Five Kenyan lawmakers to join Pan-African Parliament

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Five Kenyan legislators are set to join the South Africa-based continental Parliament.

And for the first time, Kenya’s Senate will be represented in the 235-member Pan-African Parliament.

Those who have been picked for the African Union legislative body are Jubilee Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and his Cord counterpart Janet Ongera.

In the National Assembly where Jubilee has the majority, the coalition has chosen Kuresoi MP Zakayo Cheruiyot (URP) and Nairobi County Women Representative Rachel Shebesh (TNA) to join the House whose members are drawn from 47 of the 54 AU member States.

The minority Cord coalition has nominated ODM MP for Mbita Millie Odhiambo-Mabona.

The names will be presented to the Senate this week for approval before the House takes a 32-day recess.

The list will also be subjected to the same process in the National Assembly.

The term of Kenya’s members of the Pan-African Parliament expired last year ahead of the March 4 elections to pave way for new legislators. Each national assembly of the member states elects or designates five of its members to the Johannesburg-based Continental House.

Before the last elections, Kenya was represented to PAP by Malindi MP Gideon Mungaro and former MPs Gitobu Imanyara, Abdi Bahari, Nkodilas ole Lankas and former Eldoret South MP Peris Simam.

If both Houses of Parliament approve her nomination, Ms Shebesh, a nominated MP in the last Parliament, will be making a return to the Pan-African Parliament, having previously been nominated by her ODM party.

Mr Murkomen, a youthful senator and a well-connected Jubilee personality, is the chairman of the all-important Senate committee on Devolved Government. The 34-year old URP senator for Elgeyo Marakwet is a lawyer and a former university lecturer. Ms Ongera, an ODM nominated senator, is the Senate deputy minority whip.

Before joining the Senate, Ms Ongera was her party’s executive director.

Mr Cheruiyot, a former permanent secretary for Internal Security in the Moi administration, is serving his second consecutive term as an MP.

Ms Odhiambo-Mabona, an outspoken politician and child rights activist, was a nominated ODM MP in the Tenth Parliament and her election to the Mbita seat saw her emerge as the only woman elected to a single member constituency in Luo Nyanza in the last elections in more than a decade.

The Pan African Parliament was inaugurated on March 18, 2004 at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The parliament’s current president Bethel Nnaemeka Amadi says the ultimate aim of the PAP is to give it full legislative powers. Currently, the House only exercises advisory and consultative powers and it holds at least two ordinary sessions annually.

Although the parliament’s authority to make decision’s is vested both in protocol and the Rules of Procedure in the plenary session, the main work lies in the decisions made by 10 permanent committees.-nation.co.ke

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