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Speaker Muturi suspends House committee operations for holiday



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The operations of the committees of the National Assembly will stand suspended from Tuesday for the 349 members to spend the holidays with their constituents.

The Public Accounts and Public Investments committees will resume their sessions on January 28 while the others will return on February 4.

Announcing the suspension on Thursday afternoon, Speaker Justin Muturi said the schedule recognises the nature of committee mandates.  

“The suspension is to allow you to spend valuable time with your families during the holiday season and attend to your constituents,” he told the members.

He added that the break will give parliamentary staff an opportunity to take their annual leave and begin preparations for the next session, the third of the 12th parliament following the August 8, 2017 general election.

In the second session, the House transacted business including passing National Youth Service Bill, 2018, that seeks to transform the operations of the service riddled with mega corruption scandals.

Mr Muturi noted the early mastery of parliamentary procedures and practices among first-time legislators.

He also pointed out, however, that many are many are yet to make their maiden contributions, more than a year since they were sworn-in.

The Speaker also noted that the house benefited “immensely” from long-serving members including Majority Leader Aden Duale (Garissa Township), Minority Leader John Mbadi (Suba South), Adan Keynan (Eldas), Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja), Cecily Mbarire (nominated) and Amos Kimunya (Kipipiri).

“You have made tremendous contributions to the governance of our country, be it in plenary, in committees or across the constituencies you represent,” he told MPs.

The bill on the two-thirds gender rule remains a blemish in the assembly’s record.

It seeks to implement article 81 (b) of the Constitution, which states that not more than two thirds of the members of appointive and elective seats in public bodies shall be of the same gender.

Mr Duale’s attempt provide for special nomination slots for women, to bridge the gender gap, suffered a setback when it was withdrawn last week for lack of quorum. This saved it from the ignominy of being defeated.

At least two thirds majority or 233 members needed to be present and support the bill to ensure it proceeded to the next stage.

The bill had already gone through the second reading and was set for the third. Speaker Muturi said it is one of the key matters that will be considered when sittings resume next year.

The MPs also shelved the passage of the Parliamentary Service Bill, 2018 at the last minute.

It seeks to enhance the perks of the MPs by guaranteeing them house allowances, vehicles fuelled and maintained by the taxpayer as well as special kitties in each of the 290 constituencies for monitoring and evaluating national government projects and public participation in parliamentary affairs.