House Resumes to a full in-tray
The National Assembly resumes this afternoon after a short recess to a full in-tray which includes a few crucial bills intended to give a shot in the arm to the government’s efforts towards universal healthcare for all Kenyans.
This week, the newly elected Kiambaa Member of Parliament Hon. John Njuguna Wanjiku, is also expected to be sworn in by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon.Justin Muturi.
During this Session after the resumption of the House today, the President is expected to make his State of the National Address to the two Houses of Parliament, while the National Assembly is expected to consider nominees to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) following the completion of interviews for shortlisted candidates last month.
With regard to the House legislative agenda, two key bills seeking to introduce reforms in the health sector are lined up for debate. These are: the Health (Amendment) Bill, 2021, and the National Hospital Insurance Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2021. The principal object of the Health (Amendment) Bill, is to amend the Health Act, 2017, to provide that the national government and county governments shall in consultation through the existing inter-governmental relations mechanisms, establish regional cancer centres.
The bill if approved will make it an offence for a person in charge of a public health facility to detain the body of a deceased person as a means of enforcing settlement of outstanding medical bills. The proposed law also seeks to amend the Act to provide for the regulation of the levying of charges for the practice of conventional medicine.
During the current Session, the House is also scheduled to consider the Landlord and Tenant Bill, 2021, in an effort that seeks to consolidate the laws relating to the renting of business and residential premises; to regulate the relationship between the landlord and tenant in order to promote stability in the rental sector; to establish tribunals; to provide for the adjudication of disputes and for connected purposes.
Also lined up for debate when the House resumes this afternoon, is the Waqf Bill, 2019, which is sponsored by the former Leader of the Majority Party, Hon. Aden Duale. This legislative proposal seeks to provide for the establishment of the Waqf Commission and for the administration of Waqf property for Kenyans who profess the Islamic faith.
The House will also continue debating the Foreign Service Bill, 2021, which is in the second Reading. The bill intends to introduce a legal framework for the administration of Foreign Service.
Further scheduled business for the House- which is resuming just when the Ministry of Health has raised alarm over the recent influx of Covid-19 Delta Variant cases in the country- is a number of Private Members bills and other legislative proposals seeking the amended the Constitution.
Priority Private Members' Bills scheduled for consideration include: the Breastfeeding Mothers Bill (sponsored by Hon. Sabina Chege); the Information Communication Technology Practitioners Bill (sponsored by Hon. Godfrey Osotsi) and the Kenya Information and Communications Bill (sponsored by Hon. Elisha Odhiambo).
Among the proposed legislative proposals to amend the Constitution scheduled up for consideration during this session is the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill sponsored by Hon. Florence Mutua and the Referendum Bill, 2020, which seeks to provide for the procedure of the approval of an amendment to the Constitution by referendum and the conduct of a referendum. Another priority Bill seeking to amend the Constitution is the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2019, sponsored by Hon. Vincent Mogaka which seeks to provide for Cabinet Ministers from among Members of Parliament.
The House resumes amidst heightened caution following the influx of Covid-19 cases in the country. In line with the recent enhanced Covid-19 measures announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Hon. Mutahi Kagwe, only 112 Members out of the entire 359 House Membership, will access the chambers at a given time. The rest of the Members will however be able to follow and participate in the proceedings from additional spaces that have been established in close proximity to the House.