MPs rush through last day of business
Members of the National Assembly yesterday engaged a higher gear in a rush to conclude pending business before they break today ahead of the August 9 General Election.
The lawmakers on two occasions altered the Order Paper to extend timelines and have scheduled a sitting this morning to conclude pending business.
In addition, they have also reduced debating time on some bills to enable them to transact as much business as possible before they conclude their sittings.
They have also reduced the publication period of some of the bills including the Supplementary Appropriation Bill that seeks to regularise the Sh70 billion spent by the State including the Sh260 million spent on State burial for retired President Mwai Kibaki.
To cut time and prevent the death of bills if not approved in this current parliament, they also concurred with the House Business Committee to only consider private members’ bills which do not affect county governments.
In April, immediately after parliament resumed its sittings after the long break, Speaker Justin Muturi appealed to MPs to attend house sittings in order to conclude critical business within the statutory time lines.
“As the representative of the people, the pending businesses in the House are of huge significance to wananchi. It is paramount that we finish all the pending business before the House adjourns sine die,” Muturi said.
In a move aimed at concluding pending business, Leader of Majority Amos Kimunya moved a motion seeking the approval of the House to allow it extend its sitting time until conclusion of specified business as well as allow members sit during the morning session.
“That, pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 30(3)(a), this House orders that, should the time appointed for adjournment of the House be reached before conclusion of business appearing under Order No. 25 on today’s Order Paper, the Sitting of the House shall stand extended until the conclusion of the said business,” said Kimunya.
He added: “Resolution to hold a Thursday morning sitting (the Leader of the Majority party) that, pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 30(3)(b), this house resolves to hold a morning sitting on Thursday, June 9 commencing at 9.30 am for purposes of considering priority business ahead of the sine die recess.”
During these sessions, lawmakers were scheduled to consider the budget estimates for the financial year 2022-23, the Appropriations Bill 2022, Finance Bill 2022 and the County Revenue Allocation Bill 2022. The House leadership also prioritised the Huduma Bill 2021, Universities (Amendment) Bill 2021, Disaster Management Bill 2021, Persons with Disabilities Bill 2021 and the Public Finance Management Bill 2022.
The Huduma Bill is scheduled to come up for the Third Reading once Muturi rules on the constitutionality of the bill after Garissa Town MP Aden Duale raised questions regarding its constitutionality.
Already, civil societies and non-governmental organisation (NGOS) have also opposed the bill citing the same issues of its constitutionality.
The groups protested during the public participation hearings that the proposed law would further alienate communities instead of bringing them together.
During the hearings before the Administration and National Security yesterday, Duale said the issue of unconstitutionality of legislation was a concern and needed to be addressed.
“Seeking to entrench the use of the National Integrated Identity Management System the way it is being raised is against the tenets of the Constitution,” Duale told the committee.
Among the pending business they are scheduled to conclude before the end of today includes – report of the committee of the whole House on the information Communication Technology (ICT) practitioners, the Kenya Revenue, the Kenya School of Law (amendment) Bill, the Legal Education (Amendment) Bill, the report on the consideration of financial statements of State Corporations that was laid on the tabled-on May 31.
Others are a motion on ratification of agreement between the Kingdom of Denmark and the Republic of Kenya on defence cooperation, a motion on the ratification of the 1970 Unesco convention on the means of prohibiting and preventing the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural properties, a motion on the ratification of bilateral air services agreements between Kenya and Czech Republic; Cyprus; Chile; Belize; Suriname; Tanzania; Austria and Barbados.