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30th April 2021 Parliamentary Round Up

SENATE

PAPERS LAID

The Joint Report of the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs and the Senate Committee on Justice Legal Affairs and Human Rights on the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

COMMUNICATION FROM THE CHAIR

Special Sitting of the Senate

The Senate held a special sitting to transact the following business:

  1. Tabling of the Joint Report of the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs and the Senate Standing Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Rights, on the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020; and
  2. Consideration of the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

The Bill was introduced to Parliament without delay, owing to the intricate process attached to the consideration of the Bill in terms of collection of signatures in support; verification of the said signatures; public participation undertaken by various county assemblies; and ultimately, approval by the Assemblies and subsequent submission of their respective resolutions to the Speakers of the Houses of Parliament.

All county assemblies filed returns to the Speakers of the Houses of Parliament pursuant to the Constitution and the Guidelines for Delivery by the county assemblies in Legal Notice No. 175 of 2019. A total of 43 County Assemblies approved the draft Bill, three county assemblies rejected the Bill and one county assembly abstained.

In consultations over the Parliamentary process on the Bill, the two Speakers and the leadership of the Houses were in agreement that the Bill was to be introduced simultaneously and follow a similar process. This paved the way for the introduction of the Bill in both Houses of Parliament by way of First Reading on Thursday, 4th March, 2021 and its subsequent committal to the Joint Committee of the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs and the Senate Standing Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Rights.

The two committees considered the Bill, undertook public hearings and stakeholder engagements on diverse dates, concluded their deliberations and prepared a joint report on the Bill. The Senate will then be guided by its Standing Orders in the consideration of the Bill. As such, the Bill will go through the following stages: – Second Reading, Committee of the Whole and the Third Reading. The procedure is necessary so as to socialize the Bill to the longstanding parliamentary procedure within the Commonwealth for considering Bills. As is the practice, there is no Motion for consideration or adoption of the Report of the Joint Committee on the Bill. What is permissible are arguments in support or otherwise of the Bill, at the various stages, with the benefit of the information contained in the Joint Report. However, the nature of the Bill is one that, although subjected through the Parliamentary procedures for considering Bills, may not be amended.

It is the first time that Parliament is considering a Bill to amend the Constitution by popular initiative as contemplated in Article 257 of the Constitution. As all Senators will have a maximum of 20 minutes to speak, except the Mover, the Senate Majority Leader, and the Senate Minority Leader, who have a maximum of sixty (60) minutes each. The Chair of the Report will have a maximum of 30 minutes.

At the conclusion of the debate, the decision of the Senate on the Bill will be guided by Article 257(8) of the Constitution that states that “A Bill under this Article is passed by Parliament if supported by a majority of the Members of each House”. The provision applies to all the stages as outlined.  Once the Senate concludes with the consideration of the Bill, the Senate will stand adjourned until Tuesday, 11th May, 2021, at 10.00 am.

BILLS

The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

The Bill was coming up for Second Reading.

The main objective of the Bill is to amend the Constitution by popular initiative. It seeks to address issues arising from implementation of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. In particular, to resolve issues of divisive elections and promote gender equity in governance, strengthen the structure of devolution and increase resource allocation to the counties, broaden mechanisms of all the people of Kenya to benefit from economic growth, harmonize certain roles and functions of the bicameral legislature, fortify national ethos by specifying the responsibilities of citizens and strengthen accountability on public resourced and the fight against corruption.

PAPERS LAID

  • Legal Notice No. 27 of 2021 on exemption from Income Tax and the explanatory Memorandum from the National Treasury and Planning.
  • Report of the Budget and Appropriations Committee on the Consideration of Senate Amendments to the Division of the Revenue Bill, 2021.
  • Report of the Joint Sittings of Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs and Senate’s Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Rights on the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
  • Estimates of the current and development expenditure for the Parliamentary Service Commission for the year ended 30th June 2022 and projections for the years 2022-23 and 2024.
  • Report of the Departmental Committee on Education and Research on its consideration on the vetting of Professor Fatuma N. Chege PHD for the Appointment to the position of Principal Secretary State Department for Implementation of Curriculum Reforms in the Ministry of Education and the vetting of Dr. Jamleck Muturi John PHD and Mr. Timon Alfred Otieno the Nominees for appointment to the positions of Chairperson and Member of the Teachers Service Commission.

COMMUNICATION FROM THE CHAIR

Special Sitting

The House held a Special sitting to deliberate on the following:

  1. a) Notification of a Message from the Senate on Division of Revenue Bill, 2021
  2. b) Tabling of Reports of various Committees
  3. c) Transacting business on various Notices of Motion.
  4. d) Consideration of the Public Petition for the removal of Ms. Tabitha Mutemi from the membership of the Media Council of Kenya
  5. e) Consideration of Senate Amendments to the Division of Revenue Bill, 2021 and
  6. f) Consideration of the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

The House received two messages from the Senate regarding its passage of the Division of Revenue Bill NA Bill No. 7 of 2021 regarding conditional allocation to counties as well as the passage of the Mung Beans Bill Sen. Bill No. 9 of 2020.  The Division of Revenue Bill was committed to the Budget and Appropriations Committee while the Mung Beans Bill was committed to the Departmental Committee on Agriculture and Livestock for consideration.

The House also received a Statutory Instrument – Legal Notice No. 27 of 2021 on exemption of Income Tax which was forwarded to the Committee on Delegated Legislation for its consideration.

MESSAGE

Message from the Senate

The House was informed that the Senate considered and passed the Bill on Tuesday 13th April, 2021 with amendments and now seeks the concurrence of the House on the Amendments. This was forwarded to the budgets and Appropriations Committee for consideration.

Message from the President

The House was informed of the President’s message conveying the nomination of the Hon. Lady Justice Martha Koome for appointment as the Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya and the president of the Supreme Court. The message includes the certificate of Presidential Nomination, the Judges testimonials, Curriculum Vitae and the recommendations of the Judicial Service Commission. The Message was referred to the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs to undertake the approval hearings.

The Committee is expected to notify the nominee and the general public of the time and place for holding the hearings expeditiously. Thereafter, the Committee Table its Reports before 25th May, 2021 for debate and decision of the House.  The Committee was requested to consider the Nomination on a priority basis.

MOTIONS

Appointment

The House was given Notice to approve the Appointment of Professor Fatuma N. Chege PHD for the position of Principal Secretary State Department for Implementation of Curriculum Reforms, taking into consideration the findings of the Departmental Committee on Education and Research.

The House approved the Appointment of Dr. Jamleck Muturi John PHD and Mr. Timon Alfred Otieno to the positions of Chairperson and Member of the Teachers Service Commission.

PETITIONS

The House considered the Petition on the removal of Ms. Tabitha Mutemi as a Member of the Media Council of Kenya. The Petition as submitted disclosed sufficient grounds as contemplated under section 14(1) of the Media Council Act, 2013. It states that Ms. Tabitha acted in gross misconduct and in breach of the Constitution and several other laws by holding two public offices. Based on the Submissions received, the Committee found that there existed grounds for removal. However, the Committee did not make a finding of guilt or of culpability which is limited to the Tribunal for purposes of finding the merits of the case.

The House did not find the Petition as submitted disclosed sufficient grounds as contemplated under the Media Council Act, 2013 and as such failed to resolve to submit the complaint to the Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communication, Technology, and Youth Affairs in accordance with section 14(3) of the Media Council Act, 2013.

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

BILLS

Division of Revenue Bill NA Bill No. 7 of 2021

The Bill was coming up for consideration of the Senate’s amendments to the Bill.

The main objective of the Bill is to provide for the equitable division of revenue raised nationally among the national and county levels of government as required by Article 218 of the Constitution in order to facilitate the proper functioning of county governments and to ensure continuity of county services.

The motion to consider the Amendments to the Bill were passed. As such, the Bill was considered by the Committee of the Whole House which was in agreement with the Report.

The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

The Bill was coming up for Second Reading.

The main objective of the Bill is to amend the Constitution by popular initiative. It seeks to address issues arising from implementation of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. In particular, to resolve issues of divisive elections and promote gender equity in governance, strengthen the structure of devolution and increase resource allocation to the counties, broaden mechanisms of all the people of Kenya to benefit from economic growth, harmonize certain roles and functions of the bicameral legislature, fortify national ethos by specifying the responsibilities of citizens and strengthen accountability on public resourced and the fight against corruption.

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