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New aviation management Bill runs into headwinds

NEWS
By Macharia Kamau | October 2nd 2020

National Assembly Transport Committee Chairman David Pkosing. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

A proposal to involve the country’s president in active management of the aviation sector has drawn opposition from the industry and some members of parliament.

The National Aviation Management Bill, 2020 proposes the formation of a National Civil Aviation Council to be chaired by the president with the mandate to review the sector’s policies.

Other members of the powerful council would be the Cabinet secretaries of Transport, Internal Security and the National Treasury as well as the Attorney General and the Kenya Air Force commander.

The Bill is meant to save troubled Kenya Airways by consolidating the airline’s assets with those of the Kenya Airports Authority.

There are, however, concerns that having the president chair the council could extend his constitutional immunity to the body, meaning that decisions made by the council cannot be challenged in courts.

David Pkosing, chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee on Transport said there were proposals to scrap the council during the Bill’s public participation that concluded this week.

“Members of the public are concerned about the council, particularly being chaired by the president. They have asked the committee to scrap it from the Bill,” he said on Wednesday when meeting Transport ministry officials and other stakeholders.

The committee is preparing to write its report next week.

According to the Bill, the council will look into ways of integrating aviation sector policies with those of other sectors.

Ruaraka MP TJ Kajwang said having the president chair the council would extend his immunity to the body.

“The president has constitutional immunity. For whatever reason, you are unable to lodge disputes in any court,” he said.

“Should Kenyans have issues, even such small things as administrative justice, your suit will be dismissed on the spot as soon as they see the president’s name.”

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