BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,11TH JAN,2022-Members of the Senate have assured the country that they will debate the contents of the contentious Political Parties (Amendment) Bill 2021 with the seriousness it deserves.
Alive to the major differences elicited by the bill during debate at the National Assembly before it was finally passed; Senators promised that they will act more maturely and soberly while deliberating the matters captured in the legislation.
Chairman of Senate’s Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs Okongo Omogeni, whose committee the Political Parties Amendment Bill has been committed to, has undertaken to ensure that the process will not be rushed so that everyone gets an opportunity to share own views on the Bill.
“Let’s not proceed in haste. If you go through a legislative process that does not accord Kenyans an opportunity to have meaningful public participation then you are setting the law for failure. Let’s do the right thing & give everybody an opportunity to present views,” Omogeni
The Nyamira Senator gave the assurance after allies of Deputy President William Ruto led by Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen sought an undertaking from the house leadership to ensure fairness when the bill comes up for debate.
“I just want to ask for your assurance, because of the importance of this Bill that Kenyans will be given an opportunity through public participation, not a guided rushed public participation, but a robust well-publicized public participation that gives an opportunity to all Kenyans.”
“What happened in the national assembly did not given an opportunity for debate of the issues. When we can here let’s have a debate that will give confidence to the people of Kenya that this is truly the Upper House.” Murkomen said in his appeal to house speaker Kenneth Lusaka
His Nandi County counterpart Samson Cherargei indicated that it was very important that “we rise above what we saw in the national assembly but ensuring that we follow the constitution and ensure that all Kenyans have an opportunity,”
Their would-be opponents endavoured to ensure the Senate will deliver on its mandate and in accordance with the Constitution.
“I want to thank the senator from Elgeyo Marakwet, he might have noted that all there is today for the purposes of this bill is that it should be read for the first time. Senate Business committee in consideration of the matter, emphasized the need to go through the entire constitutional, legal processes including the directions in the standing order.” Senator James Orengo said
The House minority leader noted that the courts have put a high premium of on the question of public participation and that bill was going to be discussed comprehensively, thoroughly and robustly, and that is the way should go.
House Speaker Kenneth Lusaka confirmed that “a bill originating in the National Assembly be proceeded with by the Senate in the same manner as a bill introduced in the Senate by a way of first reading in accordance with standing orders. The bill is listed for first reading in today’s order paper.”