MPs hand crucial land Bills 60-day lifeline

February 23, 2012 4:54 pm
One hundred and fifty MPs approved the extension/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 23 – Parliament has voted to extend the February 27 deadline to pass key land reforms Bills by a further 60 days.

One hundred and fifty MPs approved the extension that allowed them more time to enact the National Land Commission Bill, the Land Bill and the Land Registration Bill.

Garsen MP Danson Mungatana was the only dissenter.

If Parliament had have failed in altering the constitutional deadline, the House could have been exposed to litigation for failing to enact laws on time.

The House had earlier in the day extended its sitting hours to 11pm, in a bid to approve the Bills on Devolution.

Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee chairman Abdikadir Mohammed described the House resolution as a “first major step” in reforming the country’s troubled land sector.

He cited that land issues as crucial, that all players needed time to be heard. MPs who contributed to the debate in the run-up to the vote had accused the Executive of mischief in publishing Bills too close to the constitutional deadline.

The chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Lands and Natural Resources Mutava Musyimi argued that the Executive ought to have known that time was crucial in legislation and it should have published the Bills much earlier.

The voting was delayed by 45 minutes as the House waited for more MPs to enter the chamber to meet the 148 member threshold required for such a vote.

The morning sitting was interrupted prematurely after the Executive kept off the August House.

Lands minister James Orengo and Attorney General Githu Muigai cut lonely figures on the frontbench as backbenchers read mischief in low turn-out of ministers and their assistants.


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