Mzalendo's Weekly Newsletter

Issue no. 21, 23 - 28 February 2015

News of the Week:
  • According to a new report by Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo, lawmakers pocketed Sh1.047 billion on domestic travel and an additional Sh331 million on foreign travel over the past six months. Much of the Sh1.047 billion local travel budget is made up of the MPs’ mileage claims for trips made to their constituencies. Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) throughout the country have spent Sh3.72 billion on local and foreign travel over the same period.  

  • Police are likely to prefer three charges against Juja MP Francis Waititu once they complete their investigations. Officers at Ruiru Criminal Investigations office are preparing to charge the MP with sexual harassment and abuse of office after clearance from DPP Keriako Tobiko. Susan Wambui, an employee of the Juja CDF recorded a statement at Ruiru police station and accused the MP of firing her for rejecting his sexual advances. Wambui recorded another statement at the same station in which she accused Waititu of pressuring her to drop her claims after she reported the initial sexual harassment and subsequent sacking. Parliament has since confirmed her employment with the Juja CDF through a letter to police giving details of Wambui’s employment.

  • MPs are today expected to hold a kamukunji to deliberate on the ruling that found CDF unconstitutional. The kamukunji, is expected to, among other things, constitute a bipartisan committee that brings together MPs from the ruling Jubilee coalition and the opposition Cord to review the ruling and propose the way forward.
  • There was a heated exchange among MPs when some of them proposed that sitting allowances be paid to MPs who only participate in committees for at least an hour. National Assembly majority leader Aden Duale proposed that payments be pegged on performance and that MPs should serve in only one committee. He was backed by Public Accounts Committee chairman Ababu Namwamba who said the measures were necessary to deal with quorum issues. However MPs Chrisantus Wamalwa and Khatib Mwashetani opposed this move.
  • The Public Investments Committee tabled the highest number of reports in the National Assembly during the last session. According to a report on the status of the business before the committees by the Directorate of Committee Services in the National Assembly, the watchdog committee, chaired by Eldas MP Adan Keynan tabled six reports more than any other committee. The directorate listed the Public Accounts Committee as another best performing committee out of the 29 House committees despite its leadership wrangles and bribery claims against members. However, majority of the reports are yet to be adopted.
  • The sharing of national revenue among counties has been thrown into disarray after the Senate rejected a proposed formula by Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA) and the House Finance Committee. Senators rejected the second proposed formula arguing it did not address social parameters including health, agriculture and development. The report was defeated 13 to 11 with those opposing the criteria citing lack of consultation and discrimination of some regions. The Constitution requires that once every five years, the Senate shall by resolution, determine the basis for allocating among the counties the share of national revenue that is annually allocated to the county level of government.
  • The plan to privatize five state sugar milling firms inched closer when MPs endorsed a privatization schedule for the under-performing institutions. The National Assembly adopted the report of the Finance, Planning and Trade committee on the privatization of public-controlled mills. The Privatization Commission can now commence the process of selling government shares in Nzoia, South Nyanza, Chemelil, Muhoroni and Miwani sugar companies to private investors who will control 51 per cent shareholding once they are disposed of.
  • MPs want Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir to justify why Geothermal Development Company (GDC) should get Sh15 billion in the next Budget in the wake of corruption claims at the firm. They told Mr. Chirchir to address the allegations. The minister has requested that firm be allocated the cash in the next financial year. Corruption allegations at the company have involved awarding of tenders worth more than Sh10 billion. Questions have also been raised regarding procurement of drilling rigs and claims of mismanagement of staff. However, Mr. Chirchir told the MPs the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission was better placed to act on the claims.
EditorialAll Interests on CDF must see Wanjiku First 

Resources meant for development at the grassroots always excite various interests, something the Judgment that found the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) as unconstitutional has proven. In the Petition filed by the Institute of Social Accountability (TISA), the petitioners wanted the Judges to find the CDF (Amendment) Act 2013 as unconstitutional as it was in contravention with the spirit of the devolution in the Constitution, something the judges agreed with. That CDF has made a great difference to Kenyans lives is not in doubt. Will MPs and Governors put their best foot forward and prioritize Wanjiku’s interest over their personal agendas? Read more

Quote of the Week

Sentiments by Hon. Jakoyo Midiwo during debate on government’s intention to invest in printing of Kenya currency on 10th November 2011.

“The Committee has rejected the buying of equity by the Government into De La Rue for the last nine years. It beats logic why somebody at the Treasury is always interested in this deal even when the facts that it would benefit the country dictate otherwise. It is only through a Statement by somebody in the Government; the Co-ordinator of the Government, that this country will be satisfied that what the Government is intending to do is not another Anglo Leasing.” Read Hansard

Lest we Forget!

Motion moved by Hon. Wibur Ottichilo on government funding for national poverty survey on 14th December 2011

“aware that Article 202 of the Constitution provides that revenue raised nationally shall be shared equitably among the national and county governments; further aware that Articles 203 and 204 provide criteria for determining the equitable shares and use of the Equalization Fund respectively; concerned that the last National Poverty Survey that was used to determine poverty levels in different constituencies was undertaken in 2005 and the reliability of the results challenged in different fora; further concerned that the National Revenue Allocation Commission will face serious challenges in discharging its functions unless a new and credible National Poverty Survey is undertaken before the operationalization of county governments; this House urges the Government to allocate adequate financial resources for conducting the said survey at the Ward, Constituency and County levels before the end of 2011/2012 Financial Year.” Read Hansard

Newsmaker this week:

Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, has challenged government agencies to expedite corruption investigations into the Mumias Sugar Company (MSC). He said these investigations should lead to arrests and monies recovered to help revive the factory. According to the KPMG forensic report, former CEOs Evans Kidero, who is now Nairobi Governor, and Peter Kebati mismanaged the country’s leading sugar miller. Kidero has vehemently and repeatedly denied any wrongdoing during his tenure as Mumias CEO. He further wants the Board of MSC to be changed since it was part of the rot that crippled the company. Profile

Public Participation;

Access to Information Bill 2014

The Access to Information Bill 2014 will be presented to Parliament by Hon. Priscilla Nyokabi this year as a private members Bill. This bill affects public access to information held by government institutions and bodies. All Interested people should therefore raise their concerns and interests.

Find it here to read and learn more Access to Information Bill 2014

Over the next one week, feel free to comment on it on our blog or Facebook page.  We will share your comments and concerns with her.

MPs' Mombasa retreat resolutions
  1. Standing orders must be enforced strictly, without fear or favour.
  2. MPs should solve their differences with integrity.
  3. House leaders to be sensitive of their language and MPs should respect lady speakers.
  4. Amend standing orders to define disorderly or gross misconduct and provide clear punishment.
  5. PSC to develop code of conduct for members in line with the integrity chapter.
  6. Establish internal standards to deal with members' discipline.
  7. Liaison committee to stop duplication by committees.
  8. Committees to meet on Monday and Fridays as well.
  9. Committees to work with professional bodies to probe intricate matters.
  10. MPs should consult widely and build consensus on contentious issues in a bipartisan way.
  11. Parties should consult internally on sensitive issues of national importance to build consensus.
  12. Committees to only meet when there is business to transact and must present their reports promptly.
  13. Watchdog committees of PAC and PIC to be chaired by opposition members.
  14. Parties be allowed to discharge and replace their members in committees.
  15. Develop common approach on public participation.
  16. MPs who confirm participating but fail to turn up without apology to reimburse Parliament.
  17. Engage SRC to review their per diem for foreign travel.
  18. CIOC to ensure all "year four and five" constitutional bills are published on time.
  19. Leadership to meet three times a year to review performance.
  20. House to address election date issue.

Blog Awards 2015

Our blog has been nominated, in the political blogs category, in this year’s Blog Awards, organized by the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE). The awards aim to single out bloggers with great creative and innovative, useful and regular content and posts. This year’s awards themed “Content is King”.  We urge you to vote for us. Vote Here

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