In Summary
  • The MPs started the process of amending House rules to increase the size of House committees to allow each of the 349 lawmakers to be appointed to at least two committees.

  • They approved the membership of the Committee on Selection and the Procedure and House Rules Committee.

  • Speaker Justin Muturi agreed and asked members of the House Rules Committee to meet at 11am on Thursday.

  • The catch in the increased numbers is that MPs will earn Sh5,000 per sitting in each of the two committees.

MPs on Tuesday opened a new avenue to make more money from tax payers — by being appointed to at least two House committees — even after the Salaries and Remuneration Committee massively cut their perks.

The step marked a breakthrough for the National Assembly to begin its work, including the  possible formation of a committee to vet nominee Cabinet secretaries, three months after MPs were elected.

The MPs started the process of amending House rules to increase the size of House committees to allow each of the 349 lawmakers to be appointed to at least two committees, with Jubilee Party and the opposition National Super Alliance working together on that.

They approved the membership of the Committee on Selection and the Procedure and House Rules Committee.

The House Rules Committee will meet on Wednesday and the Committee on Selection on Friday.

STANDING ORDERS

Majority Leader Aden Duale said the first order of business at the House Rules Committee will be the change of the Standing Orders to increase the size of departmental and select committees.

“We have looked at the numbers and we have realised that we have some gaps, and that is why these members will receive our concerns, through our Whips, on where we want the Standing Orders amended and every member of our House, the 349, can be in two committees — one departmental and one select, comfortably,” said Mr Duale.

Under the House rules changed in June, the size of departmental committees was set at 17, down from the 29 in the 11th Parliament, and the 27 in the two watchdog committees.

Minority Leader John Mbadi said: “The numbers we have are too restrictive. With 349 members in this House, we need a member to be in at least two committees.”

19 MEMBERS

He told the Nation he will propose that the departmental and the Public Investments and Public Accounts committees be increased to 19 members. Other committees will increase to 23 members each.

Speaker Justin Muturi agreed and asked members of the House Rules Committee to meet at 11am on Thursday.

“Hopefully, the leadership will then have presented in writing the proposals so that the committee looks at the size of the House and considers those proposals,” said Mr Muturi, who backed the suggestion to increase the size.

The catch in the increased numbers is that MPs will earn Sh5,000 per sitting in each of the two committees and the frequency of the sessions is high because under the presidential system of government, majority of legislative work is carried out in committees. Chairpersons of the committees play a key role in the House’s oversight team, wielding powers almost equivalent to ministers. “Committees are the engine of any Parliament. Parliament at committee is Parliament at work and Parliament in plenary session is Parliament on exhibition,” Mr Muturi said.

SITTING ALLOWANCES

The SRC, chaired by Ms Sarah Serem and whose term ended on Tuesday, radically reduced MPs’ salaries from Sh710,00 a month last July to Sh621,000.

The SRC also invaded MPs avenues of raking in perks, abolishing sitting allowances of Sh5,000 per session in the chamber and restricted travelling allowances under a new zoning criteria which will see them earn from Sh266,000 a month.

“We have five zones with various levels of kilometres, for instance, up to 750km will get a monthly Sh266,633, up to 1,000km to and fro will receive Sh355,550 and up to 1,250km will get 444,438,” the SRC said.

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