, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 19 – The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC), Attorney General Amos Wako and Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo on Tuesday engaged each other in a blame game, over who was responsible for delays in finalising crucial Bills required by August 27.
The CIC said it had so far forwarded 10 Bills to the Cabinet but only four had been approved for publication.
CIC Commissioner Kamotho Waiganjo listed the Political Parties Bill, the Kenya National Human Rights Commission Bill, the Commission on Administrative Justice Bill and the National Gender Commission Bill as laws that had been recently approved by the Cabinet and sent to the Government Printer by July 15.
“We have six Bills that we released to the Attorney General. Some, like the Commission for Revenue Allocation Bill, were released a while back (May 23) but we don’t know how far it has gone,” he said.
He added that the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission Bill, the Ratification of International Treaties Bill, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority Bill, the National Police Service Bill and the National Police Service Commission Bill had all been submitted to the AG.
“We don’t know why these Bills have not yet found their way to the Cabinet and the floor of the House,” he said.
However the AG’s office said that it had released the Elections Bill to the Justice Ministry on July 15 before it can be forwarded to the Cabinet.
Margaret Nzioka, from the AG’s office, explained that the Revenue Allocation Bill was released to the AG on May 24 before being sent to the Finance Ministry on May 27.
“The final draft of the National Police Commission Bill was sent to us on June 28 and we forwarded it to the Ministry of Internal Security on the same day. The other two police Bills were forwarded to us yesterday and we shall also finalise them,” she said.
Mr Wako further defended his office from accusations of delaying the implementation process saying that some Bills were in conflict with the policies of their parent ministries and could not be approved on time.
He also explained that, once a Bill had been passed in Parliament, it needed the clearance of the Clerk of the National Assembly before it was sent to the President for assent.
“When a Bill is passed in Parliament, under Standing Order 125, the custodian of the Bill, pending the President’s assent, is the Clerk of the National Assembly and unless I get his clearance I can never send any Bill to the President for assent,” he said.
The AG’s office also revealed that it had received the draft Power of Mercy Bill from the Office of the President although it was still undergoing review.
The Taskforce on Devolution announced that it had presented six bills on devolution to the CIC, the Ministry for Local Government as well as the Finance Ministry.
These Bills include the Devolved Government Bill, the Urban Areas and Cities Bill, the Intergovernmental Relations Bill, the Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations Bill, the County Financial Management Bill as well as a Transition to County Government Bill.
The CIC further accused the Cabinet of altering bills that had been submitted to it before approving them without consulting the relevant drafters. Mr Waiganjo said that the Cabinet should not send Bills to Parliament after amending them without the input of experts.
“Cabinet is making substantive changes to these Bills and you recall that we had agreed that if there are fundamental changes to Bills there would be a process of consultation post cabinet,” he said.
However Mr Kilonzo said that the Cabinet had the right to amend any bills forwarded to it for approval.
“We have a Bill of Rights that allows people to participate in political affairs so when the CIC tells the cabinet to seal its lips and avoid changing the Bills, once it receives them that is unconstitutional,” he said.