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Parliament partners with the University of Nairobi to build capacity for MPs and staff

Parliament partners with the University of Nairobi to build capacity for MPs and staff

The Parliamentary Service Commission has today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the University of Nairobi. The object of the MoU is to enhance the capacity Members of Parliament, staff and County Assemblies in the areas of democracy, governance and international relations.

The signing ceremony was held at the County Hall in Parliament and was graced by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Justin Muturi EGH and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nairobi, Professor Stephen Kiama. This was a renewal of the MOU that was originally signed in 2016.

Speaking during the ceremony, Speaker Muturi underscored the need to equip lawmakers and staff alike to alike to enable them address the challenges facing Kenyans from an informed position. He noted that lawmakers participate in many international fora on behalf of Kenyans and thus need to enhance their capacity to represent the country effectively especially in areas of Parliamentary Diplomacy.

"We do not take it for granted that the University of Nairobi has agreed to continue partnering with us. There is indeed need for us to continuously equip our Members so that when they represent Kenya in international forums, they do so from an informed point of view", Speaker Muturi explained.

He further underscored that the Parliamentary Service Commission has a lot faith in the University of Nairobi and hence the renewal of their collaboration.

"We are glad that we are renewing our partnership for another five years. This is because we recognise the University of Nairobi as the foremost premier institution in knowledge management within the region", the Speaker observed.

Noting that the renewal of the partnership was coming at a time when several institutions have taken lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic, he lauded the University for their Plans to develop virtual programs for Members of Parliament under the current collaboration agreement, due to their work exigencies. 

On his part, the Vice Chancellor Prof. Kiama expressed his delight that the Commission was renewing the partnership with the University of Nairobi. He noted that the University of Nairobi has nurtured many people who are currently at the helm of several institutions across the governance spectrum including Speaker Muturi.

He also hailed the Centre for Parliamentary Studies and Training as a centre of excellence, adding that the Centre had chosen to work with premier institutions across the world in its bid to become a global center of excellence.

The new agreement signed today is meant to reinforce the existing cooperation between the two institutions while contributing towards the achievement of CPST's vision to become a global centre of excellence in legislative studies for democratic governance. Under the partnership, the fit for purpose programs are tailored for Members of the Parliament of Kenya, Members of County Assemblies and lawmakers from regional Parliaments. 

The Centre for Parliamentary Studies has been instrumental in not just the training of MPs and staff in the Parliament of Kenya but also Members of County Assemblies since 2013. The Centre also currently temporarily hosts the East African Parliamentary Institute.

Outlining the contents of the collaboration agreement, Prof. Kiama explained that the University would explore the development of virtual programs and pre-recorded tutorials for legislators and Parliamentary staff so as to allow them to undertake their studies without having to aggregate at a specific location. 

"We have learnt a lot from the Covid19 pandemic. We have learnt that it is possible to have virtual classes and knowing how busy MPs are, it will now be possible for them to attend classes virtually without physically assembling somewhere", noted Prof. Kiama.

Others who spoke during the event were Commissioner Hon. Rachael Ameso who represented the Chairperson of the CPST Board, Hon. (Dr.) Naomi Shaban EGH. Other Commissioners of the PSC present who are also Members of the CPST Board include: Hon. (Dr.) Adan Keynan CBS, Sen. Aaron Cheruiyot, Mr. Mohammed Ali MBS representing the Clerk of the Senate/ Secretary PSC, Mr. Michael Sialai CBS, Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Clement Nyandiere MBS, Director General and Prof. Maria Nzomo who is also a Member of the CPST Board and the Dir. Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies (IDIS) University of Nairobi and  Prof. Nyokabi Kamau the Executive Director at the CPST and the Secretary to the CPST Board.