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Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 98
22 - 28 August, 2016

Editorial

Let’s Tame Rogue Political Parties and their leaders

The Swahili people have a saying that if you don’t seal a crack you will end up building a wall. True to that saying, if the electorate doesn’t act on the cracks the 11th Parliament is showing, building a wall will prove most costly. The 11th Parliament is keen on passing laws that only appear convenient to them. Consider the constant extension of Bills they should pass, like the gender Bill but don’t feel inspired enough.

Development that trickles down to the average Mwananchi only happens when we have a self-less leadership that is keen on serving rather than amassing wealth. However rogue legislators who fail to enact laws that promote civilization and party leaders that handle party affairs as their private affair are the cause of the problems bedeviling this nation. Kenyans must therefore seal these cracks for a peaceful and prosperous future and here is how.

To begin with, the blatant corruption experienced during political parties’ nominations causes many great candidates and legislators to lose to sycophants who have nothing to show except praises for the party leader. Indeed, this is why otherwise promising Politicians are joining the fight to maintain status quo in the form of party hopping. They have lost confidence in the parties that sponsored them to office and indeed their party leaders.

This is not Parliamentarians first strike though, earlier in the year they amended section 14 of the Political Parties Act that attempted to bring sobriety in terms of ideology and discipline with regard to candidates, and allowed themselves to ditch their parties at will. Yet, they could have embraced the proposal to quash party-hopping and utilize provisions in the Constitution that calls on parties to run internal elections free of influence from anyone including the party leader.

The Constitution demands that all political parties have an elected governing body. This is where politicians who mean well for this country can fix rogue party leaders by streamlining party nominations. If a party has a governing body that is above reproach then there’s no need to fear party elections. Additionally, they should rally their constituents to register as party members where their voice can be heard and their votes not auctioned by a few individuals in the party.

News of the Week

President Uhuru Signs Bill capping Bank interest rates

Majority Kenyans are in a celebratory mood after the president caught key players unawares and signed the Banking Bill contrary to previous indication that he would veto the Bill. Kenyan borrowers are set to enjoy at least a 14.5% interest down from the over 20% and depositors to get 7.3% interest on their cash. President Uhuru surprised many as the Bill was opposed by Central Bank Governor as well as the CS Treasury who both argued it was not the best way to deal with the alarming high interest rates. The President is reported to have acted in the interest of the public noting that the Banks have fought similar Bills attempting to regulate interest rates, promising to come up with better plans for the public but never honoring their commitment.
 

Government Prepares New Law to deal with hate speech

The government through the CS Information Communication and Technology, Joe Mucheru is preparing the Computer and Cybercrime Bill to deal with individuals spreading hate speech through social media. The proposed new law is coming on the backdrop of increasing misuse of social media by hatemongers who the government says it cannot arrest because there’s no law directly dealing with misuse of social media. Previously the government arrested people spreading hate speech through social media under the “misuse of a licensed communication gadget” offense but the High Court declared it unconstitutional. The proposed law yet to be presented before Parliament also spells out hefty fines for hackers who access banks, government sites as well as personal mobile phones for mischief. Hackers will pay a fine of up to Ksh. 20 million and serve up to 20 years in prison.
 

Two-thirds Gender Bill fails to go through Senate

Senate failed to vote on the two-thirds gender Bill that was set to have more women nominated to Parliament through party lists, progressively because of lack of quorum. Only 28 members were present from a 67 member Senate prompting the presiding speaker to defer the vote for another day. The two-thirds gender Bill has faced a lot of opposition from the lawmakers. This was the third time it did not see the light of day after failing twice in the National Assembly.

Bill seeking to regulate gambling to be passed this week

The Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Bill that seeks to impose higher taxes on the gaming industry is set to be passed this week having gone through the second reading. The Bill sponsored by Majority Party Leader Aden Duale hopes to provide legal means for the government to acquire revenue through the growing industry that rakes billions in profits. Hon. Duale says the Bill aims at discouraging gambling and was quoted by the media saying, “Either we gamble and pay huge taxes so that we build roads and provide better healthcare (or stop)”.

House Committee Questions Formula used to distribute laptops to public schools

National Assembly Energy, Communication and Information Committee chaired by Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau asked the ICT CS Joe Mucheru to disclose the formula the government was using to distribute laptops to pupils in primary schools in implementing its Digital Literacy programme. The CS explained that they involved other stakeholders including the ministry of Education, Rural Electrification Authority and Kenya Power. They prioritized schools based on their “e-readiness by looking at the logistics involved. “ Three schools were picked in each county; one in the rural area and the other two in peri-urban and urban zones. Availability of electricity and classrooms set aside for the 

Quote of the Week

"Mr. Naftali Temu who, unfortunately, despite being the first Kenyan to win a gold medal at the Olympics, died an extremely poor man in a general ward at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH)… It is, therefore, such a pity that, as our athletes toil every day to place Kenya on the world map, some greedy selfish individuals only see their exploits as the opportunities for self-gain and plunder. This is why as a House, we must condemn this extreme lethargy, incompetence, appalling ineptitude and corruption perpetuated by our athletics managers and it should be severely punished."

Sentiments by Hon. Nicholas Gumbo while contributing to the motion on Appreciation of Kenya's Performance at the Olympics Games on August 23, 2016

Read the Hansard

Lest we forget

"We must avoid the instinct and tendency to legislate for convenience; to legislate for the short-term, to legislate for what is comfortable now... I want to conclude by reminding this House that the convenience of today, whether that is the convenience of G7, G9 or G20 are passing clouds. Those positions we find convenient today must not be the platform that dictates how we legislate. We must legislate for Kenya; we must legislate for the future not for some temporary coalitions and movements of convenience of ‘G this' and 'G that'."

Sentiments by Hon. Ababu Namwamba when contributing to the Political Parties Bill on August 16, 2011.

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

Kibra MP Ken Okoth made news this week with his Bill on torture that sets a jail term of upto 15 years for culprits. Law enforcers and individuals who apply both mental and physical torture risk serving life imprisonment or at the very least a 15 years jail term. The proposed Prevention of Torture Bill demands that Kenya implement the UN Convention against Torture, Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of any wrongdoer by police while obtaining information. The Bill also renders any information obtained through torture inadmissible in a court of law and that any individual who uses such information knowingly will be committing an offense and will be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding Ksh. 500,000 or serve 7years in prison.

... PROFILE

Bills before the National Assembly

First Reading
Second Reading

THE PENAL CODE (AMENDMENT)

- NO. 13 OF 2016
Sponsored by Hon. Johnson Sakaja

This Bill aims at amending the Penal Code to enable the law to address the sporadic problem of livestock theft in the country by increasing penalties for crimes relating to cattle rustling. The offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than fifteen years. Secondly, the Bill criminalizes the actions of a police officer who knowingly fails to prevent the commission of the offence. The bill also states that any unauthorized movement of animals from one county to another without a permit will be punishable with imprisonment of a term not less than five years. The Bill envisions reduction of the current disruption of the socioeconomic activities and livelihood of pastoralist communities living in counties where the vice is rampant.

What is you take on the Bill? Can severe punitive measures alone remedy cattle rustling? You can write to your MP and have your ideas included in the bill.

THE WITNESS PROTECTION (AMENDMENT) BILL

- NO. 12 OF 2016
Sponsored by Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

This Bill amends the Witness Protection Act, 2006, to align it with the Constitution.  It also aims at making provisions for reciprocal protection arrangements with foreign countries to ensure its effective operationalization. The bill provides provisions to determine circumstances under which a witness can qualify for protection. Secondly, the Bill gives powers to the Attorney-General to appoint the Director of the Agency (Protection Witness) on the recommendation of the Board. Thirdly, the Bill also outlines other considerations to be made by the Director before admitting a person in the protection programme.  Fourthly, it makes it an offence for a person to intimidate, harass, obstruct, threaten, hinder or prevent a witness with intention to subvert the course of justice.

In the light of witness harassment and elimination in Kenya, what’s your opinion of the proposed amendment? You can write to your MP or the Committee on Justice and legal affairs for your thoughts to be considered in legislating the Bill.
 

THE PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (AMENDMENT) BILL

- NO. 24 OF 2014 (SENATE BILL)
Sponsored by Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Labour and Social Welfare Hon. David Were
 
THE FINANCE BILL
- NO. 20 OF 2016
Sponsored by Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Finance, Planning and Trade Hon. Benjamin Langat

THE UNIVERSITIES (AMENDMENT) BILL

- NO. 67 OF 2015
Sponsored by Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

THE STATUTE LAW (MISCELLANEOUS AMENDMENTS) (No.2) BILL

- NO. 58 OF 2015
Sponsored by Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

THE PUBLIC FUNDRAISING APPEALS BILL

- NO. 28 OF 2014 (SENATE BILL)
Sponsored by the Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs Hon. Samuel Chepkonga

THE BETTING, LOTTERIES AND GAMING (AMENDMENT) BILL

- NO. 30 OF 2015
Sponsored by Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

THE KENYATTA MAUSOLEUM BILL

- NO. 11 OF 2016
Sponsored by Hon. Muthomi Njuki

THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT CONSTITUENCIES DEVELOPMENT FUND (AMENDMENT) BILL

- NO. 34 OF 2016
Sponsored by the Chairperson, Committee on National Goverment Constituency Development Fund Hon. Moses Lessonet

THE CONSTITUTION OF KENYA (AMENDMENT) BILL

- NO. 07 OF 2016
Sponsored by Hon. Mithika Linturi

THE KENYA UWEZO FUND BILL 

- NO. 65 OF 2015
Sponsored by Hon. David Kagongo

THE NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE BILL 

- NO. 26 OF 2014 (SENATE BILL)
Sponsored by Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Labour and Social Welfare Hon. David Were

THE COUNTY EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION BILL 

- NO. 23 OF 2014 (SENATE BILL)
Sponsored by Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Education, Research and Technology Hon. Sabina Chege
Third Reading: Committee of the Whole House

The Warehouse Receipts System Bill

- NO. 12 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

THE KENYA ROADS BILL

- NO. 26 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

The Public Finance Management (Amendment) Bill

- NO. 04 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

The Civil Aviation (Amendment) Bill

- NO. 14 OF 2016
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

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