President William Ruto will tomorrow open the National Assembly Post Election Seminar (PES) for members in conjunction with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) in Mombasa.
The President will preside over the four-day seminar, a practice within the Commonwealth fraternity that takes place at the beginning of the term for newly elected legislators.
The forum to be held at the Paradise Prideinn Beach Resort in Shanzu, Mombasa, comes after the week-long House Committees induction that saw members equipped with tools needed to effectively discharge their constitutional mandate of representation, oversight and legislation.
The PES will be key in enhancing the capacity of MPs to perform their constitutional mandate, and understanding of parliamentary practices, procedures and processes while developing a better understanding of the legislative system and democratic processes.
It is also expected to manage the seamless transition of new members to ensure they accustom to life in Parliament through the sharing of experiences and managing expectations.
National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula, noted that the seminar was aimed at building capacity for the legislators in all aspects of good parliamentary practice, as well as promoting national values and ideals of parliamentary democracy.
Mr Wetang’ula further told the legislators that besides the Commonwealth Secretariat, the National Assembly would reach out to its other partners beyond the CPA jurisdiction so as to share experiences on bicameralism and multi-party democracy.
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He noted that the seminar would enable MPs to get a better understanding of parliamentary systems and processes and afford them an opportunity to hear and interact with members from other parliaments.
“Most importantly, the sessions will provide members with a window to gain a better understanding of parliamentary systems and processes in established jurisdictions within the Commonwealth and beyond, while also affording an opportunity to hear and interact with resource persons who possess immense experience in governance and the Parliamentary Discourse,” said Wetang'ula.
The Speaker further noted that the crafting of the seminar’s program was informed by the fact that Parliaments around the world are continually in transition, especially where constitutional democracy is entrenched.
“Every election cycle ushers in new and returning members. This calls for collective approaches and interventions to facilitate members to settle into their respective roles, have a deeper understanding of their work and gradually engage with experts to deepen their exposure and grasp of parliamentary practice and procedures," he said.
Clerk of the National Assembly Samuel Njoroge explained that post-election realities tend to be challenging, especially for members serving their first term and therefore require timely interventions at the nascent stages of a new Parliament to enable them settle into their new leadership roles.
Mr Njoroge said striking a balance between competing interests that include parliamentary and constituency duties can be a very daunting task.
“The seminar will underscore the need for continuous retooling and reskilling of the new and returning members in order to enrich the performance of the individual member and that of the National Assembly in delivering its constitutional mandate to the people of Kenya,” he said.
Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi is expected to give a presentation on- "The Linkage between the National Assembly and the Executive."
The session will also provide an opportunity for discussing mechanisms for mutual performance of constitutional duties, including the coordination of the Question Time in the National Assembly as part of the oversight and accountability of State organs.
Other thematic areas set to be covered include legislature in the 21st Century:The role of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), the doctrine of separation of powers, checks, and balances; parliamentary procedures and practices in the Commonwealth, emerging issues, leadership, behaviour, ethics, and standards and powers, privileges, and immunities of Members of Parliament.
The members will also be taken through the role of the Legislature in Budget-making; role of select committees in parliamentary oversight; parliamentary diplomacy, networking and parliamentary assistance; protocol and etiquette; marshalling business in a bicameral system, and effective media engagement.
Other topics to be discussed include the making of an effective legislator; member-staff relations, as well as emerging issues at the national, regional and global arena.