Capital FM (Nairobi)

Kenya: MPs Vote to Extend Timeline for Crucial Laws

Nairobi, Kenya — Members of Parliament have unanimously supported a Motion to extend the period to discuss the County Governments Bill and Public Finance Management Bill.

All 159 MPs who were present in the House on Tuesday afternoon approved the Motion.

The two Bills stalled in Parliament after members raised serious constitutional issues on the new pieces of legislation.

In February, President Kibaki declined to assent to the County Government Bill after the House resolution requiring that District Commissioners, District Officers, Chiefs and their assistants report to the County Governor.

The move set the stage for a showdown between the Executive and Parliament leading to the current impasse with the president pointing out that the MPs had introduced unconstitutional amendments when they approved the Bill.

In a Presidential Memorandum to the House, President Kibaki argued that the amendments infringed on the provisions of the Constitution "by transferring functions and officers of the National Government to the County Government."

He said the Constitution was clear that the two governments shall be distinct. With the rejection of the MPs' amendments, the President sent a memorandum to National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende with the details of what needs to be amended in the Bill if it has to become law.

The constitutional timeline expired on May 27.

The Public Finance Management Bill currently in the debating stage of the parliamentary process has been controversial with its delay pegged on intensive consultations in the drafting, and publication process.

MPs are divided on how to proceed in the management of funds from the national government to the county governments.

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