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Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 263
6th January - 10th January 2020

Editorial

May 2020 Bring a Change of Leadership

The festive season has over time evolved from just being a period of celebration and fun to being a time of self-evaluation and reflection on the just concluded year. As Mzalendo wound up its calendar of activities in 2019 we engaged our audience through an SMS question.

“What do you think has been 2019’s Parliament success story as the year comes to a close?”

The feedback painted a citizenry that had lost faith in its representatives. Some Kenyans thought that Parliament was no longer an independent institution and had instead morphed into the Executive’s puppet. Others felt that MPs were self-serving people who prioritized their interests over Kenyans’ needs, while others simply thought that Parliament generally underperformed in its role of legislation, oversight and budgeting. These responses might just represent a few Kenyans but their thoughts mirror the general mood on the ground.

“There’s never been a Christmas that has felt this un-Christmas-sy,” read a post on Twitter. The replies under the tweet were from Kenyans who largely attributed the slow death of the ‘Kenyan Christmas’ to the tough economic times the country is currently struggling with.

There is indeed a general sense of hopelessness in the electorate that would form a good business of objective inward-looking by Parliamentarians. 2019 was quite an eventful year for Parliament that had more lows than highs. From the standoff between the Senate and National Assembly over the DORA Bill, to 2022 political formations, to unpleasant comments on and off social media between MPs and the touchy subject of money. Parliament sure did make headlines this past year.

News of the Week

MET warns of impending drought

In a statement earlier this week, the Kenya Meteorological Department asked the public to prepare for a dry season that will last three months noting that the availability of water, food and pasture will drop. Mombasa County Director of Meteorology Charles Mwangi urges people to stock enough water and food to avoid hunger since the dry season will start this month and end in late March. He also warned the public about a possible rise in the prices of commodities such as vegetables and told Kenyans to expect eye diseases due to excess dust, sunburn and heat strokes among other ailments.

 

23 counties miss out on funds allocation

National Treasury has disbursed December allocations to only 24 counties that had either cleared their pending bills or presented clear plans on how they would pay their bills. The disbursement of Sh 14.5 billion comes barely a month after Treasury CS Ukur Yattani warned that county governments will only receive their allocations based on their progress in settling pending bills. National Treasury now confirms that 15 counties have fully paid their bills. These are Baringo, Elgeyo MArakwet, Embu, Homa Bay, Kajiado, Kericho, Kilifi, Kwale, Laikipia, Makueni, Nyamira, Nyandarua, Nyeri and Uasin Gishu. The counties said to have presented clear payment plans to the Ministry are Kakamega, Wajir, Nandi, Murang’a, Nairobi, Mombasa, Tharaka-Nithi, Kisii and Taita Taveta. This leaves out 23 counties locked out of their monthly allocations.

Nyeri legislator calls for change on the 3% tax

Nyeri Senator Ephraim Maina has criticized the move by the national government to introduce a 3% tax on small scale traders saying it will further impoverish the already struggling Kenyans and has asked the government to immediately rescind its decision.
Mr Maina appealed to the Parliamentary Budget Committee to seek alternative ways of raising money to fund the national budget. He asked MPs to table a motion that would overturn the government’s decision saying imposing the said tax would negatively impact the livelihoods of the ordinary people.

Newsmaker this Week

Nairobi Women Representative Esther Passaris was subject to criticism on Twitter following her revelation that she had undergone a spinal surgery in India. Kenyans called her out and other legislators for failing to fix the healthcare system in the country to adequately cater to such delicate procedures. Ms Passaris came under heat for a harsh response to one Kenyan where she countered the argument on her contribution to healthcare by mentioning that she had a track record of service even before her election to the position that cost her Sh 50 million.

... PROFILE

Bills before the Senate

First Reading

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