Mzalendo's Weekly Newsletter

Issue no. 16, 19 - 25  January 2015

News of the Week:
  • The Senate has won a hard fought battle after President Uhuru Kenyatta allowed it to review the Mining Bill that the National Assembly passed late last year, sparking a controversy. Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki confirmed that the Bill will be prioritized once they resume sitting on February 10th. The push for a new mining law sparked turf wars between the two chambers of Parliament with the National Assembly threatening to scrap of the Senate if it insisted on reviewing the Bill.

  • Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale has been summoned by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission to explain the speech he made during the burial of Raila Odinga’s son, Fidel. The senator said that he had been asked to appear before the Commission but he will not honor the summons until the commission showed why he should not be critical of the government. He accused the commission chaired by former House Speaker Francis Ole Kaparo of being used by the government to silence President Kenyatta’s critics.

  • The simmering row between MPs and Cabinet secretaries was revisited at the Jubilee coalition retreat in Naivasha at the weekend as legislators renewed their criticism of the ministers, whom they accused of failing to meet them to plan development projects. The retreat, attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta, was called to evaluate the performance of the coalition in and out of Parliament. The MPs are unhappy with Cabinet secretaries because they were not as accessible as their predecessors. They said this made it difficult for MPs to press for their constituents' concerns.
  • Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter was filmed threatening and insulting police officers and workers at the Gilgil weighbridge on the Nairobi-Nakuru road. The expletive-laden rant was recorded by one of the officers using a cell phone. Mr. Keter was accompanied by his URP colleague, nominated MP Sunjeev Birdi, whose truck with a drilling rig, had been detained because it lacked an exemption permit as required by law. The MPs declined to apologize for their dishonorable behavior claiming they were fighting corruption. The matter is under investigations.
  • Strained relations between the Judiciary and the Executive will be the main agenda when President Uhuru Kenyatta meets Speakers of both Houses and the Chief Justice. The meeting will dwell on court rulings said to have undermined Parliament and the Executive. The President made the commitment in response to concerns by MPs that the relationship between the Executive and the Judiciary is being strained by decisions judges have been making. The MPs are unhappy with several rulings including the one that has thrown the laptop project into disarray as well as the Court of Appeal’s decline to lift suspension of parts of the new security laws in the ongoing case. President Kenyatta did not, however, state when the meeting would be held.
  • The Court of Appeal declined to reinstate Security Laws (Amendment) Act clauses which had been suspended by the High Court. Court ruled that Attorney-General Githu Muigai has not proved that the suspension of the clauses has created a vacuum in fighting terrorism. Read Why the Eight Clauses were Suspended

  Public Participation Opportunities

The Senate has planned for public hearings on the Commission on Revenue Allocations (CRA's) new formula recommendations that were submitted to the Senate last year in December. The hearings as slated for this Thursday, 29 January 2015 from 9:00am-1:00pm at County Hall, 1st Floor Parliament buildings.

Editorial: Allocations to Constituencies and Counties call for your Participation 

This year will be the 12th, since CDF has been disbursed to Constituencies. In the financial year 2013-2014, a total of sh21,973,899,997 was allocated while in this financial year 2014-2015, sh33 billion has been allocated. The passage of the Affirmative Action Social Development Bill, will see the 47 Women Reps secure Sh2.03 billion from Treasury for social empowerment in their counties. It is clear that allocations to MPs in this financial year will be over sh35 billion, a colossal amount that should go into good use because it is taxpayers money. It is only fair that those who pay these taxes not only have a say in how the funds are used but also participate in the planning process. Read more

Quote of the Week

Sentiments by Hon. James Opiyo Wandayi on 5th August 2014, when discussing the irregular land allocation in Lamu County

“No amount of public relations; no amount of buck passing and no amount of spin work will drive the question of land under the carpet. It is a question that the Jubilee Government must confront head on. Jubilee is the most culpable entity in land grabbing. It is true that land grabbing began in earnest in 1963...” Read Hansard

Lest we Forget!

Sentiments by Hon. Yusuf Chanzu on 17th May 2011 while contributing to debate on The Salaries and Remuneration Commission Bill

It is very difficult to quantify the job of a Member of Parliament. Some of us are on duty 24 hours, but somebody believes that the time we appear in Parliament is the only time we are working. I heard one of the FM stations claim that MPs only work for three days; that is, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. There must be a way of quantifying the amount of work an MP does. This can only work if we are honest enough.” Read Hansard

Newsmaker this week:

The parliamentary Committee on Education has asked the higher education regulator to withdraw new quality check fees that will see universities pay in excess of Sh350 million. House committee vice-chairman Julius Melly said the charges imposed by the Commission for University Education would make tertiary education expensive as universities pass on the additional expenses to students. Universities previously paid a flat rate of Sh20, 000 for the quality checks but the revised fees are pegged on the student population. This means that CUE will raise its collection from about Sh1.2 million – based on Kenya’s 58 universities – to more than Sh350 million. He said increasing it as proposed will make higher education expensive contrary to efforts to ensure more children access higher education. But the CUE said the additional cash would help it boost the monitoring of universities as the Federation of Kenya Employers regularly raises the red flag over the persistent mismatch in what industry requires and the skills that university graduates enter the labour market with.

Call to Participate:

Over the next two weeks, Mzalendo gives you an opportunity to present views on what Parliament should discuss when they re-open. Feel free to post your comment on our blog, Facebook page or Twitter handle using the hashtag #BungeKE2015.  Opinion collection ends on 2nd February, midnight. The views will then be collated and presented to Parliament just before it re-opens. Over to you!

NTA Launches the Community Integrated Building Approach 

The National Taxpayers Association (NTA) launched the Community Integrity Building (CIB) Approach and the Development Check Application (DCA) on 27th January 2015.  Prior to the launch, NTA in collaboration with Integrity Action facilitated and supported the implementation of a Community Integrity Building pilot project which focused on the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in Homa Bay Town and Karachuonyo constituencies, Homa Bay County. In this project, NTA piloted the use of Development Check application in monitoring the use of devolved resources. The Community Integrated Building Approach is “a locally driven approach that helps to identify and implement appropriate and viable solutions to improve the integrity of public infrastructure and services.” This approach integrates five phases and within each phase, there are steps to follow and tools to use. These phases are Context Sensitivity, Joint Learning, Evidence Base, Constructive Engagement, and lastly, Closing the Loop. Check or for more information.
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