One of the ten-point communiqué at the end of the MPs’ National Conference and County Forum for peaceful elections in Mombasa last week was to speed up legislations to facilitate peaceful elections.
However, communiqué number two was ironically broken three days later after MPs returned to Nairobi, only to unanimously vote to extend the constitutional deadline of two crucial devolution Bills that had stalled in Parliament.
Communique number two, which was availed by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, dated June 9, read: “Honourable Members of Parliament will consult, debate and expedite the adoption of policies and enactment of necessary legislations for peaceful elections.”
Legislations that were to be expedited included Leadership and Integrity Bill, County Governments Bill, Public Financial Management Bill, Campaign Financing Bill, Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill on the two third gender principle and all legislation necessary to fast-track police reforms.
Others included Sessional Paper on Vision 2030, National Values Policy, National Cohesion Policy, National Human Rights Policy to strengthen the implementation of the Constitution and provide environment for holding peaceful elections.
The MPs had further agreed under communiqué number two to expedite legal amendments to extend the terms of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, the Vetting of Magistrates and Judges Board, and appointments of commissioners to the Police Service Commission, as well as the Inspector General of Police by August.
But Parliament, on Tuesday, agreed to extend the timeline for the County Government Bill and the Public Finance Management Bill by five months. The deadline for the two devolution Bills will now be July 27. The extension of the deadline was backdated to February 27 when the Bills would have been passed by Parliament, to avert a possible constitutional crisis.
But legislators proposed serious sanctions against Cabinet ministers who fail to publish Bills with constitutional deadlines on time.
During an informal meeting – known as Kamukunji – last week, legislators reprimanded ministers saying they were frustrating the implementation of the Constitution.
The Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) Chairman Abdikadir Mohammed said they would be seeking to impose financial sanctions on any minister found to breach the agreed timelines.
“The responsible ministry will also be barred from transacting any business on the floor of the House until the required legislation is published,” said the Mandera MP.