16, September, 2016

Needed: A legal framework for strengthening oversight role of Kenyan parliament

Based on new research, this brief sets out a framework to improve the accountability of the Executive to the Kenyan parliament.

This policy brief is drawn from a research paper on Horizontal Accountability of the Executive to the Legislature in Africa: A Case of Kenya. The research adopted a mixed methods approach that was QUAL-Quan, in-depth interviews were held with Members of the County Assemblies (MCA) and officers at the National Cereals and Produce Board. Desk top reviews of the Parliamentary Debates Reports (Hansard), parliamentary accounts committee report, the state of the nation address document and media reports were also carried  out. Key questions revolved around: the mechanisms used by parliament to get information on the performance of the executive, responses to questions and requests for reports and statements, legislative outputs in terms of bills and types of bills and the work of PAC. The evidence gathered revealed gaps in the horizontal accountability of the Executive to the Legislature. This brief explains this and proposes a framework of optimizing horizontal accountability in the Kenyan parliament.

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Key Lessons:

  • Strengthen the link between Parliamentary oversight and anti-corruption efforts
  • Make the consultation process more inclusive by bringing together MPs, representatives of Government, state owned enterprises, CSOs, the private sector and other actors to deepen democracy
  • Introduce direct implementation of Parliament’s decisions through a special agency;
  • Harmonize legal frameworks across all arms of government and review Parliamentary Standing Orders to ensure they support and do not reduce accountability

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