Parliament passes controversial Land Laws Amendment bill

By Franco Kundu

Parliament has Thursday passed the Land Laws Amendment Bill amid concerns by the opposition that the amendments are meant to ensure the powers and functions of the National Lands Commission (NLC) are transferred to the office of the Cabinet Secretary.

But Jubilee legislators have maintained that the amendments intend to bolster the functioning of the commission.

National Assembly Majority leader Adan Duale and the Chair of the Lands Committee Alex Muiru said the amendments will clarify functions to avoid overlaps in the two institutions.

However, legislators Ababu Namwamba, John Mbadi, Fred Outa and James Nyikal criticized the amendments saying they are in contravention of the constitution.

They claim the changes will reduce the powers and functions of the Commission.

The MPs observed that only NLC is charged with implementing land policies and not the Cabinet Secretary as proposed in the Bill.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly is set to vote for a second time on the constitutional amendment bill as it seeks to achieve gender parity through nomination of members of the lesser gender.

Gender activists staged a march from Uhuru Park’s Freedom corner to Parliament to put pressure on the law makers to pass the bill.

Though the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association is calling on all MPs to turn up in their numbers ahead of the vote Thursday afternoon, the lobbying appears to have reduced ahead of this afternoon’s vote.

The bill was shelved last week after it failed to pull the requisite two thirds majority when the Speaker put it to vote.

Only 195 MPs voted for the bill and lobbyists must ensure they get at least 233 MPs to support the proposed law.

  

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