NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 19 – The National Assembly has deferred debate for the extension of enactment of constitutional Bills, whose deadline is set for August 27.
Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi postponed the debate and directed House leaders Aden Duale (Garissa Township) and Jakoyo Midiwo (Gem) to convene a House leadership meeting to build consensus on the matter and report back to him before Thursday afternoon’s sitting.
“It is unfortunate that the drafters of the Constitution decided to put the Sword of Damocles on Parliament but this being the last set of the bills, it’s only fair that both sides of the House leadership meet and decide whether you want us to proceed with the motion tomorrow (Thursday) so that you can decide either way and then the rest will follow, the consequences are outlined in Article 261 (of the Constitution),” Speaker Muturi told the House.
Midiwo who is also the Deputy Minority Leader had requested the Speaker to postpone debate after it emerged that there were less than 150 MPs in the House which falls below the 233 MPs threshold required to extend the deadline and save Parliament from being disbanded.
“We have agreed that we have a consultative meeting which I am going to convene to agree on the period between six months, nine months or 12 months,” Duale explained.
Midiwo added: “We in the Opposition have a heavy heart because Kenyans are looking to us to question why the implementation is not going on. We have consulted with a section of the House leadership and what is coming out is that sometimes we try to create controversy when we should consult.”
Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) Chairman Njoroge Baiya (Githunguri) moved the motion to seeking MPs’ approval for the extension of one year for nine constitutional Bills saying Parliament is unlikely to meet the deadline.
The Bills that MPs want time to debate are the Legal Aid Bill 2015, the Magistrates Courts Bill 2015, the Controller of Budget Bill 2015, the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2015, Organisation and Administration of the Court of Appeal 2015 and the Organisation and Administration of the High Court Bill 2015.
The Community Land Bill 2015, Physical Planning Bill 2015 and the Protection and Ownership of Indigenous Plants and Varieties Bill 2015 will also be eligible for the fresh deadline.
By extending the timelines, the House is seeking to avoid the last minute rush witnessed in 2012 where MPs hurriedly passed over 30 legislations within a span of 18 days.
Speaker Muturi ordered a socio-economic audit of the Constitution promulgated in 2010 saying it was necessary in light of expansion of institutions and services.