administrative and procedural head of the House, will oversee the first business of the committees which will be electing the chairs and vice-chairs.

Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi said: “I propose that in future, this House limits membership of each MP to only one committee so that they can effectively deliver.”

NASA has not picked members for the House business and appointments committees.

But this will not deter the appointment of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s new cabinet in mid-February.

Once fully constituted, the Committee on Appointments will vet Uhuru’s nominees, conduct public participation, draft a report and the House will be recalled for a special sitting.

MPs also passed a motion to allow nominees from the President to State Offices including Cabinet Secretaries to be sent directly to the relevant committee during the recess period that starts Thursday to mid-February.

This means that the Speaker does not have to recall MPs if the President makes an appointment of Cabinet Secretaries or Principal Secretaries during the break.

Last week, the 12th Parliament amended Standing Orders to expand the number of committees and increase membership.

The Trade Committee was split from the Finance and Planning Committee, while the Cooperatives Committee was formed from the Agriculture and Livestock Committee.

MPs also split the Sports Committee from the Labour and Social Welfare Committee.

The Joint Committee on National Cohesion and Equal Opportunity and Joint Committee on Parliamentary Broadcasting and Library will solely remain at the National Assembly, unlike before where it was in the two bicameral Houses.

“This is a big cake for all of us so that we can serve the legislative role in this House. We don’t want members just to make money out of allowances, but be resourceful in those respective committees,” said Ruaraka MP Tom Kajwang’, a member of Procedure and House Rules Committee said.

“The Committee on Selection should ensure every MP belongs to two committees,” he added.

The House also decided that members of the Parliamentary Service Commission will not chair or deputise any of the 32 committees but will only retain their memberships.

The legislators argued that the amendments were aimed at increasing effectiveness of the members to tackle the bulk of House business through committees.

the-star.co.ke

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