Mzalendo's Weekly Newsletter

Issue no. 29, 20 -  26 April 2015

News of the Week:
  • Members of the National Assembly voted overwhelmingly to send home the chairman of the Ethics and Anti- Corruption Commission (EACC) Mumo Matemu and his deputy Irene Keino. The MPs however voted against also sending home the CEO Halakhe Wako. The legislators also asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to set up a tribunal on the matter. This request was granted by the President when he named the tribunal to be chaired by Justice Jonathan Bowen Havelock. The other members are Margaret Shava, Muathe Issa and Juster Nkoroi. President Kenyatta must act on the recommendations of the tribunal within 30 days after receiving its final report. However, the two commissioners will continue to receive half their salaries and benefits during the period they are suspended.
  • The National Assembly has approved 27 members to the Public Accounts Committee which had been dissolved following bribery and extortion allegations. The Leaders of Majority and Minority simply replaced the five for what they terms as "breach of privilege". The new committee has already met and elected Hon. Nicholas Gumbo as the new chair.

  • The Constituency Development Fund (CDF) board has put on hold accounts of two constituencies, paralyzing projects. Spending for Roysambu constituency represented by Hon. Waihenya Ndirangu and that of Kabete which was represented by the late George Muchai has been frozen over concerns of possible misuse. The Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) is investigating Roysambu's CDF accounts, while the forthcoming by-election in Kabete has raised fears of irregular withdrawals should the accounts remain active in the run up to the mini-polls. During the current financial year, Roysambu constituency received Sh23.2 million in CDF allocation, while Kabete received Sh48 million.

  • The National Assembly has now taken the fight for the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to the Court of Appeal. The assembly has filed an appeal challenging the High Court's decision invalidating the CDF Act of 2013, which authorized the allocation of billions of shillings to the 290 constituencies. The MPs want the judgment delivered on February 20, this year, set aside, saying the High Court judges erred in several of their findings. The judgment by Isaac Lenaola, Mumbi Ngugi and David Majanja dealt a major blow to elected MPs, who largely control the kitty. The Act was declared unconstitutional following a petition by two NGOs, the Institute of Social Accountability and Centre for Enhancing Democracy and Good Governance. The judges however suspended the invalidity of the Act for 12 months, to allow the Government to change the law and determine where to re-allocate the funds. MPs are patrons of the committees that oversee the utilization of the funds. In the 2014-2015 financial year, Sh31.5 billion was allocated to CDF.
  • Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko has appointed five prosecutors to assist in investigation into Garissa University College terror attack. This follows a request by the Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery that the DPP sends a team to help in the probe. Nine top security commanders of Garissa County have been interdicted over the attack and may be prosecuted over various charges once investigations into their conduct ahead of the attack prove there was negligence. Nkaissery said Inspector General of police Joseph Boinnet would appoint an investigating team that will work with DPP to carry out investigations and take necessary steps as soon as possible. It has been noted that a day before the attack, only four police officers had been deployed to guard the Garrissa University. The County Intelligence and Security Committee (CISC) had received information that the college was among the areas that the Al-Shabaab were planning to attack.
  • National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi named three MPs to the committee mandated with finding a compromise position on the money to be allocated to counties in the next financial year. Both Houses have failed to agree on the Division of Revenue Bill, after the Senate amended it to allocate counties an additional Sh7.7 billion and the National Assembly threw out that proposal. The three MPs are Mutava Musyimi, Mary Emaase and Tom Kajwang'. The Senate is yet to name its members. The National Assembly also rejected some of the Senate’s changes to the Environment Management Act, creating the need for the formation of another mediation team. Senate will have Senators Boni Khalwale, Beatrice Elachi and Mutahi Kagwe.
  • Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro said he was waiting for official communication from Mr. Muturi before giving the green light for the picking of the House members to join the team.
  • Over 10 constituencies are yet to exhaust money from the Constituency Development Fund allocated to them in 2013-2014 as the end of the financial year draws nearer. A report tabled before the National Assembly reveals that 16 out of the 290 constituencies are yet to receive a cent in the current financial year as allocations given to them in the last one are yet to be fully utilized. Constituencies not captured in the CDF board report are: Embakasi South, Kajiado East, Kitui South, Mbooni, Mwea, Tetu, Kangema, Kirinyaga Central and Ndia. Others are Nyaribari Chache, Bobasi, Bonchari, Naivasha, Baringo North and Rongai. 
  • Police are holding Senate employee Mr. Ali Abdulmajid after an intelligence report linked him to an Al Shabaab plot to bomb the National Assembly. The Somalia terrorist group had also planned to carry out attacks at markets, churches and a university, according to the police report. The document was written by Central OCPD Paul Wanjama, instructing Parliament Police Station commander Samson Chelugo to boost security at the National Assembly. The report says the suspect, is affiliated to the Pumwani Riyadh Mosque, which was once named in a United Nations report as a front for the terrorist group.

Public Participation opportunities

The Senate standing Committee on land and Natural resources is seeking input on the Climate Change Bill 2014. Submissions can be made orally or written. Public hearings will be held on 29th April 2015 from 10.30am to 1.00pm at Shimba Hills room, KICC, Nairobi. Written memoranda can be sent to the Clerk of the Senate, P.O.Box 41842-00100 Nairobi, hand delivered to the Office of the Clerk, first floor, Main Parliament Building or email to be received on or before 29th April, 2015 by 5.00pm.

Editorial: Let us rethink our elections preparedness 
Elections lie at the core of how governance is established and developed. It is on this premise that stakeholders converged at the ‘Rethinking Elections Management in Kenya’ forum to audit the elections and the Supreme Court decision, as well as interrogate the case, judgment and consider useful steps to amend its shortcomings. The forum highlighted five key issues; use of BVR, election preparedness, voter register, political party nomination and dispute resolutions and composition of electoral commissioners. Kenyans need to interrogate election related laws and push for their improvement as well as monitor election preparations by the IEBC, Registrar of Political Parties and political parties. Read more

Quote of the Week

Sentiments by Hon. Eugene Wamalwa during debate on the motion on the level of Kenya’s total national indebtedness on the 23rd February 2011.

“Coming from the farming community and the bread basket of Kenya, I know the problems that farmers are experiencing. I know that every year, we do prepare our land but we never get fertilizer at the right time. We know that because of the importation of fertilizer from other countries; the delays at the Port of Mombasa and the escalating costs of receiving goods at the Coast because of piracy, farmers are suffering. This is because they do not get fertilizer on time. However, when it arrives at the port, apart from accessing it, it is too expensive for most farmers to afford... When we have high production cost in terms of inputs in agricultural sector, you will find that the same farmer who has spent over Kshs3,000 in buying a bag of fertilizer is being paid less than Kshs2,000 for a 90- kilogramme bag of maize. Farmers cannot break even. So, unless we, as a country, come up with proper strategies that can ensure that we have accessibility and affordability of inputs for our farmers, we will continue staying on the list of food insecure nations of the world although we have the capacity and land that can enable us produce food for ourselves. We can produce enough food to even feed this country and other countries beyond.” Read Hansard

Lest we Forget!

Sentiments by Hon. Ekwee Ethuro during debate on the clearance of outstanding shortfall of CDF remittances by finance ministry on 6th October 2010

“This Fund was established under the law and we took the route of the
law because we knew what the other funds, especially the Poverty Eradication Commission and the Rural Development Fund had gone through. They were mismanaged and they have nothing to show. This time round, this Parliament and I want to thank the Government for its support; we decided that the CDF will be implemented through the law. In fact, a country like India, where there is the CDF, it does not have a law as elaborate as the CDF Act. Section 4(2) (a) provides for 2.5 per cent of all ordinary Government revenue in every financial year. The allocation criterion is also within the law. It has not been left to the whims of the Committee or the Minister. This is according to the Act. Section 19(1) of the Act stipulates that 75 per cent of all the funds allocated to the CDF should be allocated equally to the 210 constituencies. The remaining 25 per cent is taken into account by considering the population and the poverty indices.” Read Hansard

Bills in the National Assembly

Bill in the Committee of the Whole

The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 40 of 2014) is sponsored by the Majority Leader Hon. Aden Duale

Bill in the Second Reading

  is sponsored by the Majority Leader Hon. Aden Duale

THE PROHIBITION OF ANTI-PERSONNEL MINES BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 7 OF 2014) is sponsored by the Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

THE FISHERIES MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 20 OF 2014) is sponsored by the Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale




Consideration of the Senate Amendments

The Fertilizers and Animal Foodstuff (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 36 of 2013) is sponsored by the Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Cooperatives Hon. Adan Mohammed Nooru

Newsmaker this week:

MPs unanimously adopted a motion by Taita Taveta women representative Joyce Lay urging the National Council for Law Reporting to progressively translate the Constitution and laws of Kenya into Kiswahili. Ms Lay said the move will see Kenyan courts give judgment to parties in a case in Kiswahili. Members of Parliament agreed that there was need for citizens to understand the Bill of Rights in the Supreme law in order to make justice understandable by a majority of Kenyans. Profile

Parliament recess

Parliament is scheduled for long recess from Friday, 1st May - Monday, 8th June, 2015. However the National Assembly's recess could be cut short, so that they debate and approve the recent appointments of Principal and Cabinet Secretaries.

Government spending to increase 

The Government plans to rise spending by 25 per cent to Sh2.17 trillion in the financial year starting July, with the bulk of the increase going to energy, infrastructure and telecommunications, according to a proposal approved by the Cabinet. Under the new budget, there is an overall increase of 24.9 per cent in funding to all sectors compared to the budget for financial year 2014/15, with Energy, Infrastructure and ICT sectors overtaking Education sector and accounting for 27.3 per cent of total sectoral funding in 2015/16 compared with 21.7 per cent in 2014. The share of education sector in the current fiscal year’s budget that was estimated at Sh1.54 trillion stood at 20 per cent. The budget for fiscal year 2015/16 would also increase spending on security, a sensitive issue particularly after Islamist gunmen from Somalia’s Al-Shabaab killed 148 people in an attack on Garissa University College early this month.

Mzalendo in focus: 

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Blog Awards 2015

Our blog has been nominated, in the political blogs category, in this year’s Blog Awards, organized by the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE). The awards aim to single out bloggers with great creative and innovative, useful and regular content and posts. This year’s awards themed “Content is King”.  We urge you to vote for us. Vote Here

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