BWIRE: Parliament needs support to deliver
By Victor Bwire
Members of Parliament and the August House deserves respect, from both Kenyans and the members themselves.
Given its central role in guiding the country is most of what happens internally and globally, Parliament needs support from every Kenyan, more importantly because we voted for the MPs thus, they need our support.
We must invest in it, through financial, extra support services by extending political will and support for oversight, strengthen political parties to ensure we institutionalize the oversight role of parliament rather living it to the individual whims of MPs, ensure that other arms of government especially the executives to enforce the decisions of Parliamentary Committees. How is the executive complying with recommendations from Parliament?
Government needs to allocate sufficient resources to support oversight through ensuring that Parliamentary and County government committees need more support and expert staff, and related work-related structures to enable them work.
Parliament should also consider doing outreach and some work outside Nairobi to engage with Kenyans, whose understanding of their work seems limited to seeing them through the media, which in some cases is biased.
Many given that s and highly sometimes childish and partisan positions sometimes taken by legislators in discussing national matters, many people have tended to dismiss them, which has greatly affected parliament’s oversight work.
Granted that some might not meet our expectations on some occasions, they are our representatives and even when under scrutiny, it should be done procedurally. On many incidences, we and particularly the press has been very unfair to the MPs including the Speaker.
There are serious, committed and focused members of Parliament that are doing Kenya great work, in oversight, legislation and representation, a fact most of us are not appreciating. We seem to judge MPs severally on management of CDFs and political party parroting, not contribution on Parliamentary debates, oversight through various committees and representing Kenyans locally and in international issues.
For those wishing to appreciate the work of Parliament, a mastery of the work the August House suffices, more importantly in the current Parliamentary system where it’s Parliament that plays the role of the opposition – the reading of several investigating documents, sittings that extend several hours including late night, reading bills, international conventions and agreements that are relevant or have been signed by Kenya, attending to national and constituency issues, might appear a small job, but it needs commitment, tenacity, will and great sacrifice, which a number of members of the National and County Assembly provide.
And for the Speaker who guides the debates in the Assemblies, given the current, situation where Parliamentary debates are broadcast live, within the complications of our political party affiliations, lack of seriousness from some members and related, balancing such is not an easy task.
The work of Parliament will especially gain a lot with enhanced professional collaboration between media and Parliament have a symbiotic relationship. We need high caliber coverage of Parliament and its deliberations to enable us appreciate their work or dismiss it.
Given its importance, the institution of Parliament might need a specialized team or consistent team of journalists covering it, who are then exposed to skills upgrade and training for deeper understanding of Parliamentary procedures.
If they fail to vote on a matter of national interest because of whatever reasons, name them individually like Philip Ochieng used to do- instead of collectively lumping the together.
The media needs to; in the course of performing their duties uphold of the code Ethics and Integrity in order to promote objectivity and public confidence.
Parliament through professional engagement and relation with the media must play the role of opposition, watchdog and save Kenyans from the many ills going on. It has very bright and highly competent people, who should raise above party politics and save Kenya.
People should identify and push the executive of through private members bills to enact laws that might have been neglected but are urgently required for the good of Kenya.
Particularly we request Parliament to priorities to demand for improving the media sector through putting place a media policy and review of the current framework of operations of the National Broadcaster (KBC) to ensure that it is stable and operationally sound.
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