Kenya: Only 70 MPs Will Be in Parliament On Wednesday to Debate COVID-19

Nairobi — In compliance with the social distancing directive from the Health Ministry, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi will only authorise 70 legislators to attend next week's session to debate the crisis in the country on coronavirus.

Muturi issued the guidelines on the conduct of the sittings where members are expected to consider President Uhuru Kenyatta's measures on the economy, businesses and consumers' various tax reliefs among other issues.

Kenya is among countries in the world engulfed in a crisis caused by COVID-19 that has so far killed 4 people and infected 122 in the country and more than 50,000 globally, with over 1 million infections by Friday. Italy and Spain are the worst-hit countries.

Out of the 349 members, 290 are elected from the constituencies and 47 Women Representatives who are elected from the counties and 12 nominated members representing special interests.

Muturi said the seats which have already been marked in the Chamber will be occupied by members on a "first register first occupy basis" safe for those of the Leader of Majority (Aden Duale) and Minority Party (John Mbadi), Deputy Speaker (Moses Cheboi), Majority and Minority Chief Whips (Benjamin Washiali and Chris Wamalwa) and a member scheduled to move business listed in the Order Paper for a particular sitting.

During the sitting, members will be required to strictly adhere to safety guidelines, by avoiding contact with each other with Muturi noting "it will be out of order for a member to approach the Speaker's Chair or the Clerk's table for any purpose".

The exchange of seats once settled in the Chamber is also been prohibited.

According to the schedule, all the afternoon sittings shall end not later than 4.00pm.

Muturi added that upon vacation of a seat by a member prompt disinfection of the seating area, the seat, table, electronic system, the microphones and the Chamber tablet shall be undertaken before the seat is occupied by another member.

During this period, catering services have been banned within Parliament with only drinking water provided during the sittings.

The extraordinary session will allow for the laying of various instruments relating to the COVID-19 pandemic such as the Public Finance Management (COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund) Regulations, Supplementary Estimates for FY 2019/20 and related documents and any other government policy papers relating to measures to address the pandemic and related emergencies.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday chaired the first meeting of the board that was created to marshal funds for combating the Coronavirus disease.

The team led by East African Breweries Managing Director Jane Karuku was put together by the President to rally Kenyans together in raising resources that will support Government efforts to mitigate the effects of the disease.

World Bank has already approved Sh5.2 billion to help Kenya manage the unprecedented criris.

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