Revealed: MPs who are mute in Parliament but vocal in public meetings
More than 50 MPs are yet to make their maiden speeches in the National Assembly nine months after their election.
According to Mzalendo.com, an online platform that keeps tabs on the performance of MPs in the House plenary, those who have spoken only supported their colleagues but never initiated anything on their own.
The revelation comes as the leadership of Parliament complained that some MPs were skipping the last legislative step that is crucial in law-making.
Speaking during a workshop for journalists to review the performance of the House in Mombasa at the weekend, Muturi was unhappy that some MPs were busy boasting about their achievements in the House when in reality, they had done the complete opposite.
Speaker Justin Muturi said it was worrying that members did not appreciate the significance of the third stage of reading while considering Bills.
During the Third Reading, a Bill is read with all amendments for final approval. It comes after the Bill has been amended by the designated committee.
“The real law-making process starts at the Third Reading, where only a few participate. You will only see Majority Leader Aden Duale (Garissa Town) since he represents Government, and a few others including Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu), James Nyikal (Seme) and Robert Pukose (Endebees),” said Mr Muturi.
“Many will get up as soon as I step out of the chair and retreat when the committee of the whole House is in session. Yet they will be the loudest out there telling their constituents about a law they never participated in legislating.”
Muturi and National Assembly Clerk Michael Sialai also expressed concerns that some MPs were confused about petitions, motions and legislative proposals. This is despite the fact that they participated in induction and had various staff attached to them for research.
“I was speaking to one young MP on Friday and I was not in a very good mood. I told her they should stop exciting people out there. It puts me under pressure because I start receiving calls that I am sitting on Bills that have not even been introduced,” said Muturi.
“You will even hear others telling their constituents they have passed very good Bills yet the individuals making such statements do not attend sessions to contribute to the legislation they are talking about.”
The House leadership also blamed the failure of about 70 per cent of the MPs to speak on the floor of the House on lack of capacity given that some were still learning the processes. The House has 349 members.
“Others go ahead to take credit for work done by other legislators despite the fact that they never contribute during debate on Bills,” said Muturi.
Mr Sialai said most of the MPs spoke very well about issues in other forums but had failed to prosecute the same issues on the floor of the House.
Kipkemoi arap Kirui, another senior official in charge of research and journal room, said several legislators had admitted to lacking capacity to debate Bills and other important motions.
He disclosed that Parliament had rolled out a programme to train those willing to utilise the facility, including training of their personal assistants.
“We just finished training 200 PAs and the remaining will be trained before the end of next month. Members of the Speakers panel will also be trained on House procedures,” said Mr Kirui.
“We will also train legislators by the end of September. It is a challenge they have confirmed facing and we are willing to assist.”
This is the reason why MPs were subjected to induction at the beginning of their term and also benefit from exchange programmes outside the country.
“They are simply unable to cope. They said they cannot take part in debates for fear of being embarrassed,” said an official who sought anonymity.
By Roselyne Obala