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Spirited bids to amend Kenya draft law

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 25 – Parliament will now undertake the daunting task of voting on amendments to the Proposed constitution next Wednesday.

Speaker Kenneth postponed debate on the amendments that was scheduled to start on Thursday afternoon and ruled that all the anticipated changes be consolidated and their fate decided next week.

“Members who will have submitted the amendments will be given the opportunity to move them which will be followed by brief debate before we proceed to division,” he said.

Mr Marende said the office of the Clerk had qualified 19 proposed amendments touching on devolution, abortion, Kadhis courts and the tenure of the Attorney General, Chief Justice and Auditor and Controller General.

He added that more were still being processed and set the deadline for submission to next Tuesday at 4pm.

The Party of National Unity is on its part set to make a spirited attempt to introduce amendments to the Proposed Constitution.

Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni is expected to seek Parliament’s support to increase the number of proposed counties from 47 to 77 in a bid to appease minority communities.

In his proposal new counties in minority areas, include Teso, Kuria, Lodwar, Lokitaung, West Pokot and Gucha among others. In Nairobi, the Ndaragwa MP seeks to split the proposed Nairobi City county into four units of Westlands, Embakasi, Kasarani and Langata.

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On devolution, Turkana Central MP Ekwe Ethuro will be attempting to compel the government to allocate at least 10 percent of the national revenue to constituencies. This is not expressly provided in the Proposed Constitution although the current law provides for a 2.5 percent allocation to the Constituency Development Fund.

Nominated MP Mohammed Affey wants the criteria on the election of a President changed to require that a winning candidate garner at least two thirds of all votes cast in a presidential election. The Proposed Constitution stipulates that a winner garner at least 50 percent plus one vote cast in the election. Successive run-offs would determine a winner in the event of a stalemate in the first round.

On the controversial Kadhi Courts in the Judiciary chapter, Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi will be seeking to conciliate with Christian leaders by deleting the courts from the Constitution and replacing them with religious courts provided that their operationalisation is left to an Act of Parliament.

“The State shall not use any of its resources for the establishment or operation of any of the courts,” a clause to be inserted states.

Additionally Mr Musyimi will also propose an amendment that State and Religion are separate and that: “The State shall treat all religions equally.”

Dagoretti MP Beth Mugo will also be seeking to mend fences with the religious leaders by seeking to convince MPs to replace the term “abortion” in the clause on life and deleting the controversial clause that empowers Parliament to enact a legislation that would allow abortion.

“Termination of pregnancy is not permitted, but expectant mothers are entitled to emergency medical treatment in life threatening conditions,” her proposal states.

Naivasha MP John Mututho will be seeking to save the current Attorney General, Auditor and Controller General and the Chief Justice from automatic dismissal once the new Constitution is enacted.

Mr Mututho is proposing the deletion of clauses that require that the President appoints a new AG, CJ and Auditor and Controller General within one year after the new Constitution takes effect.

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Mr Mututho wants a new clause inserted such that a judge or magistrate who is removed from office during the proposed fresh vetting “shall be paid all the emoluments and benefits that such a judge or magistrate would have been entitled to upon service of the full term of employment.”

Kinangop MP David Ngugi on his part seeks to introduce an amendment that will empower the President to have the prerogative to dismiss the Attorney General.

Isiolo South MP Abdul Bahari has indicated that he will be seeking for a requirement that the review of the constituencies shall not result in the loss of any existing constituency.
Kitutu Masaba’s Walter Nyambati intends to propose the establishment of a Parliamentary Fund from which all payments for expenses incurred for purposes of Parliament shall be paid.

All these amendments will each need the support of 145 MPs to pass.

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