NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 6 – President Mwai Kibaki on Friday assented to the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2012 after Parliament deleted clauses disallowing party hopping and a mandatory degree for Members of Parliament.
Last Monday President Kibaki declined to assent to the Bill, telling Parliament that the amendments violated some constitutional provisions.
Among the significant effects of the passage of the law is the amendment to The Elections Act to enable the Speaker of the National Assembly to issue writs for the pending by-elections in Ndhiwa, Kajiado North and Kangema Constituencies.
The three constituencies are without representatives in Parliament following the deaths of Orwa Ojode, George Saitoti and John Michuki respectively.
Michuki who was the minister for Environment and MP for Kangema died in February while Saitoti (Kajiado North MP) and Ojode (Ndhiwa MP) died in a helicopter crash in June.
The omnibus law has also amended The Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Act, to extend the term of the Board to February 28 next year so as to facilitate vetting of Judges of the High Court and review of the cases lodged by the court of Appeal judges which had stalled.
The Truth Justice and Reconciliation Act has also been amended to extended the tenure of the TJRC to allow it prepare and submit its report by August.
The Commission led by Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat had applied for a three-month extension of time after its previously extended tenure expired in May.
Another significant amendment to the National Cohesion and Integration Commission Act, and now permits the reappointment of members of the Commission for another term.
Provisions of criminal justice laws have also been amended and the powers previously enjoyed by the Attorney General are now conferred to the office of the independent Director of Public Prosecutions.
The law also provides for the protection to victims of sexual offences and gives enhanced protection when they are reporting sexual abuse.
The National Crime Research Centre Act has also been amended to bolster membership of the Governing Council of the Centre by incorporating the representations from Treasury and office of Director of the Public Prosecutions.
The Civil Procedure Act has been amended to establish the Mediation Accreditation Committee which seeks to promote Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as an alternative form of justice dispensation
President Kibaki said that the passage of this Act serves to underscore the government’s commitment to watch out for any Lacuna in the law that might hamper effective governance and undermine the implementation of the Constitution.