Report names most silent Kenyan MPs
A survey by Mzalendo Trust yesterday listed MPs Abdullahi Banticha (Isiolo South), Alexander Kosgey (Emgwen), Benjamin Andayi (Khwisero), Benson Mbai (Masinga), Charles Gimose (Hamisi), Lemanken Aramat (Narok East), Maweu Kyengo (Kangundo), Sammy Cheruiyot (Konoin) and Stephen Kariuki) among those who either spoke less or said nothing in the House.
Others are Kilifi County Woman Representative Aisha Katana, her Kisii counterpart Mary Keraa and Nominated MP Janet Marania.
In a statement, Mzalendo Trust’s Executive Director Jessica Musila said Suba MP John Mbadi is the best performer among the 346 lawmakers in parliamentary contributions, while Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula beat his colleagues.
She said the firm based its research on the Hansard recordings.
“Analysis of data based on parliamentary debate in 2014 has revealed that 13 members of the National Assembly did not contribute to plenary discussions at all,” Ms Musila said.
The report, however, said contributions of MPs to various national debates improved greatly with up to 150 lawmakers making between 20-100 contributions in the year.
“We believe this information is of great public interest as lawmakers are custodians of peoples’ sovereign power. It, therefore, follows that they should be open to scrutiny and be accountable to Kenyans for their time in the House,” she said.
Other leaders whose contribution to debates is commended in the two Houses are Nominated MP Amina Abdala and MPs Samuel Chepkonga (Ainabkoi), Asman Kamama (Tiaty), Millie Odhiambo (Mbita) and Florence Kajuju (Meru County Woman Representative).
In the Senate Bonny Khalwale (Kakamega), Billow Kerrow (Mandera) and nominated senators Beatrice Elachi, Janet Ongera and Judith Sijeny are mentioned among top debaters.
MPs’ legislative, oversight and representation roles are played both at the plenary and at the committee sessions.
Some of the MPs listed as being silent in the House sometimes focus their contributions at the committee stage where chance is available for the interrogation of issues put under oversight.
The MPs usually have to compete for attention in the House with the National Assembly Speaker enjoying the discretion of picking those who catch his eye.
There are also quasi MPs who drop in from the plenary to parliamentary committees to book allowances then disappear into their private offices to conduct other businesses and only emerge when whipped.