Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 173
12 February - 18 February, 2018


Parliament’s adoption of the vetting committee recommendations signals end of their oversight role

If there’s a time Kenyans need to take public participation in parliamentary business seriously, that time is now. The recent vetting of the nine nominees and the subsequent adoption of recommendations by the same is an indication that the 12th Parliament is officially a rubberstamp for the Executive.

One only needs to consider the tone of President Uhuru when talking to Jubilee MPs during a recent Parliamentary Group (PG) meeting at State House Nairobi to realize the challenge we’re facing with the 12th Parliament.

The President’s demand that the Jubilee MPs toe the party line a few days before Parliament was due to debate the report by the vetting committee was a sign they were to adopt the report as presented.  This was a committee that was obviously doing the bidding of the executive considering how they dealt with the two-thirds gender question that activists and lobby groups brought up. They limited the law only to the nine nominees with full knowledge that indeed the cabinet was composed of 22 CSs.

While Parliament has suffered transparency challenges throughout our short independent history, the 12thParliament is unique in this challenge because of the politics NASA has adopted that’s denying the House a much needed critical voice.

Jubilee MPs spent a great deal of time on the campaign trail promoting Jubilee agenda and the re-election of President Uhuru and his deputy so much so that, it would be unjustifiable to expect the same MPs to now attempt to offer any objective debate on the floor of the House regarding the Jubilee agenda for the country.

Opposition MPs therefore counter the sycophancy displayed by those in the ruling party and are able to help the House check the Executive powers accordingly. And that has been possible the past few years until now. NASA’s decision to abscond duty in the name of ‘illegitimate authority’ is giving Jubilee MPs a field day and they are enjoying every bit of it.

This is why NASA MPs must now ask themselves what value they are offering their constituents in deciding to abscond Parliamentary sessions but continue to draw salaries nonetheless. The Jubilee MPs are doing exactly what is expected of them; in fact seeing as majority of the MPs supported President Uhuru, we can reason their constituents are satisfied with the recommendations as adopted. What about those Kenyans who disagreed? Who speaks for them in Parliament?

News of the Week

Should Parliament be a part-time job?

National Assembly Members of Parliament had to prematurely adjourn after working only two days for lack of business to debate. The adjournment has made a number of Kenyans wonder if having MPs working full time was a good return on taxes invested? They had barely settled after their long Christmas holiday and were breaking for another week. Opposition MPs however are pointing fingers at the new committee chairpersons who failed to turn up to Parliament despite the order paper indicating bills from their committees would be debated. The NASA MPs accused the Jubilee chairpersons of sleeping on their jobs thus giving Kenyans a raw deal.

Computer Bill likely to injure more than protect

The Computer and Cybercrimes Bill 2017 appears to be like medieval medicine that were more lethal than the diseases they were supposed to treat. The Bill generally is supposed to curb new media challenges like cyber bullying, pedophiles, hackers, fake news among others. However, some provisions of the bill give immense powers to the police who can now confiscate one’s computer or laptop without a court warrant. Not to mention the police get unprecedented powers over technology service providers which many fear could mean invasion of privacy. Technology Service Providers of Kenya have warned the bill should not be passed in its current state.

Coastal MPs want a regional party to flex muscle

Four MPs allied to NASA have kicked a storm with their talk of a coastal party that is supposed to be in touch with the needs of the locals. The MPs are Malindi’s Aisha Jumwa (ODM), Kilifi North’s Owen Baya (ODM), Kisauni’s Ali Mbogo (Wiper) and Ganze’s Teddy Mwambire (ODM). While the MPs do not appear particularly dissatisfied with their party leaders, it appears this is in a bid to fight for Parliamentary committee positions. The coastal party, they say will reinforce the national outlook of NASA affiliated parties by joining them. The idea of a coastal party was first mooted by Governor Joho and his coastal counterpart, Amason Kingi.


Jubilee MPs Warned About Missing Parliamentary Group Meetings

President Uhuru Kenyatta told MPs from his party that the Parliamentary Group (PG) meetings were not voluntary but mandatory and would attract serious consequences if missed. The President also told the Jubilee MPs that it was their collective responsibility to deliver the Jubilee manifesto. The PG, the MPs were told was the only forum available for them to discuss the party agenda in Parliament. According to local media some of the Jubilee members appear unhappy with the speech from the party leadership which they described as a lecture. Meanwhile the warning comes in the wake of an emerging rift between the party and four rebel MPs who were unceremoniously removed from their chairmen committee positions.


Quote of the Week

"We must adopt a bipartisan, cohesive engagement with all elected leaders and align development objectives with the needs of each region."

Quote by Deputy President H.E William Ruto when hosting MPs from Nyeri County on February 20, 2018

Lest we forget

"The YK `92 money was meant to abuse or misuse the youth for political reasons. The same was done to women using the [Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation]MYWO and even the disabled."

Sentiments by former Muhoroni MP Hon.(Prof.) Ayiecho Olweny when debating the Community Social Enterprise Bill
on October 25, 2006.

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

Embattled Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter made news this week after his dramatic arrest at the Central Bank of Kenya in the company of two other people over allegedly dealing in forged Treasury Bills worth  Kes 633 million. The outspoken MP turned Jubilee critic however denied the allegations insisting it was political and that he was at the Central Bank at the invite of the CBK Governor. In a signed affidavit the MP gave a chronological account of the alleged Treasury bills tracing it back to the 90s and that he only got involved to help the company in question get paid. He also asked why the CBK hadn’t arrested him back in 2017 when he opened talks with the Governor over the same. The matter is now in court and they have been released on a Kes 2million cash bail.


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Mzalendo Trust, Heinrich Boll Foundation,
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P. O. Box 21765 00505 Nairobi, Kenya

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