The first sitting of the Senate of the 13th Parliament was activity-intensive. First, elected Senators were sworn in, then the election of the Speaker kicked off, followed by the election of the Deputy Speaker of the Senate. Standing Order No. 13(1) provides that “as soon as practicable after the election of a Speaker following a General Election, a Deputy Speaker shall be elected”. The Deputy Speaker is envisaged to be elected from among members of the House, in a process presided over by the Speaker.
The procedure for electing a Deputy Speaker is, for the most part, the same as that prescribed for the election of the Speaker of the Senate. However, if only one candidate has been fronted for election as Deputy Speaker, that candidate is to be declared immediately as elected Deputy Speaker of the Senate without any ballot or vote being required.
Roles and Responsibilities of the Deputy Speaker
The duties of the Deputy Speaker of the Senate are provided for as follows:
- The Deputy Speaker shall preside over the sitting of the House in the absence of the Speaker, according to Article 107 (b) of the Constitution.
- The Deputy Speaker assists the Speaker in ensuring the dignity of the House is upheld, and that its rights and privileges are not abused.
- The Deputy Speaker also assists in the interpretation and application of the practices and procedures of the House at all times.
- Standing Order No. 19 establishes that the Deputy Speaker shall preside over the Committees of the Whole House as the Chairperson.
Vacancy of the Office
The office of the Deputy Speaker shall become vacant:
(a) in the first sitting of a new House of Parliament after a general election;
(b) if the office holder, as a member of the House, vacates office under Article 103 of the Constitution;
(c) if the House passes a resolution supported by at least two-thirds of its members; or
(d) if the office holder resigns from office in a letter addressed to the House.
Should the office of Deputy Speaker fall vacant at any time before the term of Parliament ends, the Senate is mandated to elect a Senator to fill the position, as soon as possible.
Whilst a total of 4 nomination papers were collected from the office of the Clerk of the Senate regarding the election of the Deputy Speaker, only 2 nomination papers had been received back at the Clerk’s office by the end of the nomination period on 7 September 2022. The two who were facing off for the Deputy Speaker position were Murungi Kathuri (Meru Senator) and Madzayo Shadrack (Kilifi Senator). Following Madzayo’s withdrawal from the race, Murungi was duly elected as Deputy Speaker of the Senate, unopposed.