Thursday afternoon Parliament reopens debate on the Bill whose drastic amendments to Parties and Elections Acts President Kibaki returned to the House along with a memorandum on why he declined.
The country would be waiting with bated breath to see if MPs would marshal the two-thirds majority to veto the President’s memorandum, or if they will go for the softer option of accepting his proposals on a simple-majority vote.
The two contentious amendments, which are subject of court proceedings, seek to block candidate who do not have university degrees from running for parliamentary, senate and governor seats. The second one allows candidates to switch political parties until Election Day.
Whereas Parliament was set to adjourn yesterday, the matter was, however, stood over to allow time for the House to deliberate on the controversial Statute Law (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2012.
It will be the second time the House will be deliberating on a Bill rejected by the President, this time, however, affecting changes passed by MPs last Wednesday and Thursday.
President Kibaki rejected amendments that had been made to the Political Parties Act, and Elections Act both of which were in the controversial ‘omnibus’ Bill Attorney General Githu Muigai moved.
The Clerk to the National Assembly Patrick Gichohi confirmed to The Standard last evening that Parliament had received the President’s memorandum and that Speaker Kenneth Marende would be making a communication to the House this afternoon on the matter.
Sources told The Standard that since today’s Order Paper had been printed, the stalled changes were only likely to be slotted for debate in the House Thursday afternoon.
But according to the Standing Orders and the Constitution, Members of Parliament will not be expected to reopen debate on the entire Bill, but will only deal with the memorandum the President sent.
If after the debate, the MPs are dissatisfied with the President’s memorandum they will be required to raise a two-thirds majority to reject his proposals, and maintain their amendments.
But in the event they fail the President’s memorandum will carry the day, as it only requires a simple majority to pass the memorandum.
Government Chief Jakoyo Midiwo told The Standard the House Business Committee, which was scheduled to meet last evening, would be responsible for allocating time for debate the President’s memorandum.