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Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 116
26 December, 2016 - 01 January, 2017

Editorial

Matiangi proves yet again that corruption and cartels can be defeated

The release of this year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination (KCSE) revealed everything that’s wrong with this country-the potential to defeat corruption but choosing the state of inertia instead.  It turns out cartels that are running sectors of this country are not as powerful as the politicians would want us to believe. Corruption can actually be nipped in the bud. Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Fred Matiangi couldn’t have given Kenyans a better New Year gift.

In less than one year CS Matiangi has shamed corrupt schools and parents who facilitated corruption in education through the usual cartels. There were only 141 students who scored perfect ‘A’s in the entire country. This is quite telling considering in 2015 and 2014, we had cases where a single school was producing over 200 students with perfect As. Clearly, the rot in our education was about to reach the high heavens.

Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) boss Prof. Magoha cautioned parents against the obsession with getting the “A” grade. His sentiments were stemming from the fact that parents too had contributed immensely in the corruption witnessed in the education sector as they did everything in their power including greasing the hands of the cartels to buy grades for their children. If parents, teachers and education officials could collude to deny a student their rightful grade because of selfish reasons then we shouldn’t be surprised why we vote in corrupt thieves and justify it with silly arguments like “the better thief!”

The 2016 KSCE results should make us reflect as a country and how we can do things differently in the coming New Year. That more than half the students who sat for the exams got grades D and E is proof that our teachers are no longer teaching. They’re busy speculating exams and buying material to drill into students. The result is students with better grades but loose morals and empty heads. No wonder our universities too no longer produce students who can make significant positive difference in our lives other than burning vehicles and businesses whenever aggrieved.

The effectiveness that Jubilee government has demonstrated in the education sector is the same we demand in other sectors stinking with corruption in the New Year. It’s laughable and indeed insulting that the government can stop the cartels in education sector on their tracks but can’t do the same when it comes to the land ministry where there’s allegedly blatant land grabbing by high ranking officials. We expect the government to be serious with those lands officers who take Kenyans in circles selling the same land to more than one person with complete disregard of how their actions affect the victims.

News of the Week

President Uhuru signs law targeting corruption in the private sector

President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the Bribery Act 2016 into law effectively sending a signal that it will not be business as usual in the private sector where there hasn’t been any law directly dealing with the vice. Anyone found giving or receiving bribe will be penalized up to Sh. 5 million or a serve a 10 year jail term. Courts will also have the flexibility to add more penalties depending on the case before it including confiscation of property or being blacklisted from serving in any office in the country. Additionally, witnessing corruption and failing to report will be deemed an offense. The Bribery Act though tabled by the Majority Leader in National Assembly, was initiated by the private sector.
 

Proposal to lower the age for consensual sex rejected by Clerics and KFCB

The proposal to amend the Sexual Offences Act through the Statue law Miscellaneous (amendment) Bill 2016 has been rejected by religious leaders and the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB). The amendment proposes to among other things lower the age for consensual sex from the current 18 years to 16 years. KFCB through chairman Ezekiel Mutua said the amendment was suspicious as there was no sufficient reason to lower the consent to 16 years. The Federation of Women Lawyers however supports the proposal saying it would protect boys victimized by their girl friends. Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya also rejected the proposals. The Secretary General Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa said though Islam permits marriage of girls under 18, Kenya was a secular state with laws and the legal age of 18 should be adhered to.
 

President Uhuru nominated lawyer Chebukati for IEBC Chairperson

President Uhuru Kenyatta nominated lawyer Wafula Chebukati to succeed Isaac Hassan as the new chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). The President sent his name alongside other nominated commissioners to the Parliament for approval. The change of guard at IEBC follows anti-IEBC protests by the opposition – CORD - held in mid-2016 after what they termed incompetence and bias by the outgoing Isaac-led team.

CORD Cancels Mass Protest on Contentious Electoral Laws

Opposition called off the dreaded mass protest over the disputed election laws in what was going to be a showdown between them and the government.  CORD has instead given the Senate an opportunity to settle the impasse.  The Senate is currently reviewing the proposed amendments. Depending on the position the Senate takes the opposition will decide whether to revert to their earlier decision to hit the streets or support the senators.


Parliament on Recess

Kindly note that the Senate Justice and Legal Affairs Committee is in session collecting public views on the controversial election law amendments following the Speaker's directive when Senate was recalled for a special sitting to debate the same. The National Assembly adjourned after the last special sitting in December 2016 until 24th January, 2017. The Senate on the other hand is expected to have a special sitting on 5th January 2017 to discuss the Election Laws amendment. 

 

Quote of the Week

"Corruption starts at the procurement process. If that can be addressed, there will be fewer court cases."

Sentiments by Hon. Francis Nyenze while contributing to the motion on adoption of special PIC report on procurement process by KPC on April 30, 2015

Read the Hansard

Lest we forget

" Doctors gave notice 19 days prior to the strike. Why must the Ministry wait to initiate dialogue with doctors until they go on strike when they know the vital sector the doctors serve?"

Sentiments by Hon. Rachel Shebesh when contributing to the Statement on countrywide doctor's strike on Dec 06, 2011.

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro made headlines this week after presiding over the special sitting peacefully and making rulings that some members termed Solomonic. Unlike the National Assembly where members openly abused each other and engaged in fist fights, the Senate was quite tranquil, thanks in part to the Speaker who set the tone for the sitting, promising that all parties will get a chance to be heard. Speaker Ethuro also directed the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee led by Sen. Amos Wako to collect views from the public on the disputed law before submitting a final report. His directive also prevented a possible clash between the government and opposition after the latter promised to take to the streets to oppose National Assembly’s passing of the controversial amendments.

... PROFILE

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