President William Ruto addressing a joint sitting during the opening of the 13th Parliament on September 29, 2022. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Tasked with crafting laws that will enhance the lives of Kenyans, the opening of the 13th bicameral Parliament yesterday for official business marked the first step to get President William Ruto’s government rolling.

This comes just two days after President Ruto unveiled nominees to the Cabinet who will be vetted by Parliament before the appointment. 

However, vetting of the nominees will have to wait until the Committee on Appointments is established.

The first business of Parliament will be the formation of the House Business Committee (HBC) which, among other things, “will implement the Standing Orders which will determine the scheduling or programming of the business of the House and the functioning of the Committees of the House,” according to Parliament’s website.

Members of the HBC will comprise the Speaker (chairperson), the Majority Leader, the Minority Leader, and not less than 21 or more than 29 members nominated by parliamentary parties approved by the House. The committee is formed within seven days from the day Parliament opens.

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula is expected to issue a communication to the House on which political formation is the majority between Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition and Kenya Kwanza Alliance. This will enable members align themselves with procedures to be used to introduce business, including petitions and motions.

Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu had issued a statement on September 7 declaring that Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition was the majority formation.

Ms Nderitu said that all the 26 political parties that came together to form the coalition were still intact, while Kenya Kwanza Alliance had 15 parties.

But Alfred Mutua’s Maendeleo Chap Chap (MMC) and Senate Speaker, Amason Kingi’s Pamoja African Alliance (PAA) have maintained that they quit Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition after signing agreements with Kenya Kwanza Alliance.

Despite the registrar’s pronouncement, Kenya Kwanza Alliance has political majority in the National Assembly having bagged a few Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition affiliate parties and independent legislators.

After Wetang’ula’s ruling, the Appointments Committee and all other committees will commence work, with the first task being the vetting of Cabinet secretaries.

The vetting will be carried out by a 28-member select committee to be chaired by the Speaker. The committee will have two weeks to conclude the exercise. The other immediate House business will be to debate Ruto’s speech and actualize the proposals made.