Articles 122 and 123 of the Constitution dictate how voting takes place in the Senate in Kenya. Article 122 deals with voting in parliament while Article 123 deals with how the Senate makes its decisions.
Unless the Constitution provides otherwise, a majority of the members in the Senate shall determine any question proposed for a decision in that House, present and voting.
On a question proposed for decision in the Senate-
- the Speaker has no vote; and
- in the case of a tie, the question is lost.
A member of the Senate shall not vote on any question in which the member has a financial interest.
In calculating the number of members of the Senate for any purpose of voting in that House, the Speaker of the Senate shall not be counted as a member.
On election, all the members of the Senate who registered as voters in a particular county shall collectively constitute a single delegation and the elected member for the county be the head of the delegation.
The delegation rule mostly targets the nominated members of the Senate registered as voters in a particular county. The Senate has 20 nominated members (see the role of the Senate in Kenya). The person elected as senator in a particular county shall be the head of the delegation consisting of themselves and the nominated senators registered as voters in that county.
For example, if some of the nominated senators registered as voters in Nairobi County, the Senate delegation for Nairobi County shall consist of the elected Senator for Nairobi County and any other nominated members who registered as voters in Nairobi County. The elected Senator becomes the head of the delegation for Nairobi County.
The delegation is important for making decisions in the Senate that affect counties. Read on to find out how this happens.
When the Senate is to vote on any matter other than a Bill, the Speaker of the Senate shall rule on whether the matter affects or does not affect counties.
When the Senate votes on a matter that does not affect counties, each senator has one vote (whether elected or nominated). This means that all the senators can vote on that issue individually.
Unless the Constitution provides otherwise, in any matter in the Senate affecting counties–
- each county delegation shall have one vote to be cast on behalf of the county by the head of the county delegation (elected senator) or, in the absence of the head of the delegation, by another member of the delegation designated by the head of the delegation;
- the person who votes on behalf of a delegation shall determine whether or not to vote in support of, or against, the matter, after consulting the other members of the delegation; and
- the matter is carried (or passed) only if it is supported by a majority of all the delegations. (This also constitutes a single vote for counties without a delegation with the elected senator being the only member of what would be that county’s delegation).
And that’s how voting takes place in the Senate in Kenya.