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Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 244
15th July - 19th July 2019

Editorial

Will a change of law translate to actual change?

Kenya could potentially be in a historical moment with talks of a referendum dominating airwaves every waking day.

Uasin Gishu’s women representative Gladys Boss Shollei just tabled a Constitutional Amendment Bill 2019 in Parliament barely a week after Dr Ekuru Aukot’s Punguza Mzigo Bill was given the green light by IEBC after a successful verification of 1.2 million signatures. While the end of these two Bills is similar, it is the means that differ by a mile. The Punguza Mzigo Bill aims to live up to its name to lighten the burden for the taxpayer by significantly reducing the number of representatives from the current 416 members to 147. The Constitutional Amendment Bill by Ms Shollei, on the other hand, proposes an increase of members from 416 to 560 to achieve the elusive representation.  The country also waits with bated breath for the report from the Building Bridges Initiative, which from all indications, will also recommend a referendum.

Despite their glaring differences, a commonality emerges; development. Dr Aukot’s Bill seeks to reduce the spend on state officers’ wages and to channel the resources into social and economic development while Ms Shollei’s Bill seeks to achieve inclusive development through proper articulation of needs stemming from different interest groups and working towards finding sustainable solutions. These concerns echo the 9-Point Agenda which gave rise to the BBI and which seek to transform the country through equitable distribution of wealth.

While the proposals may be justified, they beg the question whether the current constitutional framework has been an impediment to achieving development for Kenya.  While this may not be the case as we’re yet to see a flawless constitution that has been implemented to the letter,  the success of it largely depends on the political will to bring laws to life, which has been lacking in Kenya. Take the gender-rule for example, while it may have been impossible to achieve it through the elective process the Executive has repeatedly passed up on opportunities to fill this gap through appointments.

News of the Week

Parliament new building draws AG's attention

The Auditor-General has turned his attention on Parliament over the delay in completing Parliament’s new building which has cost taxpayers Sh5.8 billion. The project began in July 2014 and was supposed to be completed in Dec 2017. The Auditor-General says there is no satisfactory explanation given to justify the slow progress in the construction which remains uncompleted six months after the extended completion date.

                                                                                                      

Senate head to court over 24 Bills

Chief Justice David Maraga will pick a 3-judge Bench to hear Senators' case on at least 24 bills passed by the National Assembly and signed in to law by President Kenyatta. In a ruling on a constitutional petition filed by the Senate at the Constitutional and Human Rights Division court, the CJ was directed to form a bench of not less than 3 judges to hear and determine the case.
The court directed the National Assembly to be issued with copies of the petition documents before 1st Aug 2018. In the suit, the Senate, through its lawyers argued that county operations have come to a halt due to limited resources caused by National Assembly's failure to pass the Division of Revenue Bill. 
The Bills under dispute include the Division of Revenue Bill and the Appropriations Bill 2019 that was assented to by the President last month despite Senate’s opposition. The Senators want the court to invalidate the bill arguing it is illegal and unconstitutional.
The Senate also seeks the court’s interpretation on what a money bill constitutes, which it claims has been misused by the National Assembly to deny them taking part in certain bills. The matter shall be mentioned on July 29.

Kiunjuri summoned over maize 

The National Assembly Agriculture Committee summoned Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri and the Strategic Food Reserve Chair Noah Wekesa to explain their differences over the maize importation plan. The Committee wanted the Mr Kiunjuri to satisfy it why it is necessary to import 12.5 million bags yet the local stock is yet to be used up. The committee Chairperson said cartels could be pushing for the importation to flood the market and destabilize the local maize prices.

Senate summons governors over audit reports

The Senate Committee on County Public Accounts and Investment invited 30 Governors to answer to questions raised by the Auditor-General in 2015/16. 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial year reports. 
Governors invited are from Mandera, Siaya, Homa Bay, Kericho, Elgeyo Marakwet, Narok, Busia, Mombasa, Samburu, Kakamega, Machakos, Makueni, Trans Nzoia, Nyamira, Kajiado, Tharaka Nithi, Garissa, Wajir, Marsabit, Kisumu, Nakuru, Nandi, Vihiga, Nyeri, Laikipia and Kitui counties. 
The County Public Accounts and Investment Committee shall give priority to the most current financial year.

Date set for 'house allowance" petition

The petition against MPs' controversial house allowance filed by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) & Activist Okiya Omtata will be heard on Oct 9 2019.
The High Court had stopped the Parliamentary Service Commission from paying MPs the house allowance and granted SRC the order to recover the allowances of Sh250, 000 in monthly allowances backdated to Oct 2018. The High Court accused MPs of disregarding the provisions of the Constitution that give the SRC mandate of setting salaries and allowances of State and public officers.

Punguza Mzigo Bill gets the green light

IEBC cleared the Punguza Mzigo Bill constitutional amendment initiative sponsored by Third Way Alliance, which according to the electoral body, received the support of at least 1.2 million registered voters.
IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati says the initiative has met the requisite threshold as required by the law and IEBC will submit the draft bill to all County Assemblies for consideration within 3 months from the submission date, pursuant to Article 257(5) of the Constitution.
Once the Bill has been submitted to County Assemblies, respective speakers will submit their respective decisions to the National Assembly and Senate. If both Houses approve the bill, it will go to the President for assent becoming law.

AG receives support from Parliament through proposed amendments

National Assembly Public Investment Committee (PAC) is considering introducing punitive measures in the amendments to the Public Audit Act that seeks to assist the Auditor General in carrying out his mandate to protect public funds. If the amendments are passed, Accounting officers in State corporations who fail to provide crucial documents to the Auditor General will be held personally liable for any money lost in their organisations.
PAC Chairman Abdulswamad Nassir has asked the Office of the Auditor-General to indicate the areas that need to be tightened in order to introduce harsher penalties for such corporations. AG, Edward Ouko has in the past complained that parastatals don't submit documents on time, forcing him to publish them late. Reasons commonly cited for failure to submit required documents are poor record-keeping,lack of records, or inability to trace documents at the right time

Quote of the Week

"90% of Senators here don't agree with their governors, but we're mature enough to separate our differences and agree that counties need more monies. We first have to resource counties properly before deciding whether the resources are being managed properly or not."

Quote by Senate Majority Leader, Kipchumba Murkomen while tabling the Division of Revenue Bill on the floor of the House on July 18th 2019.
 

Lest we forget

"While I support this Motion, it will be very important for us to tour counties and show our electorate that the Senate is the Upper House. We have a constitutional mandate to safeguard the interest of counties."

Sentiments by Former Nyamira Senator Kennedy Okong'o responding to a question on the Approval of the Senate Calendar for the second session on March 26th, 2014.

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

Garissa Township MP Aden Duale was caught up in a tender scandal after it emerged that a firm believed to be associated with him had been awarded government tenders worth Sh 2.6 billion over the last ten years. The National Assembly majority leader was quick to distance himself from the firm and scandal sending documents to Daily Nation to prove who the actual owner of Concordia Building and Civil Engineering Company Limited is. If proved to be the owner of the firm, the legislator will be in conflict with procurement laws that prohibit state officers from doing business with the government.
 

... PROFILE

Bills before the Senate

First Reading
Second Reading
THE COUNTY HALL OF FAME BILL
- NO. 39 OF 2018
Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Sen Kipchumba Murkomen
THE PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 1 OF 2019
Sponsored by Sen Aaron Cheruiyot and Sen Isaac Mwaura
THE CONSTITUTION OF KENYA (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 2 OF 2019
Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Sen Kipchumba Murkomen
THE PUBLIC FINANCE MANAGEMENT (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 3 OF 2019
Sponsored by Sen Agnes Zani
THE CONTROL OF STRAY DOGS BILL
- NO. 4 OF 2019
Sponsored by Sen Mary Seneta
THE COMMISSION ON ADMINISTRATIVE JUSTICE (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 6 OF 2019
Sponsored by Sen Petronilla Were Lokorio
THE NATIONAL MUSEUM AND HERITAGE (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 7 OF 2019
Sponsored by Sen Alice Milgo
THE CANCER PREVENTION AND CONTROL (AMENDMENT) BILL
-  NO. 9 OF 2019
Sponsored by Sen Abdullahi Ali
Third Reading: Committee of the Whole House
THE COUNTY GOVERNMENT RETIREMENT SCHEME BILL
- NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILLS NO. 10 OF 2018
Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Sen Kipchumba Murkomen
THE LOCAL CONTENT BILL
- SENATE BILLS NO. 10 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen Gideon Moi
THE NATURAL RESOURCES (BENEFIT SHARING) BILL
- SENATE BILLS NO. 31 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen Agnes Zani
THE ELECTION LAWS (AMENDMENT) (NO.2) BILL
- SENATE BILLS NO. 37 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen Agnes Zani
THE MENTAL HEALTH (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 32 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen Sylvia Kasanga
THE ELECTION LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 33 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen Ledama Olekina

Public Participation

The Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National Government invites interested members of the public to submit their views and representations on the draft Huduma Bill, 2019

Public Hearings shall be held on Wednesday, 31st July 2019 from 9 am to 1:00 pm at Kenya School of Government, Lower Kabete Campus, off Lower Kabete Road.

or 

Views and memoranda can also be sent in an envelope marked "Public Participation on Huduma Bill, 2019" addressed to:

The Cabinet Secretary,
Ministry of Interiors and Coordination of National Government,
6th Floor, Harambee House,
Harambee Avenue, P. O. BOX 30510-00100 NAIROBI


or

Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government Offices at Harambee House 4th Floor,

Any Deputy County Commissioner’s Offices in the 47 counties,


or

Huduma Namba Secretariat,
20th Floor, Teleposta Towers.


or

emailed to bill@hudumanamba.go.ke, to be received on or before Monday, 5th August 2019 at 5:00 pm.

The Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning invites interested members of the public to submit views on;

1. The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal (Amendment) Bill 2019
2. The Parliamentary Pensions (Amendment) Bill 2019
3. The Kenya Uwezo Fund Bill 2019
4. The Equalization Fund Bill, 2019


on or before Wednesday 24th July 2019 5:00 pm. 

Comments, input or memoranda may be forwarded to:
The Clerk of the National Assembly
P.O. Box 41842-00100, Nairobi.


or

hand-delivered to the Office of the Clerk, Main Parliament Buildings, Nairobi on or before, Wednesday, 24th July 2019 by 5 pm; or
emailed to clerk@parliament.go.ke before or on, Wednesday, 24th July 2019 5 pm. 

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