Speaker Justin Muturi Makes Ruling on Uhuru's Tax Bill Memorandum
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has made a momentous ruling after President Uhuru Kenyatta reverted the Finance Bill 2018 to the MPs.
Responding to a letter filed by Mathare Member of Parliament (MP) Anthony Oluoch seeking clarification of the matter, Muturi ruled that Uhuru's recommendation in no way contravened the law.
Making reference to Article 115, Muturi noted: "The Constitution allows that the president may refer a Bill back to the national assembly with or without reservation."
The Mathare MP had also raised concerns that the current Constitution does not give the President powers to make specific recommendations on specific clauses of a returned Bill.
In Oluoch's view, by making specific recommendations in the Finance Bill memorandum, President Uhuru was creating an overlap between the executive and the legislature.
While noting that Article 115 does not provide whether or not the President can make specific recommendations, the speaker stated: "Everything which is not prohibited by Constitution or any law is therefore presumed to be allowed."
In this view, the Speaker ruled that the President had acted within his constitutional mandate by sending back the Finance Bill and making recommendations on the specific clauses he wanted to be amended.
In conclusion, Muturi referred to Uhuru's memorandum to the Finance and National Planning Committee for further directions.
The Speaker further turned down attempts by a section of MPs to have the memorandum on VAT as well as the Supplementary Appropriations Bill debated during Tuesday's special sitting.
Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma had opined that given that both sides of the House appeared to have unanimously agreed to pass the budget cuts, there was no need for voting to wait until Thursday.
"We would obviously be in breach of our standing orders and other traditions," Muturi stated settling on Thursday as earlier planned by parliament.
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