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Kibaki set to recall Parliament next week

Posted by Administrator on February 7, 2012

President Mwai Kibaki arrives in parliament at a past occasion. PHOTO/FILE

President Mwai Kibaki arrives in parliament at a past occasion. PHOTO/FILE

MPs have successfully petitioned President Kibaki and House Speaker Kenneth Marende to recall Parliament next Tuesday.

The chairman of Parliament’s Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee, Mr Abdikadir Mohammed, said the deal was reached at a meeting on Monday, and it was now upon the Speaker to ensure the decision is published in the Kenya Gazette.

On Tuesday, the Nation learnt that the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Patrick Gichohi, who attended the meeting, informed the Speaker of the meeting’s resolution and that the Speaker’s office had already fired off the Gazette Notice to the Government Printer for publication  and circulation to all the 224 MPs.

The President, Mr Mohammed said, also agreed to have a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday to approve two Bills to lay the groundwork for land reforms in the country.

These two Bills, plus three other Bills on devolution are what will be on the legislative menu when the MPs resume duty.

“We needed Parliament back as soon as possible. We know that MPs needed a few days notice to resume. We were assured that by that time all the Bills will be published and ready for debate in the House,” the CIOC chairman added.

The worry of the House team was the fast looming constitutional deadline by which five Bills have to be enacted was less than three weeks away yet it seemed neither the leadership of the coalition government nor that of the National Assembly took note.

“The deadline for the Bills is February 27. But it seemed that everyone was minding their own business. We’re (nonetheless) disappointed that Parliament will have a short time to deal with the Bills,” said Mr Mohammed.

The disappointment arises out of the fact that it is the National Assembly which will suffer should it fail to beat the deadline. It also comes about because the MPs feel that the other organs of review do not bear in mind the constitutional deadlines attached to the Bills.

The Bills originate from the line ministries and are sent to the Attorney General’s Office.

The AG’s office, with the help of the Kenya Law Reform Commission, then drafts the Bills, weeds out legal absurdities and inconsistencies, and then passes the Bill to the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution.

The CIC then looks at the Bill and submits it back to the AG, who then forwards it to the Cabinet, and after the nod from the Cabinet, the Bill is published and presented to Parliament for the legislative process to begin.

“Each of these institutions takes their sweet time with the Bill, and by the time it reaches Parliament there’s usually a time constraint,” said Mr Mohammed.

“The people to be sanctioned if we fail to meet the deadline are not the CIC or the AG or the line ministry. It is the National Assembly,” added Mr Mohammed.

But even with the short time, the CIOC chairman noted that this time round the House teams had gone through the drafts with a fine-tooth comb, and it was unlikely that the legislative blunders witnessed at the expiry of the deadline for the first batch of laws, in August 26 last year, will not be witnessed this time round.

He said the MPs had already had a retreat in which they discussed the Bills and fine-tuned them. They then went ahead as a committee to go through the Bills and fine-tune them further, so that if there would be amendments in the House, these would be “minimal”.

“The Bills are of a different quality than last time. We’ve put in mechanisms to ensure that we beat the deadline” Mr Mohammed said.

He urged “eternal vigilance” as the only insurance against any mischief being introduced into the Bill to derail or even frustrate whatever is being targeted.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/politics/-/1064/1321908/-/8sp6vd/-/index.html

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