Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 178
19 March - 25 March, 2018


Is Parliament a House of Cards?

Kenya is a country of great paradox. People who run down this country and steal billions of taxpayer’s money and store them in offshore accounts are accorded VIP treatment whether they’re coming or leaving the country. On the other hand, a man whose only mistake is to be extremely loud, annoying and unafraid to speak truth to power is treated in an undignified manner and threatened with deportation.

Parliament has summoned high public officers, ‘cartels’ and nearly everybody named or connected to a scandal; grilled them for hours, retreated in some posh lodge, wrote a report and made recommendations, yet we have never really recovered money lost through these scandals. In short Parliamentary committees are not strong enough to scare anyone.

No wonder the police act with impunity, for example chasing a university student and shooting him at point blank like they did the Meru University student leader. We’ve seen police brutality targeted mostly at those living in informal dwellings with no top dollar lawyers to make their case. They just don’t care because at the end of the day, they’ll give some funny story in a Parliamentary meeting or ignore the summons all the same and nothing will happen in the end. It’s really sad.

Parliament as the institution that make laws in this country should not be comfortable with the complete disregard of the law from anyone, not even the highest office in the land. More importantly, Parliament is the voice of the people and when the Constitution refers to, “We, the people” it places that burden squarely on the August House as the elected leaders of the people.

A properly functioning Parliament therefore can’t and must not carry on with the House Business when there is blatant disregard for the rule of law. Indeed, MPs ought to understand that their oath of office does not limit them to the making of laws only but overseeing its implementation and addressing challenges resulting from inability to implement any such laws.

Since taking oath of office we’ve seen an increased shrinking of media space so much so that at least seven Columnists resigned from Nation Media Group’s (NMG) Daily Nation to protest lack of editorial independence. Since the new MPs took oath of office we’ve seen the continuation of the crackdown on the Civil Society Organizations and the unashamed attempt by government to shut any form of criticism.

All this has happened but our MPs are not outraged enough to act. In fact the only time the MPs appeared worked up on the floor of the house was when a member mentioned how a con-man was stealing from MPs and another sending nude photos. Needless to mention millions of Kenyans get bombarded with annoying messages from inmates believed to be from Kamiti Maximum Prison and yet ignore because those responsible can do nothing about it

News of the Week

IEBC quized over spending in 2013 polls

MPs appear dissatisfied with IEBC’s responses as the electoral agency is hard pressed to explain the decision to spend over Sh220million to buy 290 printers. The MPs in the Public Accounts Committee led by their Chairman Opiyo Wandai accused IEBC of being influenced by Cartels to fleece the taxpayers.

Wetangula grudgingly accepts verdict by Senators to de-whip him

Bungoma Senator and NASA co-principal, Moses Wetangula told ODM Party and their leader Raila Odinga to keep the Senate Minority Leader position ahead of a NASA Senate retreat meeting that was to decide his fate. The Ford Kenya leader was bitter the former Prime Minister did not admonish the Senators whom he said harassed and humiliated him in the presence of Raila Odinga at a meeting that Raila called to help salvage the situation. 

Opposition chief, Raila Odinga found it difficult to convince NASA Senators to reconsider their decision on Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetangula. In a meeting that lasted more than 2hours the Senators are said to have appeared defiant but nonetheless resolved to go on retreat that will put the matter to rest. NASA leadership was hoping the retreat would lead to the reinstatement of Bungoma Senator as leader of Minority but he has since declined the expected offer.

Reprieve for Health CS after MPs withdraw impeachment motion

MPs abandoned their quest to remove from office the Health Cabinet Secretary, Sicily Kariuki after being prevailed upon by the Jubilee leadership. Mandera North MP, Bashir Abdullahi withdrew his motion to impeach the Health CS which had a lot of support from members allied to the ruling Jubilee party after the President and his deputy reportedly intervened. The MP, in a press statement, accompanied by leader of majority in the National Assembly, Aden Duale, said he met with the Jubilee party leadership and agreed that the matter be solved internally.

Government scraps age and term limits for State corporations

State Corporation CEOs can now serve for life following a circular to all ministries copied to the Cabinet Secretaries, Permanent Secretaries and the Attorney General from the Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua. The said CEOs no longer have to worry about retirement age of 60years after govt moved to scrap age and term limits.

Critics wonder how the govt plans to offer jobs to the youth while retaining those who are past retirement. Additionally, by government statistics 35% of government employees are above the age of 50 and another 53% are above 46 years. Others also see the government directive as a way of protecting some individuals whose term limit and age do not allow for continuation like the KRA boss among others.

Aukot and his party want number of MPs reduced

Leader of the Third Way Alliance Party, Ekuru Aukot is pushing for a national referendum to have the number of MPs reduced from the current 349 to 100 and that of Senators increased from the current 67 to 94.  The party got a boost after meeting IEBC officials to discuss the matter considering only a month ago the electoral agency had declined a meeting with the party asking that they either get a million signatures through popular initiative or channel their issue through the National Assembly.

Quote of the Week

"I am detained inside a tiny and filthy toilet without access to basic hygiene and necessities of life."

Quote by Opposition Activist and self-declared, National Resistance Movement (NRM) General, Dr. Miguna Miguna following his incommunicado detention at the JKIA on March 28, 2018.

Lest we forget

"Ultimately, I believe that we were all elected to this House to ensure that Kenyans are given the best that they can get from whichever side of the House."

Sentiments by H.E President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta (as opposition leader) when moving the motion on adoption of PAC report on special audit on procurement of passport issuing equipment
 on April 5, 2006.

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

Edith Nyenze made headlines this week after winning the Kitui West by-elections with a landslide. Mrs Nyenze found herself taking on four other opponents for the position that fell vacant following her husband, Francis Nyenze's death. Despite a low turn out, she won with 14,372 votes and her closest opponent garnering 2, 046. Mrs Nyenze brings the number of women MPs to the National Assembly at 77 which while an improvement, still fails to meet the Constitutional threshold. 


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Mzalendo Trust, Heinrich Boll Foundation,
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P. O. Box 21765 00505 Nairobi, Kenya

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