Mzalendo's Weekly Newsletter

Issue no. 13, 15 - 21  December 2014

News of the Week:
  • MPs clashed in the House before a Bill meant to fight terrorism sailed through the Second Reading. The Security Laws (Amendments) Bill 2014, gives President Uhuru Kenyatta more powers over security bosses and the government more leeway in the fight against terrorism. The House had to physically vote twice, first to bring to an end the debate before the scheduled two hours and secondly, to push through the Bill to the Third Stage, which is one step from the National Assembly passing it. The Bill takes away some fundamental rights and freedoms that are guaranteed in the Constitution.

  • A petition has been tabled before the National Assembly seeking the removal of five commissioners of the National Police Service Commission (NPSC). The petition wants the National Assembly to commence proceedings into the removal of NPSC Chairman Johnston Kavuludi,  Ronald Musengi, Murshid Mohammed, Major Muiu, Shadrack Mutia and Matu Auma Owuor for being in office illegally and conducting the commission's business contrary to the Constitution. The commissioners are accused of gross misconduct in performance of their functions and incompetence in the conduct of vetting and promotion of police officers "without proper regulations in place to guide the process". 
  • Lawmakers approved a request by the Treasury to raise the maximum amount it can borrow from Sh1.2 trillion to Sh2.5 trillion. The increase is to allow the government to finance key infrastructure projects. The motion was passed despite opposition from a number of MPs, who argued that the current debt was already high enough and a burden to taxpayers and it would be unfair to raise it further.
  • Parliamentarians could see some of their allowances slashed as the Salaries and Remunerations Commission (SRC) plans to scrap certain allowances that the legislators are unable to justify. A study it commissioned revealed that some MPs sitting in special committees were getting duplicate allowances under different titles. For example, MPs who chair committees have been getting a sitting allowance of Sh15, 000 for the chairperson and Sh12, 500 for the vice-chairperson and yet they were still entitled to a “Special Parliamentary Duty Allowance” (SPDA). This means the MPs are getting monthly duty allowances of between Sh78, 000 and Sh150, 000 for chairing the meetings, on top of their special sitting allowances.
  • The National Bank of Kenya (NBK) has declined to reveal names of the security chiefs behind an account that Parliament said was used to withdraw up to Sh2.85 billion in the run-up to the last General Election. The account, which the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) described as being “irregular,” was used to draw funds from the Central Bank of Kenya without any documentation to show intended usage for the cash in line with government accounting requirements. NBK said it could not name the signatories, citing customer confidentiality rules. In its report released two weeks ago, PAC called for the immediate closure of the account and recommended to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate the account and bring to book the accounting officers who operated it.
  • The National Assembly starts its  annual recess on Friday, 19th December. It will resume on 14th February 2015. 
Editorial: Parliament has the Capacity to make Kenya Cohesive

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) recent report is troubling. Kenya’s mutual suspicions are stoked by land grievances, youth unemployment, growing drug and substance abuse, delinquency and crime, food insecurity, income inequality and poor infrastructure. By the look of the issues, it is evident that they are systemic, institutional and historical. This is the main reason why Parliament has the greatest role in making Kenya cohesive. Read more

Quote of the Week

Comments on the Security laws (Amendment) Bill 2014 raised by Hon. Nicholas Gumbo on Tuesday 9th December 2014.

“Indeed, there is no denying that our country is going through extraordinary challenges and it is incumbent upon us, as the body trusted with making laws, to take steps to address this situation. However, even as we go through this process, it is my hope that the amendments that will be brought here will observe strict fidelity to the Constitution. The policies and the laws that we are going to make here should observe the provisions of the supreme law of the land. Even as we do that, I have said it here before and I want to say it again, sometimes, laws exist merely because of perversity of nobility. Indeed, I believe that it is possible that some of the interventions that we need can be done without necessarily having to result to these amendments.” Read Hansard

Lest we Forget!

Comments from Parliament following the outbreak of violence/riots in Mombasa following the shooting of Sheikh Aboud Rogo as stated by Hon. Jakoyo Midiwo

“This House is united in condemning what is happening around this country. There is fear in saying that the police must do their work. If there is any leader, Christian or Muslim, who is interested in having us have religious wars, that leader must be brought to book. In any civilized nation, the police do not hesitate to do their work... I want to plead with all of us that, we as leaders, must lead this country to run away from things that will make us destroy our country.” Read Hansard

Peoples Shujaaz Awards 2014 Finalists; 

Wanjiku’s Best Representative - Education (National Assembly) 2014 - Hon. Boniface Gatobu

Wanjiku’s Best Representative - Education (Senate) 2014 – Sen. Boni Khalwale

Wanjiku’s Best Representative (water) 2014 – Hon. Amina Abdalla

Wanjiku’s Best Representative - food) 2014 –  Sen. Beatrice Elachi

Wanjiku’s Best Representative – Health (Senate) 2014 – Sen. Wilfred Machage

Wanjiku’s Best Representative – Health (National Assembly) 2014 – Hon. James Nyikal

Wanjiku’s Best Representative (Youth) 2014 – Hon. Chrisantus Wamalwa

Wanjiku’s Best Representative – Budgetary oversight 2014 – Hon. John Mbadi

Wanjiku’s Best representative – oversight (progressive legislation) 2014 – Hon. Kabando wa Kabando

Wanjiku’s Best Representative – Devolution 2014 – Sen. Kithure Kindiki

  • The National Assembly convenes for a special meeting to endorse the nomination of Kajiado Central MP Joseph Nkaissery as the Interior Affairs Cabinet Secretary. The sitting will also discuss the Security Laws (Amendment) Bill.
Newsmaker this week:

Senator Kithure Kindiki has called for sober conversations about the County. He feels that the tough times Kenya is going through will not last long. He urged that Kenyans should stop fixing the blame and start fixing the problem. The key to sorting our homeland security threats is to put them in perspective. Kindiki opined that Kenyans shouldn't underrate or underestimate them. Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly. Profile

Christmas Wishes

This is the last Newsletter for 2014. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. The Newsletter resumes 2nd week of January.

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