After truce, let MPs get down to work

Tuesday March 13 2018

By EDITORIAL
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The 12th Parliament has hardly transacted any meaningful business since its inception in August due to intractable political differences arising from the contested presidential election.

MPs from the opposition National Super Alliance have consistently boycotted sittings, jeopardising critical activities.

Most notably, they kept off the vetting of Cabinet and principal secretaries, leaving the Jubilee Party side to run away with the task. The overriding goal was to delegitimise presidential appointments.

Parliament resumes business today after a brief recess.

However, events of the past few days have changed the political landscape.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his main challenger, Nasa leader Raila Odinga, met last Friday and resolved to put aside their political differences, which, on several occasions, threatened to get out of hand and got the country on the edge.

Parliament remains the courtyard for debating and negotiating political issues.

When MPs keep off or turn it into a combat zone, as we have witnessed lately, it loses its authority and fails the constitutional test.

MPs and the House leadership must take the cue from the development at the top political hierarchy, change tack, take their rightful positions and execute their constitutional duty devoid of hard-line party lines.

The new session is heavy-laden. There are several critical legislative businesses for debate and approval.

For one, the National Treasury will be presenting proposals for supplementary budgets to run the government until June, when the financial year closes.

Already, the government has indicated major budgetary deficits, necessitating painful cuts that will affect the national and county governments. Such difficult decisions require critical evaluation and concurrence. The pending Bills, include Energy; Petroleum (Exploration Development and Production); and Cybercrime.

Precisely, this is a busy session that requires the MPs’ focused and collective attention.

However, at this time of political rapprochement, it will be important for Parliament to maintain its independence and keep off inter-party politics to effectively check the Executive.