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Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 326
15th August - 21st August 2022

Editorial

How Affirmative Action is Bearing Fruits for Women

As the curtain falls on the 2022 Kenya Elections, there will be a lot to celebrate and reflect upon. The process has been lauded as arguably one of the most transparent in recent days, leading to envy and accolades in equal measure from our neighbours. The international community, long accustomed to contention and opaqueness has also been pleasantly surprised, with some terming the elections as  “somewhat” boring.  

To Kenyans though, this is not surprising or unexpected.  We almost paid the ultimate prize in 2007 for a bungled elections and have subsequently sought to make improvements in each of the last three.  We even set a new standard through the nullification of the 2017 presidential elections, a first in the continent, that has set precedent in other countries such as Malawi.

As the dust settles however, it is time to take stock of the gains in the elections, beyond the process.  An early winner seems to be the high number of women currently declared successful in their pursuits of diverse seats. 

When the affirmative fund and the two-thirds principle was included in the Constitution, it was lauded as a positive step towards the enhancement of women inclusion in politics.  As the country marked 10 years since the first set of MPs elected under the Constitution, concern has however been raised about the impact of the seats.  In many counties, women have been left to only compete for the woman representative seat and even when they dare run for other positions, such as the single constituency ones, the reaction is that they should not invade the space of men, given they have their own “special seats”. In 2013, the impact was that very few women were elected MPs and none was successful in the Senate and Governor seats. 

The tide seems to be changing, however.  As at the time of writing this, over 7 women have been declared or are leading in their governor race across the country and across party lines.  

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News of the Week

Special House Committee to handle public petitions 

A new team in the 13th Parliament has been set up to handle critical issues raised by Kenyans after MPs failed to act on public petitions, which lapsed. The Select Committee on Public Petitions is expected to deal with the huge number of public petitions that Parliament receives from citizens, professionals and civil society groups.
Kenyans presented more than 315 petitions to the National Assembly and 145 to the Senate during the five-year term of the 12th Parliament, which were conveyed through MPs or reported by the Speaker to the Parliament. The Constitution accords every person a right to petition MPs on any matter within its authority including petitioning the House to enact, amend or even repeal legislation. 
Some of the diverse and key issues raised by citizens to Parliament include the drastic increase in the price of petroleum and petroleum products and the proposed demolition of Seefar Apartments in Nairobi County. The new Public Petitions Committee will be compelled to dispense with the petitions within three months of receipt.

Observer group's parallel tally almost similar to IEBC results 

A parallel vote tabulation (PVT) by the Elections Observation Group (ELOG) has produced almost similar results to that announced by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Monday evening, even as there was a division in the electoral body when some commissioners disputed the results.
ELOG said it deployed more than 5,000 observers across the 47 counties before, during and after the August 9, 2022 General Election. The group also had 1,000 PVT observers who were “carefully recruited, specially trained and deployed to a nationally representative random sample of polling stations,” and independently did their separate tally on the election results.
Based on ELOG’s findings, William Ruto garnered 50.7% of the total votes cast and Raila Odinga, 48.7%, while George Wajockoya and Waihiga Mwaure got 0.5% and 0.2%, respectively. ELOG said their tally results have a margin of error of between 0.1 and 2.1 percent.
According to the IEBC, Ruto garnered 50.49% of the votes against Raila’s 48.85%, with Wajackoyah and Mwaure getting 0.44% and 0.23%, respectively.

From Sunkuli to Toto: Melting pot that is the 13th Parliament 

Fourteen old timers, 29 women representing single-member constituencies and 12 young MPs. That is the anatomy of the incoming Parliament. The 13th Parliament will also comprise long-serving legislators, new MPs, members who ran unopposed as well as those living with disabilities.
Data from Mzalendo, an entity that keeps track of MPs performance shows that the number of legislators re-elected to the National Assembly stands at 151, including 137 representing single member constituencies and 14 Woman Representatives. This, compared to 152 MPs in the last Parliament, comprising 140 lawmakers representing single member constituencies and 12 women representatives.
Mzalendo Executive Director Caroline Gaita said the new House will have more MPs with diverse backgrounds compared to the previous one. Gaita noted that having the old guard back to Parliament means that they will have to undergo some refresher course of sorts as they were used to the old order while the new ones will require a lot of support to be able to acclimatise themselves with parliament.

IEBC postpones By-Elections in Mombasa, Kakamega over staff intimidation 

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has yet again postponed elections indefinitely in five electoral seats citing intimidation of its staff. In a statement, the commission’s chairperson Wafula Chebukati stated that the elections in two gubernatorial seats in Kakamega and Mombasa, four constituency seats and two wards’ slots have been postponed till further notice.
Chebukati pointed out that critical staff in the commission who performed their duties in the national tallying center have been receiving intimidation and harassment. The National Assembly seats affected include Pokot South, Kitui Rural, Rongai and Kacheliba constituencies.
Also, two electoral wards seats in Nyaki West in North Imenti constituency and Kwa Njenga in Embakasi South constituency were affected. On August 8, the commission had suspended the said elections over ballot paper mix-up.

Voters punish 211 MPs in poll 

Over half of the 416 members of the bicameral parliament lost their seats in this year’s General Election and are now angling for a share of a cumulative Sh2.2 billion send-off package. The electorate send home 211 members of the National Assembly and the Senate at the polls held last week.
In the National Assembly, 146 legislators who represented constituencies were sent packing while 34 of the 47 Woman Representatives were shown the door. Voters dismissed 31 Senators out of the 47 elected lawmakers. The swoop suggests growing dissatisfaction by citizens with the performance of their representatives. The exiting parliament has been accused of having been overrun by the executive, weakening their oversight functions. 
The 211 MPs emerging from the bruising campaign will now be looking at the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) to process and forward their send-off package and lifelong pension to the Treasury for payment. MPs contribute 12.75 percent of their salaries for pension, while the government contributes a similar amount. The Treasury had set aside Sh2.2 billion in the current budget as a send-off package for MPs who served in the 12th Parliament. 
Lawmakers who serve two terms in Parliament are entitled to pension for the rest of their lives while those who do not make a second term get a refund equivalent to the amount contributed.

CAS position on the line as Uhuru Kenyatta succession begins 

The position of Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) hangs in the balance as the Public Service Commission (PSC) says that together with the incoming government, they will decide whether or not to retain it. CAS positions, which President Uhuru Kenyatta introduced in 2017, mainly to reward political losers in the 2017 polls, were declared unconstitutional by the High Court last year. The Attorney-General, however, appealed the decision and the matter is before the Court of Appeal.
On Wednesday, PSC said the incoming administration would have to engage it if it chooses to retain the positions. This leaves the fate of the position, which caused controversy over its legality in the public and Parliament, at the mercy of the new President, even as the Court of Appeal is expected to decide on the matter.

Public Participation

 Ahead of the first sitting of the National Assembly, the Office of the Clerk has issued a notification to all Members-Elect of the National Assembly on pre-swearing and orientation sessions slated for 25th and 26th August 2022.

 

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