The Senate is one of the two chambers of the Kenyan Parliament, and it is composed of 67 senators members. The members of the Senate are as follows:
- 47 elected senators: Each of the 47 counties in Kenya elects one senator.
- 16 women representatives: Each of the 47 counties elects a woman representative to the Senate. These representatives serve to ensure that the gender balance principle is upheld in the Senate, as per the Constitution of Kenya.
- 2 senators representing youth and persons with disabilities: These senators are nominated by political parties according to their proportion of elected members in the Senate.
The term of office for them in Kenya is five years, and they are eligible for re-election for a maximum of two terms.
Senators’ Duties and Responsibilities in Kenya
Senators in Kenya have several duties and responsibilities, including:
- Legislative role: Senators are responsible for making laws and regulations that benefit the people of Kenya. They propose, debate and pass bills in the Senate.
- Oversight role: Senators oversee the implementation of laws, policies, and programs in the country. They scrutinize and monitor the activities of the executive branch of government, government agencies, and other public bodies.
- Representation role: Senators represent the interests of their constituents in the Senate. They bring the issues and concerns of their constituents to the attention of the Senate and advocate for their needs.
- Budgetary role: Senators participate in the budget-making process, including approving the annual budget and oversight of government spending.
- Diplomatic role: Senators represent Kenya in international conferences and meetings. They participate in discussions and negotiations with foreign governments and organizations.
- Confirmation role: Senators confirm appointments of senior government officials such as Cabinet Secretaries, Judges, and other officials as required by law.
Overall, the primary responsibility of a senator in Kenya is to serve the interests of the people they represent and to uphold the Constitution of Kenya.
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Senators’ salary and allowances In Kenya
The salary and allowances of Senators in Kenya are determined by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC). As of 2021, the basic salary for a Kenyan senator is Kshs. 710,000 per month, which is subject to statutory deductions for taxes and other levies.
In addition to the basic salary, senators are entitled to various allowances, which include:
- House allowance: Kshs. 250,000 per month
- Commuting allowance: Kshs. 300,000 per month
- Sitting allowance: Kshs. 5,000 per sitting
- Responsibility allowance: Kshs. 25,000 per month
Senators are also entitled to other benefits such as medical cover, gratuity, and car loans. The SRC reviews the salaries and allowances of all public officers, including senators, periodically to ensure they are reasonable and commensurate with the responsibilities of the office.
Senator’s impeachment process In Kenya
The impeachment of a senator in Kenya is a formal process that is initiated when there are allegations of gross violation of the Constitution or any other law. The process for impeaching a senator is outlined in Article 181 of the Constitution of Kenya.
The process of impeachment of a senator involves the following steps:
- A written notice of the allegations against the senator is presented to the Speaker of the Senate, signed by at least one-third of all the members of the Senate.
- The Speaker shall within seven days convene a special sitting of the Senate to hear charges against the senator.
- A special committee is formed, comprising eleven members of the Senate, to investigate the allegations and report to the Senate within ten days.
- The Senate debates and votes on the report of the special committee.
- If the Senate passes the motion with the support of at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate, the senator is removed from office.
It is important to note that the impeachment process is a serious matter and should not be used for political or personal gain. The process should be conducted in accordance with the law and with respect for the rights of the senator being impeached.
Nominated Senators in Kenya
In Kenya, there are 12 nominated senators who are appointed by political parties based on the number of seats they have in the Senate.
The nominated senators are meant to represent special interest groups that may not have been adequately represented in the elective process. These special interest groups include:
- Persons with disabilities
- Business community
- Religious organizations
- Civil society organizations
- Marginalized communities