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Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 96
8 - 14 August, 2016

Editorial

Political Parties are Re-aligning So Must You

It’s interesting how Kenyans describe themselves as political animals because of the “interest” in politics yet never participate actively in political matters outside of voting. However, this is not entirely their fault. Political parties in Kenya lack anything remotely interesting outside the usual chest-thumping characters. They have a structure only on paper, but handle things ad-hoc and at the interest of the party leader most of the time. Internal party elections in some political parties can be disrupted by outside forces with impunity and members appear helpless under such circumstances

Worse still, political parties in Kenya are not driven by ideologies but individual interests with the exception of KANU. Although since the retirement of President Moi from active politics, KANU has become a pale shadow of its former self, hardly coming out clearly on any position of national importance. There was a time the public knew how KANU would respond to an issue, and indeed many older adults were registered members of KANU. The structures worked and members spoke with one accord even though this success was largely because the party leader was a known dictator.

Jubilee coalition just announced that they will be unveiling their new party soon, and a record 12 parties have so far indicated they will be dissolving to join the new Jubilee party. That announcement speaks volumes. First it questions the idea of political ideology in this country. Did the parties that dissolve believe the new Jubilee had similar values to theirs?  How does this move affect the watchdog role of political parties? While it would be a blessing to have a party with a national outlook as the new improved Jubilee party promises, we should be concerned if this merger absorbs opposition leaders to the point that we are left with a weak opposition party.

A report published by the Institute for Education in Democracy (IED) last year revealed that none of Kenya’s political parties had a national outlook as all lacked representation in at least 24 counties.  Coalitions formed in the lead up to the 2013 election tried to address this gap. While it’s clear a party shall not be constituted based on religion, ethnicity, gender or regional basis, this still appears to be a grey area as most parties are formed based on regional blocks popularly referred to as coalition of tyrannies of numbers.

 

News of the Week

12 Parties to merge to form Jubilee Party

Nine Parties including the President’s The National Alliance (TNA) and his Deputy’s United Republican Party (URP) have written to the Registrar of Political Parties indicating their resolution to dissolve and join the new Jubilee Party in September.  Twelve Parties in total have signaled they will back the president and his deputy under the new Jubilee Party. The merger has however scaled up the debate on the role of political parties, their ideology and the effect of the merger in opposition’s oversight role.
 

Bill on interest rates delayed in Parliament as Bankers put up a fight

Bill proposing to cap interest rates was finally delivered to President Uhuru after nearly two weeks delay in Parliament. Meanwhile Bankers have stepped up from merely asking the president not to assent the Bill to promising to lend Ksh. 30 Billion to small and medium size companies.  Ministry of Treasury on the other hand has dismissed the Bill as a ‘cosmetic’ stunt that will not address the root cause of the problem. Treasury CS Rotich argued that the government was working on a raft of measures to deal with the real challenge facing the industry.

Meanwhile MPs led by the sponsor of the Bill, Jude asked the President to ignore the plea from the bankers as a mere gimmick. Their position is strengthened by the Kenya Accountants who through the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) endorsed the Bill. They said if well implemented it will protect consumers from high interest rates.

 

MPs shoot down motion to probe gambling “industry”

A motion to form a committee to investigate the gambling craze in Kenya was shot down. Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo who had led a section of members to form the committee alleged that members had been compromised to vote against the motion. He maintained that there was a need to regulate the sector due to claims of tax evasion and money laundering, and that he will use the proposed Betting, Lotteries and Gaming (Amendment) Bill, 2015 to make the recommendations to ensure proper regulation. The Parliamentary committee on Labor has also summoned Sports CS Wario and the Betting Control and Licensing Board over the gambling regulation.
 

IEBC caps expenditure on 2017 polls

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) have through a gazette notice informed political aspirants of the new regulations limiting spending by Political Parties, Aspirants and contributors. Presidential contenders are not to spend more than Ksh. 5.2 billion; party expenditure should not exceed Ksh. 15 billion while single source contribution to Political Parties is capped at Ksh.3 billion.

However, the move to regulate political campaign funding has met sharp criticism from Opposition leader Raila Odinga who claimed it was an attempt to mortgage the country to the highest bidder. He further claimed the commission had no structures to implement such a law. Amani Party leader Musalia Mudavadi said that it was a step in the right direction but civic education needed to be done to help both aspirants and the electorate understand what it meant.

Rush to acquire degrees back as 2017 polls nears

Politicians - particularly Members of County Assembly (MCAs) - are scrambling to acquire academic papers for fear that a Bill seeking to have MPs and MCAs candidates in next year’s poll possess relevant academic papers may become law. Additionally, the perception that the electorate has an inferior perspective of legislators with shallow academic backgrounds compared to their more learned counterparts has increased the rush to acquire these papers.

Quote of the Week

"We talk about corruption in the Government and other places but, let me tell you where there is real corruption and rigging! It is in the political parties. If you are able to give the boss or those who are conducting election more money, you get a ticket."

Sentiments by Hon. David Kangongo while contributing to the debate on Political Parties (Amendment) Bill on July 1, 2015

Read the Hansard

Lest we forget

" In Africa, Zambia, the West African economic bloc and the Central Africa Economic and Monitoring Community have put a cap on interest rates. Outside Africa, Argentina, Canada and even the USA have done that... Germany has put a cap and other six countries of the European Union have a cap on their interest rates. We will not be the first. If banks have survived in the countries I have mentioned, even in Kenya they can survive with that interest rate."

Sentiments by Hon. Jude Njomo when contributing to the Banking (Amendment) Bill on March 10, 2016.

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

MPs Amina Abdalla and Priscilla Nyokabi made news this week due to their efforts on the Water Bill and the Access to Information Bill respectively. Hon. Amina Abdalla’s Bill on health (mediated version) was passed by the National Assembly and Hon. Priscilla Nyokabi’s Bill on Access to information was passed by the Committee of the Whole House taking into consideration the Senate’s recommendations.

... PROFILE

Bills before the National Assembly

First Reading

THE CONTEMPT OF COURT BILL 

- NO. 32 OF 2016
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

The Bill defines contempt of court and limits the power of court to punish for contempt of court. A person who threatens, insults a judge or a witness during court proceedings will face a jail term of up to six months or KSh 200,000 fine if the Bill passes. The Bill also reviews the jurisdiction of contempt of Court proceedings. In the past, the preserve for punishment of contempt of court proceedings has been in the High Court but the bill empowers other courts.

This Bill is in the Public Participation stage you can give your opinion on the proposed changes to your MP or via memoranda by 22nd August 2016.

THE SEXUAL OFFENCES (AMENDMENT) BILL 

- NO. 33 OF 2016
Sponsored by Hon. Florence Mutua

The primary goal of the Bill is to amend the Sexual Offences Act to prohibit plea bargaining and collusion in sexual offences which help the perpetrators of sexual offences evade justice. The Bill also proposes a special unit to fasten investigation. Further, the bill proposes that all police stations to be deployed with officers trained to handle sexual offences. 

The Bill also urges the national and county governments to promote public awareness on sexual offences through a comprehensive nation-wide education and information campaign conducted through the relevant Ministries, departments, authorities and other agencies. Further, the Bill compels the Ministry of Education to provide guidelines on the inclusion of sex education and sexual offences through the school syllabus.

Do you support the removal of out of court settlement in matters of sexual offences? Do you support the proposal of establishing a special unit in at least one police station per county? The Bill is in the public participation stage you can submit your memoranda to Parliament before 22nd August 2016.

Second Reading

THE COUNTY ASSEMBLY SERVICES BILL 

- NO. 27 OF 2014 (SENATE BILL)
Sponsored by Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Administration and National Security Hon. Asman Kamama

The aim of this Bill is to set up a legal model for County Assembly Service Board which is established by the County governments Act, 20l2. This is meant to increase the independence and autonomy of the County Assembly from the County Executive hence improve the oversight role of the Assembly over the Executive. The Bill also proposes values that will guide members of the board.

The Bill further establishes the County Assembly Fund to enhance the independence of the county assembly.

If the Bill is becomes law will it enhance the independence of County Assemblies? Would you like to propose a provision that would raise the independence of County Assemblies? Send you proposals to your MP for them to be included in the bill.

THE PUBLIC FUNDRAISING APPEALS BILL

- NO. 28 OF 2014 (SENATE BILL)
Sponsored by the Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs Hon. Samuel Chepkonga

The Bill institutes a regulatory mechanisms at the national and county levels which manages the conduct of fundraising appeals, to provide for the licensing and regulation of fundraisers and the promotion of transparency and accountability in their conduct. The Bill acknowledges the need to maintain the altruistic rationale that Harambees serve in the Kenyan society while addressing the shortcomings that have accompanied this process.

The sponsor of the Bill (Prof Nyong’o) says that there is need to reduce the culture of dependency that harambees have imbued in society, extending even essentially private affairs to the larger public.

What is your opinion on Harambees? Do you think the government should control Harambees, which are largely social affairs? Let your Senator know your opinion so he can inform the bill discussion.

THE STATUTE LAW (MISCELLANEOUS AMENDMENTS) (NO. 2) BILL

- NO. 58 OF 2015

Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

Miscellaneous Amendments Bills usually make minor amendments to the law. The Bill amends some of the laws below:

·         The Industrial Training Act (Cap. 237). The Bill seeks to amend the Industrial Training Act to empower the Cabinet Secretary to nominate a member of the most representative federation of employers’ organization and the most representative Federation of trade unions to the Board of the Industrial Training Authority. 

·         The National Hospital Insurance Fund Act (No. 9 of 1988). The amendment aims to amend the NHIF Act to give powers to the Cabinet Secretary to set criteria for appointment of Members of the Board.

·         The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development Act, 2013 (No. 4 of 2013). The Bill amends the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development Act to give room for some members of the Board to be appointed by the Cabinet Secretary and to remove the old procedure of appointment.

What is your take on empowering of various Cabinet Secretaries to appoint board members of various government parastatals? Send your opinion to your to Parliament when the Bill gets to public participation stage or your MP.

THE BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERS BILL
- NO. 65 OF 2015
Sponsored by Hon. Stephen Mule

The aim of this Bill is to provide a legal framework for training, registration, and licensing of biomedical engineering professionals. The bill also attempts to regulate the practice of biomedical engineering and provide for the establishment, powers and functions of a Biomedical Engineering Board which shall regulate the profession.  

Biomedical engineers install, maintain, or provide technical support for biomedical equipment. They also combine engineering principles with medical and biological sciences to design and create equipment, devices, computer systems, and software used in healthcare

Should the Biomedical profession be regulated separately? What is your take on this proposed law considering that there is an Engineering Board? 

THE KENYATTA MAUSOLEUM BILL

- NO. 11 OF 2016
Sponsored by Hon. Muthomi Njuki

The objective of this Bill is to make the Kenyatta Mausoleum accessible to the public after the payment of a prescribed fee. The author of the Bill (Muthomi Njuki) sees it as a way to create more revenue to the government and jobs to Kenyans. This is because the Mausoleum will serve as a domestic and international tourist attraction. The Mausoleum will serve as a repository of the artifacts of the late President Jomo Kenyatta.

What is your take on this Bill, should it be a standalone Bill considering that there is a National Museums and Heritage Act? Share your thoughts with Parliament when the bill is on the Public Participation stage or directly send them to your MP for them to be included in the Bill

THE UNIVERSITIES (AMENDMENT) BILL 

- NO. 31 OF 2014
Sponsored by the Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Education, Research and Technology Hon. Sabina Chege

THE PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (AMENDMENT) BILL

- NO. 24 OF 2014 (SENATE BILL)
Sponsored by Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Labour and Social Welfare Hon. David Were

THE NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE BILL 

- NO. 26 OF 2014 (SENATE BILL)
Sponsored by Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Labour and Social Welfare Hon. David Were

THE COUNTY EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION BILL 

- NO. 23 OF 2014 (SENATE BILL)
Sponsored by the Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Education, Research and Technology Hon. Sabina Chege

THE BETTING, LOTTERIES AND GAMING (AMENDMENT) BILL

- NO. 30 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

THE KENYA REGIMENT (TERRITORIAL FORCE) (REPEAL) BILL

- NO. 39 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

THE FINANCE BILL

- NO. 20 OF 2016
Sponsored by the Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Finance, Planning and Trade Hon. Benjamin Langat

THE KENYA UWEZO FUND BILL

- NO. 65 OF 2015
Sponsored by Hon. David Kangongo

THE CONSTITUTION OF KENYA (AMENDMENT) BILL

- NO. 07 OF 2016
Sponsored by Hon. Mithika Linturi
THE PROCEEDS OF CRIME AND ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 64 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
THE PUBLIC BENEFITS ORGANIZATIONS (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 09 OF 2016
Sponsored by Hon. Augustinho Neto
THE PENAL CODE (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 13 OF 2016
Sponsored by Hon. Johnson Sakaja
THE BRIBERY BILL

- NO. 16 OF 2016
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
THE CIVIL AVIATION (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 14 OF 2016
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
Third Reading: Committee of the Whole House

The Public Finance Management (Amendment) Bill

- NO. 04 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Bill 
- NO. 44 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
Fisheries Management and Development Bill 
- NO. 20 OF 2014
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

Energy Bill 

- NO. 50 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

Public Participation

Invitation by the National Assembly to interested members of public and organizations to submit any representation on the following two Bills:

1. The Contempt of Court Bill, 2016
2. The Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2016

The submissions may be made orally or by submission of written memoranda may be forwarded to the: The Clerk of the National Assembly, P.O.BOX 41842-00100 Nairobi

or hand-delivered to Office of the Clerk, Main Parliament Buildings, Nairobi; or
emailed to clerk@parliament.go.ke on or before Monday,22nd August 2016 by 5:00pm

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