February 12, 2021 - 5 minutes read

12th February 2021 Parliamentary Round Up

By Wanjiku Mwai
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

COMMUNICATION FROM THE CHAIR

 Reintroduction of Business that Lapsed

In accordance with the Standing Orders, Motions, Questions and Statements which had not been responded to lapsed. Thus, Chairperson of a Committee or individual Member who wished to reintroduce such business was advised to do so by contacting the Table Office to revive that business. This, however, does not apply to Bills and Petitions which were saved by way of a resolution of the House on 3rd December 2020. 

Further, the term of Sessional Committees came to an end, and therefore, they were reconstituted afresh. These include the Committee on Parliamentary Powers and Privileges and the Committee on Members’ Services and Facilities. Further, other Committees with set term limits also require to be reconstituted afresh, that is, the Committee on Appointments and the Budget and Appropriations Committee.

The Business Laws (Amendment)(No.2) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 50 0f 2020)

By the Leader of the Majority Party

The Bill was published on 14th December 2020 and read the First Time during the Special Sitting of the House on 22nd December 2020. The Bill seeks to make amendments to 10 statutes which do not warrant the publication of separate Bills to facilitate ease of doing business in Kenya. The said Bill has been referred to the various relevant Departmental Committees for consideration and public participation.

The committees will consider the Bill as follows:

(1) The Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs will deal with the provisions of the Bill touching on the following laws:

  • The Law of Contract Act (Cap. 23 of the Laws of Kenya)
  • The Companies Act (No. 17 of 2015);
  • The Insolvency Act (No. 18 of 2015); and
  • The Small Claims Court Act (No. 2 of 2016).

(2) The Departmental Committee on Labour and Social Welfare will deal with the provisions of the Bill touching on the following laws:

  • The Industrial Training Act (Cap. 237 of the Laws of Kenya); and
  • The National Social Security Fund Act (No. 45 of 2013).

(3) The Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning will consider the provisions of the Bill proposing to amend the Stamp Duty Act (Cap. 480 of the Laws of Kenya).

(4) The Departmental Committee on Health will consider the provisions of the Bill proposing to amend the National Hospital Insurance Fund Act (No. 9 of 1998).

(5) The Departmental Committee on Lands will consider the provisions of the Bill proposing to amend the Land Registration Act (No. 3 of 2012).

(6) The Departmental Committee on Transport, Public Works and Housing will consider the provisions of the Bill proposing to amend the National Construction Authority Act (No. 41 of 2011).

It was noted that the Committees should facilitate public participation as they consider their relevant portions of the Bill, following which they should file their respective Reports with the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs which was appointed to be the lead Committee on the Bill.  The lead Committee is thereafter expected to table the Consolidated Report in the House prior to commencement of the Second Reading on the Bill.

 The Employment (Amendment) Bill, 2019

By the Hon. Martha Wangari, MP

Towards the end of the last Session, the National Assembly passed the Employment (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 15 of 2019). Following its passage, the Bill was presented for assent to His Excellency the President in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the Standing Orders. 

However, in exercise of the powers conferred under the Constitution, His Excellency the President, by way of a memorandum, referred the Bill back to the National Assembly for reconsideration. In his Memorandum, the President expressed reservations on sub-clauses (4), (5) and (6) of Clause 3 of the Bill which sought to insert a New Section 29A to provide for pre-adoptive leave to parents of a child born as a result of a surrogate motherhood agreement. The proposed new section provides that a parent of a child born through surrogacy shall be entitled to parental leave with full pay. It thereafter sets out the procedure for applying for such leave.

Amongst the reasons for his reservations, His Excellency the President noted that amending the law in the manner proposed in the Bill will lead to surrogacy agreements operating in a vacuum in terms of absence of a substantive legal and regulatory framework governing surrogacy in Kenya. While noting that surrogacy is a novel reproductive science, His Excellency the President observed that it touches on children, reproductive rights and the concept of family. Therefore, there is need to first put in place a rigorous substantive legal and regulatory framework to protect all parties within the surrogacy agreements.

His Excellency the President also objected to the proposal on grounds that the provisions relating to surrogate motherhood agreements are of a substantive nature hence necessitating the formulation of a comprehensive policy arrived at after broad public participation and stakeholder engagements that will inform legislative positions. Consequently, the President recommended deletion of sub-clauses (4), (5) and (6) of Clause 3 of the Bill. The Reservations were referred to the Departmental Committee on Labour and Social Welfare for consideration.

The Tea Bill and the Anti-Doping (Amendment) Bill 

The House was notified that the Senate passed two Bills which had also been considered and passed by the National Assembly towards the end of last year:

  • The Tea Bill (Senate Bill No. 36 of 2018); and,
  • The Anti-Doping (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 51 of 2020).

The Senate passed the two Bills in the form passed by the National Assembly. The Bills were then assented to on 31st December 2020 and have since become part of the Laws of Kenya.

PAPERS LAID

The following papers were laid at the Table of the House among others:

  • The 2021 Budget Policy Statement from the National Treasury;
  • The 2021 Medium Term Debt Management Strategy from the National Treasury;
  • Legal Notice No. 202 of 2020 relating to Architects and Quantity Surveyors Continuing professional development by Laws, 2020;
  • The Supplementary Estimates I for the FY 2020/21 that includes:
  1. FY 2020/21 Supplementary Estimates I (Programme-Based Budget);
  2. FY 2020/21 Supplementary Estimates I (Recurrent Estimates, Volumes I and II);
  3. FY 2020/21 Supplementary Estimates I (Development Estimates, Volumes I, II and III); and
  4. Memorandum on the Supplementary Estimates No.1 for the FY 2020/21.
  • Legal Notice No. 212 of 2020 relating to the Standards (Verification of Conformity to Standards and Other Applicable Regulations of Imports) (Amendment) Order, 2020
  • Legal Notice No. 224 of 2020 relating to the Public Health (COVID-19 Indoor Meetings) Rules, 2020 and the Explanatory Memorandum from the Ministry of Health;
  • Legal Notice No. 3 of 2021 relating to the Warehouse Receipt System Regulations, 2021 and the Explanatory Memorandum from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives;
  • Legal Notice No. 4 of 2021 relating to the Civil Aviation (Regulatory Fees and Charges for Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Regulations, 2020;
  • National Government Budget Implementation Review Report for the First Quarter FY 2020/21 from the Office of the Controller of Budget; and
  • Recommendation on the Basis for Equitable Sharing of Revenue between the National and County Governments for the Financial Year 2021/2022 from the Commission on Revenue Allocation.

MOTIONS

The House Calendar for The Fifth Session (2021)

The House approved the Calendar of the National Assembly (Regular Sessions) for the Fifth Session (2021). It resolved to vary the First Part of the Session (9th February to 6th May 2021) as follows:

(a) The sitting of the House of Wednesday, 10th February 2021 (Afternoon) shall stand suspended;

(b) All Wednesday (Morning and Afternoon) sittings will stand suspended with effect from 17th February 2021;

(c)  The House will hold sittings on Tuesdays and Thursdays as follows-

  • Tuesdays (Afternoon) from 2.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.;
  • Tuesdays (Evening) from 7.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.;
  • Thursdays (Morning) from10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.;
  • Thursdays (Afternoon) from 2.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.; and,
  • Thursdays (Evening) from 7.00 p.m.to 9.00 p.m. 

The House shall resume for the Sixth Session on Tuesday, 25th January 2022 at 2.30 p.m. It was noted that next year being an election year, the Sixth Session will start earlier as the House will need to fast track the budgeting process. Members of the House will also need 60 days before August 2022 for them to go and do their campaigns, during the final recess.

The Public Private Partnerships (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 52 Of 2017)

The House was given Notice to adopt the Report of the Mediation Committee on the Public Private Partnerships (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 52 of 2017), laid on the Table of the House on Thursday, December 03, 2020, and approves the Mediated Version of the Public Private Partnerships (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 52 of 2017).

The Kenya Wildlife Service Policy

The House was given Notice to adopt the Report of the Departmental Committee on Environment and Natural Resources on Sessional Paper No. 1 of 2020 on the Kenya Wildlife Service Policy, laid on the Table of the House on Thursday, December 03, 2020, and further approve Sessional Paper No. 01 of 2020

BILLS

The Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 6 Of 2020)

By the Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Health 

The Bill was coming up for a Second Reading.

The principal object of the Bill is to provide for the regulation of the activities relating to blood donation, testing, processing, safeguarding, transfusion and quality control.

The Referendum (No.2) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 14 Of 2020)

By the Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs 

The Bill was coming up for a Second Reading.

The principal object of the Bill is to consolidate the law relating to conduct of referenda, to provide for a transparent and fair process in order to obtain a clear expression of the will of people, by establishing the procedures for the conduct of referenda, providing for the referendum committees and establishing a level playing field for the opposers and supporters of a referendum  question, by providing for equal public funding and by limiting expenditure in a reasonable manner for the public good, to afford the people an opportunity to make decisions based on information from both points of view.  

SENATE

COMMUNICATION FROM THE CHAIR

Changes in the Office of the Senate Majority Whip

The House was notified that the Speaker received Communication vide a letter dated 9th February, 2021, from the Office of the Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Samuel L. Poghisio, EGH, MP.  The said letter was accompanied by the following documents –

  • The Minutes of the Majority Party Coalition meeting dated 9th February, 2021, which is a record of the proceedings of the meeting together with the resolution; and
  • Duly signed list of Senators who attended the meeting.

The Communication and the minutes indicate a resolution to remove the Senate Majority Whip, Sen. (Dr.) Irungu Kang’ata, CBS, MP and elected Sen. Kimani Wamatangi, MP, in his place. It was noted that the change was made in accordance with Standing Orders and met the threshold required.

PAPERS LAID

The following papers were laid at the Table of the House among others:

  • Bi-annual report of the Commission on Administrative Justice for the Period January to June 2020;
  • The Public Health Covid-19 Indoor Meeting Rules LN 224 of 2020 published on the 30th of December, 2020
  • Report of the Council of Governors Statutory Report for the year 2019/2020;
  • Report of National Government Budget Implementation Review for The First Quarter for the Financial Year 2020/2021;
  • Report of the County Governments Budget Implementation Review for the Financial Year 2020/2021;
  • Special Report of the Auditor General on Utilization of the Covid-19 Funds by the County Governments;

BILLS

The Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill (Senate Bills No. 11 Of 2020)

By Sen. (Dr.) Agnes Zani, MP

The Bill was coming up for a Second Reading.

The principal object of this Bill is to amend the Co-operative Societies Act, No. 12 of 1997 so as to align it to the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 by setting out the functions of the National Government and the county governments in relation to governance of co-operative societies. This Bill also seeks to provide that governance of primary co-operative societies be overseen by county governments while the National Government shall be responsible for national policy and be responsible for the apex society and co-operative unions.

STATEMENTS

Quality of Salt in The Kenyan Market

A Statement was made on the need to check the quality of salt in the market. It was noted that Kenya is one of the countries where people are unknowingly consuming some good amount of micro plastics in table salt, according to a study by the study by the University of Queensland, Australia, and the Federal University of Technology in Nigeria. The Study further shows that also affected could be seafood. It was noted that the presence of plastic in salt can either cause physical damage to the body or result in chemical poisoning. The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) were asked to this threat by executing their duties diligently to ensure that Kenyans are safe.

Rampant Police Harassment of Civilians While Enforcing the Covid-19 Protocols and Guidelines

A statement was sought from the Standing Committee on National Security, Defence and Foreign Relations regarding the rampant police harassment of civilians while enforcing the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines. In the Statement, the Committee should-

  • Provide information on the good standards and procedure for police arrest for suspected violation of COVID-19 rules and clarify whether police officers have been adequately trained on this procedure to avoid further spread and infection of COVID-19 amongst the police and those arrested.
  • Provide immediate and suitable alternatives to enforce the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines rather than police arrest.
  • Provide an update and a report on the investigations on the alleged deaths of members of the public in the hands of the police allegedly for failing to wear masks in public.

The Status and Operations of the Kenya Scouting Association (KSA)

A statement was sought from the Standing Committee on Labour and Social Welfare on the status and operations of the KSA. In the Statement, the Committee should –

  • State whether the Kenya Scout Act is in tandem with the Constitution of Kenya 2010 given that it was last revised in 2008.
  • Provide information on the operations of the KSA, including but not limited to decentralization of services to county level, partnerships and the promotion of the scouting movement in Kenya.
  • Provide information on the preservation of the gravesite of the founder of the scouting movement Lord Baden Powell and his wife lady Baden Powell that is located in Nyeri County and whether there are any plans to relocate the gravesite due to negligence.

The Rise in Incidents of Fires in Learning Institutions in The Country

A statement was sought from the Standing Committee on Education on the rise in incidents of fires in learning institutions in the country and the resultant insecurity of learners, workers and property. In the Statement, the Committee should-

  • Explain the causes of the rampant incidents of fire in learning institutions in the country in the recent past.
  • Expound on the availability and distribution of firefighting equipment in learning institutions and the level of awareness of the existence of such equipment by the population within or surrounding the institutions.
  • Outline the measures put in place to ensure the safety of students, staff and property within these institutions as well as plans for evacuation where necessary.
  • Elucidate on the actions being taken by the Ministry of Education to ensure that such fires are eradicated or controlled in order to avoid or minimize disruption of learning and damage or loss to the property and lives.

Roadmap to the activities leading to the 2022 General Elections

A Statement was sought from the Standing Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Rights on the roadmap to the activities leading to the 2022 General Elections. In the Statement, the Committee should-

  • Outline the roadmap of activities, practical strategies, actions and targets to be undertaken in preparation for the 2022 election.
  • Expound on the methods to be used in the demarcations of electoral radius as well as reorganization of polling stations.
  • State the measures if any that have been put in place to ensure that the National Voter Register is updated to remove the dead voters and include all eligible voters.
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