LAW MAKING PROCESS
Understanding the journey of the Bills
The law making process (also known as the policy Process): refers to the series of stages/steps that policy must go through in order to become law. The stages involve cooperation amongst all the stakeholders. Various State organs are engaged in this process. Each of these Organs have specific and vital role to play in the process.
A layman’s or Raw draft Bill emanates from the line Ministry, Government Department or any Institutions mandated with the generation of Bills. Under Article 10 of the Constitution, on public participation, the generating institution is required to obtain the views of the public before preparing the policy and Bill. Often, Kenya Law Reform Commission (KLRC) and Attorney-General work with the line Ministries and State Departments in the generation of these Bills. The drafts are then released to KLRC and AG’s office for preparation of Bills. The KLRC and the AG’s office are the bodies mandated with drafting of Bills. The CIC does not generate Bills. However, in the spirit of the Constitution, CIC may require of the Ministry or Department to state the process undertaken in the development of the policy informing the drafting of the Bill.
The draft Bills from the KLRC and the AGs office are then released to CIC. In the spirit of encouraging transparent debates and public participation from various stakeholders, the CIC uploads the draft from KLRC or AG on its website; www.cickenya.org to allow the public to review and give feedback on how best to improve the draft Bills. CIC also releases the draft Bills to the widest possible range of stakeholders. The status of the bill on the site is; Undergoing internal review and stakeholder participation. The status of the draft Bill at this stage may also reflect as “On hold” on the CIC website if CIC, KLRC, the AG’s office and the CIOC determine that the Bill is not a priority Bill within Schedule 5.
While receiving comments and input from various stakeholders, the CIC convenes a series of stakeholder consultations to seek consensus and/or fill any gaps of a constitutional nature which will not have been addressed during the Line Ministry public consultations. At this stage CIC works with AG, KLRC and line Ministries or Departments to review how such gaps can be addressed.
CIC then convenes a roundtable over the draft Bill incorporating the participation of the AG, the KLRC, Line Ministries and any Institution involved in the generation of the Bill to finalize the Bill by making various amendments which will have been informed by the internal and external consultations. At this stage, the CIC oversees this final development of the proposed Bill to ensure it is in line with the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
The AG prepares the Bill and the Bill is then released to Cabinet for approval. At this stage, the status of the Bill as reflected on the CIC website will read; “Awaiting Approval by Cabinet.”
Cabinet receives the proposed Bill, if need be, changes to the Bill are made and finalized before it is approved. Where any of the changes made have impact on constitutionality, post Cabinet consultations with CIC ought to be undertaken to address any unconstitutionality.
The AG then publishes the Bill as approved by Cabinet and the Bill is then tabled in Parliament for debate. At this stage, the status of the proposed Bill on the CIC website will read; “before parliament for debate.” Where necessary, CIC issues an advisory note to Parliament in the event that there are unconstitutional provisions in the draft which may have been incorporated at any stage after the Bill leaves CIC.
One of the major roles of Parliament is to debate and enact laws. After Parliament debates and passes the Bill, it is taken back to the AG for preparation of the vellum copy before being handed over to the President for assent. At this stage when the AG is preparing the Bill for presidential assent, the status of the Bill will reflects on the CIC website as; “awaiting presidential assent.”
The President assents to the Bill by signing it. Then thereafter, the Attorney-General, without delay, ought to publish the Bill. It is after publication that the Bill becomes law. It will therefore be reflected in the section of “Enacted Laws” on the CIC website.