Kenya: Sialai Recalls Navigating External Overreach During House Tenure

Nairobi — Outgoing Clerk of the National Assembly Michael Sialai says Parliament was many a time been forced to apply some form of diplomacy to avoid ugly confrontations with the Executive.

He recounted an episode where the House leadership refused to give in to pressure by some quarters in the Executive who wanted some MPs to be prevented from making a trip abroad because they were perceived to be speaking against government plans.

“There was a time when there was an attempt to prevent a delegation to travel out of the country because of political reasons, but we stood firm and said The Parliament is a House of different opinions, and as succeeded with the Speaker. That was something that we would have said no. But I am glad we resolved it,” Sialai said.

Sialai who was first appointed as a First Clerk Assistant in Parliament in 1995, singled out the chaos that preceded the passing of the Security Laws Amendment Bill 2015 as his lowest moment in Parliament.

“MPs are human there is a time that they can exhibit actions that may not be good, but it is good for members of the public to understand that MPs work together and understand the needs we have, by the end of the day these things worked out,” he stated.

The Friends’ School Kamusinga alumni who is now waiting to take up a diplomatic posting as Kenya’s High Commissioner to Namibia, says he was proud of his achievements which include opening up Parliament operations to the public, implementing radical changes in House procedures which saw the MPs conduct business even in the midst of the global outbreak of the COVID-19 since March 2022.

Sialai says he is looking forward to handing over to his successor, who he hopes will build up on the foundation that he has left saying the incoming Clerk will find working systems that will help her/him fit right in.

On his posting to Namibia, the out-going Clerk vowed to strengthen relations between Kenya and Namibia particularly in education, tourism, and trade among other agendas if his appointment is approved.

Sialai who is currently serving as the Vice-Chair of the Clerks-at-the-Table (SoCATT) Africa Region said he has widely interacted with colleagues from other Parliaments including Namibia which will serve as an advantage in his new role.

He is among 22 persons President Uhuru Kenyatta nominated for appointment as Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Permanent Representatives to various diplomatic missions as representatives of the Republic of Kenya.

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