Keynan’s journey to becoming one of longest-serving MPs

Adan Keynan

Eldas MP Adan Keynan is now the longest-serving MP in Kenya following his re-election in the August 9, 2022 polls.

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Mr Keynan will start serving his sixth term when the new Parliament opens.
  • The legislator, a focal figure in Northern Kenya politics, joined politics as MP for Wajir West in 1997.

Eldas MP Adan Keynan is now the longest-serving MP in Kenya following his re-election in the August 9 polls.

Before this year’s elections, outgoing Kitutu Chache MP Jimmy Angwenyi held that position.

Mr Keynan is now only rivalled by Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula as the longest-serving legislators.

Mr Keynan will start serving his sixth term when the new Parliament opens, a major feat as nearly 70 percent of Kenya’s MPs are not re-elected.

The legislator, a focal figure in Northern Kenya politics, joined politics as MP for Wajir West in 1997.

He held the position for three consecutive terms before moving to Eldas, which was carved from the larger Wajir West in 2013.

For a leader instrumental in defending the interests of the Somali community in national politics, Mr Keynan remains a vibrant figure and was recognised as the best-performing MP by Mizani Africa.

He has been a member of the Liaison Committee and the Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations, and the chairperson of the Public Investments Committee since 2013.

From 2008 to 2013, he was on the Committee on Energy, Communications, and Information, and the Committee on Labour and Social Welfare. He was also a member of the House Business Committee, as well as chair of the Defence and Foreign Relations Committee.

Adan Keynan

Eldas MP Adan Keynan during a campaign in the constituency.

Photo credit: Edwin Siwa I Nation Media Group

From 1998 to 2002, he was on the Committee on Administration and National Security and a member of the Committee on Finance, Planning and Trade.

As an MP, Mr Keynan has sponsored several bills that were seen as controversial in Parliament.

In 2013, he sponsored the National Flag Emblems and Names Amendment Bill, which gave Kenyan governors the right to fly a flag on their cars.

On March 21, 2014, he sponsored The Order of Precedence Bill, whose main purpose was to strip recognition titles from governors and members of county assemblies.

In 2015, a bill sponsored by Mr Kenyan whose main intent was to grant Parliament immunity from being scrutinised by the media, was passed. 

Mr Keynan claimed he was only a vessel that carried the message. However, with his track record of sponsoring self-serving bills, it is highly implausible that he did not sponsor the bill.

Diplomatic passports

On October 29, 2015, it was reported that Mr Keynan was sponsoring another self-serving bill. He proposed to grant MPs diplomatic passports.

Under the bill, MPs, their spouses and their children would be among those granted diplomatic passports.

In 2018, due to his proven “record and loyalty”, President Uhuru Kenyatta rewarded him with the critical position of Jubilee Parliamentary Group secretary, with the role of coordinating the ruling party's affairs in the Senate and the National Assembly.

According to information on the National Assembly portal, Mr Keynan has held a seat on the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) for three parliamentary terms, serving as its vice-chairman between 2011 and 2012.

Mr Keynan was also a member of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Parliamentarians for Global Action and Parliamentarians Against Corruption.

He was also an executive committee member of the Commonwealth Association of Public Accounts Committees and a member of the Kenya National Audit Commission.

He was chairman of the Defence and Foreign Relations Committee during the 10th Parliament.

In the 11th Parliament, he chaired the Public Investment Committee, where he also investigated and audited state expenditure, including at the defunct Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited.

The 54-year-old has received various awards, including First Class Chief of the Order of the Burning Spear (CBS, 2013) from outgoing President Kenyatta, in recognition of his distinguished and outstanding services to the nation.

He also received the Spirit of Detroit Award in Michigan state, USA, in 1999 in recognition of exceptional achievement and outstanding leadership.

He also won an award as a member of the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC).

Mr Keynan says that politics in Kenya is unpredictable, and a legislator must be available to the people.

Political cold

“Politics has two aspects — pleasure and pressure. You have to strike a balance between the two. Expectations are always high, but you must be accessible to the people who sent you to articulate their issues.”

Mr Keynan, Mr Wetang’ula and Mr Moroto’s re-election in the August vote makes them the longest-serving MPs in the 13th Parliament.

While Mr Wetang’ula will be serving his sixth term, Mr Keynan and Mr Moroto will be in their fifth terms. Mr Wetang’ula was first nominated by Kanu after the 1992 election, serving until 1997.

He was in the political cold between 1997 and 2002. In the December 2002 polls, he was elected to represent Sirisia constituency and re-elected in 2007 for another five-year term that ended in 2013.

Mr Keynan and Mr Moroto became Kenya’s current longest-serving MPs after their colleagues in the 12th Parliament who were serving their fourth terms or more were either elected as governors or senators, or lost in the August 9 General Election.

Mr Maoka Maore (Igembe North), Dr Naomi Shaban (Taveta), Mr Katoo ole Metito (Kajiado South), Mr Wafula Wamunyinyi (Kanduyi), Mr Maina Kamanda (nominated), Cecily Mbarire (nominated) and Mr Gideon Konchella (Kilgoris) were some of the MPs in their fourth terms in the 12th Parliament.


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