Senators want law to guide passage of Bills

August 12, 2014 3:03 pm
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Speaking when Attorney General Githu Muigai appeared before the Senate's Legal Affairs Committee, Senator Amos Wako said any of the Bills passed by the National Assembly that have not been approved by the Senate are unconstitutional/FILE
Speaking when Attorney General Githu Muigai appeared before the Senate’s Legal Affairs Committee, Senator Amos Wako said any of the Bills passed by the National Assembly that have not been approved by the Senate are unconstitutional/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 12 – The Senate on Tuesday said it was working on a Bill that will make it mandatory for bills to pass through the Upper House before assent by the President.

Speaking when Attorney General Githu Muigai appeared before the Senate’s Legal Affairs Committee, Senator Amos Wako said any of the Bills passed by the National Assembly that have not been approved by the Senate are unconstitutional.

“We need a Bill to address that issue. The President should not give assent to any Bill unless there is a certification duly signed by the two Speakers. All Bills must pass through the Senate,” Wako told his successor at the AG’s office.

Kakamega County Senator Boni Khalwale said the Legal Affairs Committee of the Senate and National Assembly were consulting before developing a Bill that will address the controversy.

According to Wako, 23 bills passed by Parliament without the assent of the Senate risk being challenged as they are unconstitutional.

Though the Senators tasked the AG to explain how the government would handle a situation where the bills already assented to by the Executive could be challenged, Muigai assured them that no more Bills would be passed without the authority of the Senate.

He suggested that the Bill seeking to correct the anomaly should also outline other procedures including who would take the Bills to the Senate for approval.

The Senators complained that Governors were misusing county funds to file court cases to challenge decisions made by other Arms of the Government.

Senator Kimani wa Matangi said there has to be control over the manner in which decisions are being challenged in courts by Governors after decisions are issued by the Senate.

According to him, the Constitution prescribes that mediation should be employed where there is a dispute among Arms of Government before rushing to court.

He said millions of shillings of public funds are being spent in unnecessary litigation.

Muigai who shared similar concerns explained that as much as it is their constitutional right to go to court, dialogue should first be embraced among Arms of the Government.

He said it was also in the interest of the government to find out how much institutions were spending to sue fellow government institutions over matters that can be mediated.

He also noted that there was increased number of petitions such that his office was receiving five petitions challenging the constitution on a daily basis.

“Under your watch the legal industry is busy ‘mining’ cases from gullible citizens including Senators, Governors and the National Assembly, tell us how law should operate in the country. The mining hurts institution building,” Senator Anyang Nyong’o complained to the Attorney General.

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