More cash as MPs expand committees, add members

Members of the National Assembly have amended the Standing Orders to expand the number of parliamentary committees and increased their membership in the panels.

The bicameral House yesterday adopted the amendments that also seek to have them serve in two committees each in what they termed a way of enhancing representation and inclusiveness of all the 349 MPs.

The committees have been increased from 29 to 32.

The Trade Committee has been split from the Finance and Planning Committee, while the Cooperatives Committee has been formed from the Agriculture and Livestock Committee. MPs have also split the Sports Committee from the Labour and Social Welfare Committee.

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The Joint Committee on National Cohesion and Equal Opportunity and Joint Committee on Parliamentary Broadcasting and Library will solely remain at the National Assembly.

Moving the proposals from the Procedure and House Rules Committee yesterday, member Tom Kajwang’ (Ruaraka) said the amendment will ensure equitable distribution of members to the 32 committees.

“This is a big cake for all of us so that we can serve the legislative role in this House. We don’t want members just to make money out of allowances, but be resourceful in those respective committees,” Kajwang’ said.

“The Committee on Selection should ensure every MP belongs to two committees.” The House also resolved members of the Parliamentary Service Commission will not chair or deputise any of the 32 committees but will only retain their memberships.

Speaker Justin Muturi said, “If you are a member of the PSC, you should not chair or deputise a committee. The commission has sub-committees which are chaired by the commissioners. But they should be allowed to participate in the legislative role through committees”.

Read: Speaker Muturi rejects NASA picks for House leaders

According to the legislators, amendments are aimed at increasing effectiveness of the members to tackle the bulk of House business through committees.

“The net effect of the amendments will be to create 642 slots available for distribution amongst the general membership of the House, an increase of 88 slots,” read the recommendations. The recommendations were brought to the House Rules Committee by Majority chief whip Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East). The additional committees and provision for MPs to sit in more than one translates to additional allowances.

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