Parliament opens in Nairobi
16 April 2013, 19:03
Nairobi – Kenya’s new members of parliament trooped to the National Assembly and Senate on Tuesday, ahead of a heavy workload that will see some hastily passed laws being repealed and new legislation being debated.
President Uhuru Kenyatta set the tone for the house when he called for tolerance and multi-partisanship in anticipated debates.
Legislators will debate bills giving force to devolved governments that came into effect following the promulgation of a new Constitution on August 4, 2010.
This afternoon, Kenyatta told MPs to embrace democracy as a means of fostering good governance, adding that gains made in constitutional reforms in the last decade should not be lost.
“Though we may not agree from time to time, we should be able to hold the country together and bring prosperity to our doorsteps,” he hold told the joint sitting of Parliament and the Senate.
He said his administration would lay emphasis on the economy, job creation, ICT sector and security. The President also urged the National Assembly and the Senate to take their work seriously, adding implementation of the new Constitution would be key to a new dawn.
Parliament has a full slate, starting with 37 crucial bills, and about five laws scheduled for enactment by 27 August this year.
According to the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, the various Bills meant to operationalise the new Constitution are to be passed within a span of five years.
Among the Bills scheduled for enactment before the 27 August deadline are Freedom of the Media Bill, Support for County Government Bill, Public Participation and County Assembly Powers, Privileges and Immunities, County Assembly Gender Balance and Diversity Bill and the Public Service Management Bill.
But there are also a number of Bills pending Parliamentary debate. Among these are two critical laws that must be enacted by the end of this month. They are the Division of Revenue Bill and The County Allocation of Revenue Bill.
Also scheduled for debate are The Marriage Bill, Matrimonial Property Bill, Access to Information Bill and Data Processing Bill.
To add to the crowded agenda of the legislators, Parliament may have to review about 35 Bills ‘hurriedly’ passed by the Tenth Parliament which The Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution have insisted are flawed.
The Charles Nyachae led-Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution says that the Bills were hurriedly passed without the agreed constitutional procedure.
“CIC quick audit of these Acts indicate that there are a number of unconstitutional issues that require to be rectified prior to the implementation of these laws,” the commission said in a statement released in Nairobi today.
The previous Parliament under the stewardship of Kenneth Marende as Speaker passed numerous Bills amid tight Constitutional timelines with more than 90 bills being passed last year alone.
- CAJ News