Written by PPS
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President Mwai Kibaki Friday, assented to amongst other laws, the Statute (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2012 after Parliament deleted the contentious clauses.
The President had rejected the Bill passed by the National Assembly last month citing matters pending before the courts.
The Head of State signed the Bill into law after Parliament effectively deleted Sub-section 1(a) to Section 51 of the Political Parties Act, No. 11 of 2011 which sought to legitimize what has popularly come to be known as "Party Hopping".
Parliament also deleted Sub-sections (2) and (3) of Section 22 of the Election Act, No.24 2011 which raised the minimum qualification to hold political office to the level of university education.
Amongst other laws, the Statute (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2012 excluding the provisions of the law that he returned to Parliament with the recommendations for deletion and which Parliament effectively deleted, namely:
• Sub-section 1(a) to Section 51 of the Political Parties Act, No. 11 of 2011 which sought to legitimize what has popularly come to be known as “Party Hopping”
• Sub-sections (2) and (3) of Section 22 the Election Act, No.24 2011 through which the minimum qualification to hold political office was raised to the level of university education.
In spite of these developments, this Act contains a raft of other significant developments, for instance;
- By amending the Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Act, 2011, the Act has extended the term of the Board to 28th February 2013 so as to facilitate vetting of Judges of the High court and review of the cases lodged by the court of Appeal judges which had stalled;
- Assembly to issue writs for the pending by-elections in Ndiwa, Kajiado North and Kangema constituencies;
- By amending the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Act No. 8 of 2008, the Act has extended the tenure of the TJRC to allow it prepare its report and wind up its activities as contemplated by law;
- By amending the National Cohesion and Integration Commission Act No. 12 of 2008, it has permitted the reappointment of members of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission for another term;
- By amending the various provisions of criminal justice laws previously conferred upon the Attorney General the same and therefore securing the office the now independent Director of Public Prosecutions;
- By amending the Sexual Offences Act No. 3 of 2006 to protect the victims of sexual offences and give them a measure of protection when reporting sexual abuse;
- By amending the National Crime Research Centre Act No. 4 of 1997 so as to bolster membership of the Governing Council of the Centre by incorporating the representations from Treasury and office of Director of the Public Prosecutions respectively;
- By amending the Environment and Land Court Act No. 19 of 2011 so as to enhance the capacity of the court as a specialised division of the High Court set up to expeditiously determine land and environment cases;
- By amending the Civil Procedure Act Cap 21 and establishing the Mediation Accreditation Committee which seeks to promote Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as an alternative form of justice dispensation; and
- By amending the Advocates Act Cap 16 so as to further streamline legal practice in the country.
The passage of this Act serves to underscore the government’s commitment to watch out for any lacuna in the law that might serve to hamper effective governance and thus undermine the implementation of the Constitution.
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