Senators in rush to pass 58 pending Bills in five months

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021 00:00 | By
Senate during a past session. PHOTO/File

Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka

Senators are planning to pass at least 58 Bills and consider 54 petitions before December.

The reality is now dawning on the lawmakers after the High Court nullified all pieces of legislation that had been introduced in the House without concurrence with the National Assembly.

The lawmakers have given themselves five months,  from August to December, to process the Bills before the onset of election campaigns.

In an interview with People Daily yesterday, Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka said some of the bills to be reconsidered afresh include the private members’ Bills  introduced as far back as 2017 and had already been concluded by the House and sent to the National Assembly for consideration. 

“They have to be published afresh and undergo all the stages, including public participation, in line with the High Court ruling,” said Lusaka.

“Out of the 58 Bills, 21 are undergoing concurrence pursuant to Article 110(3), 30 are at the Second Reading stage and three Bills are at the Committee of the Whole House stage,” Lusaka added.

Concurrence process

The Speaker noted that one Bill had been referred to the National Assembly for consideration while three Bills had been assented to since the ruling was delivered.

In the judgement delivered on October 29, 2020 following a case filed by the Senate, the Court nullified 23 bills that were passed without input of the Senate.

In the ruling, the court ordered that “it is mandatory and a condition precedent for any Bill that is published by either House to be subjected to a concurrence process.’

The process would determine whether a Bill concerns counties or it is a special or an ordinary Bill as spelt out in Article 110 (3) of the Constitution.

“You will agree with me that we have a heavy workload and therefore, under pressure to finish the pending Bills within a very limited time to the end of the term of the 12th Parliament,” Lusaka told the lawmakers last Tuesday.

Last Thursday, the legislators held a half day workshop in the Senate chambers to discuss modalities of finalising the pending bills, statements and petitions by December.

According to Deputy Leader of Majority Fatuma Dullo, a roadmap of how to dispense with the Bills within six months had been drafted and agreed upon.

“We have set a roadmap to ensure that within six months, before next year, we clear all the pending bills.

Six months to election, that House will be empty,” Dullo, who is the Isiolo Senator said.

Dullo disclosed that the House tasked its secretariat to draw a time table – indicating all the Bills, when they will be introduced for first reading, second reading, third reading and when they will be subjected to public participation.

“We want to ensure that any other agenda that is before the Senate currently must be cleared as quickly as possible before we go for elections,” she added.

Among the Bills that the House will consider are The Pandemic Response and Management Bill, 2021 sponsored by the Adhoc committee on Covid-19. It seeks to provide framework for managing a pandemic.

Another is the County Boundaries Bill, which seeks to provide framework for delimitating county boundaries in a bid to resolve disputes that have rocked various counties.

Other bills are The Vendors (Protection of Livelihood) Bill, 2021 which aims at streamlining hawking, Prompt Payment Bill, 2021, Disaster Risk Management Bill, 2021 and the National Cohesion and Peace Building Bill, 2021 that seeks to rename and empower the National Cohesion and Integration Commission.

Others are County Oversight and Accountability Bill, 2021, the Lifestyle Audit Bill, 2021, Office of the County Printer Bill, 2021, Health (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and County Hall of Fame Bill, 2021.

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