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Cabinet okays Supreme Court Bill

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 19 – The Cabinet on Thursday approved the Supreme Court Bill 2011 and the Independent Offices Bill.

The former establishes the Supreme Court as the highest court of the land and with powers to interpret the Constitution.

The new court will be made up of seven judges, with the Chief Justice serving as the president and the deputy Chief Justice as vice President.

The court will also be mandated to hear and determine disputes relating to presidential elections. It will also hear and determine appeals from the Court of Appeal and any other court or tribunal as stipulated by national legislation.

The Judicial Service Commission has already shortlisted 26 candidates to fill five positions of the new court. It had already nominated a Chief Justice and Deputy whose suitability will be debated in Parliament next week.

Dr Willy Mutunga has been nominated to be Kenya\’s next Chief Justice and Nancy Baraza as deputy.

The Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende on Wednesday directed the Parliamentary Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee to table recommendations on the nominees by next Wednesday so that debate can begin the following day.

The Independent Offices Bill which seeks to operationalise the offices of Auditor General and Controller of Budget will manage the implementation of the national and county government budget by authorising withdrawals from the Exchequer.

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The Bill further seeks to have the Auditor General charged with the responsibility of auditing and reporting on the accounts of various offices under the national and county governments.

Apart from the two Bills, the Cabinet further agreed on the Retirements Benefits Bill 2010.

Chaired by President Mwai Kibaki in Nairobi, the Cabinet also agreed on, among others, the construction of a first class hotel at the Bomas of Kenya grounds.

The Ministers further discussed ways in which Nairobi City can be decongested and identified construction of a commuter railway system as the best modern method that can be adopted.

They settled on constructing a railway to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and development of commuter lines to serve areas that are not catered for under the current system.

The Cabinet also agreed that a beach operator\’s tourist market should be developed along the Kenyan Coast. On focus was also the approval of a social, economic and security programme for the people of Turkana.

The programme was intended to apply measures that will facilitate long term security and improve food security by supporting irrigation projects to better the lives of the Turkana people.

For a long time Turkana has been the top victim of hunger and clashes.

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