Mzalendo's Weekly Newsletter

Issue no. 18, 2 - 8 February 2015

News of the Week:
  • Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Joyce Laboso has said despite forgiving Homa Bay women’s representative Gladys Wanga for sprinkling water on her, a punishment for the deed is still due. She said that punitive action has to be taken against the honorable member as there must be a consequence for the actions that took place. Laboso hinted at an amendment to the standing orders of the National Assembly which could among other things see MPs who contravene the standing orders lose their seats.
  • The Public Investments Committee (PIC) has summoned the individuals behind the construction of a hangar at Wilson Airport that has violated civil aviation protocols. Besides the investors the others summoned are the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) management and the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority. The committee is concerned over what is happening at Wilson Airport because it is an institution that touches on security. The construction, which is being done only at night, has severed communication between the western apron (Apron 4) and the rest of the airport and has forced service vehicles to use taxiways instead of designated roads. The construction has further interfered with normal ground operations within the airport and has compromised both the safety and security of flight operators. 
  • Leaders of two crucial parliamentary watchdog committees insist there’s a deliberate attempt to bend the rules of the National Assembly to delay debate on the crucial reports and bills. The chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Ababu Namwamba, and his Public Investments Committee counterpart Adan Keynan, said they were frustrated that at least six of their reports had been on the back burner months after they were tabled and ready for debate. 
  • The Uwezo Fund board will seek to have its capacity increased when Parliament resumes to support more groups as demand for the money increases. Fund CEO Wilfred Buyema said the board will make an appeal to the Ministry of Devolution for the money to be increased. He noted that applicants are requesting for more funds which can only be approved by Parliament. So far the Fund has disbursed Sh5.3 billion to 289 constituencies, except Kitui Rural which failed to meet all the requirements, he explained.
  • The National Gender and Equality Commission has given MPs seven months to enact a law guiding the implementation of two-thirds gender rule. The commission wants Parliament to come up with the legal framework on how they intend to meet the constitutional requirement by August 15. The commission is currently engaged in talks with the Attorney General and parliamentary committees over the requirement that has caused ripples in public offices.
  • Lack of adequate security personnel and laxity by the government to deal with criminals have been blamed for escalating cases of inter-ethnic clashes that are causing communities untold suffering. Senators accuse the government of only reacting long after attacks have happened. The Senate Security Committee added that the situation has been compounded further by the proliferation of illegal arms, especially amongst pastoralist communities. The team also blames the massive losses the communities are incurring to government failure to respond to attacks when they happen.
  • A number of prisoners serving jail sentences in foreign countries might be transferred to Kenya to complete their terms if a Bill sponsored by National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale is passed. The Transfer of Prisoners Bill, which is to be tabled for the third reading also proposes the relocation of foreign prisoners to be tried in their countries. According to the Bill, a prisoner would be handed over by request to Kenya from the sentencing country and vice versa.
  • Senators have warned wrangling parties in Narok against publicly commenting on a petition from the county that is before the House. The Senate Committee on Finance, which is handling the matter, said any leader who defies the warning would be summoned. The committee has vowed to find a solution to the problems in the county if it is given time.
  • The courts could no longer intervene in the business of Parliament, if a constitutional amendment Bill seeking to stop such involvement is enacted by the National Assembly. The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2014, by Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma, seeks to prohibit the courts from interfering with matters pending consideration or proceeding before Parliament. The Bill seeks to provide powers, privileges and immunities of the House, its committees, the leaders of the majority and minority, the chairpersons of committees and members. According to Kaluma, the courts should only intervene after Parliament has executed its constitutional mandate. The Bill also wants the courts to be restrained from interfering with matters before the county assemblies or any of the committees of Parliament.

Editorial: CDF and Uwezo Fund Allocations: What Every Kenyan Must Know 

The Constituency Development Fund (CDF) has helped construct classrooms, bridges, roads, hospitals and paid school fees for many among other noble tasks since its commencement in 2003. However over the period, allegations improprieties have abounded. On the other hand, Uwezo Fund exists to enable women, youth and persons with disability access finances to promote businesses and enterprises at the constituency level. MPs are patrons of the fund and the public has a say on the funds distribution. Vigilance will ensure these funds are prioritized properly and utilized diligently. Read more

Quote of the Week

Sentiments by Hon. James Orengo during parliamentary debate on September 3, 2009

 “Laws are made to serve us and not vice versa. When you exercise a discretion or power, you do not do that to please yourself but you exercise in the interest of the public. You should remember all the time that when you exercise any power, you do not do this to please yourself, wife or relative. This is exercised for the public good. Right now, the President and Mr. M. Kilonzo, should listen to what the country is saying. Are these powers being exercised for the public good or to please the minds of a few people in the country? I think this is what we should think about seriously. In order not to be misunderstood, I respect the presidency even as an appointing authority, but I will be the last person to accept illegality or injustice in the name of loyalty. I will never do that.” Read Hansard

Lest we Forget!

Sentiments by Hon. Adan Keynan in Parliament on Wednesday 1st September 2010.

“I stand here a very disappointed person due to the fact that His Excellency, the President has refused to assent to the Indemnity (Repeal) Bill, taking into account that this country is now under a new and completely different constitutional dispensation. The Indemnity Act, Cap 44 of the laws of Kenya, was enacted in 1969, purposely to deal with the Somali community in northern Kenya and in particular, the residents. The administration of the Northern Frontier District (NFD) authorized the armed forces and security personnel to rape our girls, maim and kill the men and apply the politics of discrimination. Shockingly, in this era, I wonder why His Excellency the President has refused to assent to this Bill. The import and content of this Act which was tailor-made to handle the people of northern Kenya is malicious, capricious, offensive, oppressive, repugnant and barbaric. Even to think or imagine the existence of such Acts in this era of modernism is unimaginable. We want to accept the new constitutional dispensation but behind it, we should not also accept the continuation of such Acts which have been used over the years to declare the residents of a whole region as second class citizens. I wonder what kind of new constitutional dispensation we envisage as we sit here. I see hypocrisy and double-speak in how we manage our affairs. We expected that the President would reward the people of northern Kenya and allow them to sue the perpetrators and the architects of the many massacres that took place in our region. I want to recall that I lost my uncle, brother and cousins in the Wagalla massacre. Today, 25 years down the line, under the new constitutional dispensation, the Chief Executive of the Republic of Kenya refuses to assent to a Bill that seeks to repeal the same law that authorized the killing of our relatives. Then what sort of new Kenya are we talking about?” Read Hansard

Newsmaker this week:

Bomet Women's Representative Cecilia Ng'etich shed tears when she heard that during inter-clan fighting, women teachers are raped and sexually harassed. A representative of the teachers demanding transfer because of insecurity in Mandera, Garissa and Wajir said they are traumatized by hostile and inhuman treatment by their Muslim hosts. Caren Nyongesa told the Parliamentary Education Committee they are constantly ordered not to use toilet paper because it could fill pit latrines. Nyongesa, a teacher in Garissa County, said female teachers are denied maternity leave and at times forced to seek the services of local midwives. The committee was also told that the teachers live in fear of their lives and suffer religious and cultural degradation, sexual harassment and other humiliating and demeaning treatment. The teachers said they have reported the incidents to law enforcers and their employer, the Teachers Service Commission, but no action has been taken on the perpetrators. Profile

Parliament resumes sittings

Parliament resumed its sittings yesterday. Its first task was to approve members of the House Business Committee (HBC). HBC is the agenda setting committee of Parliament. It considers and approves parliamentary business. It however failed to approve them due to concerns in the list of some members whom the House felt were responsible for the chaos during the Security Act debate and should therefore not be in the committee.

Parliament has an already tray full of things to be done. Top on the in-tray is the vetting of Mr. Joseph Kipchirchir Boinett for the position of Inspector General of Police. The legislators are also expected to debate emerging national issues that include Form One intake, school fees and the rising cases of land disputes. They are also set to discuss pending Bills that are at various stages of enactment, mostly second and third readings. Senate is expected to table the controversial Mining Bill that had sparked turf war with the National Assembly after President Kenyatta returned it for review in December. Bills awaiting Committee of the Whole House include the Protection Against Domestic Violence Bill 2013, Climate Change Bill 2014, Scrap Metal Bill 2014 and Kenya National Aids Authority Bill 2014.

Public Participation Opportunities

The Constitution Implementation Commission (CIC) is seeking views on the draft Employment Act (Amendment) Bill 2015. The Bill can be accessed on CIC’s website; and also the Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Services website; Comments should be sent to on or before February 20th, 2015. 

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