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Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 199
13 August - 19 August, 2018

Editorial

Are we getting a good return on investment from these Parliamentary Committees?

Kenyans are being told to brace themselves for tough times ahead as government plans to implement the 16 per cent value added tax on petroleum products but their representatives in the National Assembly are more interested in getting services similar to the lawmakers in the UK.

Never mind the average Briton does not suffer the same challenges as the average Kenyan that our MPs should consider benchmarking themselves with their UK counterparts; especially on perks and privileges.

It’s something of a wonder really that MPs have always agreed with one another whenever debating issues about their welfare but never seem to agree when it came to issues important to the people they represented.

This week, the lawmakers in the National Assembly unanimously and without any hitches adopted the report by the committee on Members’ Services and Facilities seeking to, among other things increase their car grant, allowances, salaries as well as offer them five-star hotel services.

To nobody’s surprise, when a report on the contraband sugar affecting the entire country and mostly sugar cane farmers was tabled, they had trouble speaking unanimously or at the very least having a sound debate. The Speaker of the National Assembly, Justin Muturi had to invite the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate MPs who were allegedly bribed to shoot down the report.

Kieni MP who was the co-chair of the joint committee that authored the report blamed the House leadership including the Speaker and both leader of majority and minority for leading MPs in shooting down the report. On the other hand, his team that worked on the report was also accused of protecting the sugar barons; hence the shoddy report.

Indeed it is members of this same committee that had been reprimanded by the Speaker after they were seen taking photos and exchanging pleasantries with the billionaire Jaswant Rai whom they were investigating; completely oblivious of the implications.

The probe on the contraband sugar is just one among the many bungled investigations by the National Assembly committees. Sadly, the root of this incompetence has always been corruption and or nepotism

News of the Week

Senate PAC chairman defends committee against bribery allegations

The Senate Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has denied allegations they were bribed to influence the outcome of the Ruaraka land report. The committee which has been investigating how the government paid Sh1.5billion down payment for the land it owned is now dogged by the same corruption allegations other committees investigating high profile cases have faced.

Mr. Francis Mburu who claims ownership of the controversial land claims the committee members asked for Sh.100Million to write a report that would favor him. Senate PAC, Chairman Sen. Moses Kajwang’, however says these are tactics Mr. Mburu has employed to distract the public from his criminal act. He nonetheless stated, the claims were enough for the Senate Speaker to summon the Powers and Privileges Committee to investigate the matter.

 

MPs adopt a report to improve their welfare

MPs unanimously adopt a report that will see their catering services improve in quality. The MPs also want the Chefs hired to be of five-star hotel standards. The report also will see a lot of renovations and major plumbing activities. Additionally, MPs want to have their car grants increased because “the Sh5 million car grant given to members is not sufficient to purchase a decent four-wheel-drive vehicle for use by MPs, given the terrain most members have to cover.” The report is also looking to review their allowances and salaries.

MPs write to speaker for a chance to debate the sugar report afresh

MPs numbering ten have written to the Speaker of the National Assembly for a chance to debate the Sugar report that was shot down afresh. The MPs say the sugar cartels will have to folk out more money to bribe their colleagues yet again as they will not let the matter rest. Meanwhile Western leaders, Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Moses Wetangula (Ford Kenya) and Eugene Wamalwa (CS, Devolution) expressed their skepticism with MPs to get to the bottom of the matter. They now want the President to constitute a commission of inquiry to look into the problems bedeviling the sugar sector following a botched Parliamentary probe that has seen MPs accuse each other of taking bribes.

MPs plagiarize world cup report

MPs set a new low after members of the sports committee plagiarized their world cup report. The 37 page report is lifted word for word from various sports website except for about 3pages consisting the table of contents, chairperson's forward and recommendations.

Quote of the Week

"4 parliamentary committees are in Mombasa 5 star hotels 'writing reports'. These reports can only be 'written' in Mombasa? Why not not do it at parliament itself or government institutes in Nairobi? Why not also do it in other towns like Thika, Kitui, Garissa, Lodwar etc?"

Quote by Mohamed Wehliye, Advisor, Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA). Mr. Wehliye made this statement on August 18, 2018

Read the Hansard

Lest we forget

"It is saddening that the amount of money allocated to research in this country is a very paltry sum. In that situation, we have left our researchers at the mercy of foreign interests such that whatever they research on is not our agenda."

Sentiments by Hon. David Eseli when contributing to the the Budget Speech on June 18, 2008.

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

Wajir Woman Rep, Fatuma Gedi made headlines this week after Kimilili MP, Didmus Baraza alleged that she tried to bribe him with Sh.10,000 to reject the report sugar report, and that he declined. The Wajir MP said she mobilized members to reject the report but categorically denied issuing bribes. However, Kimilili MP insists a review of the Parliamentary footage for that day would prove MPs were engaging in bribery to shoot down the report.

... PROFILE

Bills before the National Assembly

First Reading
Second Reading
THE WAREHOUSE RECEIPT SYSTEM BILL 
- SENATE BILL NO. 10 OF 2017
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
THE URBAN AREAS AND CITIES (AMENDMENT) BILL 
- NO. 04 OF 2017
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
THE HEALTH LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 14 OF 2018
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
THE CONSTITUTION OF KENYA (AMENDMENT) (NO.2) BILL
- NO. 05 OF 2018
Sponsored by Hon. Chris Wamalwa
Third Reading: Committee of the Whole House
The Building Surveyors Bill
- NO. 35 OF 2017
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill
- NO. 12 OF 2018
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

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