Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 217
31 December, 2018 - 6 January, 2019


An MP’s Guide to Public Participation

As the year comes to an end, you’ve probably heard of several Acts being challenged in court on grounds that, either the general public or people likely to be affected by the Act weren’t consulted during the making of the Act. Public participation especially in the legislative space is a fairly new concept and there are no standardized laws or procedures regulating how it should be done; yet, this is no excuse to by-pass it, and the courts will hear no excuses either.

There are several things the court will consider, but to help you, this is a general guide to avoid the frustrations of having your Bill declared unconstitutional due to lack of public participation.

To begin with, do it early. You have already developed a draft and you intend to table it. You need to know that once you table it, several forces come into play that will make it more difficult to amend your Bill. It is important to consult widely before you finally table the Bill. This will allow you to amend it more easily.

However, if there is concern that your idea might be “hijacked” and tabled before you, then table it as soon as reasonably possible but make sure you conduct more civic engagement on it before it advances to later stages. You can still introduce amendments even when the Bill is tabled. Furthermore, nothing stops you from engaging the public even after the Bill is tabled.

Secondly, keep a small crowd when conducting a public participation forum. But don’t take this to mean segregating members of the public. A small crowd allows you to have a more meaningful engagement which should be the objective of public participation. Consequently, don’t underestimate Wanjiku. You will be shocked by how much Kenyans know. A local farmer or a boda boda understand a lot about this country owing to their nature of work. Don’t be dismissive. Listen.

Nevertheless, you shouldn’t leave out the experts. Where necessary, deliberately seek the opinions of experts. Even though ordinary citizens understand the context of their challenges, experts offer you highly technical, informed and researched information. If for example you are sponsoring a Bill on nuclear energy or biotechnology, the input of experts will be more beneficial.

News of the Week

President Signed Seven Bills into Law Ahead of the New Year

President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law seven Bills a few hours into the New Year. The Bills include: The National Youth Service (NYS) Bill; the Building Surveyors Bill, 2017; the Health Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018; the Statute Law Miscellaneous (Amendment) Bill, 2018; the Sacco Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2018; the Capital Markets (Amendment) Bill, 2018 and the County Allocation of Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

Jubilee kicks out Vice Chair to Keep Party United

Jubilee Party Vice Chairman, David Murathe unceremoniously resigned from his position on grounds that he could not sit on the National Executive Council (NEC) with the Deputy President, whom he says he's planning to block from running for President in 2022 through the courts. Mr. Murathe had kicked of a political storm after he openly declared Central Kenya were not obliged to support DP Ruto’s 2022 bid.

He went as far as saying the DP should retire with the President in 2022, something that didn’t auger well with MPs from his party who asked the President to reign in on his Vice Chair and save the party. His resignation was well received by Jubilee party leaders including Senate majority leader, Kipchumba Murkomen who congratulated the President and his Deputy for restoring order in the party.

ODM Headache as Rebel Coast MPs Remain Adamant

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party has been accused of stifling freedom of expression by some of its members from the Coast. MPs Paul Katana (Kaloleni), Owen Baya (Kilifi North) and Gertrude Mbeyu (Kilfi Woman Rep) have maintained that they have equal rights to express themselves on any issue without intimidation. The Kilifi woman Rep also wondered why it was unacceptable to associate with Deputy President William Ruto when the handshake meant unity. The ODM Coast MPs also took issue with the manner in which the party has dealt with their Malindi and Msambweni MPs, Aisha Juma and Suleiman Dori, respectively.

Quote of the Week

"We have said development will not be done because a leader is from a certain region. We want all the 40 million Kenyans to benefit from development."

Quote by President Uhuru Kenyatta to MPs, from Mt. Kenya who demanded development in their region. He said this on January 7, 2019.

Lest we forget

"The issue of Migingo is not a Luo affair. It is about the people of Kenya and the territorial integrity as recognised in the UN Charter, Article 2(4) that there will be respect to territorial integrity."

Sentiments by Hon. Martha Wangari when debating the motion on Protecting Kenyan Territory on July 4th, 2018.

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

MP for Gatundu South, Moses Kuria made headlines this week after claiming the Jubilee government had negclected the Mt. Kenya region. His attack on the President’s performance has kicked into high gear the 2022 succession politics that dogged the better part of 2018 following the handshake. His attack on Jubilee government received a mixed reaction as a number of leaders supported him while others accused him of attempting to malign the President and position self as the next “Kikuyu Kingpin”. The controversial MP and a diehard Jubilee supporter surprised the audience when he said voters from their region are only used during elections to vote and thereafter the benefits are channeled elsewhere. The President has since responded to the claim saying the days when development in Kenya was based on where a leader came from were over and that he will ensure every part of the country is developed.


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

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