Is Parliament asserting itself as law unto itself?

Is Parliament asserting itself as law unto itself? This is one question which is floating in the Kenyan citizenry discussion circles concerning the spat and stand off between the Legislature and Judiciary,the two distinct arms of the government.

And,if the constitution is anything to go by and putting into consideration the separation of powers within these arms of government ,a question emerges ,”who is encroaching into the other’s mandated territory”.The roles and functions of the 3 arms of the government are well spelt out in the constitution.In a democracy like ours,the Legislature,Executive and Judiciary are independent ,but not adversarial.To an extent ,their roles reinforce each other and each is expected to treat the other with respect

However, in recent times ,we have witnessed situations where the relationship between the 3 arms is becoming confrontational under the guise of pursuing independence.Recently the President raised a red flag and voiced a concern over the manner in which the Cabinet secretaries are being summoned to appear before these Parliamentary committees.The President complained that these irrelevant summonses are consuming most of Cabinet secretary working hours ;that’s most times they are spending their quality times appearing in parliamentary committees other than in their offices.And,these leaves their core responsibilities of policy formulation unattended,delayed or delegated due to these inconveniences of summons

But,it’s the supremacy battle between Parliament and Judiciary that has raised more dust and hit the headlines in the wrong way.And,none of these arms of government is bulging out ,or,cooling off ,they are all chest thumping and spitting fire,daring each other which has precipitated a clash of opinions with different divergent views emanating from several quarters.

And,the subject of contenticity happens to be a summon that the parliamentary committee on legislature issued to Judicial Service Commission members to appear before it.The Judicial service commissioners ignored the summons citing clause in the constitution which gives it autonomy and also putting into consideration the separation of powers.This move infuriated the Parliament which also cited a clause in the constitution which mandates it to act as the supervisory role over the other arms of the government.

The Parliament went ahead and initiated a move to disband the Judicial service commission by tabling a motion in the House which called the President to form a tribunal to investigate the Judicial service commission members.They initiated this move while in total disregard of a court order which had barred them from discussing this emotive issue.

And,it’s this clash of opinions and supremacy battle that has raised a concern within the Kenyan with the million dollar question ,”is Parliament asserting itself as law unto itself”.Specifically,the National Assembly has taken a combative approach in handling issues of national importance ,often flaunting the principle of independence as a basis for it’s action.

The Speaker is on record as dismissing court rulings ,terming them inconsequential to House proceedings .Members of Parliament have resorted to intimidating judicial officers and members of the executive .Against this backdrop ,a proposed meeting between Chief Justice,Speaker and the President is important to iron out differences and thaw the frosty relationship.

Granted,Parliament has an oversight role,but that should not mean patronising other arms of government.

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