Revealed: Your mute MPs in National Assembly, Senate
With just 13 months to the August 2022 General Election, 31 MPs and three senators did not make any contribution in the plenary last year as part of their legislative role, a new report on the ranking of lawmakers has revealed.
A 2020 Parliamentary Scorecard released by Mzalendo Trust shows that a large number of MPs, the highest for the 12th Parliament, did not make any contribution in 2020 yet some of them are vocal outside the august House.
The report indicates that the number of silent MPs in the National Assembly increased from 21 in 2019 to 31 last year, while in the Senate the number rose marginally from one to three.
Those who have not spoken include some vocal politicians allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition chief Raila Odinga while others support Deputy President William Ruto.
The Parliamentary Scorecard is an annual ranking of performance by Members of Parliament in the National Assembly and in the Senate.
Mzalendo Trust’s report reveals that MPs Abdi Shurie (Balambala), Alfred Sambu (Webuye East), George Aladwa (Makadara), Gideon Konchellah (Kilgoris), Imran Okoth (Kibra), Oscar Sudi (Kipseret) and Rose Museo (Makueni) stood out for their loud silence.
Other mute lawmakers in the National Assembly include Woman Reps Jane Chebaibai (Elgeyo Marakwet), Jane Njiru (Embu), Anab Gure (Garissa), Irene Kasalu (Kitui), Amina Gedow (Mandera), Asha Mohammed (Mombasa), Lilian Tomitom (West Pokot) and Janet Teyiaa (Kajiado).
The report says some of the fiercest defenders of the Deputy President such as Sudi, Sylvanus Osoro (South Mugirango), Mathias Robi (Kuria West), Patrick Munene (Chuka/Igambang’ombe), Charles Gimose (Hamisi), George Kariuki (Ndia), Marwa Kitayama of Kuria East and ANC member Alfred Sambu (Webuye East) did not make any contribution in the plenary last year.
Raila diehards Fred Ouda (Kisumu Central), Aladwa, Okoth (Kibra), Richard Onyonka (Kitutu Chache South), Bady Twalib (Jomvu), Aduma Owuor (Nyakach) and Lokiru Ali Mohamed (Turkana East) did not also contribute on the floor last year, the report says.
MPs Ernest Kivai (Vihiga), Maalim Kulow (Banisa), Said Haribae (Galole), and Maina Kamanda (Nominated) did not speak on the floor of the House last year.
Those who failed to register in the Senate plenary Hansard in 2020 were Gideon Moi (Baringo), Victor Prengei (Nominated) and Phillip Mpaayei (Kajiado).
While releasing the report, Mzalendo Trust Executive Director Caroline Gaita said the 4th session of the 12th Parliament was predominantly shaped by the Covid-19 pandemic, which triggered unprecedented disruptions to the hitherto normal operations.
According to Gaita, the normal sittings were disrupted, including initial suspension and reduced physical attendance.
“These challenges, including in performance, are not unique to Kenya but are consistent with the challenges that faced legislatures across the globe as they sought to adjust their sittings, operations and resources to respond to the pandemic,” said Gaita.
“The scorecard is based on every member’s (National Assembly and Senate) contribution as captured by the Hansard and is aimed at increasing legislative transparency while providing citizens an opportunity for public participation and tracking of their members’ performance,” said the official.
First published in 2014, the parliamentary ranking is strictly based on the performance of MPs inside Parliament and more specifically in the plenary.
Other than the plenary discussions, MPs spend a substantial part of their time in committees which are regarded parliamentary business, even when they are held out of Nairobi.
According to Mzalendo, Covid-19 had also affected the number of speech counts. The drop is evident from the average number of speech counts by top performers.
In the National Assembly, the count, which stood at 227 in 2019, dropped significantly to 176 in 2020 while in the Senate, it fell from 338 to 313 during the same period.
But although some MPs failed to utter a single word in the House, some of their colleagues performed exceptionally well with Ruto’s key ally Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu), Joseph Limo (Kipkelion East), Millie Odhiambo (Suba North), Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini), Sabina Chege (Murang’a) and David Sankok (Nominated) making the top 20 members in the National Assembly.
Both Odhiambo and Sankok have demonstrated consistency, having also made it to the top in the 2019 ranking.
In the Senate, Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi), Samson Cherargei (Nandi), Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma), Ledama ole Kina (Narok), Farhiya Ali Haji (Nominated) and Getrude Musuruve (Nominated) made it to the top.
Top women performers in the National Assembly include Odhiambo (Mbita), Chege (Murang’a), Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay), Rachael Nyamai (Kitui South) and Eve Obara (Kabondo Kasipul).
Nominated Senators dominated the Senate list, with Haji, Musuruve, Alice Milgo, Abshiro Halakhe and Petronila Were secured the bragging rights.
Top Woman Representatives include Ms Chege, Wanga (Homa Bay), Ruweida Mohamed (Lamu), Gedi (Wajir) and Florence Mutua (Busia) while the top Independent MPs are William Chepkut (Ainabkoi), Mwirigi (Igembe South), Partrick Musimba (Kibwezi West), Shakeel Shabir (Kismu Town East) and Charles Kilonzo (Yatta).
With the exclusion of the National Assembly House leadership,175 members spoke less than 10 times, accounting for 50 per cent of the House while 128 spoke between 10-50 times, accounting for 37 per cent of the House.
Only 33 members spoke more than 50 times, accounting for nine per cent of the House.
Coincidentally, some of the MPs who did not utter a word in the House in the year under review do not have degree qualifications, which will be required in next year’s elections.