A delegation from the National Assembly of the Republic of Kenya has completed a study visit to Tynwald to examine parliamentary privilege mechanisms.
Arranged by the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office, the three-day programme was delivered to Members of the Committee of Powers and Privileges. Head of the delegation, the Hon Peter M. Mwathi, said: ‘We chose to come to Tynwald to learn about parliamentary privilege best practice, enforcement mechanisms and challenges because we recognise this is an area where we need to do better.
‘Parliament cannot function without parliamentary privilege but we are a National Assembly made up of 42 different tribes of diverse backgrounds, languages and cultures, which can sometimes lead to self-aggrandisement among our Members. We know, though, that there has to be a change in behaviours and a formal structure put in place through a Powers and Privileges Act if we are not only to ensure transparency and the integrity and honour of the court, but also engage better with the people we serve.’
The programme provided an opportunity for delegates to observe a sitting of the House of Keys and of the Legislative Council. Mr Mwathi said: ‘Members clearly care about their community. We were also most impressed by how attentive Members were and how their questions were very focused, with no digression. This is something we will take back in a move to encourage our Members to keep to the business of the day during sittings.’
In closing Mr Mwathi said: ‘We have been very warmly welcomed in the Isle of Man and our study visit to Tynwald has been extremely productive. We hope this will help to set us on a new cultural path for our country.
’The Speaker of the House of Keys, the Hon Juan Watterson SHK, said: ‘This was a great opportunity to build on our relationship with the National Assembly of Kenya. The present form of this relationship began with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Nairobi in 2010, which I attended with Mr Phil Gawne, then a fellow Rushen MHK. Since then three delegations of Members and officers have come to the Isle of Man to share knowledge and insight. We are always happy to welcome parliamentarians from around the world and learn and share from each other’s experiences.’