Election laws, budget top agenda as MPs resume sittings – The Star, Kenya

The National Assembly resumed its regular sittings on Monday amid tight timelines ahead of the August 9 General Election.
MPs are returning to a marathon schedule, among them the conclusion of the budget-making process by April 30, ahead of the dissolution of the House.
Lawmakers are also expected to enact changes to the Elections Act to remove ambiguities and align the same to court rulings affecting the election process.
The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021, is set for publication this week, Leader of the Majority Amos Kimunya said on Monday.
“The bill is being prepared and will be sent to the Government Printer in the course of the week. It will be processed during the sessions,” the Kipipiri MP said.
He said the bill seeks to make clarifications in the elections process and also seeks to tidy up grey areas in the existing poll law.
“The legislation aims to remove some of the issues that have been a problem between the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and the Office of Registrar of Political Parties,” the Majority leader said.
Kimunya said the bill will also align the election laws to court rulings affecting the election as well as align some timelines of the process.
Business, the leader said, would begin with the reconstitution of the House Business Committee – being a new session after the long December recess.
MPs Joyce Emanikor (Turkana Woman Rep), Shadrack John Mose (Kitutu Masaba), Kawira Mwangaza (Meru Woman MP), Mohamed Abdikhaim Osman (Fafi), Makali Mulu (Kitui Central), Mishi Mboko (Likoni) and Godfrey Osotsi (nominated) have been retained as members of the committee.
Others with express seats in the team that prioritises business to be transacted by MPs are Kimunya, Minority leader John Mbadi, Majority Whip Emmanuel Wangwe and Minority Whip Junet Mohamed.
Kimunya told the Star on Monday that proper business would start on Wednesday with a series of procedural motions as well as approval of the calendar.
The House, he said, would focus on some of the bills that had been started in the previous session but were not concluded.
Among them are the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal (Amendment) Bill (No32) of 2021, Health Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021, the Sustainable Waste Management (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and the Children’s Bill, 2021.
“The bills will be prioritised and cleared. We will also clear the budget process. We have the Budget Policy Statement, the budget itself and any supplementary estimates.
“This is probably the most we will do this month in addition to a few private members bills,” Kimunya said.
For Kenyans angling for relief in fuel prices, MPs are considering having the tax adjustments executed through the Finance Bill, 2022.
“The budget will have a Finance Act so we’d rather it comes through the Finance Bill since it has implications on the revenue.
“If you don’t synchronise it with the budget, you may end up causing problems in other areas, say education or infrastructure. Therefore, we will harmonise the Petroleum Bill into the Finance Bill,” the legislator said.
MPs are resuming at a time the IEBC has published notice of election indicating that political parties have to present candidates for nomination by May 2.
MPs seeking to run as independent candidates will be required to relinquish their membership of political parties by May 2.
House leaders portend that with the likelihood of rampant quorum hitches, business will be concentrated on crucial legislation.
(Edited by Bilha Makokha)
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