Who Qualifies To Be A Speaker of the Senate



Who Qualifies To Be A Speaker of the Senate

On Thursday 8 September 2022 at 9.00 a.m. newly elected Senators took their oaths of office and thereafter elected the Speaker of the Senate. Three days earlier, the Clerk of the Senate, Jeremiah Nyegenye, had issued a statement advising those who were interested and eligible for election as Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Senate, to collect nomination papers from his office in the Main Parliament Buildings. He further assured that his office would stay open beyond the ordinary working hours, to allow all interested persons an opportunity to pick the nomination papers.


Key Requirements for Nomination


Before a candidate is issued the green light to contest for Senate Speaker, the completed nomination papers are to be submitted with other accompanying documents, such as:


  • The candidate’s National Identity Card or Passport.


  • The candidate’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) certificate of election.


  • The candidate’s Curriculum Vitae (CV).


  • A copy of the candidate’s Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) pin certificate.


  • Four recent coloured passport-size photographs of the candidate.


  • The candidate’s biodata.


According to the Standing Orders of the Senate, nomination papers are further required to be reinforced with names and signatures of two Senators-elect who support the particular candidate. There must be a declaration by the Senators-elect that the candidate is qualified to be elected as a Member of Parliament and is willing to serve as Speaker of the Senate, under Article 106 (1) of the Constitution of Kenya.


The Election of Speaker of the Senate


Immediately after the Clerk of the Senate swears in all the elected senators, the election of the Speaker of the Senate is conducted by secret ballot. To be declared elected as Speaker, a candidate must garner votes of two-thirds or 45 of the 67 Senators in the House. However, in the event that no candidate meets the two-thirds threshold, a fresh election is conducted.


The only candidates allowed to contest in the repeat election are the top two, who received the highest and the second-highest number of votes in the ballot. The candidate who scoops the most votes in the fresh election is then declared elected as Speaker of the Senate. Finally, the Clerk immediately follows by administering the Oath or Affirmation of Office to the Speaker in the presence of the Assembled Senate.


By the close of the nomination window on 7 September 2022, only 7 applicants were validly nominated for the Speaker post, out of the 41 nomination papers collected from the Office of the Clerk of the Senate.


Kalonzo Musyoka’s last minute withdrawal from the race provoked a walkout by Azimio la Umoja Senators, who cited integrity issues concerning the remaining candidates. This allowed the Kenya Kwanza members to elect their preferred candidate without much contest. Amason Kingi scooped an easy 46 votes out of a total 66, to become the third Speaker of the modern Senate after Ekwe Ethuro and Kenneth Lusaka.

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