Parliament witnesses heightened activity as MPs go for final recess

The precincts of Parliament witnessed heightened activity this week as MPs went for their final recess.

That brought to an end the 11th Parliament as its tenure ends with the General Election on August 8.

The number of visitors within the MPs’ lounge unusually increased as the legislators spent more time meeting their constituents than attending to the business of the House.

MPs seemed to put in extra effort to appease their supporters as they hit the ground today for re-election campaigns.

On a normal day, many people would camp at Parliament Buildings in a frantic attempt at meeting their MPs to no avail.

CHANGED SCENARIO

But in the sunset days of the 11th Parliament, the scenario changed and the MPs were hosting large delegations, even buying them lunch and beverages.

On Thursday, the majority of MPs spent most of the morning session chatting with their friends over tea. Some of the legislators may not make it back to Parliament after losing in the nominations and also do not stand a chance to be re-elected as independent candidates.

Since Parliament resumed its sittings on May 9 for the second part of the fifth session, business has not been as before.

Majority of MPs gave Parliament a wide berth after the party nominations, instead camping in their constituencies to strategise for the elections. The quorum bell has to be rung for about 10 to 20 minutes in order to marshal the numbers.

The Standing Orders require Parliament to have at least 50 MPs in the Chamber before commencement of any business, a number that has been hard to raise of late.

SIXTY DAYS

Under the old Constitution, Parliament used to be dissolved 60 days ahead of the polls. The 2010 Constitution, however, says Parliament’s term runs to the day of the next election.

Speaking from the floor of the National Assembly in the afternoon, Majority Leader Aden Duale hailed his colleagues in the 11th Parliament for a job well done.

The Garissa Township MP said MPs will remain in office until midnight of August 7.

“Let no one call us former MPs; we are still in office and will draw allowances as usual, including mileage,” said Mr Duale. “It is only the committees and normal House sittings that will not be there.”

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