Copy






Mzalendo's Weekly Newsletter

Issue No 53: 5 - 11, 2015


News of the Week:  
  • Mzalendo study shows women parliamentarians offer value as much as men. The under-representation of Kenyan women in matters of politics and governance necessitated the formulation of the two thirds gender principle to ensure that women have a say. Despite the introduction of the two thirds gender rule, Women Parliamentarians continue to be subjected to stereotypes, sexism and accusations of incompetence. Mzalendo analyzed their contributions to the Hansard for the March 2013 – June 2015 period to assess the value they bring to their constituencies, counties and the country as a whole. From the study, Women Parliamentarians contributions span a wide variety of interests and topics, disproving the notion that most women parliamentarians only cover issues related to women. Read more, and download the report and Infographic.
 
  • Kenya's parliamentarians have made curious additions to their retirement package. Not only will they continue living off taxpayers money (Sh100,000) for the rest of their lives in monthly stipends, they want psychiatric services or a counselor too. And this is to be paid for by the taxpayer. According to the lawmakers, the emotional turmoil of losing an election makes life "psychologically difficult" for them, hence the need for a soft emotional landing to bring them from their elitist life to that of a commoner. They described the Parliamentary Society of Kenya Bill as a "rescue" plan to save former MPs from a life of extreme poverty. But they make no mention of the generous taxpayer-funded perks like monthly salary of close to Sh1 million, Sh20 million mortgage and a free car worth Sh3.3 million they get during their term in office. The legislators say the bill will be an appreciation for their selfless services to the country. "As a result there are stories of ex-members including their partners suffering nervous breakdown, divorce, heart attacks, alcoholism, school debts and even bankruptcy. This bill therefore seeks to come to the rescue of former members, some of whom have offered selfless service to the country," reads the memo on the Parliamentary Society of Kenya Bill which went through the Third Reading. There are about 371 former MPs and the number is likely to go up given the high turnover rate with every election. A significant number of the 349 sitting MPs could find themselves among beneficiaries.
      
  • Parliament’s wage bill rose by more than Sh2 billion in the last one year, underlining the burden Kenyans are bearing to maintain an expanded House and enhanced perks for the legislators. The Controller of Budget’s latest report for the year ending June 2015 shows that the wage bill of the National Assembly and the Senate stood at Sh11.2 billion, an increase from Sh9.2 billion a year earlier. The increase is attributed to additional law makers and the pay deal agreed in 2013 with Deputy President William Ruto that cut MPs’ basic pay, but only in exchange for a tax-free car grant, mileage allowances, pensions and unlimited committee sessions that guarantee hefty meeting perks. Parliament’s wage bill has been climbing steadily under the devolved system that has 418 members, including 68 senators and 47 women representatives, up from 222 legislators under the centralised system of government. The wage bill of the current Parliament is equal to the entire budget for the House for the year ending June 2013. In addition to their wages, the legislators also spent Sh4.1 billion in travel last year. In total, the recurrent budget for the two Houses was Sh20.5 billion. The Parliamentary Service Commission pays salaries and allowances of the legislators and their staff, but the bulk of the payment is taken by the lawmakers, whose salaries increase by about eight per cent annually.
     
  • Parliament has been hit by a serious cash crunch, to an extent that expenses and other allowances for the 349 MPs are not being processed. MPs are unable to pay their constituency staff and they are already complaining of being broke, just five days after they were paid. So grim is the situation that Kenya Power (KP) disconnected power at the main Parliament Buildings on Friday over contested bills and electricity was restored Monday afternoon after high-level intervention. The MPs have put the accountants at Parliament on the edge because they are tired of the terse response whenever they make claims that there's no money. The fury of the lawmakers made the managers of the bicameral Parliament call an urgent meeting with the Treasury to agree on how the billions of shillings earmarked for the august House in the current financial year will be disbursed. PSC, which is tasked with handling the pay issues of MPs both in the Senate and the National Assembly, has been under siege from staff and even MPs on why there was a delay in the payment of salaries and allowances, including a marked delay in the processing of mileage claims. The MPs are under pressure from their constituency staff, many of whom have not been paid since the beginning of the current financial year on July 1 this year.

     
  • Senior government officers who are re-appointed to other public bodies will not be vetted by Parliament before assuming the new posts if a proposed law is passed. This will see holders of positions such as Inspector General of Police, the Central Bank governor, Auditor-General, Chief Justice, Cabinet and principal secretaries transferred to other bodies without fresh parliamentary approval. The proposed law will give room to the President to transfer senior government workers without seeking the nod of legislators who recently blocked the appointment of Interior Principal Secretary Monica Juma as Secretary to the Cabinet. “The approval procedure set out in this Act shall not apply to re-appointments except in cases where there have been formal complaints on performance or integrity on the part of the proposed appointee,” reads the amendment contained in the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2015. The Bill contains minor changes to multiple Acts and in this case is amending the Public Appointments (Parliamentary Approval) Act. Senior public servants being re-appointed to another institution must be vetted afresh under the current law. The provision for parliamentary vetting of senior government officers was introduced in the Constitution to check practices like cronyism and tribalism. It was also meant to promote merit and ensure only individuals who demonstrated high integrity were appointed.
       
  • MPs have recommended changes to 11 laws to reinforce the war against poaching. In a report, the committee on Environment and Natural Resources also wants the Kenya Wildlife Service management restructured so that it can actively engage with officers and rangers on the ground. Committee Chair Hon. Amina Abdalla tabled the report in the National Assembly after a year-long investigation. Although it does not expressly say it, the committee appears to agree with the ministry that there is no need to declare poaching a national disaster. It, however, states: “The threat posed by commercial poaching and bush meat poaching requires immediate attention… (and) the current ability of KWS to deal with this poaching is significantly wanting.” The team concluded from its meetings with stakeholders that KWS is in serious need of reforms.
 
  • MPs accused Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i of drafting a separate Bill on access to information to replace one generated in Parliament. Dr Matiang’i appeared before the committee to explain the delay in making changes to the private member’s Bill sponsored by Nyeri Woman Representative Hon. Priscilla Nyokabi and the drafting of the Data Protection Bill. The CS said the two Bills needed to be brought to Parliament at the same time, as having an access-to-information law without a data protection regime was dangerous. Mr. Baiya told the CS to stick to the two-week deadline. He said the Bill was already past the deadline by which it was supposed to have been passed by Parliament and forwarded to the President. 
 
  • MPs and senators are set for a fresh supremacy battle after the latter said they would reject a proposed change to the Constitution to transfer administration of the Sh6 billion Equalisation Fund to the constituencies. The proposal received overwhelming support in the National Assembly after 246 MPs turned up in the House last week to vote to put the fund under their custody. It required at least 233 votes to pass. However, the MPs’ hopes of managing the fund could be short-lived as their Senate counterparts have vowed to shoot down the Bill when it goes to Senate for concurrence before the President signs it into law. The Constitutional (amendment) Bill sponsored by Hon. Lati Lelelit seeks to change Article 204 (3) (b) which says the money can be distributed to marginalized areas “indirectly or directly” through the counties. The fund is kept by the National Treasury but the Constitution tasks the national government to directly or indirectly work with the counties in distributing it. The MPs want that government to send the money through the constituencies.


.
  
Editorial:  Women legislators are Equal to the Task



Article 81 of the Constitution stipulates that there should not be more than two thirds gender in elective and appointive positions. As Kenyans ponder on the final formula, findings from a research Mzalendo conducted suggests women have earned the political positions they hold and make valuable contributions. Some of our key findings were: First, Women MPs offer just as much value as their male counterparts. Secondly, women parliamentarians are not just concerned about women issues. Thirdly, women MPs are quite knowledgeable. Lastly, there is no marked difference in contributions of women Parliamentarians whether elected, nominated or selected under affirmative action. Even so, for women to be given an equal footing in competitive politics, sustained public pressure is essential. Read more



Quote of the Week

Sentiments by Hon. John Michuki when commenting on whether government used to seek guarantees before giving loans to institutions on 17th July 2008


“…They were given those loans by an order of the people who were then in the Government. Having given instructions that loans be extended, whether it was to Nzoia, Mumias or whoever, it was being done with the hope that those companies and individuals will be able to repay them. So, the question of guarantees at that time did not come into being, other than the letter that the Minister had written, and many others that were written thereafter! They were letters of comfort which did not amount to a guarantee and, yet, they were acceptable to the bank itself!” Read Hansard




 Lest we Forget!

 

Sentiments by Hon. Otieno Kajwang' responding to a question on making it compulsory for all primary school leavers and secondary school leavers to be issued with ID cards on 20th April 2011


“…I said that at the age of 12 years, a young person’s thumb print is now stabilized and cannot change. At 12 years, we can capture their records and give them ID cards. We can even call them Junior ID cards, so that they are distinguished from the ones for the adults. Even if we do not call them that, somebody can still check just from the face of an ID and see that one is under 18 years, and will not be allowed into bars and other places. However, I was met with a lot of hostility all over the country. I think the assumption was that I was opening doors for young people to vote. This was not necessary; I am sure the officers who run elections would know whether you are an adult or not. If the hon. Member could help me, he can bring a Bill to the House to amend the Registration of Persons’ Act to say that any person at the age of 12 years ought to be registered. I would be glad to do it.” Read Hansard


 

Newsmaker this week:


A law has been passed to set up a national institution to keep data on the unemployed. It will be the first place the government looks to when job vacancies arise. The National Employment Authority will be headed by a director-general and will have offices in every county to advise the national and county governments on employment policies. The National Youth Employment Bill was changed significantly, on the advice of the Labour and Social Welfare Committee, and the functions of the authority broadened to encompass all unemployed people, not just the youth. The word “youth” was also taken out of the title. Its sponsor Hon. Johnson Sakaja said having a National Youth Employment Authority would be discriminatory. The authority will be required to circulate all job vacancies advertised using social media, the Internet and published materials and provide counseling to the unemployed. Each county would be required to set up an employment centre for this purpose. Profile



Bills before the National Assembly

Bills in the First Reading

THE CONSTITUTION OF KENYA (AMENDMENT) (No. 5) BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO.56 OF 2015) is sponsored by Hon. Nicholas Gumbo
 
THE ELECTIONS LAWS (AMENDMENT) (NO.2) BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 53 OF 2015) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 
THE NATURAL RESOURCES (CLASSES OF TRANSACTIONS SUBJECT TO RATIFICATION) BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 54 OF 2015) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 

Bills in the Second Reading
THE ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGISTS AND TECHNICIANS BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 07 OF 2015) is sponsored by Hon. Cecilia Ng'etich
 
THE AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD AUTHORITY (AMENDMENT) BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO.17 OF 2015) is sponsored by Hon. Silas Tiren
 
THE HEALTH RECORDS AND INFORMATION MANAGERS BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 24 OF 2015) is sponsored by Hon. Agostinho Neto
 
THE COMMUNITY LAND BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 45OF 2015) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 
THE PHYSICAL PLANNING BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 46 OF 2015) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 
THE LAND LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 55 OF 2015) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 
THE SMALL CLAIMS COURT BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 50 OF 2015) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 
THE COURT OF APPEAL (ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION) BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 52 OF 2015) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 
THE PETROLEUM (EXPLORATION DEVELOPMENT AND PRODUCTION) BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 44 OF 2015) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 
THE COMMUNITY LAND BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 45 OF 2015) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 
THE PHYSICAL PLANNING BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 46 OF 2015) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 
THE ACCESS TO INFORMATION BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 36 OF 2015) is sponsored by Hon. Priscilla Nyokabi

THE BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERS BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 37 OF 2015) is sponsored by Hon. Stephen Mule



Before in the Committee of the Whole
The Parliamentary Society of Kenya Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 35 of 2013) is sponsored by Hon. Adan Keynan

The Kenya National Examination Council (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 03 of 2015 is sponsored by Hon. Emmanuel Wangwe


 

Bills before the Senate

 Bills in the Second Reading

THE HIV AND AIDS PREVENTION AND CONTROL (AMENDMENT) BILL (SENATE BILL NO. 4 OF 2015) is sponsored by Sen. Wilfred Machage
 
THE OFFICE OF THE COUNTY ATTORNEY BILL, (SENATE BILL NO. 37 OF 2014) is sponsored by the Chairperson, Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights Sen. Amos Wako
 
THE KENYA NATIONAL EXAMINATIONS COUNCIL (AMENDMENT) BILL, SENATE BILLS NO. 7 OF 2015 is sponsored by Sen. David Musila
 
THE PRESERVATION OF HUMAN DIGNITY AND ENFORCEMENT OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RIGHTS BILL, SENATE BILL NO. 8 OF 2015 is sponsored by Sen. Hassan Omar

 
  
Bills before Committee of the Whole

THE UNIVERSITIES (AMENDMENT) BILL (SENATE BILL NO. 31 OF 2014) is sponsored by Sen. Halima Abdille


THE PUBLIC APPOINTMENTS (COUNTY ASSEMBLY APPROVAL) BILL (SENATE BILL NO. 20 OF 2014) is sponsored by the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Labour and Social Welfare Sen. Stewart Madzayo
 
THE COUNTY EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION BILL, (SENATE BILL NO. 32 OF 2014) is sponsored by the Chairperson, Standing Committee on Education Sen. Daniel Karaba




Public Participation

The National Assembly is seeking contributions on the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendment) Bill 2015 and Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2015. The Bills has undergone first reading and has been committed to the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs for consideration and thereafter report to the House. Submissions on the Bill can be sent to Clerk of the National Assembly, P.O. Box 41842 – 00100 or hand delivered to the office of the Clerk, Main Parliament Buildings or emailed to  clerk@parliament.go.ke  on or before 5.00pm, Friday 16th October 2015.



Access to information Bill

There is a draft Access to Information Bill 2015 which intends to give effect to Article 35 of the Constitution; to confer on the Commission on Administrative Justice the oversight and enforcement functions and powers and for connected purposes. You can download and read it here


Community Land Bill
 
The Community land Bill which is yet to be tabled in Parliament aims to give effect to article 63 (5) of the Constitution. The Bill provides the recognition, protection and registration of community land rights, the management and administration of community land and the role of County governments in relation to unregistered community land. Land being a political hot potato in Kenya the Bill has already stirred an emotive debate within the political circles. Read the Bill here


 
Follow on Twitter   Friend on Facebook    Forward to Friend 
Copyright © |2014| |Mzalendo|, All rights reserved.


Please share your thoughts:
info@mzalendo.org
unsubscribe from this list   update subscription preferences