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Key bills due for debate in Parliament

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 25 – Parliament is due to begin debate on a Bill seeking to establish a new electoral and boundaries body when it resumes its business on Tuesday afternoon.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Bill is lined up for debate alongside the Salaries and Remuneration Commission Bill.

Debate on the Bills was deferred last week to allow MPs to discuss the rising food and fuel prices.

Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo had early this month formally introduced the Bills which will see the establishment of the new electoral body.

The law on the creation of a new electoral body should be in place by next month in line with the new Constitution.

The House has already missed the March deadline for legislation on the Supreme Court.
IEBC Bill seeks to create a nine-member electoral body that would oversee next year\’s General Election and future ones.

According to the Bill, the chairperson and vice chairperson of the proposed body shall serve for a single term of six years and shall not be eligible for re-appointment.

IEBC will replace the Interim Independent Electoral Commission, formed as a transitional body after the Electoral Commission of Kenya was disbanded following the disputed 2007 General Election.

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It needs time after its formation to recruit staff, train them and also get sufficient funds for civic education on electoral processes.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission\’s authority is mainly to set and review the remuneration of all state officers. 

It is also empowered to advise the national and county governments on remuneration and benefits of all other public officers.

Ministries had been urged to cooperate with institutions monitoring the implementation of the Constitution as the August 27 deadline approaches.

MPs are racing against time to pass some 27 Bills in the next four months that the Constitution requires are enacted within a year.

According to the first quarterly report of the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC), MPs are also likely to miss the deadlines for April and May.

The Justice Minister had last week blamed the offices of the Attorney General and the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution for the delays in the enactment of laws required for the implementation process.

The Minister warned that the time lag could affect the structures that need to be in place before next year’s General Election and is proposing a review of Parliament’s Standing Orders to reduce the 10-day mandatory period between the first and second reading of Bills in the House.

During his address to Parliament last month, President Mwai Kibaki outlined 25 Bills which needed to be debated and passed urgently.  Out of those, only three have been tabled.

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Four of the Bills relate to elections, political parties and Parliament, two on the Judiciary, four on Public Finance and another four on Security.

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