Speaker okays bid to extend Bills’ debate

February 21, 2012 4:32 pm
Speaker okays bid to extend Bills’ debate/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 21 – National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende on Tuesday approved a Motion seeking the extension of time to allow adequate consultations on two land reform Bills.

If the Motion is successful, MPs will have an extra three months to debate and approve the National Land Commission Bill and the Land Registration Bill.

The Motion which will require the support of 148 MPs for approval will be debated on Thursday during the morning session.

In his communication to the House, the Speaker faulted the Executive for the delay in forwarding to Parliament the two Bills that seek to institute land reforms.

Marende said the spirit and letter of the Constitution must be upheld and public participation is critical.

He noted that the days remaining to the deadline given to legislate the National Land Commission Bill and the Land Registration Bill were not enough for Parliament to effectively discharge its mandate on the critical laws.

He directed the two government whips to marshal the support required to approve the Motion of extension on the debate on the laws.

The Constitution allows Parliament to extend constitutional timelines by a period not exceeding one year as enshrined in Article 261(3).

The request for extension was sought after the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee and that on Justice and Legal Affairs held a joint meeting last week and agreed on the extension of time.

The National Land Commission Bill seeks to establish a commission as provided under Article 67 whose mandate will include among other things, the alienation of public land on behalf of the national and county governments, monitoring of registration of rights and interests in land and the development and maintenance of an effective land information management system at the national and county levels.

The Land Registration Bill on the other hand seeks to revise, consolidate and rationalise the registration of titles to land, to give effect to the principles and objects of devolved governments in land registration.

Meanwhile, Parliament has concluded debate on the County Government, Intergovernmental Relations and the Transition to Devolved Government Bills.

The Bills now await amendments at the in the Committee of the Whole House before they are finally approved by MPs.

Marende urged MPs to forward proposed amendments by 2.30pm on Wednesday to enable the legal department of Parliament to facilitate their drafting and proper execution.

Debate on the Bills saw contributions by MPs that suggested numerous amendments, a pointer that the committee stage may be a gruelling exercise.


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