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Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 102
19 - 25 September, 2016

Editorial

Five ways to Block Corrupt Leaders from Office

The American Writer Suzy Kassem is known for making this remark in one of her books that, “A system is corrupt when it is strictly profit-driven, not driven to serve the best interests of its people.” And no statement so aptly describes the mutation of corruption in Kenya as that. If you look at what is now commonly referred to as tenderprenureship in Kenya in light of this statement then you will see how corruption has metamorphosed. But is the situation hopeless? Certainly not; we can still slay this giant.

While corruption exists in many forms and is difficult to really rid it all at once. Nonetheless it’s easy to identify corruption in public places and offices, and that is where the fight should begin. If only Kenyans really cared about corruption more than their tribe and where power leans in government and other elective offices then the fight could have significant impact.

The best strategy to fight corruption is the period just before campaigns. The next 10 months before the 2017 election would be the ideal time if we meant business. If we get anti-corrupt leaders we’ll be on the right track to winning this war. Here are five ways to ensure we end up with leaders free of corruption.

First, Political Parties – those that truly have the best interest of its people – should only nominate or elect candidates who have publicly declared their wealth. The EACC should insist that the wealth declared include that of family members too; as that is how they normally dupe us-transferring wealth to their children and family members and thus avoiding public scrutiny. This should also be published and easily accessible for comparison when term ends.

Secondly, elected Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) should not under any circumstance transact with any county government because of conflict of interest. As for the MPs, Senators and Governors, the same applies, and including the national government. This should not only apply to commissioners of influential bodies like EACC but also all top government officers. This would greatly hinder corruption resulting from conflict of interest scenarios.

News of the Week

Tension builds as recruitment of new IEBC commissioners delayed

Opposition is threatening to get their supporters back on the street if the new electoral commissioners are not in office by October 15th. ODM chairman John Mbadi accused the Jubilee government of using delay tactics to stall the implementation of electoral reforms. Siaya Senator James Orengo who co-chaired the joint team on electoral reforms also accused President Kenyatta of delaying the process having delayed in assenting to the Bills related to electoral reforms. Attorney General Githu Muigai however said talks on Isaac Hassan’s team exit package are set to begin shortly.
 

MPs asked to Legislate Gender rule on corporate boards

Kenyan lawmakers have been challenged to come up with a law that will guarantee women 30% representation on corporate jobs. Research by Kenya Institute of Management places the number of women in board seats at 20%. This is despite women being a little over 50% in the country’s population. Parliament has not been able to enact the two-thirds gender rule thereby creating a constitutional quagmire, and lobby groups have since sued the Speakers of both Houses and the AG. It remains to be seen how they will take up this challenge.
 

Conducting Party primaries will be a logistical nightmare for IEBC

IEBC is talking tough about the requirements political parties must adhere to if they’re to conduct their primaries but the exercise could test their ability to carry out credible elections. According to the new law Parties can hold their primaries at least 60 days to the general elections. If all parties interested in IEBC presiding over their nominations prefer to do it last minute then IEBC’s ability to deliver under pressure will be greatly tested.

 

MPs circumvent Court order adopt changes in new CDF law to access KES 10billion

MPs passed a legislation in a special sitting circumventing the High Court directive to Treasury not to release more than KES 25 Billion CDF money to constituencies. Law makers had introduced a crucial amendment to the National Government Constituency Development Fund Bill, 2016 that allows national government to “facilitate” CDF projects directly.

 
MPs to lose graft oversight role
 

The Kenya Economic Report (KER) 2016 recommends that the Auditor General reports currently scrutinized by Members of Parliament be sent directly to the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) for greater efficiency. If the recommendations are acted upon, MPs will lose their constitutional mandate to scrutinize audit reports. KER however has questioned EACC’s capacity to handle a backlog of cases as the lead corruption investigator.

David Maraga picked for CJ position

Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has picked Court of Appeal Judge David Maraga for the new post of Chief Justice. Justice Maraga had told the JSC that he would fast-track the implementation of the Legal Aid Act to ensure justice was accessible to all. The President is expected to send Justice Maraga’s name to Parliament for approval.

Today is International Freedom of Information day

Information held by government institutions belongs to the public. Our taxes pay for it. Have the courage to demand it. Moreover Implementation & monitoring framework needs be in place in government for be enforced in Kenya.

Quote of the Week

"We needed to come up with something like the one we have in the Fifth Schedule, indicating timelines within which we are supposed to do certain things. Right now the commissioners are supposed to be out of office, based on the negotiated arrangement. It is still not known how they are going to get out. Some crafting is still going on and this must happen in the five months period. If it does not happen, what will happen...there will be a lot of gaps and challenges to an extent that we might end up with a complete new team that will not do much when the general elections are held in August next year."

Sentiments by Hon. Gideon Ochanda while contributing to the debate on the Election Offences Bill on August 31, 2016

Read the Hansard

Lest we forget

" …the ugly side of the Budget, as has been the case, is the lump sum allocation of funds to Ministries without specifying what they are meant for. This is very common with the Ministry of Energy, where the rural electrification funds are never specified in the Budget and the politically- correct people are the only ones who benefit from the funds. It is for this reason that I would recommend such funds to be channeled back to the CDF."

Sentiments by former Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo when contributing to the Budget debate on June 28, 2006.

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

National Assembly Speaker Justine Muturi made headlines this week after he called back Members of Parliament for a special sitting to ratify the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with European Union (EU).  He tweeted that, “Kenya is required to have ratified the EPA by October 1st, 2016. We in Bunge take this duty very seriously. Kesho!” Media reports indicate that about 200 Kenyan firms and four million jobs have been saved by this ratification.

... PROFILE

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