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Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 251
9th Sept -  13th Sept 2019

Editorial

Normalization of menstruation needs to start from the top

Aisha Hinds of the Shots Fired series once said, “It goes against natural order for a parent to bury their child.” Jackeline Chepng’eno’s parents were dealt with this sad reality when their 14-year-old took her life after being subjected to period shame by her teacher. This unfortunate incident speaks of failure on several levels of the young girl’s ecosystem. Failure by the teaching system, the government and society to create an accommodating environment for a girl hitting puberty.

In an all too familiar move, questions started being asked after the milk was already spilled. In June 2017, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed to law a Bill to amend the Basic Education Act that would bring to effect the free sanitary pads to primary schools. What followed was an allocation of Sh 420 million in 2018 which supplied 3.7 million girls with sanitary towels according to the Ministry of Gender. As it turns out, the tendering process of this programme wasn’t spared from controversy. Some members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have linked Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang to Konyipad Construction and Supplies Company Ltd that was awarded the tender to supply and deliver sanitary towels to schools despite not being the lowest bidder.

The opaqueness of this and many other government tendering processes have overtime affected service delivery and is now threatening more than half of the Kenyan population. Which therefore means that Parliament has been slacking on its oversight mandate. It’s been said before that we do not face an absence of laws rather a lack of goodwill to implement them. It was just a month ago that Kwale Women representative Zuleikah Hassan was ejected from Parliament for bringing her 5-month old baby into the parliament chambers. Reason being that the Parliament buildings did not have a functioning crèche 6 years after MPs passed a motion directing the PSC to set aside a room for nursing mothers. Parliament needs to pull up their socks in gender-responsive legislation if we ever want to end gender inequality in this country.

 

News of the Week

Senate was coerced into DoRA agreement, says Lusaka

Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka dismissed claims that external forces forced the House to back down on their demands on the Revenue Bill after Senate leadership las week declared to have reached an agreement for the money to be released to counties. Mr Lusaka says that the Senate agreed to the Sh 316.5 billion proposed by the National Assembly to prevent a shutdown of county governments, despite insisting on Sh 335 billion before. He said this was a painful and patriotic decision that was informed by the need to avert the biting crisis in the counties.

                                                                                                      

Governors now push for constitutional reforms

The Council of Governors and County Assemblies Forum are set to launch the law change push dubbed Ugatuzi Drive by the end of September that seeks to increase the allocation to counties from the current 15% to 45%. This is the latest push for a referendum after the BBI and Punguza Mzigo initiatives. The Ugatuzi initiative plans to collect one million signatures from Kenyans, submit them to IEBC for vetting and approval to culminate in the drafting of a relevant bill for the referendum.
Stakeholders in the Ugatuzi initiative are still consulting on the stand regarding whether the country should have a presidential or parliamentary system and how to fix the thorny issue of gender balance in national leadership. Meru Governor, Kiraitu Murungi who co-chairs COG’s Committee on Constitutional Reform with Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana says the principal focus of Ugatuzi Initiative is strengthening the institutions of devolution, especially giving financial autonomy to the counties.

Loans to become expensive if cap on interest rates is removed, say MPs

MPs oppose bid to remove Cap on Bank interest rates stating that it will make loans expensive. Treasury wants the law on interest repealed. The proposal to amend Section 33 (b) of the banking Act is contained in the 2009 Finance Bill is before the National Assembly. CS Ukur Yatani told the Finance and National Planning Committee that the capping of interest rates had denied SMEs loans as commercial banks prefer lending to the government because of fewer risks.
Yatani added that the introduction of the caps in 2016 led to a decline in the private sector by 4% from 76.8% as lending to government increased by 2.3% from 19.9%. MPs Samuel Atandi, Ndiragu Waihenya, David Mboni,Chistopher Omulele and Mr. Limo said they will not allow their people to be subjected to expensive credit so that commercial banks can make abnormal profits. Atandi says the removal of interest caps will only benefit a few shareholders and encourage capital flight.

Uhuru blocks MPs' bid for hefty allowances 

MPs now have a daunting task of marshalling at least two thirds in the National Assembly to overturn the presidential memorandum on the Parliamentary Service Bill 2019. The follows President Kenyatta’s refusal to sign the Bill into law. Clause 20 (2) of the rejected Bill provided that PSC shall regularly review the domestic and international travel allowances applicable to the members and staff of Parliament. The Clause further sought to provide for the facilitation of activities held outside the precincts of Parliament by members and staff of parliament. The President noted that signing the bill into law violated the Constitution as the proposal on allowances did not have the input of SRC who are mandated to the precincts of Parliament by members and staff of parliament.

MP sets out to empower Lamu youth

Lamu Woman Representative Ruweida Obbo has launched an initiative dubbed Empowerment and Capacity Building Programme that is aimed at offering technical skills to the youth. The programme which is undertaken through the National Government Affirmative Action Fund will identify and nurture talents of the youth who could not proceed with secondary, college and university education. She says the programme has already enrolled 81 youth and is targeting at least 200 by the end of three years. 

Period shame, suicide of teenager causes outrage

Over 30 outraged women legislators marched to the Ministry of Education seeking answers on why sanitary towels are not available in schools following the death of a class 6 pupil by suicide after being shamed by her teacher for soiling her clothes with menses. Bomet Woman Rep Joyce Korir says that although funding for sanitary towels is provided for by the government, they do not reach girls in schools. During Parliament proceedings, Ms Korir demanded an immediate response from the TSC on the action being taken against the teacher in question and asked them to lay out their plans on resolving the sanitary shortage problem. 
From the same incident, Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo urged the family to sue the Ministry of Education and called for disciplinary action against the teacher.

Quote of the Week

"Sanitary towels have been provided for in the budget. These are things you cannot delay in the ministry because, unlike infrastructure, menses cannot wait."

Quote by Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo in response to Jackeline Chepng'eno's suicide after her teacher mocked for soiling her dress with her menses on Friday, September 13th 2019.

Lest we forget

"To me, one of the biggest strides this country has made is an attempt at making basic schooling free and compulsory. However, you cannot talk of free and compulsory schooling when we know, for example, that many of these children are unable even to afford basics like school uniform. We cannot talk of free and compulsory education when it is not possible to provide free health care to children and, therefore, it becomes difficult when they fall ill to go to school. But most importantly, for our girls, we cannot talk of free and compulsory schooling when we know that those girls who cannot afford this basic facility of sanitary towels will be missing four to five days every month from school."

Comments by Former Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo 
while moving a motion on free distribution of sanitary towels to girls in primary/secondary schools on August 3rd 2011. 

Read the Hansard

Bills before the National Assembly

First Reading
THE REFUGEES BILL
- NA BILL NO. 62 OF 2019
Sponsored by Leader of Majority Hon Aden Duale
THE RADIOGRAPHERS BILL
- NA BILL NO. 47 OF 2019
Sponsored by Hon Sabina Chege
Second Reading
THE SECTIONAL PROPERTIES BILL
- NO. 23 OF 2019
Sponsored by Majority Leader Hon Aden Duale
THE EMPLOYMENT (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO.15 OF 2019
Sponsored by Hon Martha Wangari
THE BANKING (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NA BILL NO. 55 OF 2019
Sponsored by Hon Jude Njomo
THE ANTI-CORRUPTION AND ECONOMIC CRIMES (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NA BILL NO. 6 OF 2019
Sponsored by Hon Ndindi Nyoro
THE PUBLIC FINANCE MANAGEMENT (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NA BILL NO. 63 OF 2019
Sponsored by Hon Kimani Ichung'wah
THE COUNTY GOVERNMENTS (REVENUE RAISING PROCESS) BILL
- NA BILL NO. 24 OF 2018
Sponsored by Majority Leader Hon Aden Duale
THE PETITION TO COUNTY ASSEMBLIES (PROCEDURE) BILL
- SENATE BILL NO. 22 OF 2018
Sponsored by Hon William Cheptumo
THE EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION BILL
- SENATE BILL NO.26 OF 2018
Sponsored by Hon Julius Melly
THE INSTITUTE OF DIRECTORS OF KENYA BILL
- NA BILL NO. 3 OF 2019
Sponsored by Hon Chrisantus Wamalwa
THE LIVESTOCK AND LIVESTOCK PRODUCTS MARKETING BOARD BILL
- NA BILL NO. 2 OF 2019
Sponsored by Hon Bashir Abdullaih
THE REPRESENTATION OF SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NA BILL NO. 52 OF 2019
Sponsored by Hon Jeremiah Kioni
Third Reading: Committee of the Whole House
Consideration of Senate amendments to the Copyright (Amendment) Bill
- NA Bill No. 33 of 2017
Sponsored by Majority Leader Hon Aden Duale
Consideration of Senate amendments to the County Governments Retirement Scheme Bill
- NA Bill No. 10 of 2018
Sponsored by Majority Leader Hon Aden Duale
The President’s Reservations to the Parliamentary Service Bill
- NA BILL No. 6 of 2018
Sponsored by Majority Leader Hon Aden Duale
The Public Finance Management (Amendment) Bill
- NA BILL NO 63 OF 2019
Sponsored by Hon Kimani Ichung'wah
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries (Amendment) (No.3) Bill
- NA BILL NO 35 of 2019
Sponsored by Hon William Cheptumo

Bills before the Senate

First Reading
THE CARE AND PROTECTION OF CHILD PARENTS BILL
- SENATE BILLS NO. 11 OF 2019
Sponsored by Sen Beatrice Kwamboka
THE REGISTRATION OF PERSONS (AMENDMENT) BILL
- SENATE BILLS NO. 14 OF 2019
Sponsored by Sen Isaac Mwaura
THE KENYA SIGN LANGUAGE BILL
- SENATE BILLS NO. 15 OF 2019
Sponsored by Sen Gertrude Musuruve and Sen Margaret Kamar
Second Reading
THE STATUTE LAW MISCELLANEOUS (AMENDMENT) (NO. 2) BILL
- NA BILLS NO. 13 OF 2018
Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Sen Kipchumba Murkomen
THE CONSTITUTION OF KENYA (AMENDMENT) BILL
- SENATE BILLS NO. 2 OF 2019
Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Sen Kipchumba Murkomen
THE CONTROL OF STRAY DOGS BILL
- SENATE BILLS NO. 4 OF 2019
Sponsored by Sen Mary Seneta
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF CHILDREN’S HOMES BILL
- SENATE BILLS NO. 12 OF 2019
Sponsored by Sen Agnes Zani
Third Reading: Committee of the Whole House
THE RETIREMENT BENEFITS (DEPUTY PRESIDENT AND DESIGNATED STATE OFFICERS) (AMENDMENT) BILL
- SENATE BILLS NO. 2 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen Ledama Olekina
THE ELECTION LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL
- SENATE BILLS NO. 33 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen Ledama Olekina
THE KENYA MEDICAL SUPPLIES AUTHORITY (AMENDMENT) BILL
- SENATE BILLS NO. 38 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen Mary Seneta
THE CANCER PREVENTION AND CONTROL (AMENDMENT) BILL
- SENATE BILLS NO. 9 OF 2019
Sponsored by Sen Abdullahi Ali

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