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How to Present a Petition to Parliament in Kenya

The procedure to petition Parliament in Kenya is stipulated in the Petition to Parliament (Procedure) Act. The Act gives effect to Article 37 of the Constitution on the right to petition a Parliament.

A member of the public, public entity or private entity may write a petition to Parliament requesting Parliament to consider any matter within its authority, including enacting, amending or repealing any legislation.

Form of a petition to Parliament in Kenya

A petition to Parliament in Kenya should be in the form set out in the Schedule of the Petition to Parliament (Procedure) Act and should—

  • be handwritten, printed or typed;
  • be in English or Kiswahili;
  • be written in respectful, decorous and temperate language;
  • be free of alterations and interlineations in its text;
  • be addressed to the National Assembly or the Senate;
  • have its subject matter indicated on every sheet if it consists of more than one sheet;
  • indicate whether any efforts have been made to have the matter addressed by a relevant body and whether there has been any response from that body or whether the response has been unsatisfactory;
  • indicate whether the issue in respect of which the petition is made is pending before any court of law or other constitutional or legal body;
  • conclude with a clear, proper and respectful prayer, reciting the definite object of the petitioner or petitioners concerning the matter to which it relates;
  • contain the names, addresses, identification numbers and signature or a thumb impression of the petitioner or of every petitioner, where there is more than one petitioner;
  • contain only signatures or thumb impressions, as the case may be, and addresses and identification numbers written directly onto the petition and not pasted thereon or otherwise transferred to it;
  • not have any letters, affidavits or other documents annexed to it;
  • in the case of a petition presented by a Member of Parliament on behalf of a petitioner, be countersigned by the Member presenting it; and
  • be signed by the petitioner, or if the petitioner is unable to sign, by a witness in whose presence the petitioner should make their mark on the petition.

How to Present a Petition to Parliament in Kenya

The procedure for presenting a petition to Parliament in Kenya should be as follows.

A petition to the National Assembly or the Senate should be —

  • submitted to the Clerk of the relevant House by the petitioner; or
  • presented by a member of the National Assembly or the Senate on behalf of a petitioner, with the consent of the Speaker of the relevant House.

A member of the National Assembly or the Senate is not eligible to present a petition on their behalf.

The Clerk should, within seven days of the date of receipt of the petition, review the petition to ascertain whether the petition meets the requirements in the form of a petition to Parliament.

Where the Clerk considers that a petition does not meet the requirements, the Clerk may give such directions as are necessary to ensure that the petition is amended to comply with the requirements.

A petition should not be rejected merely because it is not addressed to the Clerk of the relevant House of Parliament, and where a petition is addressed to the Clerk of a House that has no authority to deal with the matter; the Clerk of that House should refer the petition to the Clerk of the other House.

Consideration of a petition to Parliament

The Clerk should if satisfied that the petition meets the requirements, forward the petition to the Speaker of the relevant House for tabling in the House. The relevant House of Parliament should consider the petition following its Standing Orders.

The Clerk of the relevant House of Parliament should, in writing, notify the petitioner of the decision of the House within fifteen days of the decision of the relevant House.

Register of petitions

The Clerk of each House of Parliament should keep and maintain a register with a record of all petitions and supporting documents, and the decisions of the House. The register should be accessible to the public during working hours.

For more about the procedure to present a petition to Parliament, including a sample of the petition form, see the (Schedule of the) Petition to Parliament (Procedure) Act.

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Gĩthĩnji is the founder of afrocave.com. He is passionate about politics and governance, public finance management and cycling.@GithinjiKE