President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed newly elected Members of Parliament (MPs) and Senators to assemble in Parliament on August 31 when they will be sworn into office.
In a special issue of the Kenya gazette dated August 23, Uhuru, in exercise of powers granted to him under Article 126(2) of the Constitution, summoned the first sitting of the 12th Parliament, where the members will elect their respective Speakers and Deputy Speakers.
The Constitution states: "Whenever a new House is elected, the President, by notice in the Gazette, shall appoint the place and date for the first sitting of the new House, which shall be not more than thirty days after the election".
The swearing-in of members and election of the Speakers and Deputy Speakers are the only agenda for the first sitting of the two houses.
"Notice is given that pursuant to Article 126 (2) of the Constitution, I Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of the Republic of Kenya … give notice that the first sitting of the Twelfth Parliament, shall be held at the main Parliament building … on Thursday 31st August 2017 at 2.30pm," states the legal notices 219 and 220 for National Assembly and Senate respectively.
The notification by the President opens the door for the respective clerks of the houses to consequently issue the Gazette notifying the public of the fact and inviting those interested to contest the positions of the Speakers and Deputy Speakers to collect their nomination papers.
According to the Standing Orders, the candidates must return the forms at least 48 hours before the appointed time for the first sitting, in this case, by Tuesday 2.30pm.
The nomination papers must be accompanied by names and signatures of 20 members, who support the candidature, and a declaration from the MPs-elect that the candidate is qualified to contest the leadership.
The Speaker of the National Assembly doubles up as the Chairman of the powerful Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), the organ that looks into the welfare of the legislators from the two houses and the entire staff of the institution.
Speaker Justin Muturi looks poised to retain his National Assembly seat. In the Senate several names including former chair of the defunct Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) Charles Nyachae, former National Assembly Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim and former Budalang'i MP Ababu Namwamba have been mentioned as likely contenders to challenge Ekwee Ethuro for the position.