In-tray full for senators, MPs as sittings resume
Anthony Mwangi, Mercy Mwai and Hillary Mageka
Members of the National Assembly and the Senate resume sittings today to a full in-tray.
While the referendum debate is expected to dominate National Assembly’s initial sessions, the Senate will be dealing with various petitions and motions before it.
MPs will be expected to pass five crucial bills during the final session of the year, however, the Punguza Mizigo and the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) debate is expected to take centre stage.
The Punguza Mizigo bill is currently with the County Assemblies for consideration after which it will be tabled before Parliament.
The controversial Division of Revenue Bill will also be dispensed off though members will only have to rubber-stamp it and approve the Sh316 billion after the Senate yielded to pressure and dropped its hard stance on the subject.
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi is expected to communicate to members and forward the names of the National Land Commission (NLC) nominees to the Lands Committee for vetting.
MPs who did not want to be named said they will not allow any initiative seeking to reduce the number of legislators pass in the House.
Already, some MPs opposed to two such initiatives tabled have formed an informal group to strategise on how to defeat the bid.
Of importance, the MPs said, is the BBI initiative which the pro-Deputy President William Ruto team is keen on ensuring is defeated.
According to the legislators, the group led by one vocal MP from Mount Kenya region has been asked to come up with key talking points that can be used to portray the BBI initiative as a one-man show whose agenda is to seek political lifeline.
“I can assure you that once this BBI initiative comes to Parliament we will make sure it is defeated. Whatever we are planning is big, wait until we finalise it,” said the MP.
Legislators we talked to said the referendum debate will take control of proceedings in the session.
“We are waiting for the results of the Punguza Mizigo from the county assemblies and see how to deal with the Bill,” said Makueni MP Dan Maanzo.
Members will also be expected to pass the Finance Bill 2019 which is key to highlighting areas where the Treasury will raise revenue to finance the government.
Speaker Justin Muturi said the House will advance the Second Reading of the bill to complete on the revenue-raising measures.
In the Senate, the care and protection of child parents’ bill and establishment of children’s homes bill are among issues that will be given priority as legislators resume sittings after a monthlong recess.
The Care and Protection of Child and Parents Bill, 2019, sponsored by Nominated Senator Beatrice Kwamboka, seeks to ensure children’s education is not cut off due to early pregnancy.
Under the new bill, scheduled to be considered for First Reading by the House, states that both the child-parent and child continue receiving care and protection in regards to their rights.
The lawmakers will also pass the Establishment of Children’s Home Bill as well the Control of Stray Bill that seeks to compel dog owners to vaccinate the puppies. Both bills are coming up for Second Reading.
Next week, the Senate will hold its second Mashinani sittings in Kitui from September 16 to 20.
The sessions will be held at Kitui County Assembly. Last year, senators held the inaugural plenary and committee sittings in Uasin Gishu county.