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Quorum hitch as MPs hunt for votes

Parliament has been hit by a perennial quorum hitch as most of the lawmakers decamp to their home counties to lure voters ahead of the next General Election.

The lawmakers are worried that they stand to lose supporters to their rivals, who have started early campaigns, if they concentrate on legislative and oversight roles in Parliament.

House sessions usually start late due to lack of quorum, unlike before when a quorum bell would be rung to alert lawmakers within parliamentary precincts.

In some instances, business listed in the Order Paper has had to be postponed due to absence of legislators in the House. Even responses for questions sought by MPs have had to be put on hold because they were absent, yet they were usually made aware in advance about the business of the day.

But lawmakers have maintained that they have to balance between being in Parliament and serving their electorate.

PERENNIAL ABSENTEES

“Representation is also part of our core mandate. But, there are those who are perennial absentees in the House and those are the ones voters should be worried about,” said Nyamira Senator Kennedy Mong’are who is a presidential aspirant. He advised Kenyans against electing leaders based on their financial muscle and focus on those who understand the needs of Kenyans.

MPs are now considering revising the House’s threshold for a quorum to fast-track decision making.

But, Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki sought to play down claims that the lawmakers had absconded their duties to the extent of slowing down the House business.

He said the lawmakers were keen to finalise matters scheduled for this final session, especially Bills with constitutional timelines and proposed finance laws.

“It is a race against time. We shall only not take an indefinite recess in June for those eyeing political seats to participate in the party primaries,” Prof Kindiki said yesterday in Nairobi. He said there will be no disruption of Parliament, until August 8 when Kenyans go to the polls

Already, he said, senators were upbeat to start processing the Division of Revenue Bill 2017 that has been submitted to the Senate from the National Assembly.

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