In 2024, MPs Need to Bring Back Honour to their Title 'Honourable'

It is a new year and a resolution that Members of Parliament (MPs) need to collectively strive to achieve is to honour the Constitution and the people that they represent. As Parliament has been on recess, a number of MPs, particularly those representing the young, have been caught up in controversy.

Mumias East MP, a first-timer in the legislature, is currently on the radar of EACC for allegedly violating Chapter Six of the Constitution following claims that he publicly assaulted Malaha-Isongo-Makunga MCA Peter Walunya Indimuli during a funeral service in Mumias East, Kakamega County. While his counterpart in the Senate, John Methu, also a Parliament first-timer, has also come under a lot of criticism after a video emerged of him fanning blatantly asking a senior government official to be prejudicial to a certain ethnic group.

On both accounts, it is unfortunate that individuals holding influential positions would conduct themselves in such a manner, given Kenya’s electoral history. The 13th Parliament is perhaps the first house in recent times occupied by a significantly younger lot. Some voted in as young as 25 years old as is the case with Bomet County Woman Representative, Linet Chepkorir ‘Toto’. One should remember that for a long time, post-independence Kenya’s political leadership was predominantly a preserve of seasoned, affluent politicians.

For the youth, getting into Parliament, let alone successfully clinching a political party ticket during elections, is no mean feat. Therefore, the expectation for this section of leaders is much higher especially among the very demographic they represent, the youth. The decisions being made by the current administration and legislature are being felt across the board, but it is without a doubt that the youth are the most affected.

It is rather disheartening to see young members being caught up in controversy as opposed to prioritizing impact. This recess period that Parliamentarians are on should not have been a period where leaders use public platforms to fan ills that have tainted Kenya’s history.

In Methu’s case, the prejudicial statement he made brings back painful memories of the post-election violence witnessed in various electoral cycles in Kenya. Many Kenyans’ faith in youthful leaders is grounded in the hope that the youth are not beholden to tribalistic views that have historically disenfranchised certain regions. The ‘shareholder’ rhetoric that he was encouraging contradicts President William Ruto’s commitment to serving all fairly, regardless of how they voted.  

Once elected, leaders are expected to operate with decorum. And while the wheels of justice work to bring back order, leaders need to remember that they have a duty to uphold the Constitution and its values. They have a duty to honour Parliament and the public.

It certainly isn’t the first time that we as Kenyans have witnessed inappropriate conduct from leaders but the current leaders have an opportunity to change the narrative. The public’s perception of Parliament is at an all time low and the MPs need to take it upon themselves to change this. This can only be done through introspection and reminding themselves why they sought to serve the public in the first place. Equally, political parties have a duty to rein in their members because there are a number of values that they seek to uphold.

We hope that in this new year, they can redirect this energy into debating and passing laws that serve the greater good. We hope that their engagements with the public are geared towards understanding pressing needs and identifying ways to address them through the offices they occupy.

That is the representative leadership that we hope to see.


Posted by Loise Mwakamba on Jan. 19, 2024

Categories:  Chapter Six   upholding the Constitution   MPs conduct



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