President Uhuru Kenyatta has finally gazetted September 8, 2022 as the first sitting of the 13th parliament after days of waiting.
The notice released today, indicates that the two Houses of Parliament- National Assembly and Senate- shall sit concurrently from 9am on Thursday in their respective debating chambers.
President Kenyatta’s move is in line with Article 126 (2) of the constitution and comes after the conclusion of the August 9, 2022 general election and the gazettement of the MPs-elect in the two Houses by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
“In exercise of the powers conferred by the constitution, I appoint that the first sitting of the National Assembly and the Senate shall be held at the main parliament buildings on September 8, 2022,” says the notice signed by President Kenyatta.
Article 126 (2) of the constitution provides that whenever a new House is elected, the President, by notice in the Gazette, shall appoint the place and date for the first sitting of the new House, which shall be not more than 30 days after the election.
This provision is anchored on the fact that a sitting of either House may be held at any place within Kenya and may commence at any time that the House appoints.
On this day the first business of the House shall be the swearing-in of the MPs-elect, who will then go ahead to elect their respective Speakers.
A vacancy in the offices of the Speakers of parliament occurs when the House first sits after a general election.
Mr Justin Muturi and Ken Lusaka, now Bungoma Governor, were the Speakers of the National Assembly and Senate respectively.
During the time of the first sitting, the Clerks of each House shall exercise the powers of the Speakers.
The Standing Orders of the Senate and the National Assembly separately provide that the proceedings on the first sitting of a new House shall be such that the Clerks of the two Houses sitting separately, shall read the notification of the President as published in the Kenya Gazette.
List of the names
The Clerks will then lay a list of the names of the persons elected as members on the table of the House and administer the Oath or Affirmation of Office.
“The Clerk shall administer the Oath or Affirmation of Office to members-elect in alphabetical order,” the Standing Orders of the two Houses read separately.
The swearing-in of the MPs is guided by Article 74 of the Constitution.
The Article provides that no person shall assume or perform any functions of the office of an MP before taking and subscribing to the Oath or Affirmation of Office.
The order of precedence shall be followed during the swearing-in on the members in the two Houses.
The order of precedence in the Senate shall be Senators with the longest cumulative period of service in the Senate, Senators with the longest cumulative period of service in the Senate and the National Assembly, Senators with the longest cumulative period of service in the National Assembly, Senators with the longest cumulative period of service in any other legislature and all other Senators.
In the National Assembly, a member-elect who has served in a House of Parliament as Speaker shall be given priority.
This will be followed by the leader of the majority party, leader of the minority party or Deputy Speaker, members-elect with the longest cumulative period of service in the National Assembly.
Next will be members-elect with the longest cumulative period of service in the National Assembly, the Senate and the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), members-elect with the longest cumulative period of service in the Senate, members-elect with the longest cumulative period of service in the EALA and all other members-elect.
Once the MPs have taken their Oath or Affirmation of office, the next step shall be the election of the Speakers of the two Houses.
The Standing Orders of the two Houses further provide that immediately following the election of the Speaker, the Clerk shall administer the Oath or Affirmation of Office to the Speaker in the presence of the assembled House.
After taking and subscribing to the Oath or Affirmation of Office, the Speaker shall notify the members of the place, date and time of the opening of Parliament, which shall not be more than 30 days after the first sitting of the House.
“Following the notification by the Speaker, the sitting of the House shall stand adjourned until the date and time of the opening of Parliament,” the rules of the two House provide.
The Standing Orders of the two Houses also separately agree that when the Clerk is administering the Oath or Affirmation of Office to the members and before the House Speaker is duly inaugurated, any question arising in either of the two Houses shall be determined by the relevant Clerk.
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