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Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 203
10 September - 16 September, 2018

Editorial

After eight years of promulgating the 2010 Constitution it’s time we looked at what worked and what didn’t; Senate’s a good place to start

As Kenyans, we all agree that The Constitution of Kenya 2010 is one of the best thing to have ever happened to Kenya. It is only last month that we celebrated the 8th Anniversary of the document. So far, we at least have experienced the best and the worst of the document. The Constitution was part of the ceasefire agreement after the 2007/8 Post-Election Violence (PEV).We hurriedly made and enacted it and promised ourselves that in the fullness of time we shall amend it.

As we approach a decade under the 2010 Constitutional epoch, it is fundamental for us to have a discussion on what has worked for us and what has not. Maturity now demands that we stop pampering every section of the Constitution, be honest with each part and resolve to modify or even scrap some provisions if need be.

The former Senator of Nyandarua Muriuki Karue, once registered his frustrations with the Senate. He was particularly disappointed by Its powerlessness that makes it unable to function. The term ‘Upper House’ referring to Senate we’ve come to realize is just an empty legal glorification. To be honest, since its inception in 2013, the Senate has never flexed its muscles – if it has any – apart from the once in a while mature debates and ventilation on national issues like in the 2014 security laws amendment debate and the controversial 2017 amendment on election laws. Sincerely nothing much can be said of the Senate.

Due to this powerlessness that lies within our Constitution, Senators seem to have surrendered to this fate. It is reported that their committees do not function because of a consistent lack of quorum. Meaning the Senators give little or no importance to their legislative duties. Nevertheless, their lack of interest is “understandable” because there isn’t a single thing they can do without usurping the powers of the National Assembly or the County Assemblies.

Whenever there is superiority battle between the National Assembly and the Senate, the obvious casualty is always the Senate because of its limited powers. For instance, just before the end of the 11th Parliament the Leader of Majority in the National Assembly, Aden Duale introduced the Parliamentary Service Bill, 2017 which in many ways isolated the Senate in the administration of Parliament. The Bill which was re-introduced in the 12th Parliament had initially torpedoed a Senate bill by former Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi. The bill crystallized Senators’ thoughts on how they wished to see the running of the Parliamentary Service Commission.

For a country like Kenya which is still struggling to meet the basic needs of her citizens, it is foolhardy to have a bloated and expensive political bureaucracy. To make matters worse, some offices are openly ceremonial. If we were to restructure our legislature, the question we ought to ask ourselves is, can the few responsibilities of the Senate be performed by the County Assemblies in collaboration with the National Assembly? The answer here will be a resounding yes.

News of the Week

MP wants age for acquiring IDs revised downwards to 16

Jubilee nominated MP, Gideon Keter has proposed an amendment to the provisions of the Registration of Persons Act to ensure those who turn 18 get their IDs as they leave school. The MP nominated by his party to represent the youth interests said the process of acquiring the National Identity Card can take up to at least 2 years. This he says is quite inconveniencing for school leavers who need the ID card to go about their activities, including pursuing higher education or getting jobs as citizens of the country. His proposal therefore, he hopes will handle that particular challenge.
 

Three MPs raise red flag over contraband sugar repackaged as Mumias sugar

Saboti MP, Caleb Amisi, Busia Woman Representative, Florence Mutua and nominated MP, Godfrey Osotsi are now demanding to know the origin of sugar that's being packaged in Kenyan sugar brands to pass off as legitimate sugar. The MPs showed evidence of 2kg illegal sugar that had been packaged as Mumias sugar which was bought at a high-end supermaket. The sugar bearing the Mumias label neither had a manufacturing date nor an expiry one.

The MPs now want the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to tell Parliament what happened to the illegal sugar they had seized during the crackdown on contraband sugar a few weeks ago, suggesting it could be finding its way back to the market. The three lawmakers raised the red flag after the Mumias Sugar company General Manager and Chairman confirmed they had no sugar in circulation. This raises more eye-brows considering how emotive the sugar saga has been even among MPs.

Senators want Cereals board disbanded

Senators now want the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) dissolved and another - National Grain Regulatory Commission be in charge of cereal farming. The lawmakers are pushing for this following the scandals that have bogged down the body from serving farmers efficiently. This comes at a time when many farmers have complained of unfair treatment that's seen a number of them from Uasin Gishu threatening to abandon their crops. The Senate select committee on the maize crisis is set to tour Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, Busia and Bungoma to understand the challenges farmers are dealing with and hopefully propose a way forward.

Quote of the Week

"At what point did it become business as usual to put dead bodies in cartons, polythene bags and store them for them to be collected, say Monday, Wednesday...Friday, yet Pumwani Maternity Hospital is possibly 7/8km from the city mortuary."

Quote by Makueni Senator, Hon. Mutula Kilonzo Jnr. when discussing the state of Pumwani Hospital after Governor Sonko made an impromptu visit revealing the sad state of affairs. The Senator made this observation on September 17, 2018

Lest we forget

"What are we doing wrong, as a country, so that we have such high a mortality rate while poorer countries than us are much better of? What are we not doing?"

Sentiments by former Laisamis MP Hon. Joseph Lekuton when debating the statistics on maternal death in Kenya on July 15, 2010.

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

ODM nominated MP, Wilson Sossion made headlines this week after leading the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) in opposing a proposed education fund they deem will only serve the interest of private schools. The KNUT Secretary General wrote to the Education CS, Amb. Amina Mohammed not to engage in the upcoming pilot of the Education Outcome Fund (EOF) on grounds that the focus of the fund will be on non-state actors. The fund is proposed by the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity and the Global Steering Group for Impact Invest. KNUT says it's immoral to use tax payer's money that could've strengthened public education to fund private investors who seek to make profits from education. 

... PROFILE

Bills before the Senate

First Reading
THE COUNTY PLANNING (ROADS, PAVEMENTS AND PARKING BAYS) BILL
- NO. 18 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen. Ledama Olekina
THE COUNTY OUTDOOR ADVERTISING CONTROL BILL 
- NO. 19 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen. Samuel Phoghisio
THE PREVENTION OF TERRORISM (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 20 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen.(Canon) Naomi Waqo Jilo
THE COPYRIGHT (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 33 OF 2017 (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY)
Sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Kipchumba Murkomen
THE PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 52 OF 2017 (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY)
Sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Kipchumba Murkomen
THE LAND VALUE INDEX LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 03 OF 2018 (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY)
Sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Kipchumba Murkomen
THE COUNTY STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS BILL
- NO. 21 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen. Samuel Phoghisio
THE PETITION TO COUNTY ASSEMBLIES (PROCEDURE) BILL
- NO. 22 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen. Judith Pareno
Second Reading
THE LOCAL CONTENT BILL
- NO. 10 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen. Gideon Moi
THE IMPEACHMENT PROCEDURE BILL
- NO. 15 OF 2018
Sponsored by the Chairperson, Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs and Human Rights Sen. Samson Cherarkey
THE DATA PROTECTION BILL
- NO. 16 OF 2018
Sponsored by the Chairperson, Standing Committee on Information, Communication and Technology Sen. Gideon Moi
THE PETROLEUM BILL
- NO. 48 OF 2017 (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL)
Sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Kipchumba Murkomen
THE ENERGY BILL
- NO. 50 OF 2017 (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL)
Sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Kipchumba Murkomen
THE IRRIGATION BILL 
- NO. 46 OF 2017 (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL)
Sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Kipchumba Murkomen
THE KENYA ROADS BILL
- NO. 47 OF 2017 (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL)
Sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Kipchumba Murkomen
Third Reading: Committee of the Whole House
THE COUNTY BOUNDARIES BILL
- NO. 06 OF 2017
Sponsored by Sen. Mutula Kilonzo Jnr.
THE OFFICE OF THE COUNTY ATTORNEY BILL
- NO. 03 OF 2018
Sponsored by the Chairperson, Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs and Human Rights Sen. Samson Cherarkey
THE FOOD SECURITY BILL
- NO. 12 OF 2017
Sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Kipchumba Murkomen
THE OFFICE OF THE COUNTY PRINTER BILL
- NO. 07 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen. Petronila Were Lokorio
THE CARE AND PROTECTION OF OLDER MEMBERS OF SOCIETY BILL
- NO. 17 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen. Aaron Cheruiyot

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