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Economy

House approves key committees

MPs and guests follow proceedings in the National Assembly Chambers during the opening of the 11th Parliament on April 16, 2013. Photo/BILLY MUTAI
MPs and guests follow proceedings in the National Assembly Chambers during the opening of the 11th Parliament on April 16, 2013. Photo/BILLY MUTAI  NATION MEDIA GROUP

The National Assembly on Wednesday approved two key committees that will oversee House transactions with immediate effect.

The House Business Committee (HBC) and the Selection Committee will draw the agenda of the National Assembly. The Selection Committee will now place the 349 MPs in House committees.

Upon approval, the 32-member House Business Committee proceeded to plan business for the House when it reconvenes on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday.

Gender and party balance concerns dominated debate on the formation of the two committees on Wednesday morning. New MPs also claimed veterans in the House had dominated the two committees.

The 21-member Selection Committee will proceed to place each of the 349 members in the 28 Standing, Joint and departmental committees of the House.

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Majority Leader Aden Duale said the committee which has 13 Jubilee Coalition members and eight Cord members must have the 28 committees all fully constituted by Tuesday to enable the House commence its committee work as soon as possible.

Chairpersons of the committees should be elected by then.

The Selection Committee will be required to adhere to constitutional provisions and be fair in composing the committees by looking at regional diversity and gender parity.

Mr Duale, while moving motion for adoption of the committee members said the team must ensure that members join committees of their choice where they are best suited in terms of expertise.

“Make sure they are placed in committees where they can contribute positively, where they have knowledge and skills, he said.

Mr Duale and Cord’s Jakoyo Midiwo said the business of constituting the committees will be a daunting task.

Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno said principles of transparency, regional diversity and gender balance must be observed in the membership of the committees.

He revisited the gender balance debate reiterating his remarks last week that female MPs should form 20 per cent of each of the committees given their ratio in the House.

“We have 69 ladies in the House which is exactly 20 per cent of the National Assembly," he said.

"The minimum they should be allocated in the committees to ensure compliance with the gender rule is 20 per cent,” he added.

He said Party Whips and House leaders should ensure the principles are complied with and are visible on the face of it.

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