Kenyan and Somali Senates will deepen their collaboration in a bid to enhance the capacity of Members and staff to discharge their constitutional mandates and serve their citizens more effectively.
Speaker Amason Kingi and Federal Parliament of Somalia, Ali Shacban Ibrahim made the commitment on Wednesday.
Ibrahim led a delegation of senators from the neighbouring country to a visit with Kingi at the office in Parliament Buildings in Nairobi.
The Somali senators and House teams are in Nairobi for a benchmarking tour of the Parliament of Kenya this week.
Speaking during the occasion, Speaker Kingi said Kenya and Somalia and their citizens share a lot in terms of demographics, which makes their collaboration beneficial to their citizens.
He observed that Kenya’s devolved governance and Somalia’s federal system come with great benefits to the populations of the two countries and every effort must be made to enhance their effectiveness.
“In Kenya, the Senate exists to protect the interests of the 47 counties and their governments. I believe you too, as part of the Federal Parliament of Somalia have a duty to protect the interests of the federal states,” Kingi said.
Kingi met the delegation alongside Deputy Speaker Kathuri Murungi and Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi.
He observed that Kenya’s devolved governance has made it mandatory for the Senate, County Governments and County Assemblies to work together and collaborate more on serving the people.
Kenyans decided to re-introduce the Senate in the Constitution out of the need to decentralize governance and have more resources cascaded to the regions for grassroots development, he said.
“At times there is friction between the two levels of government but by and large, we have managed to strengthen our systems and structures to ensure each level operates independently as envisaged in Kenya’s 2010 Constitution,” he said.
Ibrahim said the Senate of Kenya has distinguished itself as a seasoned legislature with expertise in procedural and legislative matters.
“This why we have to learn from you and see areas where we can make improvements in our work back in Somalia. We feel happy to be here,” Ibrahim said.
Besides studying the working of an effective and efficient legislature, the delegation seeks to benchmark in a number of areas.
They include management and scheduling of legislative business, management of committees, and the functions and roles of the political leadership in marshalling House business and representation.