A section of Members of the National Assembly have voiced their opinions on the activeness of Parliament. Rarienda MP Otiende Amollo during an interview on Tuesday said that Parliament has failed Kenyans. “I’m the first to admit that we as the National Assembly, Parliament generally, have failed Kenyans,” he said in an interview. The Legislator added that Parliament is no longer a House of Debate but claimed to have become a rubber stamp for the wishes of the Executive.

His sentiments were echoed by Kamukunji MP Yussuf Hassan who said that it was a fact that the quality of debate in the 13th Parliament had declined. Hassan questioned the quality of bills brought to Parliament. The Jubilee MP explained that as lawmakers they interrogate the bills and revealed that the space for discussion in the House has declined.

“Some people may argue that the numbers of the members of parliament have increased and I do agree with him (Amollo), It is true and facts that the level of debate has narrowed down in the current Parliament there is no question about it.” He said.

Giving his views on why Parliament’s credibility has declined, MP Amollo said that to address the issue they must look in depth where the lawmakers have failed. He suggested that one of the reasons is what he termed as unlawful switching sides of houses.

“One of the reasons we have failed is that elected members have refused to respect their lanes. If you were elected to the side of the minority, stick there and not be wooed to join the majority,” Amollo stated.

He explained that many elected members who are supposed to be in the opposition, have claimed to be in government and have created a temporary super-majority which as a result Parliament cannot examine properly what needs to be examined.

On the issue of activeness, Deputy Speaker Gladys Boss Shollei in December highlighted that the absence of the opposition MPs in the National Assembly has aided the opposition’s failure to challenge proposals tabled in Parliament by the Kenya Kwanza government. According to Boss, only a few opposition-allied MPs attend plenary, but they complain about being ignored during parliamentary debates. Uasin Gishu Woman Representative Gladys Boss also stated that the lack of attendance has weakened the opposition’s legislative muscle and that blame should not be placed on the majority.

“There is  only a handful of people who come to Parliament. So even if the opposition believes that Parliament is being used as a rubber stamp why are you not present in the House? It is so well to come here on national television and complain but why are you not in the House when you are required? ” she posed.

By Lean Simatwa