Kibaki rejects revised Bill on party hopping
PRESIDENT Kibaki yesterday heeded public complaints and refused to assent to the Miscellaneous Amendment Bill passed by Parliament last week. In a memorandum to the Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende, Kibaki cited ongoing court cases filed against two controversial clauses in the Bill which allow party hopping and which would have made it mandatory for all parliamentary aspirants to have university degrees. "In exercise of the powers conferred on me by section 46(3) and (4) of the former Constitution, I refuse to assent to the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2012,” the President said.
He said five different court cases had been filed to challenge the amendment which would have allowed MPs to hop from one party to another. Among those petitioning the amendment are MPs Johnstone Muthama, Gideon Sonko Mbuvi and Ephraim Maina. Muthama is also challenging the amendment on university degrees. “In keeping with the doctrine of the separation of powers, matters which are before the Court should not be the subject of legislation by the National Assembly,” Kibaki said.
He recommended that both sections be deleted from the Bill before he signs it into law. Kibaki did not however raise any issues with the soft landing clause in the Bill allowing presidential election losers to be nominated to the National Assembly by their parties. The President did not comment on the other controversial amendment which will strip the Kenya Judges and Magistrates Board of its powers to vet magistrates. This amendment is being contested by the Law Society of Kenya.
Parliament will now consider the President's memo and either agree with him and delete the provisions or return it to him as presented. The amendments have been criticised as self-serving and discriminatory as they would have denied many Kenyans especially women from participating in the elections.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka are among the leaders who had earlier indicated their intention to petition the President not to assent to the Bill. Those who have filed cases in court against the amendments include a lobby group supporting Raila's presidential bid, Friends of Raila Odinga. Their case will be heard on July 3.