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MPs list their wishes as debate rages

By | March 30th 2010
By | March 30th 2010

By Martin Mutua

Members of Parliament had by last evening submitted notices for at least 130 suggested amendments to the Proposed Constitution with the Clerk of the National Assembly.

The number of proposed amendments, which stood at 50 when the House adjourned last Thursday, appeared set to treble before today’s 4pm deadline for submission of proposed changes to the draft. Speaker Kenneth Marende set aside tomorrow for the amendments, but put with a caveat.

He ruled no debate on the proposed changes will take off if the members in the House at the time each is called are less than 145, which is the requisite two-thirds required to amend the draft.

The Clerk Mr Patrick Gichohi closes the door to the wave of proposed amendments this evening and thereafter the House Business Committee (HBC) meets to discuss the logistics of debate.

It is predicted it will decide the day’s sitting be stretched until the amendments are dispensed with. Going by tradition, the Clerk could also merge the proposals that affect same clauses or are one in spirit.

Last week, the HBC resolved to extend Thursday’s sittings and tomorrow’s up to 8pm. That decision is likely to be revised today to accommodate tomorrow’s tas well.

With only two days to go, Parliament was under pressure to conclude debate on the document and therefore all the amendments must be done away with.

Transtion clauses

Wajir West MP Adan Keynan could be a darling of most MPs as he seeks to delete some Transitional Clauses, which empower the President and High Court to dissolve Parliament.

Keynan is proposing to delete Clauses 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 in Article 261 of the Transitional Clause that empower any person to go to court should Parliament fail to enact any particular legislation within the specified time.

According to Clause 6, the High Court in determining what the petitioner has filed can make a declaratory order on the matter, and then transmit the same to Parliament directing it and the Attorney General to take steps to ensure the required legislation was enacted

According to clause 7, should Parliament fail to enact the legislation in accordance with the an order of the High Court, the Chief Justice shall advise the President to dissolve Parliament and he or she shall comply.

After Parliament is dissolved under the clause the new Parliament is mandated to enact the required legislation within the period mentioned and if it doesn’t do so then the sequence is repeated where the same Parliament will be dissolved.

Khwisero MP Evans Akula seeks to amend the First Schedule to have the number of Counties increased from 47 to 84 within the specific regions.

He is proposing that North Eastern Province gets 4 counties, Rift Valley 19, Nyanza 12, Western region 8, Central 7, Nairobi 4, Coast 7 and Eastern region 13

Cabinet Minister Otieno Kajwang and Esther Murugi as well as Gwassi MP John Mbadi are all proposing to have clauses relating to when life begins and abortion deleted.

Nyakach MP Pollyns Ochieng wants all orphans to be entitled to both basic and higher education free of charge.

Kilgoris MP Gideon Konchellah wants to amend Clause 162 to enable Parliament approve the names of those appointed Chief justice, deputy CJ and all High Court judges upon recommendation by the Judicial Service Commission.

Ainamoi MP Benjamin Langat wants to amend Article 203 to include constituencies as beneficiaries of revenue collected by the Government, just as proposed for county governments. Langat further wants the draft amended to increase the entitlement from 15 per cent of the revenue to 30.

Turkana Central’s Ekwee Ethuro seeks to have, in every financial year, an amount not less than 10 per cent of all ordinary revenue collected, allocated to constituencies in accordance with the framework provided by an Act of Parliament.

Defence Assistant minister David Musila and Lari MP David Njuguna both have amendments seeking to have appointment and staffing in Armed Forces based on merit, competence, seniority, discipline and reflection of ethnic diversity.

More constituencies

Other amendments so far received include one by Nominated MP Mohammed Affey requiring the President to garner two-thirds of the votes cast, not over half as laid out in the Proposed Constitution.

Isiolo South MP Abdul Bahari wants current constituencies retained when Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission increases constituencies as agreed by Kenyans. This means the only option is to create more constituencies.

On representation, Bahari wants IIBRC to take into account geographical sizes of sparsely populated regions while reviewing the boundaries. "In reviewing constituency and ward boundaries the Commission shall in cases of sparsely populated areas and marginalised communities, have due regard to the unique conditions and shall give special consideration to the geographical size of the area of representation," reads Bahari’s proposed amendment. Ethuro will persuade MPs to increase the allocation of the Constituency Development Fund from the current 2.5 per cent of ordinary revenue to 10 per cent.

Assistant minister Katoo ole Metito wants game reserves, national parks and animal sanctuaries to fall under Community Land, rather than public land.

The controversial proposals on majimbo (federalism), which a section of Rift Valley and Coast MPs are canvassing for, were yet be received by the Clerk’s office.

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