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Parliament of Kenya: The National Assembly and The Senate

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The new Kenya Constitution has created a two-chamber Parliament; the National Assembly (Lower House) and the Senate (Upper House). The National Assembly will have 290 members elected from constituencies, 47 women each elected from the counties and 12 members nominated by parliamentary political parties according to their strength in the National Assembly (Article 90) to represent special interests: the youth, people with disabilities and workers. The other member of the National Assembly, in ex officio capacity, is the Speaker.

The Senate will have 47 members each elected from a county, 16 women members nominated by political parties according to their strength in the senate (Article 90), two members (a man and a woman) representing the youth, two members (a man and a woman) representing people with disabilities), and the Speaker who will be an ex officio member.

The Senate shall be the backbone of the counties, and its actions will determine the effectiveness of the devolved units in delivering services to Kenyans.

The second function of the bicameral parliament will be to create an appellate hierarchy in the enactment of laws, i.e. giving an opportunity to one chamber to review laws and decisions of the other chamber.

The Senate is supposed to be both reactive and proactive. Article 109 allows a Bill concerning a county to originate from the Senate (but it must be considered by the National Assembly from which it did not originate (Articles 111 and 112).

If a Bill relates to election of members of county assemblies or a county executive (also called a ‘Special Bill’ under Article 111), it may be vetoed by the National Assembly through a resolution supported by two-thirds of its members.

The role of the National Assembly will be to enact legislation, determine the allocation of revenue between the levels of Government,  oversee national revenue, expenditure and State organs and approve declaration of war and extensions of states of emergency.

The Senate represents the counties and protects their interests. It participates in lawmaking, debates and approves Bills concerning counties (Articles 109-113). It determines the allocation of national revenue among counties (Article 217), and exercises oversight over national revenue allocated to the county governments. The Senate participates in the oversight of State officers by determining resolutions to remove the President or Deputy President from office (Articlel45).


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