House to vet regional assembly nominees

1 min

Minority leader Opiyo Wundayi (left) with Winnie Odinga at County Hall, Nairobi, November 9, 2022. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Parliament is expected to form a joint committee from both the National Assembly and the Senate to vet nominees to the East Africa Legislative Assembly.

The 14-member panel, comprising seven members from either House, then holds its inaugural meeting to set the grounds for the vetting exercise. This has already been done with Makueni Senator Dan Maanzo and Kipipiri MP Wamjiku muhia being appointed as the co-chairs.

Those sitting in the committee from the National Assembly are Makali Mulu (Kitui Central), Sabina Chege (Nominated), John Mutunga (Tigania West), Daniel Epuyo (Turkana West), Francis Sigei (Sotik), and Ruth Odinga (Kisumu).

Those from the Senate include Rachael Michera (Nominated), Joyce Korir (Nominated), Joseph Kamau (nominated), Beatrice Akinyi, Mohamed Chute (Marsabit), and Miraj Abdullahi. According to the East Africa Legislative Assembly Act, 2011, Kenya and the other five member states of the East African Community are entitled to nine slots each.

The joint committee is tasked with determining how the nine slots will be shared out among the parliamentary parties. It also considers the names and nomination papers of the duly nominated candidates and addresses complaints arising from the process.

The team is also mandated with inviting the respective nominees to verify any information affecting their qualification to vie for elections under the EALA rules. The committee has the power to reject the papers of a candidate “if it is apparent from the contents of the papers that the candidate is not qualified to vie for election.”

“The joint committee may make a recommendation for the rejection of all nominations and order a fresh nomination,” reads the Act.

Jointly, political parties are supposed to propose 27 names to the committee for vetting and a vote is then taken in the two Houses to pick nine names that will represent the country in the regional assembly.

Notably, the EALA Elections Act, 2011 provides that a new assembly is elected within 90 days before the expiry of the term of the subsisting assembly. Kenya is already running behind schedule and is rushing to have completed the process before the inauguration of the new EALA session on December 17.

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