Article 127 of the Kenyan Constitution establishes and defines the composition and functions of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC). The Parliamentary Service Act contains more provisions on the Commission.
The major function of the Parliamentary Service Commission is to ensure the smooth running of both Houses of Parliament, the Senate and the National Assembly.
The Commission is one of the independent commissions established by the Constitution of Kenya.
Composition of the Parliamentary Service Commission
The composition of the Parliamentary Service Commission in Kenya consists of:
- the Speaker of the National Assembly, as the chairperson;
- a vice-chairperson elected by the Commission from the seven members appointed below.
- seven members appointed by Parliament from among its members of whom– (i) four should be nominated equally from both Houses by the party or coalition of parties forming the national government, of whom at least two should be women; and (ii) three should be nominated by the parties not forming the national government, at least one of whom should be nominated from each House and at least one of whom should be a woman; and
- one man and one woman appointed by Parliament from among persons who are experienced in public affairs, but are not members of Parliament.
The Clerk of the Senate should be the Secretary to the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC).
Qualification of Members of the Commission
In nominating or appointing any person as a member of the Commission under Article 127(2)(c) of the Constitution (the seven members appointed by Parliament ), Parliament should have regard to—
- the person’s experience or interest in consolidating and advancing the ideals and objectives of Parliamentary democracy;
- the national values and principles set out in Article 10 of the Constitution; and
- the regional and ethnic diversity of the people of Kenya.
A person should not be qualified for appointment as a member of the Commission under Article 127(2)(d) of the Constitution (one man and one woman appointed by Parliament from among persons who are experienced in public affairs, but are not members of Parliament) unless such person —
- is a citizen of Kenya;
- holds a degree from a university recognized in Kenya;
- has at least ten years experience in public affairs; and
- meets the requirements of leadership and integrity in Chapter Six of the Constitution.
Removal from office
A member of the Parliamentary Service Commission can be removed from Office under the following grounds:
- serious violation of the Constitution or of any other law including a contravention of Chapter Six of the Constitution;
- gross misconduct, whether in the performance of the member’s functions or otherwise;
- physical or mental incapacity to perform the functions of office;
- incompetence; or
A member of the Commission should vacate office–
- if the person is a member of Parliament– (i) at the end of the term of the House of which the person is a member; or (ii) if the person ceases to be a member of Parliament; or
- if the person is an appointed member, on the revocation of the person’s appointment by Parliament.
Functions of the Parliamentary Service Commission
Article 127 of the Constitution stipulates the functions of the Parliamentary Service Commission in Kenya. The Commission is responsible for–
- providing services and facilities to ensure the efficient and effective functioning of Parliament;
- constituting offices in the parliamentary service, and appointing and supervising office holders;
- preparing annual estimates of expenditure of the parliamentary service and submitting them to the National Assembly for approval, and exercising budgetary control over the service;
- undertaking, singly or jointly with other relevant organisations, programmes to promote the ideals of parliamentary democracy; and
- performing other functions– (i) necessary for the well-being of the members and staff of Parliament; or (ii) prescribed by national legislation
Section 11 of the Parliamentary Service Act stipulates further functions of the Parliamentary Service Commission. The Commission should —
- direct and supervise the administration of the services and facilities provided by, and exercise budgetary control over, the Parliamentary Service;
- determine and review the terms and conditions of service of persons holding or acting in the offices of the Parliamentary Service;
- initiate, co-ordinate and harmonize policies and strategies relating to the development of the Parliamentary Service;
- initiate programmes — (i) for training and capacity building of members and staff of Parliament and other persons; (ii) that promote ideals of parliamentary democracy as set out in Article 127(6)(d) of the Constitution; and (iii) that promote public awareness and participation in the activities of Parliament;
- do such other things as may be necessary for the well-being of the members and staff of Parliament.
When performing its functions under the Constitution and the Parliamentary Service Act, the Commission should apply —
- the national values and principles of governance set out in Article 10 of the Constitution; and
- the values and principles of public service set out in Article 232(1) of the Constitution.
The Commission should also provide services and facilities necessary to actualize the objects of Section 12 of the Parliamentary Service Act. This section provides for public participation in the legislative and other business of Parliament and its committees.
For more about the Parliamentary Service Commission, including its powers, see the Parliamentary Service Act.