Kenya Parliamentary Strengthening Project 2010 - 2014
The Kenya Parliamentary Strengthening Project aims to strengthen the Kenyan National Assembly’s capacity for lawmaking, oversight, and representation in a more democratic, effective, and transparent manner. SUNY/CID has partnered with the Kenya National Assembly since the year 2000, when the National Assembly passed its strategic blueprint for reforming and strengthening the Parliament. Throughout the last decade, significant achievements were made as the KNA undertook significant institutional reform and passed key legislation. The KNA’s improved capacity for committee work, budgetary oversight, and consultations with civil society organizations and think tanks to deliberate on key policy issues has made the KNA one of the most robust legislatures in Africa. With the passage of the most important pieces of enabling legislation now complete, the Kenya National Assembly is now well on its way to building its own capacity. Consequently, SUNY/CID’s current project is focusing consolidating the role of Parliament as a leading force in Kenyan society. Funding for the project is provided by USAID (2010-2014) and by DFID (2010-2015).
SUNY/CID’s overall approach is to provide technical assistance and legislative/legal and policy analysis while strengthening the KNA’s institutional capacity through collaborative planning, implementation and support for the parliamentary service departments. Activities fall into 6 main streams:
1. support to committees,
2. support to the Parliamentary Service Committee (PSC) and Departments,
3. support to the Office of the Speaker,
4. support to selected thematic caucuses,
5. support for KNA engagement with CSOs through a small grants program, and
6. support for Parliament’s representational function and oversight of service delivery.
The new 2010 constitution places the Parliament at the center of the government and calls for passage of 49 pieces of transitional legislation and a new bicameral legislative structure. Central to the project’s current is support to the parliament’s efforts to establish constitutionally mandated structures and to pass transitional legislation. SUNY/CID’s project supports the Parliament with as expert advice and training to Committees, MPs and staff. The project serves as a conduit to focus and organize civil society and think tank organizations that seek to support the KNA in the implementation of the new constitution. In the first two years, support is focusing heavily on tailoring legislative/legal and policy analysis to pass constitutionally mandated enabling legislation that will take precedence over most other pending legislation.
Activities to date include:
- Creation of a quick response unit (or think tank) that supports legislative deliberation on constitutional transition legislation.
- Facilitating non-state actor involvement in oversight of constitutional implementation.
- Support for drafting new legislative rules of procedure. Under the new constitution, the PSC will need to revise the House Standing Orders. Technical assistance to the PSC includes support to design bi-cameral rules and administrative structures. Rules revision will include ethical provisions and proposal of establishing an Ethics Committee in Parliament to address issues of full disclosures of MPs and Senators’ interests, earnings etc. The Ethics Committee will also oversee the implementation of the Powers and Privileges Act.
- Support for the development of bicameral structures through comparative studies of other parliaments. Technical assistance and studies will also assist the PSC to develop new staff capacity.
- Equipment and technical support for the KNA Centre for Parliamentary Studies and Training (CPST), which will be the focus for training new support staff.
- Support for budget preparation and oversight through pre and post-budget conferences and support to the Parliamentary Budget Office with training, mentoring, and the creation of a macro-economic forecasting model.
- Continuing the Junior Parliamentary Legislative Fellows program that trains and supervises 15 interns a year working in parliamentary service departments.
- Procurement of an Electronic Voting System.
- Support civil society groups involvement with the KNA through continued collaboration with the Parliamentary Initiatives Network and Parliamentary Study Group and with the launch of a small grants program to assist local CSOs and parliamentary support networks to provide research and knowledge sharing with the parliament.
- Support for parliamentary issue caucuses including the MDG Caucus and the Bi-Partisan Caucus on the Fight Against Corruption.
- Assistance to the KNA to improve oversight and administration of devolved funds, such as Constituency Development Funds (CDFs).
- Ongoing efforts to strengthen KNA capacity to carry out its regular oversight, legislative and representative functions that will lead to more self-sustaining parliament. This includes technical and mentoring support to committees, issue caucuses, the PSC and the CPST.
Updated: July 2012