THE UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI:
SCHOOL OF LAW;
PRESENTED BY: PETER MUTUKU
LECTURER: MISS PAULINE NYAMWEYA
The Kenyan government has three main arms like most sovereign governments in the world. The three arms are: The Executive, The Judiciary and The Legislature. Each of the three arms performs different functions to ensure effective running of the government. While the Judiciary is conferred with the assignment of interpreting laws and statutes, the Legislature has the role of making such laws. The Executive plays the role of implementing these laws after the judiciary has interpreted their meaning. However, for the purposes of this essay, I will look at the legislative role and the legislative process of the parliament in Kenya. Legislatures are the people’s branch of government, the institution where citizen interests and preferences are expressed and transformed into policy, and the point at which, at least potentially, people most closely engage their national government. As such, legislatures are key to achieving the democratic potential embodied in free and fair elections. While legislatures are central to democracy, they tend to inherit a position of weakness relative to the executive. Moreover, legislatures must function effectively to reinforce democracy and make public policies effective. If the voices of those most affected by government policies are not heard in the policymaking process, those policies will not be as successful as they can be. Legislatures fulfill a number of important functions in a democracy: they represent people and groups, reflecting and bringing their needs, aspirations, problems, concerns, and priorities to the policymaking and policy-amending process; they make laws, the rules that govern a nation; and they practice oversight, assuring that laws and programs are carried out legally, effectively, and according to legislative intent. The representation function is fundamental, for it shapes the democratic character of the other two functions. Legislatures can legislate and conduct oversight, but without effective mechanisms of representation, they cannot be democratic, and are not likely to act in the interest of society as a whole. To understand the legislative process, it is necessary to know a few facts about this lawmaking body in Kenya. The Kenyan legislature consists of two bodies as established by Article 93 sub-article (1) of the Constitution 2010. It states: There is established a Parliament of Kenya, which shall consist of the National Assembly and the Senate. Sub article (2) states that; The National Assembly and the Senate shall perform their respective functions in accordance with this Constitution. According to article 97 (1) The National Assembly consists of— (a) two hundred and ninety members, each elected by the registered voters of single member constituencies; (b) forty-seven women, each elected by the registered voters of the counties, each county constituting a single member constituency; (c) twelve members nominated by parliamentary political parties according to their proportion of members of the National Assembly in accordance with Article 90, to represent special interests including the youth, persons with disabilities and workers; and (d) the Speaker, who is an ex official member. According to Article 98(1) The Senate consists of—(a) forty-seven members each elected by the registered voters of the counties, each county constituting a single member constituency; (b) sixteen women members who shall be nominated by political parties according to their proportion of members of the Senate elected under clause (a) in accordance with Article 90; (c) two members, being one man and one woman, representing the youth; (d) two members, being one man and one woman, representing persons with disabilities; and (e) the Speaker, who shall be an ex officio member....
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