NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 25 – In a race against Friday’s deadline, Members of Parliament passed six key Bills in a record two and a half hours during Thursday morning’s special sitting.
They approved the National Police Service Bill, the Power of Mercy Bill, Citizenship and Immigration Bill, the Urban and Cities Bill as well as the Environment and Land Court Bill 2011.
The National Police Service Bill was the first of three security Bills to be passed and now awaits presidential assent.
Among the amendments approved by MPs includes insertion of a clause stating that only the National Assembly and not the Senate will be charged with vetting the appointment of the Inspector General of Police.
Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo as well as Chairman of the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee Abdikadir Mohammed said that it would be duplicating the role by subjecting the candidates to vetting by both Houses.
Another amendment removed the need for parliamentary vetting for the two deputy Inspectors General.
Once enacted into law, the new legislation will set the stage for the replacement of the entire police leadership in line with the new Constitution.
In the Urban and Cities Bill, the MPs approved a new clause which guaranteed Mombasa and Kisumu their city status while other Municipalities will also retain their status.
Deputy Prime Minister and Local Government Minister Musalia Mudavadi supported the amendment.
The Bill will among other things subject all future local authority mayors and their deputies to be elected by the electorate as opposed to the current practice where they are chosen by their fellow councillors.
Among the key amendments introduced to the Commission on Administrative Justice Bill include limiting the number of commissioners to five and a provision that the commission reports to Parliament.
The commission is expected to replace the Public Complaint Standing Committee (the Ombudsman Office). The commission is tasked with probing complaints of maladministration by government agencies.
The MPs have also passed a new clause which requires Parliament to review the mandate of the commission after five years, with a view of amalgamating it with the National Human Rights Commission which is to be established under a separate statute.
Temporary Speaker Bonny Khalwale summed the morning session when he said: “The 10th Parliament works best under pressure. Let’s continue congratulating ourselves.”