Why do we have members of parliament? We have a country of 40 million plus people and not all of us can go to parliament to legislate, so every five years we pick people to represent us and legislate accordingly. However, somewhere along the way the fact that MPs are supposed to represent the will of people seems to have been lost. This despite that fact that several provisions of the constitution point back to the sovereignty of the people, in fact that whole of Chapter One of the constitution is dedicated to this. Article 1 (1) and (2) of the constitution provide that:
“All sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya and shall be exercised only in accordance with this Constitution. The people may exercise their sovereign power either directly or through their democratically elected representatives”
However recent events surrounding the manner in which MPs have been legislating around the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, calls in to question whether MPs are really honouring their duty as the peoples’ representatives.
The Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill seeks to change provisions in the Political Parties Act to allow MPs to switch parties without losing their parliamentary seat, and remove from the Election Act the requirement that those running for the position of Member of Parliament have university degrees.
Despite widespread objection from the people the MPs passed the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill and consequently the amendments to the Election Act and the Political Parties Act. The Prime Minister voiced his opposition to the proposed amendments and the President has refused to assent to bill. At which point one would have thought that the subject on the proposed amendments to the Election and Political Parties Act would be closed both premiers having rejected the amendments and the people having spoken.
However MPs seem to be unmoved by the widespread disapproval of the amendments by the public, and despite the President refusal to assent to the Bill, parliament is set to reopen debate on the amendments. If MPs who support the bill get a two-third majority they can veto the President’s memorandum and the proposals there in and pass the bill anyway. The long and short of which is that the amendments to the Political Parties Act and Election Act will be enshrined in law in spite of the will of the people.