BBI DIVIDE

Two senators write to Lusaka recommending amendments to BBI bill

The legislators want the speaker to allow them introduce the amendments

In Summary

•Enoch Wambua (Kitui) and Irungu Kangata (Muranga) have proposed the changes to ‘align the document’ with the Constitution.

•Wambua seeks to expunge from the bill five proposed amendments, which he argued are unconstitutional.

Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka
CONSENSUS: Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

Two senators have officially written to speaker Kenneth Lusaka seeking his nod to introduce key amendments to the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

Enoch Wambua (Kitui) and Irungu Kangata (Murang'a) have proposed the changes to ‘align the document’ with the Constitution.

Wambua seeks to expunge from the bill five proposed amendments, which he argued are unconstitutional.

He wants schedule two of the bill, which creates additional 70 constituencies, removed in its totality.

Wambua cited a report of the joint Justice and Legal Affairs Committee that termed the schedule as unconstitutional.

“The role of IEBC which is a constitutional body can’t be usurped by a taskforce. Parliament must protect our constitutional institutions to entrench democracy,” Wambua told the Star.

The legislator also seeks to delete new Article 203(n) on the county revenue allocation arguing the proposed formula will slash allocations to some counties.

“Counties will lose their annual allocations once passed. It is in contravention of Article 217 of the Constitution,” reads the letter.

In addition, Wambua wants proposed amendments to Article 245 and 246 on the public service commission and the office of the inspector general of police.

The Articles give the IG powers to promote, demote and transfer police officers.

“The roles assigned to the Inspector General of Police in the proposed amendments usurp roles of the National Police Commission,” the letter says.

He also wants proposed new sub-article 172(1) on Judicial Service Commission. The provision gives JSC powers to punish judges and magistrates.

He argues that there is already an existing disciplinary procedures.

Wambua seeks to delete proposed article 172 (2) that creates office of Judiciary Ombudsman. The office holder, the bill say, shall be an appointee of the President.

“It negates the fundamental constitutional principle of separation of powers,”

He wants the office holder to be nominated by the president through a competitive process.

The legislators told the Star on Friday that Parliament cannot be gagged when it comes to a constitutional amendment.

“We can’t declare sections of the Bill unconstitutional and still go ahead to pass on the same unconstitutionality to the people. Why did they elect us?” he posed.

On his part, Kangata wants any proposed amendments whose net effect is to expand the Senate and the National Assembly by way of increasing the number of nominated parliamentarians deleted.

In particular, he wants Articles 97 (a) and 98(1)(a) deleted.

He cited a report by the parliamentary budget office to the joint parliamentary committee JLAC committee that stated that Kenyans would shoulder an extra Sh20 billion to run an expanded parliament.

“My proposal requires to partially remedy this, particularly when resources are needed to fight Covid 19 pandemic and rampant poverty,” reads the letter.

In addition, he wants schedule two of the bill amendments to increase the number of proposed additional constituencies from 70 to 79.

The former Majority Chief Whip wants Muranga and Nyeri to get additional two constituencies each. He want Meru, Embu, Kirinyaga, Laikipia and Tharaka Nithi counties get one constituency each.

“Tharaka Nithi, Nyeri and Nyandarua counties have not been allocated any constituency unfairly. The rest have received fewer constituencies than they deserve,” he says in the letter.