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Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 267
3rd February - 7th February 2020

Editorial

Should Deputy Governors Be Forced to Vacate Office in the Event their Bosses (Governors) are Impeached?

During the debate on the impeachment of former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala made clear his intentions to propose amendments to the Constitution on the basis of lessons he drew from the process.

When a governor is elected, he’s elected on a joint ticket with his deputy but when he’s impeached, he’s impeached alone. We will be making proposals to the Constitution that when you impeach a governor since he was elected on a single ticket with his deputy then both are deemed to be impeached (sic),” said Malala.

He went ahead to note that his proposal intends to deter temptation by deputy governors to maliciously engineer the removal of their bosses with an objective of succeeding them.  While the concerns raised are valid and indeed conceivable, the proposed solutions seem unreasonable and unfair for a number of reasons.

Firstly, this proposal will force the deputy governors to erroneously assume responsibility for violations over which they exercise virtually no control. According to the Constitution, the Executive authority at the County Government is domiciled at the Governor’s Office. The powers of the deputy are in fact limited so much so that there are some functions that he/she cannot execute even in an acting capacity as Governor. They are exclusively within the Governor’s domain. Despite being elected jointly, they assume different responsibilities, naturally implying that the power to control an undesirable outcome in which one is implicated might not necessarily be the same. It would, therefore, be logically unsound to commit both of them to the same guillotine yet the degree of responsibility differs. A popular song by the Arusha choir says, Kila mtu atauchukua mzigo wake mwenyewe, to mean everyone will carry their own load come judgment. In the spirit of fairness and justice, any governor involved in malpractice should be held accountable without tarnishing a deputy’s reputation and costing them their job.

News of the Week

Munya wants NCPB, food reserves agency under one roof

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has said he will present a memorandum to the Cabinet seeking approval to merge National Cereals and Produce Board and Strategic Food Reserve (SFR). Mr Munya said the move is one of the major reforms that he is planning to roll out in the ministry in the coming months to ensure efficiency. The CS said it does not make sense to have SFR as a separate entity when its functions can be executed by NCPB.
Mr Munya said the move will also help in bringing to an end conflict of interest as witnessed last year when the agency was at loggerheads with NCPB and the government over the importation of maize.

 

Former President Moi dies at 95

President Uhuru Kenyatta announced on Tuesday that retired president Daniel Moi had passed on. Kenya's longest-serving President died in the early hours of Tuesday at the Nairobi Hospital surrounded by his family.
Moi had been hospitalized in October for breathing problems but was discharged a few weeks later. During his announcement, President Uhuru declared a period of national mourning. Messages of condolences have been streaming in from both local and regional leadership. 
The Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua has declared Tuesday Feb 11 a public holiday for citizens to attend the funeral service at Nyayo stadium.

Kiunjuiri, Kinyua summoned by PAC

Former Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua have been summoned to clear the air over Sh 50 billion spent to import maize. This came after Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga appeared before the Public Accounts Committee where he was unable to thrash doubts over the importation stemming from the fact that some crucial documents for the said importation were missing. 
Dr Boga was required to provide payment vouchers, procurement plans and the presidential directive of February 14th 2016 that he claimed prompted the importation. He was taken to task by the committee after it emerged that what he claimed to be a presidential directive was actually a letter from the Head of Public Service. This has prompted the Committee chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi to summon Mr Kiunjuri and members of the Kinyua committee for questioning on February 24th.
The committee also included former Agriculture minister Willy Bett, former Agriculture PS Richard Lesiyampe, Strategic Food Reserve board chair Dr Noah Wekesa and Treasury PS Julius Muia. It also emerged that the government overshot its budget in the 2016/17 fiscal year to procure the maize without a supplementary budget after Dr Boga confirmed that although Sh6 billion had been set aside for the importation, Sh12 billion was spent.

Chebukati and Haji target fake degrees ahead of 2022 polls

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji said his office, in consultation with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission was putting in place a vetting mechanism ahead of 2022 elections. Among other things, the mechanism will speed up verification of all academic documents presented to ensure “only qualified people are allowed to run for office.”
The DPP added that said this will help improve the quality of debate within the national and county assemblies as well as help improve the legislators’ oversight role on use of public funds. The relevant entities of government will be involved in the exercise with those found to have forged academic certificates held criminally liable, he said.

DPP appeals decision to acquit suspects in Solai Dam tragecy

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin Haji has appealed against the acquittal of nine suspects charged with causing 48 deaths in Solai dam tragedy two years ago, two days after a Naivasha court made the ruling.
He termed the decision as unfair and an abuse of the rights of the victims of the dam tragedy. This came as Naivasha Chief Magistrate Kennedy Bidali, who acquitted the nine, dismissed a petition by the KHRC seeking to be enjoined in the case. Bidali noted that the ruling which freed the suspects had covered the issues of the petition noting that in the past victims had sworn an affidavit against been represented in the court.
The magistrate, however, declined to issue orders asked for by the defense seeking to have sureties of the suspects discharged saying that this would be handled by the upper court. In the case, Perry Manusukh Kanasagara the owner of the farm and eight others, were charged with 48 counts of manslaughter on May 9, 2018 in Solai, Nakuru. The other eight are Vinoj Jaya Kumar, Johnson Njuguna, Luka Kipyegen, Winnie Muthoni, Jacinta Were, Tomkin Odo Odhiambo, Williec Omondi and Lynette Cheruiyot.
State Counsel Alexander Muteti said that they had already gone to the court to seek the revision of the case which has been going on for the last eighteen months. He said that they would be seeking orders to stop the ruling by the magistrate and for the case to proceed to its logical conclusion.

Duale calls for Special Sitting

Majority Leader Aden Duale has called for a special sitting of Parliament on Monday, February 10th. Duale said the legislators will use the sitting to consider a motion to alter the House calendar to propose resumption on the Feb 13th instead of February 11th. This comes after Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i gazetted Tuesday as a holiday for Kenyans to mourn Moi. President Uhuru Kenyatta will lead Kenyans in viewing Moi's body at Parliament building on Saturday.
Duale said the sitting will also be used to read Uhuru's message regarding the appointment of the new Cabinet Secretaries and the Principal Secretaries who were appointed while the House was on recess.

School stampede kills 14 students

Fourteen pupils died while at least 39 were seriously wounded in a stampede at Kakamega Primary School on Monday. Some pupils who survived the stampede claimed that a teacher was chasing them to leave the institution after classes in the evening. However, there has not been an official explanation yet on the cause of the tragedy that left many in shock.
Western Region Police Commander Peris Kimani on Monday said 20 pupils were treated at the county's general and referral hospital and discharged. Reports indicated that the learners were running out of class at 5 pm when the tragedy occurred. It is said that some fell from the third floor of the building.

Quote of the Week

"The Kakamega Primary school tragedy is heart-wrenching. The pictures of the children deeply traumatizing. What in the world would cause such a gory incident? I hope the usual rhetoric will not follow."

Quote by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr following the Kakamega Primary School Stampede on Monday evening that claimed the lives of 14 students.

Lest we forget

"We hope as we look for answers for what the Senator has asked, we will be able to unearth whether the building was approved. Had engineers inspected it, or it was built without their input? There are many questions that need to be answered not just for this case, but for other schools, including the one in Ol Kalou because it is in deplorable condition."

Comments by Uasin Gishu Senator Prof Margaret Kamar contributing to the Statement on the Precious Top Talent School tragedy on September 25th 2019.

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