–In the inaugural assessment report for the 13th Parliament released by the Mzalendo Trust Executive, it has been revealed that a year after the Kenyans elected their leaders, a total of 15 Members of Parliament have remained silent on the parliamentary floor throughout the year.
Interestingly, a few of these individuals made the list in the evaluation reports for the 12th Parliament. They include the outspoken Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi, George Aladwa (representing Makadara), and Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama.
Lawmakers who have not yet delivered their inaugural speeches in the National Assembly include Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri (representing Kasarani), Mohamed Soud (representing Mvita), Elizabeth Kailemia (Meru Woman MP), Paul Chebor (representing Rongai), Ernest Kagesi (representing Vihiga), Joseph Iraya (nominated), Teresia Wanjiru (nominated), and Muthoni Marubu (Lamu Woman MP).
According to Mzalendo Trust, the findings reveal an ongoing pattern where approximately one-third of Members of Parliament contribute minimal substantive input to parliamentary discussions.
The data indicates that, on average, a Member of Parliament (MP) addressed the floor approximately 10 times. A significant majority, encompassing 68.14 percent of the National Assembly’s members (187 individuals), spoke fewer than 10 times.
Contrastingly, a member of the Senate, on average, participated in discussions around 41 times. Only a solitary senator spoke less than 10 times, with the majority engaging in 50 or more plenary discussions.
Prominently active figures within the National Assembly included Dr. Makali Mulu (representing Kitui Central), Beatrice Elachi (representing Dagoretti North), James Nyikal (representing Seme), and Ken Chonga (representing Kilifi South).
Within the Senate, notable contributors were Samson Cherargei (representing Nandi), Eddy Oketch (representing Migori), John Kinyua (representing Laikipia), and Mohamed Faki (representing Mombasa).
The report also highlights a discord between the priorities pursued by Parliament and the expectations of the citizens throughout the past year.
“There has been a mismatch between citizens’ expectations and Parliament’s actions. Whereas citizens have invested heavily in public participation, the results have not been reflected in the most anticipated legislative proposals,” said Mzalendo Trust Executive Director, Caroline Gaita.
“For instance, despite public outcry on the high cost of living, members of the National Assembly did not heed Kenyans’ calls to reject certain punitive clauses of the Finance Bill, 2023. The exercise was marred by political chicanery and sharp partisan positions that obscured objectivity in debating the proposals of the Bill.”
Ms. Gaita implored lawmakers to step up and ensure that the legislative agenda of the 13th Parliament aligns with the aspirations of the Kenyan population.
“This can be done by entrenching public participation, and ensuring it is not a mere procedural technicality,” she said.