House sits for 47 minutes in morning session
Posted Wednesday, June 27 2012 at 12:00
Parliament’s morning sitting on Wednesday came to an abrupt end after 47 minutes as MPs who were scheduled to canvass matters on the floor failed to turn up.
Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim noting that MPs who had scheduled questions on the Order Paper (parliamentary timetable) had failed to show up, wound up the sittings saying that the “House had no other business left to transact”.
Wednesday morning sittings take three-and-a-half hours, from 9am to 12.30pm.
Even those MPs who were supposed to initiate debate on motions did not show up. Ministers too, who had been scheduled to respond to the questions failed to turn up. Apart from Jakoyo Midiwo (Gem), who had come to conclude debate on the Traffic (amendment) Bill, the other MPs with Bills and motions failed to show up.
The MPs are known to come to the House late every Wednesday, and the temporary deputy Speakers have been encouraging the trend, by putting some questions on hold and waiting for the “second round” when either the minister or the concerned MP (depending on who was absent the first time the question was asked) to come to the House.
Mr Maalim had a rude shock for the late lawmakers as he threw out all those questions that were not asked when they were called up in the House. Mahmoud Sirat (Wajir South) was in the House on time and asked his question to Finance minister Njeru Githae.
The minister responded to the question.
Wilbur Otichillo (Emuhaya) was also in Parliament, but his question to the minister of Forestry and Wildlife, was not answered.
Ekwee Ethuro (Turkana Central) and Clement Wambugu (Mathioya) were not present to rally MPs to make resolutions on what they considered key issues.
Mr Ethuro wants the House to order the Ministry of Water and Irrigation to earmark 10 per cent of its budget to be distributed equally among all the constituencies in the country; and that another 10 per cent should be channelled to the arid and semi-arid constituencies, especially in northern Kenya.
The MP had also wanted a team at the constituency level to discuss water and irrigation agenda in the constituencies.
But even though his constituency is water-starved, and has perennial food-shortage and hunger problems, the MP did not show up in Parliament to take the first step in influencing policymakers, and that is, to get a resolution of the House, that will then form the basis of a law or a Cabinet directive to the ministry.
Mr Wambugu, had a peculiar proposal to seek the resolution of the House that the government forms a Men Enterprise Fund, now that there is a Youth Enterprise Fund and a Women Enterprise Fund.
The MP’s rationale for the fund is that it will “increase economic opportunities for, and participation by vulnerable Kenyan men in nation-building”.
Unlike questions which will have to be submitted afresh, the MPs whose motions and Bills were dropped will be at the mercy of the House Business Committee –the government-led team that sets the agenda of Parliament.
Parliament had been scheduled to take a month-long break as soon as it concludes making amendments to the Public Financial Management Bill, 2012.
That recess might be taken either Wednesday or Thursday.