• The Bill seeks to compel concurrence of the two Houses on Bills they originate
• Senators and Members of the National Assembly are currently embroiled in a supremacy battle on legislation and oversight
A senator has sought to clip the excesses of the National Assembly and end the frequent infighting between the two Houses of Parliament over legislation.
Mutula Kilonzo Jr (Makueni) has developed a Bill to compel either Houses of the to seek concurrence on all Bills they originate.
“Upon the publication of a Bill, and before the Bill is read a First Time in the House originating the Bill, the speaker of that House shall seek the concurrence of the other House,” it says.
The determination of the Nature of Bills (Procedure) Bill, 2018, seeks to anchor Article 110 (3) of the Constitution, which provides for the concurrence of the two Houses on laws originating from either side.
Mutula’s proposed law is coming at a time when the Senate and the National Assembly are embroiled in protracted and bitter supremacy wars over their mandates.
While senators have accused their counterparts of undermining and blackmailing them on legislation and oversight, MPs have accused them of duplication of roles and threatened to abolish the Senate.
Already, senators, led by Speaker Kenneth Lusaka, plan to move to court next week to sue National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi for ignoring them when passing laws.
They said MPs failed to seek their concurrence in passing 18 laws and 83 other bills that are currently before the National Assembly.
The draft law states that the concurrence will determine whether the Bill concerns counties and if it is a special or ordinary Bill.
According to Article 110 (1) of the Constitution, a Bill is considered a county Bill if it directly or indirectly affects the operations of the county governments.
The Mutula Bill says the speaker from whose House concurrence is sought, shall respond within seven days from the date of receipt of the request.
“Where no response is received within the period specified under the Bill, the speaker of the House originating the Bill may direct that the Bill be read a First Time,” it says.
Should the speakers disagree on the nature of a Bill, the matter would be sent to a six-member joint committee, which will resolve the conflict and report to the Houses within seven days.
It provides that within five days of the receipt of the joint report, the speakers shall sign a certificate of joint concurrence. But if they disagree, the matter shall proceed to the Supreme Court for interpretation.
“A Bill presented for presidential assent shall be accompanied with a certificate of joint concurrence in accordance with Article 113 of the Constitution,” it states.
The Bill is currently in the Third Reading in the Senate. Speaker Lusaka will send it to the National Assembly for their input after the Senate approves it.
On Wednesday, senators rejected Muturi’s call to shelve their plan to sue the National Assembly.
"In accordance with the provisions of the National Assembly Standing Orders, I hereby implore the Senate to consider, as a first instance, alternative mechanisms of resolving any dispute that may, from time to time, arise between the two Houses of Parliament,” Muturi said.
(Edited by F'Orieny)