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Kenya parliamentary visit

Learning checks and balances from larger states.

Members of the National Assembly, Ahmed Afif for the Opposition and Sylvianne Lemiel for the Ruling Party met with Kenya’s National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi to discuss his recommendations on parliamentary functions. One of them deals with more efficient checks and balances.

by S. Marivel reporting from Nairobi

Based on the recommendations made by Kenyan National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, it is clear that acquiring more staff to handle the administrative aspects would increase productivity in the Assembly.

There are currently only two members in the Secretariat, according to Ms. Lemiel.

“There is an opportunity to learn different procedures and to see how we can use this information to do what we are doing,” explained Mr. Afif during a press briefing following the discussions with Speaker Muturi on Tuesday. “It can help us to streamline processes which currently exist especially if we mimic larger states that have more experience than we do.”

Ms. Lemiel also noted that Kenya and Seychelles share the same practices, with the exception of how finances are handled.

“The majority of things we do is the same, except for the way we handle finance because they seem to look deeper and inspect matters more,” she explained. “We should try to get more checks and balances too and seek an attachment with Kenya in order to learn this process.”

Mr. Afif, who is on the Committee of Finance, noted that Kenyan Parliament and its National Assembly are “more technical, which helps them analyse cases better”, he said.

This, of course calls for more trained staff.

“We can learn how to better use our resources in Parliament itself.
We have to ensure that there are follow ups once recommendations are made by the National Assembly. When a final report is ready, they have to present it to Parliament. We can increase these types of checks and balances by involving the Ombudsman and the Attorney General for instance,” Mr. Afif reflects.

According to both National Assembly representatives, the Assembly has always suffered from a lack of staff.

“Yes we are a small country and therefore have fewer resources but getting staff to support the technical aspect of Parliament and the Assembly will be needed so members can do more of their own work, according to their mandate, to make the Assembly deliver,” Mr. Afif highlighted.

The representatives also had questions on how budget is allocated to Kenyan Parliament and and how to monitor the expenses. In response, Honorable Speaker Muturi explained that there is a Parliamentary Service Commission, an independent body, which monitors this closely.

In a country like Seychelles where the population is small and familiarity leads to many not observing legal procedures and best practices, having an independent body to monitor all transactions, deals, and exchanges is still more necessary. Speaker Muturi also stressed on the freedom of information during the meeting. His recommendations can help Seychelles streamline many of its processes.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi visited Seychelles in 2013 when he met with the then Speaker, Dr. Patrick Herminie. He also visited Praslin.


©courtesy from Today Newspaper