By Isaac Rutenberg
The Hansard for the Miscellaneous Amendment Act 2018 makes for very interesting reading. On 7th August 2018, Parliament debated proposed amendments to the Registration of Persons Act that would create the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS, a.k.a. “Huduma Namba”).
Many Parliamentarians questioned the legality and wisdom of introducing NIIMS via the Miscellaneous Amendment process. Said Hon. Robert Mbui:
“this [bill] is basically meant to deal with minor amendments to various laws. It also helps us to save time. I have gone through the Bill and I have seen quite a number of major amendments. The amendments are basically good and a lot of them seek to add value to the laws that exist. It is unfortunate that they have come as omnibus; they have all come together, so they may not receive the kind of attention that they require. I have picked about five amendments that I think are major and require a lot of deliberations. The first one is the amendment on the registration of persons.”
Similarly, said Hon. Ronald Tonui:
“I normally assume that the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill normally takes care of minor corrections in Acts but in this one, massive proposals have been put forward that we ought to amend. Many of them may be unconstitutional in nature.”
Hon. (Dr.) Wilberforce Oundo similarly agreed:
“The basic and straightforward reading of the term “miscellaneous” or “minor amendments” should surely be done to rectify clerical and typographical issues or to align an Act of Parliament to any political or constitutional dispensation or any changes in some Acts that touch on that particular Act. What we have here touches close to 60 Acts, making it practically impossible for any reasonable Member to literally review, interrogate and make reasonable comments in respect of each and every Bill. The time allowed is not adequate.”Continue reading