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The Parliamentary Oath of Office

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The Parliamentary Oath of Office


As the National Assembly and Senate held their first sitting on Thursday 8 September 2022, on their fully packed agendas for the day was administering the Oath or Affirmation of Office to the newly elected Members of Parliament, and thereafter the sworn-in MPs electing the Speaker of the respective Houses. The Oath of Office ceremony, which is officiated by the Clerks of the respective houses, was the key moment of the day as both MPs and the Speaker, once elected, had to subscribe to the oath.

 

The Constitution of Kenya under Article 74 dictates that before assuming any State office,  an individual must first take and subscribe to the Oath or Affirmation of Office and in the manner and form prescribed by the Third Schedule or under an Act of Parliament. 

 

By law, Members of Parliament are State Officers and are therefore required to take the Oath of Office. Going by the Standing Orders of parliament, this should happen during the first sitting of a new parliament, which is called by the incumbent president within 30 days from a general election.

 

In both the National Assembly and Senate, the Oath or Affirmation of Office is administered by the Clerk of the house who exercises the power of the Speaker until one is elected during the first sitting and after oaths have been administered. At any other time, the Oath or Affirmation of Office is administered by the Speaker and is done so immediately after prayers and is done so, in alphabetical order.

 

In the National Assembly, the following order of precedence is followed:–

  • Members with the longest cumulative period of service in the Assembly;
  • Members with the longest cumulative period of service in the National Assembly, East African Legislative Assembly and the Senate;
  •  Members with the longest cumulative period of service in the Senate;
  •  All other Members.

 

In the Senate, the following order of precedence is followed:–

  • Senators with the longest cumulative period of service in the Senate;
  • Senators with the longest cumulative period of service in the Senate and the National Assembly;
  • Senators with the longest cumulative period of service in the National Assembly;
  • Senators with the longest cumulative period of service in any other legislature; and
  • All other senators.

 

Depending on one’s faith, members are furnished with the appropriate religious book, which while lifting it by their right hand and holding a form containing the written Oath of office with the left hand will proceed to read it. Members can take the Oath or Affirmation of Office in any of the three languages, Swahili,English and Kenyan Sign language, used for communication in proceedings of the houses. 

 

After all members have taken their oaths and are officially sworn in, they proceed to elect the Speakers of the house, whom after confirmation as the duly elected Speaker will have their oath administered by the Clerk before the House.


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