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The good, bad and ugly of the 12th parliament

Thursday 9th June 2022 was the official day that parliament adjourned as members of parliament embark on campaign trail to pave the way for the August 9 general election. The MPs will now be forced to convene again if only the speakers of parliament call for a special sitting.

According to the National Assembly majority leader Amos Kimunya the 12th parliament had passed over 140 bills part of the 342 that were tabled in the house. 114 bills were passed in the national assembly while the senate passed 26.

“Today is not the same as other days because it’s the last day of the 12th parliament officially in the chamber. Therefore it’s a moment of reflection where we look back as a house and pat ourselves in the back on the achievements we have recorded for the past last five years,” he said

Kimunya further told the members of parliament to be prepared in that they would be recalled back in order to pass some important bills that are currently in the senate.

“Even as we adjourn we are still members of parliament until August 8.there is a proposal for additional revenue to county governments ,should that bill be passed we shall still recall you to give the money to counties…..even this Huduma bill that fell because of technicality we can recall you to pass it,” he added.

The MPs who used the Thursday afternoon sitting to bid farewell to each other reflected on the leadership of parliament with views divided on how it performed.

“Because of the support of the handshake most of the parliament work has been done very well especially the executive agenda.  And that is the reason why the President says that in his second term he has done more than what he did in his first term,”Alego Usonga MP Samuel Atandi said.

These sentiments were later supported by majority leader Amos Kimunya

“I believe in the last two years we probably have passed more bills than have happened in so many years before,”Kimunya said.

The unexpected 2018 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga turned things around in that it contributed to the sharp division between the President and his deputy William Ruto which later boiled over to parliament.

“The 12th parliament if you ask me let down the people of Kenya, and more so after the handshake because the architecture of the Kenya’s parliament in accordance with the 2010 constitution created a minority and a majority side , today if you look at this parliament the minority which is supposed to oversight government has gone to bed with government .you will find minority leaders chairing committees that were meant for the majority party,”Garissa MP Aden Duale said while being interviewed outside the precincts of parliament.

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“This parliament especially the last three years cannot score highly in terms of rating, they have killed institutions, they have passed laws here which have not passed through public participation,” Duale lamented.

“I want to urge Kenyans that leaders that have done very well, leaders that have formed and distributed there CDF very well please return them, let us not have 70 percent of leaders being chased  … This idea of sending members home after serving one term is not the best, when members of parliament serve second and third term they build expertise and become mature leaders …and please make a good decision do not elect a leader because he has given you a handout or clan,” he warned voters.

Duale’s sentiments were echoed by speaker Justin Muturi who decried the high number of MPs who are always voted out every five years.

“You know in this country we have a very unique experience and I hope it doesn’t happen come  August 9th attrition rate is usually very high …sometime we lose as many as 70% of every group of members,” Muturi said.

The 12th parliament will also be remembered as an institution that risked being dissolved this was due to the lack of the MPs to pass the necessary two thirds gender rule. Retired chief Justice David Maraga at one time called for the dissolution of parliament saying the MPs had failed to meet the constitutional provision that would have contributed to one third of seats to be occupied by women in parliament. Not forgetting that under this 12th parliament the country’s debt ceiling kept on rising despite cries from the public. Just recently parliament did increase the public debt ceiling to 10 trillion shillings as a stop gap measure to allow the next government that will take over from August 9th to borrow 846 billion shillings in order to plug the budget deficit in the fiscal year that is starting July 1.this is a house that also failed to undertake its role in holding the executive to account  especially during the handshake period , there are a number of scandals that rocked the Jubilee government NYS scandal, Arror and Kimwarer dam scandal ,KEMSA scandal to name but just a few. by the minority side working together with the government and in as much as the handshake helped in calming things down in the country especially after the heated 2017 general election , it greatly affected parliament’s oversight role and instead parliament became stooges of the executive. The 12th parliament will also be haunted by claims of bribery to influence some legislative decisions. In January 2021 for example, Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro was suspended during the debate on a controversial political party’s amendment bill 2021 this was due to allegations he made against Wajir woman representative Fatuma Gedi that she was issuing bribes to pro handshake legislatures monies he said were proceeds of corruption from the KEMSA scandal that rocked the nation.

Nevertheless i take this opportunity to congratulate the senate for standing up for devolution and ensuring that the necessary bills that safeguard the 47 counties are thing that stood out with the senate is that they prosecuted issues objectively not forgetting how they handled the revenue sharing formula. By the senate standing up to the executive and fighting for equitable resources to the counties was a plus, I hope that the next senate will be as good as the 12th one.