The functions of the Clerk of the Senate in Kenya are both procedural and administrative. Article 128 of the Kenyan Constitution establishes the office of the Clerks of Parliament. The Parliamentary Service Commission should appoint the Clerk with the approval of the Senate.
The Parliamentary Services Act contains further provisions on the office of the Clerk of the Senate.
A person should qualify for appointment as a Clerk of the Senate if that person —
- is a citizen of Kenya;
- holds a degree from a university recognized in Kenya;
- has proof of at least ten years experience in senior management and leadership position in public affairs;
- demonstrates flair and a good understanding of parliamentary practice and procedure; and
- meets the requirements of Chapter 6 of the Constitution on leadership and integrity.
The Parliamentary Service Commission should appoint the Clerk of the Senate for a term of five years and is eligible for re-appointment for one further term of five years.
The functions of the Clerk of the Senate in Kenya are as follows.
The Clerk should be responsible to the Parliamentary Service Commission for —
- the day-to-day management and functioning of the Senate;
- executing the decisions of the Commission relating to the Senate;
- the overall management of the staff of the Senate following Article 128(2) of the Constitution and in particular, should be the authorised officer responsible for advising the Commission and implementing the Commission resolutions on all matters relating to -
- the appointment, promotion, and discipline of the members of staff of the Clerk;
- the assignment of duties, supervision and training of the staff of the Clerk; and
- the deployment of staff of the Clerk to serve in any other area in the parliamentary service;
- preparing and submitting the programmes necessary to achieve the mandate of the Senate for the Commission to approve; and
- performing such other duties as the Commission might determine or any other written law may provide for.
The procedural functions of the Clerk should include —
- rendering expert, non-partisan and impartial advice to the members of the Senate on the legislative process, and parliamentary procedure and practice; and
- carrying out such other duties and exercising powers as the law may confer upon them or by the Standing Orders and practices of the Senate.
The Clerk of the Senate should be under the direction of the Senate Speaker when carrying out the functions the Standing Orders and practices of the Senate confer upon them. In the absence or incapacity of the Speaker, the Clerk should be under the direction of the Deputy Speaker.
The Deputy Clerk should carry out the functions of the Clerk in their absence or incapacity.
The Parliamentary Service Commission may remove or suspend the Clerk of the Senate in Kenya for—
- inability to perform the functions of the office, whether arising from infirmity of body or mind;
- gross misconduct or misbehaviour;
- violation of the provisions of the Constitution, including Chapter Six of the Constitution; or
- violation of the provisions of the Parliamentary Service Act and any other written law.
For more information about the Clerk of the Senate, see Sections 25-31 of the Parliamentary Service Act.
See part one of this article, the role of the National Assembly Clerk.