Mzalendo's Weekly Newsletter

Issue no. 15, 12 - 18  January 2015

News of the Week:
  • The chaotic scenes at Parliament during the passage of the controversial security laws will be replayed in court to help determine its legality. Justice Isaac Lenaola allowed the Katiba Institute to produce the video footage of the conduct of Members of the National Assembly during the acrimonious debate which the civil society groups claim violated parliamentary standing orders. Justice Lenaola also directed all the parties to file their submissions by January 26 before the hearing on January 28, 29 and 30. He will preside over the case alongside Justices Mumbi Ngungi, Hillary Chemitei, Hedwig Ong’udi and Joseph Onguto.

  • There is a new effort to shield Deputy President William Ruto from criminal prosecution during his tenure in office which may have a bearing on his current case at the International Criminal Court (ICC), where he is on trial for alleged crimes against humanity in The Hague, Netherlands. Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi has proposed a constitutional amendment to Article 143 of the Constitution of Kenya that would extend to the DP the immunity enjoyed by the President against criminal and civil proceedings. More significantly, Linturi proposes that immunity for both the President and his deputy from any kind of prosecution extends to all international treaties that exclude such amnesty, and to which Kenya is a signatory.
  • Parliament will host an international forum for parliaments within the Great Lakes region. This will be the fifth Plenary Session of the Forum on Parliaments of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (FP-ICGLR), bringing together legislators from the 12 member states  from January 20 to 22 to discuss politics, security and youth unemployment, among other pressing topics within the region. The forum provides a platform for exchange of views on conflict resolution, experiences and dialogue among parliaments of member states. The conference will be under the theme "Parliamentary Diplomacy: Promoting security, stability and developments in the Great Lakes Region".
  • The passage of the Affirmative Action Social Development Bill, will see the 47 Women Reps secure Sh2.03 billion from Treasury for social empowerment in their counties. The empowerment ranges from drug abuse control among the youth to entrepreneurial skills empowerment to women and the youth. What remains now to the full implementation of the kitty are regulations to guide the implementation of the Fund, now at the final stage, having already left the Attorney-General’s office and awaiting the approval of the Committee on Delegated Legislation in the National Assembly. The Women MPs will be patrons of the fund with each County receiving about Sh40 million each and about Sh7 million per constituency.
Editorial: Let us engage Parliament more in 2015 

Recent misbehavior by Parliamentarians within the precincts of Parliament and in public have brought to the fore questions about their actual roles and responsibilities. Parliament – Senate and National Assembly – performs representative, oversight and legislative functions which define and distribute the national cake to all. The legislative role is about passing laws and amending existing laws to ensure they conform to today’s challenges and opportunities and are also progressive. The representative role of Parliament means that they need to highlight and defend their employers; the people. In their oversight role, Parliamentarians check national budgetary allocations, the financial probity and general compliance of laws in all government departments. Read more

Quote of the Week

Comments by Hon. Nicholas Gumbo on the 13th of October 2010 when discussing the Commission for Implementation of Constitution Bill.

“My plea to the people of Kenya is that let constitutionalism reign among us. It is very saddening that we have passed and promulgated this Constitution but life in this country is still going on as though the Constitution was a mere piece of paper. Police brutality is still the order of the day…. This is very discouraging. Kenyans must embrace the spirit of this Constitution. It envisages an equal country where opportunity will be available as equitably as possible to the people of Kenya.” Read Hansard

Lest we Forget!

Sentiments by Sen. Anyang' Nyong'o during the Introduction of Freedom of Information Bill on 18th October, 2006

“Freedom of information demands that governments do not interfere with the flow of information to the public, journalists or the media for that matter, and to whoever among the citizenry who would require this information for purposes of making decisions that appertain to individual or public interest. Access to information is justified by the simple principle that official information is public property and that this official information is created and maintained for the interest of the public since governments exist for the purposes of serving societies that create them.” Read Hansard

Newsmaker this week:

Murang’a Women’s Representative Wanjiru Chege stated that students have lost two weeks due to the teachers’ strike which should be recovered at all costs even if it means shortening the April holiday period. She said the first term of the year is crucial in the schools’ academic calendar as some of the students join school at the time and also teachers try to draw up schedules for covering the syllabus. Wanjiru proposed extending the term by one week and reducing second term’s period by one week to cover the days lost in the strike. She further urged Education Cabinet secretary Prof Jacob Kaimenyi to give directives on how much school fees public secondary schools should charge and not leave the matter to school management boards. Profile

Call to Participate:

Over the next two weeks, Mzalendo gives you an opportunity to present views on what Parliament should discuss when they re-open. Feel free to post your comment on our blog, Facebook page or Twitter handle using the hashtag #BungeKE2015.  Opinion collection ends on 2nd February, midnight. The views will then be collated and presented to Parliament just before it re-opens. Over to you!

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