• May 22, 2024
  • Last Update May 22, 2024 11:25 AM
  • Nairobi

Utamaduni renamed Mazingira Day


By Peter Ochieng

President William Ruto on Wednesday signed into law the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2024, that amends various provisions of 16 Acts of Parliament.

In a bold step towards environmental protection and conservation, the Bill amends the Public Holidays Act, renaming Utamaduni Day as Mazingira Day to be observed on October 10 every year.

“Mazingira Day will be a day for all Kenyans to engage in environmental conservation activities, including tree-planting and growing. This move is in line with the government’s push to accelerate the 10-year 15 billion tree-planting program that includes forest, wetland and rangeland restoration,” reads a despatch from State House.

Initially, the day was marked as Moi Day during Kenya’s second President, the late Daniel Moi’s time in office.

Upon promulgation of the constitution in August, 2010, Moi Day was removed from the list of national holidays. In November, 2017, the High Court restored it as a holiday. 

In 2019, retired President Uhuru Kenyatta’s cabinet approved the renaming of Moi Day to Huduma Day. It was later renamed Utamaduni Day. 

Additionally, the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2024 which is now an Act ammends the office of the Attorney-General to introduce an advisory board that will recommend for appointment and promotion of deputy solicitors-general and State counsel.

The board comprises the Attorney-General as chair, and Principal Secretaries of Public Service and the National Treasury, the Public Service Commission chairperson, Law Society of Kenya president and chair of the Council of the Institute Human Resource Management as members.

This change aims to address the challenge of inadequate personnel to fulfil its functions, stemming from poor terms of employment for State counsel and the absence of a comprehensive scheme of service for the officers.

The Traffic Act has also been amended to incorporate the use of technology in the management of minor traffic offences.

Furthermore, the Value Added Tax Act has also been amended to remove denatured ethanol from the list of VAT-exempt supplies. 

This creates an economic safety net and competitive edge for local denatured ethanol manufacturers, particularly millers and sugar manufacturers, who face challenges with cheaper imports.

It also exempts the supply of gas meters from VAT to enhance access to clean energy, by low-income households. 

On the Universities Act, the amendment gives the President powers to establish more than one specialised degree-awarding institution specialising in national security issues.

To streamline the administration of justice, the new law amends the Oaths and Statutory Declarations Act to replace the Registrar of the High Court with the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary as the custodian of the roll of commissioners, and give powers to administer oaths to the registrar and deputy registrar of superior and subordinate courts.

Similarly, the Advocates Act has been amended to replace the Registrar of the High Court with the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary as well as give the Council of the Law Society of Kenya additional powers to make rules on the admission of advocates to the Bar.

Also amended in the miscellaneous law is the Sexual Offences Act, with the Registrar of the High Court replaced by the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary as the person responsible for keeping and maintaining a register of convicted sexual offenders.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula and Attorney General Justin Muturi among others, attended the signing ceremony at State House, Nairobi.

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