What you need to know:
- The Constitution sets the quorum at only 50 members of the National Assembly and 15 in the Senate.
- It is a shame that some MPs only clock in to register their presence and leave since the sitting allowance was scrapped.
The quorum hitch in the National Assembly is disappointing. The business of the august House must never be so casually hampered.
Lawmakers are elected or nominated to represent the people in Parliament to articulate their interests and serve as their watchdogs. They are representatives of the people in their vital role of making laws.
National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula is frustrated, as the problem has intensified as the MPs reportedly protest the scrapping of the Sh5,000 plenary sitting allowance. While the lawmakers need facilitation, it is not the reason they were elected to Parliament.
It, therefore, must never be prioritised over the work they are supposed to do and for which they are paid hefty monthly salaries and enjoy other princely perks. MPs are among the most-well-paid Kenyans and should give value for that money by doing their work.
There are 290 elected MPs, 47 woman representatives and 12 nominated MPs who represent the special interests of youth, persons with disabilities and workers. They should be present in the debating chamber and work in committees to develop policies and scrutinise proposed legislation on behalf of the voters. The Constitution sets the quorum at only 50 members of the National Assembly and 15 in the Senate.
Representation is at the core of our democracy, as it is not possible for all the 50 million Kenyans to turn up and express their views or make proposals on how the country should be run and make laws. They need these people to do the job on their behalf.
It is, therefore, a shame that some MPs only clock in to register their presence and leave since the sitting allowance was scrapped. We fully agree with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission that MPs should not be paid an allowance for doing what they are paid to do.