Committee wants laws changed on voting day
Half-baked motionHe added: “The Motion will be half-baked if we are not properly briefed. This intended Motion has no head or tail.” Kioni said his committee was mandated by law to provide for stringent special procedures for enacting amendments, including amendments by parliamentary initiative, direct approvals by the electorate in a referendum, or amendments triggered by a popular initiative. These touch on articles 255, 256 and 257 of the Constitution. “Our mandate includes overseeing the implementation of the Constitution and considering any impediment to the process of constitutional implementation. That’s why we interacted and continue to do so with various stakeholders and interest groups whose proposals were similar and addressed the articles cited,” he stated. The chairman explained that there were 15 proposals to amend the law, including the protected articles touching on the governance structure, devolved government, security and the institution of Parliament. “The issues raised are very weighty. This is a committee-led initiative emanating from its continuous interactions with stakeholders involved in the implementation of the Constitution and other interest groups,” he told The Standard. According to the committee, the clamour for constitutional change is gaining momentum and proposals presented before it by stakeholders touch on various provisions such as a parliamentary system of governance, doing away with nomination slots in Parliament and the county assemblies, merging constitutional commissions, and reducing the number of sitting members. The move also targets Article 115 of the Constitution on the powers of the President to veto Bills passed in Parliament, the appointment of ministers from Parliament as well as the appointment by governors of county executive committee members from members of the county assemblies. The committee further seeks to have the President assign the Attorney General duties as a Cabinet secretary and ensure the principle of separation of powers between the Legislature and the Judiciary is enhanced. Another proposed change that touches on the First Schedule seeks to have Nairobi City County designated as the Metropolis City of Nairobi. Kioni said the proposals also sought to introduce a 10-year “sunset clause” after the 2022 polls regarding the contentious issues of Woman Reps’ slots, nominated senators and MCAs. The “sunset clause” would render the seats obsolete. “We are seeking to have members debate these matters to help measure the threshold of acceptance,” said Kioni, adding that the country was not prepared for a charged political process. Majority Whip Ben Washiali concurred with Kioni, saying the move to push the referendum to election time would tone down political rhetoric and allow Kenyans to drive the agenda. He, however, disclosed that he would suggest to Kioni that the Motion also includes the formation of a select committee to collect views from Kenyans on the proposed changes. “The Constitution is supposed to be audited after 10 years. Parliament is supposed to engage stakeholders on proposals by collecting views. Parliament will advise on the areas not working well with the people,” he said.
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