February 26, 2021 - 5 minutes read

26th February 2021 Parliamentary Round Up

By Wanjiku Mwai
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

COMMUNICATION

Communications from the Chair on the Resolutions of County Assemblies on the Draft Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020

The Building Bridges Initiative Steering Committee, delivered a draft Bill to amend the Constitution by popular initiative and signatures of persons in support of the initiative to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for verification. Consequently, the IEBC submitted the draft Bill to the (47) County Assemblies for consideration after verification of the signatures in support of the initiative.

The Constitution affords the respective County Assemblies a period of three months after receipt of a draft Bill to amend the Constitution by popular initiative within which to approve the Bill. Thereafter, the respective Speakers of the County Assemblies are required to communicate the resolution of the approval by the respective assemblies by delivering a copy of the draft Bill jointly to the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament, with a certificate indicating such approval.

During the Punguza Mizigo (Constitution Amendment) Bill, the Speaker of the National Assembly and Speaker of the Senate jointly developed standard Guidelines for Delivery by the County Assemblies to the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament of a draft Bill for the amendment of the Constitution by Popular Initiative. The Guidelines were published in the Kenya Gazette as Legal Notice No. 175 dated 22nd November, 2019 and have informed the current process before Parliament.

The Submissions

The statistics of the submissions which had been formally delivered by the respective Speakers of the County Assemblies as at two o’clock (2.00 pm) Thursday, 25th February, 2021 are as follows –

  • thirty (30) County Assemblies have delivered the draft Bill with a certificate indicating their approval of the Bill, that is, Siaya, Homa Bay, Kisumu, Trans Nzoia, Busia, Kajiado, West Pokot, Laikipia, Kisii, Nairobi, Garissa, Mombasa, Taita Taveta, Kakamega, Kitui, Vihiga, Murang’a, Narok, Makueni, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Bungoma, Machakos, Nakuru, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Tana River, Embu, Nyandarua and Kericho;
  • One (1) County Assembly, which is Baringo County Assembly, rejected the draft Bill. However I note that the County Assembly only submitted a certificate of rejection, and failed to submit a copy of the draft Bill as required under the Guidelines
  • Kwale County Assembly submitted a certificate of approval but failed to submit a copy of the draft Bill that was considered by the Assembly;
  • Nyamira County Assembly submitted a certificate of approval. It was however observed that the draft Bill submitted by the Assembly alongside the certificate had fundamental variances in many clauses compared to the draft Bill submitted to the County Assembly by the IEBC.

It goes without saying that the threshold required under Article 257(7) of the Constitution for introduction of the Bill in Parliament and attendant requirements in the Guidelines HAVE BEEN MET.

The only questions that would arise at this stage would be two-fold, being-

  • What then follows with respect to the parliamentary processes of the Draft Bill; and,
  • What is the recourse with respect to the un-received, or incomplete, or inconsistent returns from County Assemblies?

The Speaker of the National Assembly, having consulted the Speaker of the Senate, resolved to facilitate the Houses of Parliament to commence the process of consideration of the Bill without any delay.

They agreed that the Draft Bill will be forwarded for publication to the Government Printer on the 26th February, 2021 in White Paper, as a Bill for introduction in Parliament, so as to pave the way for its processing in Parliament. Once this is done, the Speakers will guide the respective Houses on the rest of the processes, after meeting with the respective House Business Committees.

PAPERS LAID

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

  • Reports of the Auditor-General on donor-funded projects for the year ended 30th June 2020, and the agencies implementing them.
  • Reports of the Auditor-General and Financial Statements in respect of various institutions for the year ended 30th June 2019 and the Certificates therein.
  • Report of the Departmental Committee on Labour on its Consideration of President’s Memorandum on the Employment Amendment Bill No. 15 of 2019.

BILLS

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.   

The Bill was read the Second Time and passed.  It was subsequently committed to the Committee of the Whole House and was consequently approved with amendments. 

The Crops Amendment Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 25 of 2019) By the Hon. Tandaza Kassim Sawa, M.P.

The Bill was coming up for a Second Reading.

The main aim of the Bill is to include Achiote to the Schedule of the Crops Act, 2013.  

The Bill was read the Second Time and passed.

The Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill (NA Bill No. 41 of 2020) – Read for the First Time

The Bill was coming up for a First Reading.

The principal object of the Bill is to amend the Criminal Procedure Code, Cap. 75 to make provision for the mandatory execution of bond for offences other than murder, treason, robbery with violence and attempted robbery with violence for persons arrested without warrant. The current provision makes it discretionary for officers to issue bond and which discretion is subject to abuse.

The Central Bank of Kenya (Amendment) Bill (NA Bill No. 47 of 2020) By the Hon. Gideon Keter, M.P.

The Bill was coming up for First Reading.

The principal object of the Bill is to amend the Central Bank Act, Cap 491 to safeguard the interest of the consumers of the services of digital mobile money lenders.

The Land (Amendment) Bill (NA Bill No. 54 of 2019) By the Hon. Simon King’ara, M.P

The Bill was coming up for a Second Reading.

The principal object of the Bill is to amend the Land Act No. 6 of 2012 in order to provide that where public land has been allocated to a public body or public institution by the National Land Commission for a public purpose, the Registrar Lands under the Land Registration Act, 2012 shall issue a certificate of title in the name of the public body, public institution or the relevant ministry as the case may be.

The Kenya National Library Service Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 5 of 2019) By the Leader of the Majority Party.

 The Bill was coming up for a Second Reading.

The Bill seeks to give effect to the Constitution in order to promote all forms of national and cultural expression through literature, the arts, traditional celebrations, science, communication, information, mass media, publications, libraries and other cultural heritage.

The Bill was read the Second Time and passed. 

The Employment (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No.15 of 2019) By the Leader of the Majority Party

The Bill was coming up for the Committee of the Whole to consider the President’s Reservations.

The Principal Objective of the Bill is to amend the Employment Act, 2007 in order to afford pre-adoptive leave to parents who apply for the adoption of children who are not their natural children bborn to them by birth.

The President had 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.

The Committee of the Whole House considered the reservations and approved them without amendments.

The Care and Protection of Older Members of Society Bill (Senate Bill No. 17 of 2018) By the Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Labour and Social Welfare

The Bill was coming up for a Committee of the Whole House.

The principle object of the Bill is to give effect to Article 57 of the Constitution on the right of older persons to –

  1. fully participate in the affairs of society;
  2. pursue their personal development;
  3. live in dignity and respect and be free from abuse; and
  4. receive reasonable care and assistance from family and the State.

The Committee of the Whole House considered the Bill and approved it with amendments.

The County Statutory Instruments Bill (Senate Bill No. 21 Of 2018) By the Chairperson, Committee on Delegated Legislation

The Bill was coming up for a Second Reading.

The principal object of this Bill is to make provision for the procedure of consideration of Statutory Instruments by County Assemblies. Subsidiary legislation is key in the running of County Governments. The Bill seeks to provide a legal mechanism by which County Assemblies will scrutinize statutory instruments.

MOTIONS

Crisis Facing the Sugar Industry

The House was given Notice to adopt the Report of the Select Committee on Implementation on its consideration of the Public Petition to re-consider a Resolution of the House on the Report on the crisis facing the Sugar Industry in Kenya, laid on the Table of House on Wednesday, 5th August 2020.

Grain Handling Services at The Port

The House was given Notice to adopt the Report of the Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning on its Inquiry into the Optimization of Revenue in Grain Handling Services at the Port of Mombasa, laid on the Table of the House on Thursday, November 26th, 2020.

STATEMENTS

The following statements were raised on the floor of the House among others:

  • Hon. Aden Duale (Garissa Township, JP) requested a Statement from the Chairperson of the Departmental Committee on Education and Research regarding the provision of school desks to various learning institutions in the country under the Economic Stimulus Programme.
  • The Member for Laikipia County (Hon. Catherine Waruguru, M.P.), asked the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife to provide the status and comprehensive safety assessment report of all aircrafts owned and operated by the Kenya Wildlife Service, including those leased from third parties. The question will be replied before the Departmental Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.
  • The Member for Bondo (Hon. Gideon Ochanda, M.P.) asked the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and ASALs to submit a list of all major flooding-related emergencies that the Ministry has handled since May 2010. The question will be replied before the Departmental Committee on Administration and National Security.
  • The Member for Trans Nzoia County (Hon. Janet Nangabo, M.P.) asked the Cabinet Secretary for Health on the measures the Ministry is putting in place to ensure that appropriate criteria is established and followed in identifying the vulnerable, the poor and disadvantaged members of the society, particularly the disabled and women intended to benefit from the Universal Health Care Programme. The question will be replied before the Departmental Committee on Health.
  • The Member for Ruiru (Hon. Simon King’ara, M.P.) asked the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works on the plans that the Ministry have to address the high number of road accidents involving pedestrians that have been taking place at the various designated pedestrian crossings sections commonly known “Zebra Crossings” at all National Highways, particularly along the Nairobi-Thika Highway. The question will be replied before the Departmental Committee on Transport, Public Works and Housing.

SENATE

PAPERS LAID

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

  • The Report of the Standing Committee on Finance and Budget on the 2021 Budget Policy Statement (BPS) and Medium Term Debt Management Strategy.
  • Report of the Auditor General on the Financial Statements of Kisii County Assembly for the year ended 30th June, 2019.
  • Report of the Auditor General on the Financial Statements of Kisii County Executive for the year ended 30th June, 2019.

COMMUNICATION FROM THE CHAIR

Processing of The Budget Policy Statement for FY2021/22

The Speaker notified the House on the importance of the BPS. He indicated that the BPS tool sets out the broad strategic priorities and policy goals that will guide the national and county governments in preparing their budgets both for the following financial year and over the medium term. He notified the House that a briefing to all Senators on the Budget Policy Statement was undertaken on Wednesday, 17th February, 2021 and respective Standing Committees have submitted their recommendations to the Standing Committee on Finance and Budget, which will compile a comprehensive report for consideration by the Senate. He also noted that the Standing Committee on Finance and Budget has held consultations with relevant stakeholders, including the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury and Planning, the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA), the County Assemblies Forum (CAF), the Council of Governors (CoG), among others. Currently, the Committee is making efforts to conclude the report and table it. As such, it was directed that no Committee travel outside Nairobi on Wednesday, 24th and Thursday, 25th February, 2021, and on Tuesday, 3rd March, 2021, until the resolution of the Senate on the matter is made.

Appointment of the CEO of NHIF

The House was notified of a petition submitted through the Clerk concerning the appointment of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). The prayers of the Petitioner were that the Senate investigates the matter with a view to ensuring due process as stipulated by the Constitution and the National Hospital Insurance Fund Act on appointment to the position of CEO is adhered to by the NHIF Board to safeguard public interest.

 Meeting of Senators with the COG to Discuss State of Devolution

The Speaker notified the House that the Standing Committee on Devolution and Intergovernmental Relations has organized a meeting with the newly appointed leadership of the C0G to discuss the state of devolution. The meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 2nd March, 2021, at 9.00 a.m. in the Senate Chamber, Main Parliament Buildings.

Communications from the Chair on the Resolutions of County Assemblies on the Draft Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020

The Building Bridges Initiative Steering Committee, delivered a draft Bill to amend the Constitution by popular initiative and signatures of persons in support of the initiative to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for verification. Consequently, the IEBC submitted the draft Bill to the (47) County Assemblies for consideration after verification

of the signatures in support of the initiative.

The Constitution affords the respective County Assemblies a period of three months after receipt of a draft Bill to amend the Constitution by popular initiative within which to approve the Bill. Thereafter, the respective Speakers of the County Assemblies are required to communicate the resolution of the approval by the respective assemblies by delivering a copy of the draft

Bill jointly to the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament, with a certificate indicating such approval.

During the Punguza Mizigo (Constitution Amendment) Bill, the Speaker of the National Assembly and Speaker of the Senate jointly developed standard Guidelines for Delivery by the County Assemblies to the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament of a draft Bill for the amendment of the Constitution by Popular Initiative. The Guidelines were published in the Kenya Gazette as Legal Notice No. 175 dated 22nd November, 2019 and have informed the current process before Parliament.

The Submissions

The statistics of the submissions which had been formally delivered by the respective Speakers of the County Assemblies as at 2pm on the  25th February, 2021 are as follows-

  • Thirty – three (33) County Assemblies had delivered the draft Bill with a certificate indicating their approval of the Bill, that is, Siaya, Homa Bay, Kisumu, Trans Nzoia, Busia, Kajiado, West Pokot, Laikipia, Kisii, Nairobi, Garissa, Mombasa, Nyamira, Taita Taveta, Kakamega,Kitui, Vihiga, Murang’a, Narok, Makueni, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Bungoma, Machakos, Nakuru, Meru, Bungoma, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Marsabit, Nyandarua, Kericho and Tana River;
  • One (1) County Assembly has rejected the draft Bill, that is Baringo. However, I note that the County Assembly only submitted a certificate of rejection without the draft Bill.

A simple calculation reveals that thirteen (13) other County Assemblies are yet to deliver the draft Bill to the Speakers of the Houses of Parliament with a certificate indicating either their approval or rejection of the Bill.

Article 257(7) of the Constitution provides that if a draft Bill has been approved by a majority of county assemblies it shall be introduced in Parliament without delay.

It goes without saying that the threshold required under Article 257(7) of the Constitution

for introduction of the Bill in Parliament and attendant requirements in the Guidelines HAVE BEEN MET.

The Speaker of the Senate stated that he and his National Assembly colleague had resolved to commence the process of consideration of the Bill in Parliament. He directed the Clerk to

publish, at the appropriate time, the following information in at least two newspapers of national circulation and in the Gazette for general information of the public—

  • the list of County Assemblies that have submitted the draft Bill and the certificate approving the Bill jointly to the Speakers of the Houses of Parliament;
  • the list of County Assemblies that have submitted the draft Bill and the certificate rejecting the Bill jointly to the Speakers of the Houses of Parliament; and
  • the list of County Assemblies that have not submitted the draft Bill and the certificate.

Further information regarding the parliamentary process will be provided to the House in due course.

MOTIONS

CPAIC Reports on the Audit of Various County Executives for FY 2014/2015

The House was given Notice to adopt the Report of the Sessional Committee on County Public Accounts and Investments on the consideration of the audit reports of Bomet, Homa Bay, Isiolo, Kakamega, Kiambu, Laikipia, Kisumu, Mandera, Migori, Mombasa, Murang‟a, Nandi, Nyeri, Samburu, Siaya, Tana River, Tharaka Nithi, Trans Nzoia, Turkana and Wajir County Executives for the Financial Year 2014/2015, (1st  July, 2014 to 30th June, 2015), laid on the Table of the Senate on Thursday, 18th February, 2021.

Cancer Patients in Hospitals

The House was given Notice of the Motion on the monthly stipend to Cancer Patients. The Motion requests that the Senate calls upon the Ministry of Health in partnership with the Council of Governors to-

  • Incorporate county cancer support services in their annual development plan.
  • Partner with stakeholders to create support including counselling services.
  • Provide cancer patients with free prescriptions, wigs for those who have lost their hair, improvised breasts where applicable, and a subsidy for prostheses.

Appreciating the Elderly

The House was given Notice of the Motion on Recognizing and appreciating the elderly by the County Governments. The Motion requests that the Senate, recommends that the County Governments complement the efforts of the national Government and assist in resolving these challenges by-

  • Developing legislation and policies to protect the elderly including ensuring all elderly persons in their counties are registered in the OPCT programme.
  • Organize value addition mechanisms such as financial training to help the beneficiaries of the programme to efficiently utilize this allowance.

 The Early Childhood Development Education Bill (Senate Bills No.26 Of 2018)

The House was given Notice to adopt the Report of the Mediation Committee on the Early Childhood Bill,

Education Bill (Senate Bills No.26 of 2018), laid on the Table of the Senate on Thursday, 18th February, 2021, and consequently approve the mediated version of the Bill.

The Bill was published on 4th September, 2018. It was passed by the Senate with amendments on 22nd May, 2019. It was referred thereafter to the National Assembly for consideration. The National Assembly passed the Bill with amendments on 5th December, 2019. The Senate thereafter, considered the National Assembly amendments on 30th June, 2020 and negatived some of the amendments as proposed by the National Assembly. The Bill was referred to the Mediation Committee with the sole objective of attempting to develop a version of the Bill that would be presented to both Houses for approval.

The 2021 Budget Policy Statement and Medium Term Debt Management Strategy

The House was given Notice to adopt the Report of the Standing Committee On Finance and Budget on the 2021 Budget Policy Statement (BPS) and Medium Term Debt Management Strategy, laid on the Table of the Senate, today, Wednesday, 24th February, 2021 and consequently approve the 2021 BPS.

 The Interests of the Senate in the BPS and the Debt Management Strategy are categorized as:

  • National Policies and Programs that have direct impact on the economic performance of counties and 
  • Proposal on Division of Revenues between the two levels of government and among counties for the financial year 2021.

Below are some of the Committee’s Recommendations contained in the Report.

  • An amendment of the PFM Act, 2012 with a view of increasing the days given to process from 14 to 28 days.
  • Counties are budgeting based on the actual average correction of the last 3 years.
  • There is a need to establish an integrated revenue management system to aid the counties in revenue collection and management. This will seal revenue leakages and improve on performance. 
  • The National Treasury should not use the base effect economic growth to project high revenue collection and the resultant increased spending. It should neither be used to interpret the living standards of Kenyans as the 7% growth may not translate to benefits in people’s pockets.
  • The National Treasury should develop realistic ways of projecting revenues based on historic performance and using an average of the past three years’ revenue performance.

STATEMENTS

The following statements were made on the floor of the Senate among others.

  • Sen. Were made a statement on an issue of the abuse of children under the care of foreign missionaries.
  • Sen. Kihika made a Statement on an issue of the implications of gender and corruption on resource allocation with a focus on the budget for the Financial Year 2021/2022.
  • Sen. Waqo sought a statement from the Standing Committee on National Security, Defence and Foreign relations regarding insecurity in Marsabit County.
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