Senators in push to elect East African Legislative Assembly members

Senators want the law changed to allow them to nominate and elect members of the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala).

Already, the two Houses have agreed to form a joint select committee of seven members each, to review the procedure of selection of the Eala members.

The Senate is pushing to be part of the process following concerns that the election rules adopted in April 2012, do not take into consideration the bicameral Parliament.

The senators also want to pass amendments to the Ratification of Treaties Act to allow the senate to participate in the ratification of internationals laws and instruments that affect Kenya.

Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma) said the current situation where treaties signed by the country can only be ratified by the National Assembly is based on a wrong assumption that Kenya has no bicameral House.


He faulted the National Assembly for amending the law to lock out the Senate from ratifying international treaties, which is against global standards.

“The National Assembly unilaterally amended the law on treaty ratification to give itself powers to ratify treaties when the Constitution says they should be signed by Parliament, as a whole,” Mr Wetang’ula (above) said.

He cited countries such as Burundi and Rwanda which have a bicameral parliament, saying their electoral college is vested in both Houses.

“We want to move in tandem with our East African countries to have both Houses participate in nomination and election of Eala members,” said the senator.

He proposed that Eala members whose terms expire on June 4, be elected by citizens of the East African region, through special constituencies, as opposed to through the member countries’ parliaments.


“We need to make Eala a full parliament where every political party provides a list of those to serve there, if elected. We need a strong Eala with a wider mandate. Currently, they can’t amend a single treaty,” Mr Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo-Marakwet) said.

Mr Wetang’ula observed that most of the those who end up in Eala are political rejects being rewarded for being loyal to some parties, and this has affected the assembly’s effectiveness.

The team consists of senators Mutula Kilonzo Jr (Makueni), Elizabeth Ongoro (nominated) Kimani Wamatangi (Kiambu), Peter Mositet (Kajiado), Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Markwet), Mshenga Mvita (nominated), and Henry ole Ndiema (Trans Nzoia).

Members from the National Assembly are Katoo ole Metito (Kajiado South), Ali Wario (Bura), Florence Mutua (Busia woman rep), Wafula Wamunyinyi (Kanduyi), Samuel Chepkong’a (Ainabkoi), Wanjiku Muhia (Nyandarua woman rep) and Daniel Maanzo (Makueni). 

The committee has 14 days to present a report to the two Houses for consideration.

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