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Economy

Unity test for MPs as Parliament resumes

Parliament buildings in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO |
Parliament buildings in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The unity of 349 MPs faces a crucial test as Parliament reconvenes its sittings Tuesday after a month-long recess marked by sharp divisions over the referendum push and pending Mau Forest evictions.

The two issues have of late been unifying MPs into some of the most unlikeliest alliances that could upset the House Business Agenda.

President Uhuru Kenyatta requires a united team to push through his list of the National Lands Commission (NLC) nominees who are coming up for vetting.

“The Speaker will formally convey the message (on the nomination of NLC members) to the House upon its resumption on September 10, and forward the names of the nominees to relevant departmental committee. The House is expected to conclude the approval process within 21 days from September 11,” said Speaker Justin Muturi of the priority agenda.

In the list, Mr Kenyatta nominated lawyer Gershom Otachi as the chair of NLC and Tiya Galgalo, Esther Murungi, James Tuitoek, Reginald Okumu, Hubbie Hussein Al-Haji, Kazungu Kambi, Getrude Nduku and Alsiter Murimi Mutugi as members.

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Also on cards is the Division of Revenue Bill (DoR), a framework for sharing cash between national and county governments. The DoR had initially created rare unity among MPs from different political persuasions as they fought off senators from their turf. That unity will be required as the Bill goes through the parliamentary stages.

The Senate softened its stance last week and accepted a Sh316.5 billion allocation for counties proposed in the revised DoR, currently before a mediation committee of the two Houses.

The Mediation committee is scheduled to meet tomorrow (Wednesday) to agree on a version of DoR for consideration by the Senate and the National Assembly.

“This Bill will be presented for assent by Friday, September 13 so as to unlock the cash crunch in the counties,” Mr Muturi said in a statement.

Senators had been pushing for counties to get Sh335.7 billion, in line with the recommendations of the Commission on Revenue Allocation.

Aside from DoR, the House will scrutinise the Finance Bill 2019 which seeks to provide mechanisms for revenue-raising measures to finance the national budget.

Other legislations earmarked for consideration are the Public Finance Management Act (Amendment) Bill 2019 and the Public Finance Management (Amendment) Bill 2019.

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