The MPs, with the hurry to beat the constitutional deadline for passing the Bills, gave the nod to the National Police Service Bill, the Commission on Administrative Justice Bill, the Power of Mercy Bill, the Environment and Land Court Bill, the Urban Areas and Cities Bill, and the Citizenship and Immigration Bill.
The Bills join the Political Parties Bill which was approved on Tuesday.
The feat is a record of sorts for the House, because in just two days, it debated, proposed amendments, approved the amendments and then approved the Bills with the amendments effectively sending the Bills to the President for enactment.
The MPs took about 150 minutes to amend and approve the Bills, which they had discussed the previous day until midnight.
The approval of the Bills is an indication of Parliament’s promise, made by House Speaker Kenneth Marende, chairman of Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee Abdikadir Mohammed and Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo, that the August 26, 2011 deadline will be met. The Constitution set out a criteria for Parliament on the Bills to be passed within a year after Promulgation Day (August 27, 2010).
“It looks like the tenth Parliament works well under pressure,” said Dr Boni Khalwale, who presided over the approval of the Bills by virtue of being the Temporary Deputy Speaker.
Deputy Leader of Government Business Amos Kimunya was all smiles at the MPs commitment to ensure that the Bills are enacted before Saturday and thanked them for their support in saving the coalition government the embarrassment of failing to meet constitutional deadlines.
The National Police Service Bill was first to go through the House. The Bill, once enacted, will guide the appointment of the Inspector General to head the country’s police force. The MPs gave the Inspector General the power to appoint county representatives for the police force, the intelligence and the criminal investigation departments.
Next was the Commission on Administrative Justice Bill, which will help aggrieved public officers launch complains regarding mistreatment at work alongside allowing the public to launch complaints on errant public officers. The commission will be like the current office of the Ombudsman.
Then came the Power of Mercy Bill, which provides the criteria through which the committee will advice the President on when to grant a free or conditional pardon to a person convicted of an offence. The Bill also sets out the criteria of appointing members to the advisory committee that will advise the president.
The committee will include the Attorney General and the minister in charge of correctional services and seven other people.
The lawmakers then approved the Environment and Land Court Bill, which seeks to establish a superior court that will hear and determine disputes relating to the Environment and the use and occupation of land. The Bills opens the door to traditional dispute resolution mechanisms when it comes to land. It seeks to repeal the Land Disputes Tribunal Act.
They then approved the Urban Areas and Cities Bill set to introduce efficient planning and management of cities and get rid of the intrigue that marks council elections. It also abolishes the position of mayor. The enactment of the Bill will also result in the elimination of the position of councillor, with chances the elective wards will become zones to be represented at the county assembly.
The MPs then approved the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Bill which sailed through the Second Reading. Once enacted, the Bill proposes the appointment of a director to be in charge of citizenship and immigration issues. The director will serve as the adviser of the Cabinet Secretary on major issues in the ministry including issuance of passports and other travel documents and border management. (Nation/Alphonce Shiundu)
Last Updated (Thursday, 25 August 2011 14:53)