NAIROBI, Kenya, May 26 – Attorney General Githu Muigai has now reassured Prime Minister Raila Odinga that sections of the Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2012 seeking to give MPs millions of shillings in allowances and gratuity will be removed.
This follows a letter to him from the Premier accusing him of insubordination and mischief and demanding that debate on the Miscellaneous Amendments Bill be stopped immediately.
Muigai however said that the decision to table the Bill was arrived at after consultations with the Speaker’s office where it was agreed that the Bill be allowed to proceed to the Committee Stage where other non contentious clauses would be deliberated.
“Following your letter to me Ref. No. PMO/SLO/GEN/042 dated 14th May 2012 and my reply letter dated 14th May 2012, my office and the Speaker’s office undertook consultations on the best approach to the constitutional issues raised by yourself and the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) as well as by the Salaries and Remunerations Commission,” the letter stated.
In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, he said that he never at any time went back on his word regarding the bill.
“The consensus was that the issues raised were weighty and deserving of further serious scrutiny. Consequently, it was agreed that the sections of the Bill that were addressing issues of remuneration would be removed from the Bill which in any event would be allowed to proceed on to the Committee Stage to allow for deliberations on other non – contentious clauses,” it further said.
He pointed out that it was on that basis that the Bill was relisted for consideration.
He stated that the withdrawal of the entire Bill would have jeopardised the critical amendments to other legislation contained in the Bill some of which are already out of time.
“For instance the bills affected would have been those dealing with the Transfer of Powers from the Attorney General to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the terms of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board and the conduct of the by-election in Kangema constituency,” he said.
He explained that the other two options available would be to withdraw the Bill totally and republish the same without the offending sections and to invite the Speaker to make a finding under the Standing Orders as to the constitutionality of the contentious clauses.
He stressed that in the later option, debate would only proceed after the offending provisions had been removed.
The PM had earlier written to the AG criticising the amendments to the Finance Bill and further ordering him to withdraw the Miscellaneous Amendments Bill on grounds that it violated the Constitution.
In the letter, Odinga termed the amendment to the National Assembly (Remuneration) Act through the Finance Bill 2011 which raised the MPs’ gratuity from Sh1.5 million to Sh3.7 million as unconstitutional.
He demanded that the Cabinet deliberates and takes a common position on the cases that have been lodged in court so far challenging the amendments.