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Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 236
13th May - 17th May 2019

Editorial

Succession politics should not divert our attention from real issues

The Senate hit the ground running after resuming sittings last week with the Election Law (Amendment) Bill 2018 that went for a second reading. Sponsored by Kajiado Senator Ledama Olekina, the amendments sought to compel the Presiding Officer, candidates and agents to sign the declaration form at the polling station before proceeding to share them with the Returning Officer. While termed as a noble idea by his colleagues, most senators took issue with the finality that came with the signing of the forms especially in a case where there may be contention with the outcome.

A fact to appreciate with the discussions around this amendment Bill is the sober approach the Senators took towards it. The senators however reached consensus when they agreed to have the Section properly phrased before proceeding with the Bill.

The problem isn’t reforms; it is us,” Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr said while contributing to the Bill’s debate. This statement summed up almost the entire house’s sentiments on election reforms and attests to the underlying issues that are continuously ignored. It is no secret that elections are a touchy subject in Kenya. It is a period shrouded with public mistrust, negative ethnicity, display of self-centeredness by leaders and laxity. It is the one time in every 5 years that influences the political temperatures in the year that precedes an election and the one right after it.

Tension has become synonymous with our general elections, especially in the multiparty era. Anyone who chooses to dispute this fact given the handshake period we’re in, just needs one look at the scars visibly worn by victims of election violence. They serve as a reminder of what elections actually mean in Kenya.

Our goldfish memory syndrome makes us forget the period that was August 2017 to January 2018, when an election was nullified and dozens of people hurt in the process. 

News of the Week

National Assembly, Senate head to mediation over Revenue Bill

Speakers of the National Assembly and Senate have appointed an 8-member mediation committee to develop a consensus on the divergent positions adopted by the Houses on the Division of Revenue Bill. Senate speaker Ken Lusaka kicked off Senate's first sitting since short recess by appointing Senators Mutula Kilonzo, Susan Kihika, Mohamed Mahamud, Ledama Olekina to represent the house in the mediation committee. The National Assembly, on the other hand, picked Majority leader Aden Duale, Minority Leader John Mbadi, BAC Chairman Kimani Ichung’wah and Cecily Mbarire after the House rejected Senate’s amendments to the Division of Revenue Bill 2019 before breaking for their month-long recess.
                                                                                                     

SRC take on MPs over controversial house allowance

Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) wants to move to court to contest the 250,000 housing allowance that MPs have been receiving, terming it as irregular and want them compelled to return to Kenyans. SRC Chair Lyn Mengich noted that MPs just like other state and public officers enjoyed a housing allowance which is part of their gross pay and that allowing them to get away with the allowance would amount to double payment.

National Assembly at odds over the passing of laws

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and Senate Majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen took in each other in the most recent turf war between the two houses. This came after the Senate claimed to have not been involved in the Health Laws that were assented to by President, on the basis of Health being a devolved function. 

Quote of the Week

"Why have we forgotten that these people nearly took us to the brink? Kenya is still walking on the road to Damascus. Kenya is like Saul, it has not turned back. We are heading to 2022 walking into a black hole. The question is, what will be the tipping point?"

Quote by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr contributing to the Elections Laws (Amendment) Bill 2018 sponsored by Senator Ledama Olekina during the Senate sittings on May 14th, 2019. 

Lest we forget

"Mr. Chairman, Sir, what criteria will the President use to nominate the two people? What criteria will the Prime Minister use to nominate the two people? It is true that they will nominate one man and one woman. They will nominate people who support them politically. Those nominees will represent whose interests in the selection of the members of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission of Kenya (IEBCK)? So, the IEBCK that we want to appoint will be compromised from the start."

Sentiments by Meru Governor, Kiraitu Murungi contributing to The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Bill proposed by Former Ndaragwa MP, Jeremiah Kioni on May 31st, 2011.  

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala was arrested on Friday last week in the wake of the recent killings by a criminal gang which has left 18 people dead in the past month. He alongside former Sports CS were questioned over claims that they were linked to activities of the gang that has terrorized residents in Matungu. The most recent victim of the ruthless gang was a 7-year old boy that was stabbed to death while his parents were at the mosque for prayers. Other Senators have come out to support him speaking against police misconduct basing it on the fact that police held him with insufficient evidence as was announced by the DPP Noordin Haji.

... PROFILE

Bills before the Senate

First Reading
THE COUNTY ALLOCATION OF REVENUE BILL
- NO. 8 OF 2019
Sponsored by Sen Mahamud Mohamed Maalim
Second Reading
THE NATURAL RESOURCES (BENEFIT SHARING) BILL
- NO. 31 OF 2018
Sponsored by Senator Agnes Zani
THE COUNTY OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY BILL
- NO. 28 OF 2018
Sponsored by Senator Ledama Olekina
THE DETERMINATION OF THE NATURE OF BILLS (PROCEDURE) BILL
- NO. 30 OF 2018
Sponsored by Minority Whip Sen Mutula Kilonzo Jr and Sen Johnson Sakaja
THE MENTAL HEALTH (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 32 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen Sylvia Kasanga
THE ELECTION LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 33 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen. Ledama Olekina
THE NATIONAL COHESION AND PEACE BUILDING BILL
- NO. 35 OF 2018 
Sponsored by Sen Judith Pareno
THE ELECTION LAWS (AMENDMENT) (NO. 2) BILL
- NO. 37 OF 2018 
Sponsored by Sen Agnes Zani
THE GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS BILL
- NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILLS NO. 9 OF 2018
Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Sen Kipchumba Murkomen
THE KENYA MEDICAL SUPPLIES AUTHORITY (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 38 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen Mary Seneta
THE COUNTY HALL OF FAME BILL
- NO. 39 OF 2018
Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Sen Kipchumba Murkomen
THE PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 01 OF 2019
Sponsored by Sen Aaron Cheruiyot and Sen Isaac Mwaura
Third Reading: Committee of the Whole House
THE COUNTY EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION BILL
- NO. 26 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen Christopher Langat
THE PUBLIC PARTICIPATION BILL
- NO. 04 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen Amos Wako
THE PETITION TO COUNTY ASSEMBLIES (PROCEDURE) BIL
- NO. 22 OF 2018 
Sponsored by Sen Judith Pareno
THE TREATY MAKING AND RATIFICATION (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 23 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen Fatuma Dullo
THE COUNTY GOVERNMENTS (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 11 OF 2017 
Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Sen Kipchumba Murkomen
THE RETIREMENT BENEFITS (DEPUTY PRESIDENT AND DESIGNATED STATE OFFICERS) (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 02 OF 2018 
Sponsored by Sen. Ledama Olekina
THE CARE AND PROTECTION OF OLDER MEMBERS OF SOCIETY BILL
- NO. 17 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen Aaron Cheruiyot

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