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Mzalendo's Weekly Newsletter

Issue no. 42, 20 - 26, July, 2015


News of the Week:
 
  • Too many committees and absenteeism have been blamed for a slowdown in business in the Senate. A section of senators who want some committees collapsed to improve service delivery have put on notice their colleagues who unnecessarily skip the House and committee sessions. Some senators are opposed to a proposal to adjust senate sessions to create more time for pending business before they break for recess, said time is not the issue, but failure by some colleagues to take their work seriously. The senators said the matters before various committees cannot be abruptly halted.


     
  • The Auditor-General has released reports exposing unexplained expenditure of devolved resources in the county governments and blatant theft of public funds in what paints a dark future for devolution. All the 29 audits of county executive and county assembly reports signed by Auditor-General Edward Ouko expose massive corruption and a careless spending culture in total disregard of existing procurement regulations even as the clamor for more cash continues. The audits were also done in the executive and the same pilfering was revealed.


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  • Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru was grilled by the anti-graft detectives over the controversial Sh1.5 billion procurement of the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS). Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Chief Executive Officer Halakhe Waqo told the National Assembly's Justice and Legal Affairs Committee that she was however grilled not as a suspect. Waqo did not say when or where the grilling was done, but most interviews and interrogations of the people in the presidential dossier were done at the commission's headquarters at Integrity Centre in Nairobi. The IFMIS scandal was reported to the EACC on November 18, 2014, with the complaint being "inflated consultancies and disregard for procurement procedures". On the dossier submitted to Parliament late March, which Waqo confirmed to MPs that he confidentially handed over to President Uhuru Kenyatta, the allegations were that the "IFMIS re-engineering" project cost Sh1.5 billion, when it should have cost less than Sh500,000. There was also another project that cost Sh900 million whereas the true value was Sh300 million. The "suspect", according to the EACC dossier, is "procurement director". The allegations of procurement irregularities on IFMIS happened between 2011 and 2012 when Waiguru was the director.
     
 
  • Miraa is a drug just like cocaine and heroin and should be banned in Kenya, Changamwe MP Omar Mwinyi has said. Mwinyi said miraa cripples the economy as it affects health and makes users unproductive. “Why do we have double standards? Why does the government want to support miraa when the effects are the same as illicit brew?” he posed. He said marriages have broken as chewers are rendered irresponsible. He urged the government to find an alternative.



     
  • The Senate’s Public Accounts Committee has summoned governors and county assembly clerks to explain the reported plunder of the public funds allocated to their counties. Committee chairman Boni Khalwale said that the committee will be grilling governors over the expenditure captured in the Auditor-General’s report. The committee also expected county assemblies to do their part by questioning open theft of resources as detailed in various audit reports. Dr Khalwale said that governors must provide answers on the whereabouts of the missing millions and warned that the committee would recommend punitive measures against county chief executive officers who preside over the looting of public resources.
 
  • Kenya Airways managing director Mbuvi Ngunze and board chairman Evanson Mwaniki were grilled by a select committee of the Senate investigating financial and management problems facing the loss-making national carrier. The 11-member team, chaired by Kisumu Senator Anyang' Nyong'o, questioned the two in a closed-door session but later briefed the Press on the ongoing investigation. Mr. Ngunze and Mr. Mwaniki defended the airline’s management and human resource practices.
 
  • National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has urged women to fight for political leadership posts. He said women had made huge strides in education and have what it takes to get into leadership, instead of riding on the one-third gender rule. Mr. Muturi said women should enter competitive politics with the aim of winning posts, rather than waiting to be nominated. 
 
  • US President Barack Obama’s visit should strengthen the security partnership between Kenya and the US in fighting terrorism, National Assembly Defence and Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Ndung'u Gethenji. He highlighted some of the milestones Kenya has achieved through working closely with the US. He said the visit should reaffirm his commitment to continue supporting us. He said a continued close relationship between Kenya and US would foster their security, economic, and foreign policy interests, which he believes are overlapped. The Tetu MP, said Kenya was a key target by terrorists because of its leading role in the fight against the vice particularly in Somalia where its troops are battling Al Shabaab under the aegis of African Union Mission to Somalia (Amisom). He appealed to the European Union and other international partners to continue supporting Amisom troops until the terrorists are annihilated. See also: Residents leave Nairobi for other towns to avoid looming disruptions Gethenji, however, expressed fears that Al Shabaab attacks had led to an escalation of ethnic and religious prejudice among Kenyans.
 
  • A former top electoral commission official claimed that Chairman Issack Hassan tried to influence a tender for the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits in the 2013 elections. Mr. Dismas Ong’ondi, a former ICT director, named the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission boss when he gave evidence before the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC). He was giving evidence on the failure of electronic voter identification devices, the rushed procurement of biometric kits, and the failure of the electronic results transmission system that raised credibility questions. He said Hassan introduced him to representatives of Avant International Technology, which had interest in the tender in June 2012, during a commission retreat in Mombasa. Mr. Ong’ondi, who was sacked by the commission after he advised against procurement of voter identification devices, also blamed Mr. Hassan for proceeding with the procurement in spite of advice against it by the ICT department and that of an external IT consultant – International Foundation for Electoral Systems – that the system was likely to fail during the elections. PAC Chairman Nicholas Gumbo asked Mr. Ong’ondi to furnish the committee with evidence to back his claims. Hon. Gumbo said the committee took it that he was speaking the truth since he was under oath. 
 




 
Editorial:  Senators need to check corruption in Counties


Auditor General’s most recent report reveals some glaring inconsistencies in counties’ financial probity that call for the Senate to check their lack of prudent expenditure of public money. Twenty-nine Counties cannot account for their budget allocations and reported revenues remain low despite increased levies. The report sheds light into a web of mechanisms employed by county government officials to avoid accounting for public funds. Local revenue remains low in counties and waste, over-expenditure, shifting of funds to unbudgeted items, plus outright theft is endemic. Reduced and unaccounted for revenues is one of the issues raised in the audit queries. Counties also failed to provide proper documentation on expenditure. Unregulated expenditures were also raised. The Senate was specifically created to advance devolution and protect it. Protecting devolution which Kenyans fought for and want to see make their lives better will not be realized if office bearers in counties are allowed to plunder public money. Read more


Quote of the Week

Sentiments by Hon. John Kihagi after Hon. Alex Mwiru made a statement as the Chair, Departmental Committee on Lands, on encroachment of the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) land Naivasha on 13th November 2013.


“I just want to amplify what the Chairman has said about the Isahakia Community, who are occupying KARI land. I believe they are occupying that land on mis-information and manipulation by certain characters within the Government. The Chairman has said that last year a revocation of the allocation of 330 acres was hurriedly done; it had been allocated to this community. One Peter Kahuho revoked the allotment letter. A lot of people in the Government and within the political class have been trying to grab land in Naivasha in the name of the Isahakia Community. The Isahakia Community came to Naivasha together with Lord Delamere when he was settling around KARI land. He was also instrumental in the establishment of KARI, Naivasha. The point I want to drive home is that there are historical and current injustices happening to the Isahakia Community, and they are being manipulated by political and Government characters; they are being used as a tool in land grabbing. The National Land Commission and the relevant Ministry should move to ensure that the historical injustices occasioned to Isahakia Community, even as they move out of the KARI land, are addressed and they are properly settled as citizens of this country and my constituents.” Read Hansard




Lest we Forget!

 

Sentiments by Sen. Daniel Karaba during debate on a motion on the establishment of National Youth Service (NYS) outlets in all counties.


“It is also an inspiration to students in this country who complete Form Four and move out and wander around, not knowing what to do. Every year, we have a tune of about 400,000 students who complete Form Four education. About 20,000 of these students end up in universities. This means that the rest of the number, more than 300,000 of them, is out there not knowing what to do. Therefore, if this Motion is passed, it will be an avenue of helping many youth move to the NYS and get trained to acquire skills that are necessary for industrial development in our country…. In the past, recruits of the NYS were trained on how to construct roads, bridges and so on. Anybody can construct roads. It does not require a lot of knowledge to do this. However, if we can include some engineering, electrical or mechanical aspects, this will attract the youth. After this, it can be a requirement that any employer willing to employ should, first of all, employ a graduate of the NYS. If this is a commitment by all employers in our country and more so the Government, this will attract serious people and we will have a good labour data bank which can be used in developing many projects.”  Read Hansard




Newsmaker this week:

Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo has said that no threat will deter him from safeguarding public money. Gumbo said he received a threatening SMS on July 7, saying “we want either your head or one of your kids”, before he tabled a special report of the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee on the forensic audit into the Judicial Service Commission. The audit looked at procurement issues. Gumbo said his new responsibility as PAC chairman is to give Kenyans value for their money by ensuring no one steals resources. He said such messages will not deter him and the committee from executing their watchdog functions. The Rarieda MP said he does not expect such messages to be the last as some of the people the committee is investigating for allegedly misusing public funds are still in office. Profile



Bill before The National Assembly

Bills in the First Reading
THE LEGAL AID BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 35 OF 2015) is sponsored by the Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

THE BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERS BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 37 OF 2015) is sponsored by the Hon. Stephen Mutinda



Bills in the Second Reading

THE COMPANIES BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 22 OF 2015) is sponsored by the Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

THE CONSTITUTION OF KENYA (AMENDMENT) BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 01 OF 2015) is sponsored by the Hon. David Ochieng'

THE CONSTITUTION OF KENYA (AMENDMENT) (NO.2) BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 02 OF 2015) is sponsored by the Hon. Peter Kaluma
 

Bills before The Senate


Bills in the Committee of the Whole

THE COUNTY EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION BILL (SENATE BILL NO. 32 OF 2014) is being sponsored by the Chairperson, Standing Committee on Education Sen. Daniel Karaba
 
THE PUBLIC APPOINTMENTS (COUNTY ASSEMBLY APPROVAL) BILL (SENATE BILL NO. 20 OF 2014) is sponsored by Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Labour and Social Welfare Sen. Stewart Madzayo
 
THE FOOD SECURITY BILL (SENATE BILL NO. 23 OF 2014) is sponsored by Sen. Beatrice Elachi   

THE MINING BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 8 OF 2014) is sponsored by Sen. Dr. Kithure Kindiki

THE TOBACCO CONTROL REGULATIONS, 2014 is sponsored by the chairperson, Sessional Committee on Delegated Legislation Sen. Stephen Sang'

 

 Bills in the Second Reading


THE COUNTY ASSEMBLY SERVICES BILL (SENATE BILL NO. 27 OF 2014) is sponsored by the Chairperson, Standing Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights Sen. Amos Wako

THE UNIVERSITIES (AMENDMENT) BILL (SENATE BILL NO. 31 OF 2014) is sponsored by Sen. Halima Abdille

THE COUNTY HALL OF FAME BILL (SENATE BILL NO. 33 OF 2014) is sponsored by the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights Sen. Amos Wako

THE PETITION TO COUNTY ASSEMBLIES (PROCEDURE) BILL (SENATE BILL NO. 35 OF 2014) is sponsored by the Chairperson, Standing Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights 
Sen. Amos Wako

THE PARLIAMENTARY POWERS AND PRIVILEGES BILL (SENATE BILL NO. 15 OF 2014) is sponsored by Sen. Dr. Kithure Kindiki


THE COUNTY INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT BILL (SENATE BILL NO. 7 OF 2014) is sponsored by Sen. Muriuki Karue
 
THE CLIMATE CHANGE BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 1 OF 2014) is sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader Sen. Kithure Kindiki
 
THE COUNTY INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT BILL (SENATE BILL NO. 7 OF 2014) is sponsored by Sen. Muriuki Karue


THE COUNTY RETIREMENT SCHEME BILL (SENATE BILL NO. 25 OF 2014) is sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader Sen. Kithure Kindiki

THE COMMUNITY LAND BILL (SENATE BILL NO 38 OF 2014) is sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader Sen. Kithure Kindiki



Public Participation

The National Assembly is seeking views on the Health Records and Information Managers Bill, 2015. Written memoranda can be sent to  the Clerk of the National Assembly P.O. Box 41842 - 00100, or hand-delivered to the office of the Clerk, Main Parliament Buildings or emailed to the clerk@parliament.go.ke on or before Wednesday 31st July, 2015 at 5.00pm




 
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