, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 31 – Constitutional implementation actors have less than 24 days to ensure that five time-bound Bills are tabled in Parliament for debate.
Speaking to journalists on Monday, Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee Chair Abdikadir Mohammed noted that the five pending Bills need to be tabled, debated and enacted by February 26 next year – 18 months since the promulgation of the Constitution in August 2010.
He argued that MPs did not want to see the process of enacting legislations rushed as was seen before August 27 – when Kenya marked the first anniversary of the Constitution.
“We have one large Bill codifying our land laws and four others on Devolution. These are the laws required of us under the framework. However we also have the one on public finance management and you remember there was a tussle over the law, which continues to persist,” he said.
The CIOC also gave the implementation actors notice to up their game saying that there will be no shortcuts. Mohammed stressed that the process of taking the Bills to Parliament would not be shortened to accommodate any lapses by the implementation actors.
He added that MPs would also not extend the deadline of the Bills, to help the players meet the timeline.
“This time we don’t intend to shorten time. We believe these institutions have enough time to move the process and conclude it in good time. They also need to understand that laws are ultimately passed in the House,” he said.
“They are not passed in the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC); not in the Attorney General’s chambers or in the ministries,” he retorted.
Just before Kenyans marked the first anniversary since the promulgation of the Constitution, MPs, at one point, faced a daunting task of passing six Bills in just two and a half hours.
Concerns were at the time raised by the CIC and other civil societies on the credibility of the Bills with the view that they were rushed through the House just to beat the deadline.
There were also calls to extend the constitutional timelines but MPs stuck to their guns saying that they would pass all the required Bills on time.
The MPs, who also increased their sitting time, managed to beat the deadline and were lauded for their efforts.
House Speaker Kenneth Marende had separately assured Kenyans that Parliament will ensure that the upcoming deadline is met and has cautioned Kenyans against blaming MPs for any delays in the implementation process.
Marende argued that delays, such as those witnessed before August 27, were not Parliament’s fault and that MPs tried their best to ensure that the deadline was met.
“We have no cause for alarm. Just before we got to the first anniversary of the new Constitution, I told the Kenyan public that Parliament was equal to the task and that we were going to rise to the occasion and pass all the legislations and we did,” he quipped.
The Constitution implementation process was to be carried out in four phases before the next general elections. The first phase had 90 days timeline and then the second had a six-month timeline while the third had a one year timeline. These phases have already been completed.
The fourth phase has an 18 months timeline during which one Bill on land and four others on devolution have to be passed.