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This morning, Hon. Moses Masika Wetangula, EGH, MP, the Speaker of the National Assembly opened the National Assembly Induction Retreat themed “Setting the stage for a smooth takeoff”.
In his opening remarks the Hon. Speaker of the National Assembly stated, “The composition of the 13th Parliament reflects a new dawn for our country. Twelve years ago, we adopted a new constitutional order which has considerably transformed Kenya’s legal, political economic and social landscape.
Since the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution, we have strengthened our governance institutions, improved representation for marginalized groups and expanded the space for democratic freedom. Notably, the number of female Members of the National Assembly has risen from 76 in the 12th Parliament to 82 in the 13th Parliament, with 29 women having been elected to represent single-member Constituencies.”
Members of the National Assembly present during the opening session agree that the retreat is a “strategic assembly” of Members that seeks to orientate and familiarize all Members with their mandate and the tasks that lie ahead; and to empower Members with the necessary tools and skills to execute the mandate delegated to them by the people.
With the theme “Setting the Stage for a Smooth Take-Off”, the retreat is an opportunity for Members to interact formally with the various directorates of the National Assembly which facilitate Members to discharge their constitutional responsibilities.
“As we are going to find out during this induction, an MP spends far more of his/her working life outside the House. The job transcends across a range of portfolio areas and is people-oriented, and involves among others; talking about and listening to ideas, proposals, and complaints, reconciling opposing viewpoints, explaining party or government policy to citizens and presenting citizens’ views to political Parties and government, getting the requisite action out of the government on problems that confront the constituents, and examining how the government uses or abuses the power it exercises on behalf of the people of Kenya,” said the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Gladys Boss Shollei.
Members of the National Assembly were urged that the induction retreat serves as the benchmark for future engagements in the House; therefore, Members to dutifully attend the sessions even for re-elected Members who have attended previous induction seminars of previous parliaments.
“The programme is designed to give Members a 360 degree exposure of the working of a Member of the National Assembly. Some of the key topics to be covered will include: an overview of the mandate and functions of Parliament; parliamentary powers and privileges;
interlinkages and inter-dependence between Parliament and the Judiciary; diplomacy, etiquette and reputation management for legislators; among others.
These preliminary sessions will enable you to have a general overview of your role as a Member of Parliament and how this plays out in your interactions while in the House, Committees as well as with other arms of government and the public,” Acting Clerk Serah Kioko said.
This ongoing 5-day retreat serves as a suitable opportunity for interaction and experiential sharing and learning especially on law making processes including the introduction of Bills and Motions, the Budget Making Process, the Committee System, the Rules of Debate and the various aspects of Parliamentary Powers and Privileges.