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Tynwald study visit proves ‘valuable learning experience’ for parliamentarians from Kenya and Falkland Islands

A delegation from the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee of the National Assembly of Kenya along with the Deputy Clerk of the Falkland Islands’ Legislative Assembly have found their week-long study visit to Tynwald a ‘valuable learning experience’.

The Clerk of Tynwald’s Office arranged a programme for delegation leader and Committee Vice-Chairman the Hon. Richard Moitalel ole Kenta MP, the Hon Sakwa John Bunyasi, MP and the Hon Benson Mutura Kangara MP supported by Principal Clerk Assistant 11 /Secretary to the Delegation Mr John N. Mutega, who were joined by Cherie Clifford, Deputy Clerk of the Falkland Islands’ Legislative Assembly, to study the workings of Tynwald’s tricameral legislature, governance-related issues and administrative practices.

The visit also provided opportunities to observe sittings of the House of Keys and Legislative Council, also the public proceedings of the Social Affairs Policy Review Committee (SAPRC), and meet with senior Tynwald and Isle of Man Government officials.

Mr Kenta said: ‘We found proceedings in the House of Keys with such a small number of Members very interesting; in our National Assembly there are 349 Members, so there can be a struggle just to be heard.’ He went on comment on the ‘orderly conduct’ during Question Time and ‘cohesive’ quality of Tynwald.

Witnessing the SAPRC proceedings prompted Mr Bunyasi to comment on how members of the public were ‘given an audience’ to express their views in a setting where Members were ‘very understanding and ‘displayed great empathy’. ‘The committee procedures were a most valuable learning experience’, he said, adding:  ‘I was touched by how the two Houses conduct their business, and by the cordiality between Members and the Presiding Officers. It is a lesson from which we can learn.’

Mr Kangara admired Tynwald’s ‘very strong’ sense of tradition and its ‘close connection’ with the electorate, notably the ease of public access to the Legislative Buildings and creative use of social media.

In closing Mr Kenta said his delegation had been made to feel ‘at home’ and had felt ‘a closeness’ to their Manx parliamentary counterparts. ‘The Constitution of Kenya is a work in progress and, with a very young population, we are faced with balancing the modern and the traditional. We have learned a lot, though, from the oldest continuous parliament in the world. It has been a most productive experience.’

Ms Clifford echoed much of the delegation from Kenya’s sentiments. She said: ‘To study the workings of Tynwald, in particular how its committees are run, is a valuable part of our clerks’ training programme as we are in the process of reviewing and changing our parliamentary system.

‘We are developing our parliament; Members are now full time, for example. I definitely see room for improvement in our committee system and I was most impressed by the Chamber and Information Service, especially the Tynwald website, which provides such a wealth of up-to-the-minute information. That level of immediacy may not be possible to achieve in our Legislative Assembly, given that we are three in number with limited resources, but it is certainly something to which we aspire, and while our Legislative Assembly may be as equally as accessible to the public as Tynwald, the digital side of our operation is considerably less advanced.

‘The public expects more from their parliament today and we have to try to deliver that. I have ideas for how the administrative side of our operation could be developed, but what changes we do make will only be “baby steps”. Learning from Tynwald, though, has been very valuable.’


Cherie Clifford is pictured receiving her study visit completion certificate from the Clerk of Tynwald, Roger Phillips

The Hon. Richard Moitalel ole Kenta MP is pictured signing the visitors’ book. Also pictured with the Clerk of Tynwald Roger Phillips are fellow delegates the Hon Benson Mutura Kangara MP, the Hon Sakwa John Bunyasi, MP and Principal Clerk Assistant II /Secretary to the Delegation Mr John N. Mutega

Published - 25/05/2016