CIC wants judges vetting bill deferred

January 17, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 17 – The Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution now wants The Vetting of the Magistrates and Judges Bill which is before Parliament withdrawn to allow amendments.

The Commission\’s chairman Charles Nyachae said on Monday, there were a number of technical issues that needed to be addressed before the House begins debate on the Bill.

Mr Nyachae said the manner in which the Bill was tabled in Parliament was not in conformity with the letter of the Constitution which requires that the Commission give its input.

 "We are aware of course of the urgency of implementations of the Bill. We reiterate however the importance with the provisions of the Constitutions," he said.

The Commission said that it arrived at the decision after realising that provisions of two articles in the Constitution were ignored.

"Article 261 (1) says Parliament shall enact any legislation required by this Constitution to be enacted to govern a particular matter within the period specified in the Fifth Schedule, commencing on the effective date."

Mr Nyachae also cited Article 261 (4) which says that "for the purposes of clause (1), the Attorney-General, in consultation with the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution, shall prepare the relevant Bills for tabling before Parliament, as soon as reasonably practicable, to enable Parliament to enact the legislation within the period specified."

The Commission\’s chairman said that they had alerted the Attorney General, Kenya Law Reform Commission and Minister for Constitutional Affairs as the line ministry they are aware of the issues and the impending changes to the Bill.

"The Commission believes that if the recommended procedure is adopted we will have protected the constitutionality of the process, whilst at the same time meeting the need to expedite the implementation of the Bill," Nyachae added.

He said that notwithstanding the withdrawal, it was still possible for the constitutional timelines affected by the Bill to be met.

"We have consulted on parliamentary procedure and we note that in view of Standing Orders Nos. 107 and 108 it is possible to avoid any delays arising from withdrawal and republication of the Bill by the National Assembly fast tracking the process," he said.

The Commission which was sworn into office last week said the contentious issues would have to be addressed by the Attorney General, the Kenya Law Review Commission and themselves.

The Commission said the Bill will then be published afresh before the end of the week for placement before Parliament for debate and possible passage into law.

He spoke at his Delta House office after a meeting with Attorney General Amos Wako and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo. 

The team however, has cleared the JSC which is due to be debated by the Parliament on Tuesday.


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