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Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 81
2 - 8 May, 2016

Editorial

11th Parliament on track with the passing of Access to Information Bill

C.S Lewis once said, “If you do one good deed your reward usually is to be set to do another and harder and better one.” The 11th Parliament has done one good deed in passing the long overdue, Access to Information Bill. The bill sponsored by Hon. Priscilla Nyokabi ends an over 10 years wait.

Kenyans for a long time, have had to conform to the idea that information was a privilege of a few powerful bureaucrats both in private and public institutions. But it’s the government officials that intimidated anyone who sought information by invoking the Official Secrets Acts of 1968 but that is now set to change. This Bill reasserts the fact that access to information is the right of every citizen and that the government is only a custodian of that information.

The Bill went through the third reading in the National Assembly and now awaits input from the Senate before being presented to the President for assent. When the law becomes operational, any public or private institution that withholds information requested by a private citizen or any Kenyan for that matter will face criminal charges.

If any requested information has not been provided as requested within 21 days, one can seek redress in High Court on grounds of violation of rights and if found guilty the individual can serve up to 3 years in jail or fined up to Ksh. 500,000.

Furthermore, in the event that a secret information has been leaked through a whistleblower, anyone can seek to have the leaked information, arguing that it is already in the public domain. However, leaking of classified information that may compromise national security would lead to a jail term of 3 years in a maximum security prison or a fine of Ksh1 million.

News of the Week

Gender Bill Vote Fails a Second Time
Last week was another sad one for Kenyans supporting the Two Thirds Gender Bill, after it was brought to the National Assembly for a second vote but failed to pass.
 
Women MPs had lobbied their male counterparts to vote yes but the bill failed to meet the 233 votes threshold yet again. MPs turnout on the day was poor. Those present voted 178 - 16.
 
Nevertheless, the Deputy President William Ruto promised that the government will reintroduce the bill again and marshal support for it across the political divide to ensure it passes. The two thirds Gender bill is one the Constitutional bills that must be passed before the August 27th deadline.
 

Senate to Challenge the Division of Revenue Act

Senators have vowed to reject the recently approved 'Distribution of Revenue Allocation Act 2016' and seek redress at the Supreme Court. The Act spells out how funds will be allocated to the National & County government with the latter entitled to at least 15% of the last audited revenue. In addition, Governors claim the Act is denying them their rightful share of the total revenue for 2016/2017 budget. Senate Speaker had earlier requested the President not to assent to the bill in vain.
 
President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law the 'Distribution of Revenue Allocation Bill 2016', Supplementary Appropriations Bill 2016 and the Climate Change Bill 2014.
 
Parliament on Recess

Kindly note that both National Assembly and Senate are on recess until 6th June, 2016

Quote of the Week

“ Hon. Deputy Speaker, as George Bernard Shaw once said, the moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it and become blind to all the arguments against it..what we need are good reasons why we should not be sending the IEBC commissioners packing."

Sentiments by Hon. Nicholas Gumbo while contributing to the motion concerning the adoption of report to remove the chairperson and members of IEBC on April 26, 2016

Read the Hansard

Lest we forget

"The Building industry is a safety industry. I want to give a case study of collapsing buildings. In the health industry, we have a doctor, an anaesthetist, a radiographer et cetera. Each of these professionals has a responsibility. In the construction sector, engineers do good designs. Contractors do what they do. There is no law by which to hold technicians responsible even when they mess up."

Sentiments by Hon. Samuel Mathenge Ndiritu when contributing to the Engineering Technologists and Technicians Bill
on September 30, 2015.

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

Nyeri Women Representative Hon. Priscilla Nyokabi has been on the news for the right reasons. She continues to remain one of the strong voices around the two thirds gender principle debate and played a key role in marshaling support for the Duale Bill even though it didn't go through.

Additionally, The Nyeri Woman Rep sponsored the Access to Information Bill that went through the third reading and is set to become law once President Uhuru assents to it. This indeed will be a game changer in how the country will go about its affairs and big win for supporters of open governance.

... PROFILE

Bills before the National Assembly

First Reading
THE PENAL CODE (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO.  13 OF 2016
Sponsored by Hon. Johnson Sakaja
THE CIVIL AVIATION (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 14 OF 2016
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
Second Reading
THE ELECTION LAWS (AMENDMENT) (NO.3) BILL
- NO. 63 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Chairperson, Departmental Committee of Justice and Legal Affairs Hon. Samuel Chepkong'a
THE SEEDS AND PLANT VARIETIES (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 43 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
THE KENYA ROADS BILL
- NO. 26 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
THE WAREHOUSE RECEIPTS SYSTEM BILL
- NO. 12 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
THE KENYA DEFENCE FORCES (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 41 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
Third Reading: Committee of the Whole House
The Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Bill
- NO. 44 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
THE CONSTITUTION OF KENYA (AMENDMENT) (No. 4) BILL
- NO. 38 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
The Energy Bill
- NO. 50 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
THE LAND LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 55 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
THE MISCELLANEOUS FEES AND LEVIES BILL
- NO. 30 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

Bills before the Senate

First Reading
THE POLITICAL PARTIES (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 02 OF 2016 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL
Sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader Sen. (Prof.) Kithure Kindiki
Second Reading
THE ORDER OF PRECEDENCE AND TITLES BILL
- NO. 11 OF 2014
Sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader Sen. (Prof.) Kithure Kindiki
THE NATIONAL HOSPITAL INSURANCE FUND (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 09 OF 2015
Sponsored by Sen. Martha Wangari
THE PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 43 OF 2013
Sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader Sen. (Prof.) Kithure Kindiki
THE COUNTY ALLOCATION OF REVENUE BILL
- NO. 03 OF 2016
Sponsored by the Chairperson Standing Committee on Finance, Commerce and Budget Sen. Billow Kerrow
THE CONSTITUTION OF KENYA (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 26 OF 2013 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL
Sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader Sen. (Prof.) Kithure Kindiki
THE MICRO AND SMALL ENTERPRISES (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 12 OF 2015
Sponsored by Sen. Kimani Wamatangi
THE FOREST CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT BILL
- NO. 49 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader Sen. (Prof.) Kithure Kindiki
THE PROTECTION OF TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND CULTURAL EXPRESSIONS BILL
- NO. 48 OF 2015 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL
Sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader Sen. (Prof.) Kithure Kindiki
THE NATURAL RESOURCES (CLASSES OF TRANSACTIONS SUBJECT TO RATIFICATION) BILL
- NO. 54 OF 2015 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL
Sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader Sen. (Prof.) Kithure Kindiki
THE HEALTH BILL
- NO. 14 OF 2015 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL
Sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader Sen. (Prof.) Kithure Kindiki
Third Reading: Committee of the Whole House
THE UNIVERSITIES (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 31 OF 2014
Sponsored by Sen. Halima Abdille
THE COUNTY ASSEMBLIES SERVICES BILL
- NO. 27 OF 2014
Sponsored by Chairperson, Standing Legal Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights Sen. Amos Wako
THE COUNTY HALL OF FAME BILL
- NO. 33 OF 2014
Sponsored by Chairperson, Standing Legal Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights Sen. Amos Wako
THE COUNTY GOVERNMENTS DISASTER MANAGEMENT BILL
- NO. 40 OF 2014
Sponsored by the Chairperson, Standing Committee on National Security and Foreign Relations Sen. Yusuf Haji

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