Dear Elected Honorable Members,
I begin by congratulating you on your victory in the August 8, 2017 polls, the second general election after the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
This however, puts you in a unique, fairly challenging, but privileged position as the 12th house of parliament in the history of the Republic of Kenya. It opens a new chapter to the legislative history of the country, a new path to stride along. Clearly, a chance to make amends, build bridges, sores to new heights and develop a new character of a house that has traditionally left Kenyans with a lot to reflect on. The centrality of parliament in modern day governance and legal systems cannot be over- emphasized. The constitution of Kenya 2010 puts this point into perspective as the chapter on the legislature is a sequel to representation of the people. The law further qualifies this by stating that parliament shall reflect the composition of the people of Kenya- a provision that is meant indicate the unique interests and challenges that the different categories of people in Kenya face. In other words, the honorable members of parliament who come from marginalized community, youths, elderly and persons with disabilities have a bigger responsibility of ensuring that the interests of their constituencies are represented. I must emphasis that the houses that came before you, left a lot to be desired with regards to the concept of representation as the facts may speak for themselves.
Article 96 of the Constitution of Kenya gives parliament the authority to legislate and I must insist that this is a very important function that the other arms of government dearly depend on you to perform properly. Neither the Executive nor the judges will deliver without proper laws. The responsibility to legislate should however be guided by goodwill, logic, sobriety, wisdom and the spirit of the Constitution. I have to believe that you have learnt from the past. Kindly remember that ideas such as slavery, apartheid, detention without trials and one party political system have come to be as legislations resulting into consequences that shock the conscience of humanity. Parliamentary work is definitely intertwined with politics and party loyalty however, I feel the need to advice that politics should be used to legislate progressively. If all that is lost on you, just remember the Security Amendment Bill-an embarrassing a tempt to back the hands of time
The other key function of parliament is oversight. The Black’s law dictionary (6th edition) defines oversight as “overseeing” or supervising”. This means parliament therefore, has the duty to watch and control government, to throw the act of publicity on its acts, to expose and compel justification for all they do. I therefore recommend that as you await to start work, you need to reflect upon and be conscience of this role as opposed to the intricacies and the excitements of the tyranny of number. I must also remind you of the important twin oversight role played by the Senate with regards to the County Government. Chapter 11 of the Constitution of Kenya is a five-year-old infant that we really need to care for, otherwise, we stand a chance of losing the gain and the vision of devolution. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) ought to be more thorough, ruthless, vicious, and keen and prompt in checking and auditing County Government accounts
After all is said and done, I feel obliged to remind you of the requirement of chapter six of the Constitution of Kenya 2010. I am talking about the dignity of the office and the position you hold in the society. It behoove you (Members ) to give the respect you desire, to act, speak, dress and execute your duties in a manner that does not only inspire confidence but brings pride to the people who elected you to office. It may be a tall order to eradicate hooliganism in our football fields, if it is a norm in our parliament.
Parliament may also be a good avenue to unite the people of Kenya, make sure that there is equal distribution of resources, equality, equity and social justice. The 12th parliament may be the house that champions reduction of the cost of living, proper security and war against terror, good education and health services and eradication of persistent strikes by workers. Parliament however cannot afford to ignore the debate on cessation, as much as it may be a social media zeitgeist, it is a clear pointer to a frustrated citizenry. As for the pay cuts, in the event that you feel aggrieved, kindly use diplomacy and plead your case to the SRC, political side- shows and threats are the whole mark of a house that may soon crumble.
Wish you all the best!
Ouma Kizito Ajuong
Kenyan Citizen, Voter, Advocate and a person living with disability.