Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 136
15 - 21 May, 2017


Do we as people and institutions honestly care about integrity?

Awhile back one of the dailies ran a headline to the effect that Kenya was a gambling nation. There was a mixed reaction with strong opponents and proponents regarding the headline. A few days ago SportPesa betting firm unveiled Kenya’s newest millionaire. A 28-year-old who had won the Sh.221million jackpot. Since then previous staunch opponents of betting have reconsidered their earlier stand. But that’s not the shocker. The real shocker is the perennial losers who’ve gambled their future; lost families but refuse to quit and try the old time-tested investment opportunities.

More interesting is how this gambling craze resembles our political life. The just concluded primaries have seen some of the candidates with the most troubling background given a strong vote of confidence by their electorate in their constituencies. It’s not like corruption in this country doesn’t have a face. We know these people; we’ve read the collosal amounts they’ve helped stolen. We know the lives destroyed by corruption. But no, we have to gamble our future to these wanting leaders because better the devil you know right?

A gambler is a person who likes to engage in silly optimism that’s neither here nor there; someone who doesn’t believe in going the long haul-because what’s the point right? He wants instant gratification and hopes his problems can go away with one single win. Gamblers are intense people-they sell prized property and can gamble their children’s fees or their own school fees and justify it. The idea is to find optimism in luck. How pathetic!

Truth is this are the exact characteristic of your average Kenyan voter. It’s funny we complain about how the youth are wasting time and money in activities whose outcomes can’t be guaranteed but consider our voting pattern the past few elections. Otherwise how do you think people elect known thugs; drug lords and tribal chieftains and still afford to sleep soundly at night? Like the gambler who keeps repeating his mistakes hoping for luck we bring back these corrupt people in the name of tribe, better thief, devil you know-so on and so forth simply because we are afraid to roll our sleeves look at these candidates keenly against the qualities of a leader as espoused in Chapter Six of the Constitution. People who don’t take time to think through activities and make sober choices, end up gambling their future.

The 2010 Constitution is probably the best thing that should have ever happened to Kenyan political history. The insatiable appetite for corruption by elected leaders since the first government dimmed the country’s development light so much that there was no light at the end of any tunnel until the promulgation of the new Constitution in 2010. Until then we had no way of stopping people with questionable character from taking office.

News of the Week

Civil Society Red Card 20 Aspirants from vying for office

The National Integrity Alliance (NIA) that brings together Transparency International, Mzalendo Trust, Society for International Development and Inuka Trust, flagged 20 aspirants from different political parties from running for office in the August polls. The list of 20 was generated from authentic and verifiable reports prepared by independent institutions including: Auditor General Report; Ombudsman; Director of Public Prosecution; National Cohesion and Integration Commission; Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission among others. The list though not conclusive offers guidance to the vetting institutions like the IEBC and ultimately the voters to elect candidates based on integrity.

Chief Justice takes issue with NASA over elections appeal case

Chief Justice David Maraga has warned politicians to respect the independence of the Judiciary and refrain from intimidating the courts. He was speaking in reference to the strong position the NASA coalition has taken on an appeal filed by IEBC seeking to overturn a ruling that presidential results declared at the constituency level were final.

The CJ said Judges will not be influenced by political banter but rule of law and facts. NASA has threatened to boycott elections if IEBC gets its way on the matter. The ruling Jubilee party has since dared the opposition outfit to go ahead and snub elections. The electoral agency also rubbished the threats saying they had a right to seek the protection of the courts on issues requiring legal interpretation.


Reduce Gambling Tax; MPs told

The National Treasury sponsored a Bill in Parliament that proposes to increase taxes on betting, lottery, gaming and competitions to a uniform 50 per cent. The proposal however has been criticized by Parliamentary Budget Office. The experts on economic policy and budgeting argue the government should come up with ways to prevent illegal gambling rather than the punitive measures. The experts also criticized Treasury’s decision to increase number of goods to be charged the Value added tax saying it negates the VAT Act 2013 that had been reviewed.

Political parties rush to submit final list of candidates to IEBC

Political parties hoping to field candidates in the August poll rushed to beat deadline and submit names of candidates flying the flag in their respective parties. At least 13,296 nominees have been presented to the IEBC. The figure is 500 more than the last elections. Officially however IEBC received 11,309 aspirants contesting for the 1,882 positions.

The electoral agency also met all the 68 political parties over fears that the delays caused by disputes arising from party primaries will delay the printing of the ballot papers and the overall elections timeline. IEBC will be gazzetting a detailed list of all candidates running for various elective positions between June 10th and 17th.

MPs want Agriculture CS to resign over food crisis

Parliamentary select committee on Agriculture wants the CS Agriculture fired over incompetence. CS Bett came under sharp criticism over the prevailing food crisis as Members of Parliament complained that he was misleading the country on the food crisis issue. The Parliamentary committee said the food crisis in the country was artificial and meant to benefit a few people connected with top government officials. Members of the committee also questioned the effectiveness of the multibillion Galana-Kulalu project as well as the over Sh. 2billion that Parliament approved to construct water pans in the country


Quote of the Week

"The spirit and the letter of Chapter Six of the Constitution on issues of integrity is very clear and precise. If it is well interpreted, it is very clear and precise."

Sentiments by Hon. Francis Chachu while contributing to the debate on The Kenya Heroes Bill on February 27, 2014

Read the Hansard

Lest we forget

"When you talk about regional integration, we also have our own issues of our own national integration here, where some communities are threatening others."

Sentiments by CS Eugine Wamalwa when contributing to the Ministerial Statement on East African Community Common Market Protocol 
on June 30, 2010.

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

Former Devolution CS Anne Waiguru made headlines this week after Members of Parliament decided to act on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report that wants her barred from running for office. Miss Waiguru who clinched the Jubilee Gubernatorial flag to represent the county of Kirinyaga on the ticket was adversely mentioned in the National Youth Service (NYS) scam that has seen the country lose at least Sh. 791 million; although the Auditor General report puts it at Sh. 8.1 billion. In addition the civil society group under the umbrella, National Integrity Alliance (NIA) have also listed her in their list of 20 aspirants who should be barred from running for public office.


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Mzalendo Trust, Heinrich Boll Foundation,
Prof. Wangari Mathai Road.
P. O. Box 21765 00505 Nairobi, Kenya

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