MPs must give public interests first priority

Thursday, February 15th, 2024 10:39 | By
National Assembly
National Assembly in session. PHOTO/@NAssemblyKE/X

The third session of the 13th Parliament has reconvened at a time the country is at a crossroads.

Disillusioned Kenyans think the government has abandoned them to their devices under the weight of the cost of living. There is a feeling the political elite is increasingly divorced from the suffering of the citizenry.

Before breaking for a three-month recess in December, both the National Assembly and Senate had passed various laws, some of which have subsequently been declared unconstitutional by either having ignored the mandatory public participation or offending existing laws.

The court’s decisions have in essence halted various policies and projects initiated by President William Ruto’s administration, a move that earned them praise from observers who interpret the reprimand of the mischief by Executive and Parliament as an indication that Kenya’s judges retain a modicum independence.

Some of the policies enacted by Parliament that have been put to a stop by the courts have appeared unpopular, lending credence to claims that Parliament has become an appendage of the Executive. This is the stature and credibility the 13th Parliament has fallen in the court of public opinion.

Parliament has rendered itself as a rubber stamp of legislative proposals by the Executive, even those offensive to the Constitution and predatory on the people.

It appears, now more than ever, that legislators do not care for the interests, or meeting the ever-growing expectations, of the people.

Parliament’s law-making and oversight abilities have clearly become daunting; and they are unable to hide this fact any longer.

Several laws have been enacted in a record speed without the legislators giving themselves time to go through them.

The National Assembly is scheduled to start debate on some contentious issues that have been halted by courts among them the housing levy, Social Insurance Health Fund, Cabinet Administrative Secretaries and Maisha Namba.

Despite the rulings, the President has vowed to continue with the government projects, which may result in further confrontation with the Judiciary.

Parliament must be reminded it exercises powers delegated by the people and must, therefore, act in defence of public interest and the rule of law.

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