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Connecting People and Ideas for Integrated Development

SUNY/CID Supports the Leadership of the Kenyan Senate in their study visit to Germany

The Kenya Senate Leadership Delegation during their Study Visit in Germany

Members of the Delegation at the German Bundesrat (L-R Sen. Wetangula, Sen. Mvita, Sen. Muthama, Deputy Speaker Gitura, Sen. Hassan, Sen, Haji, Sen Okong’o.

From April 4-13, the leadership of the Senate of Kenya traveled to Berlin, Germany to investigate alternative models of federalism and state representation in the federal policy making process. The study visit allowed the delegation to share experiences and lessons learned with key officials in the German system. Topics of inquiry included: budget processes, policy mediation, committee operations, political party structures, and administrative support to members.

Deputy Speaker Kembi Gitura with Hon. Sylvia Bretschneider, Speaker are shown

Deputy Speaker Kembi Gitura with Hon. Sylvia Bretschneider, Speaker of the Mechlenburg-Vorpommern State Parliament

At the national level, members of the delegation met with senior staff in the Bundestag and the Bundesrat to discuss organizational structures, cross-body cooperation, and policy meditation practices. In addition, the delegation met with the Honorable Renate Kunast, member of the Bundestag and former minority leader to discuss the daily life of a member in Germany.

At the state (Lander) level, the delegation had the opportunity to meet with officials and members of three German states: Berlin, Brandenburg, and Mecklinburg-Vorpommern. Given the power of the states in German and their system of direct representation in the Bundesrat, the time spent in the states allowed the delegation to participate in in-depth discussions on budget and policy-making processes, while also having the opportunity to meet with political leaders in the states to obtain a holistic view of Germany’s strong federal system.

Following visits at the national and state levels, the delegation met with representatives of the Christian Democratic Union and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. These meetings demonstrated the importance of parties in Germany, while displaying the breadth of their policy influence both domestically and internationally through political party foundations.

The delegation consisted of senior leadership of the Senate including: Deputy Speaker Kembi Gitura, Minority Leader Moses Wetangula, Deputy Minority Leader Ali Hassan, Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee Amos Wako, Chair of the Committee National Security and Foreign Relations Yusuf Haji, Majority Chief Whip Charles Keter, Minority Chief Whip Johnson Muthama, Chair of the Committee on Energy, Roads, and Transportation Gideon Moi, Chair of the Committee on Delegated Legislation Kisasa Mvita, Senator Elizabeth Ongoro of the Chairperson Panel, and Senator Kennedy Okong’o. In addition to the Senators, the delegation also consisted of four Senate staff.

The visit was an excellent opportunity for the Senior Leadership to further develop their comparative perspective on legislative systems, particularly those that share Kenya’s new devolved and bicameral structures. The delegation expressed its intention to apply important lessons learned in strengthening policy-making and devolved structures in Kenya.

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Posted April 21, 2014