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Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 97
15 - 21 August, 2016

Editorial

Are the Campaign Financing Limits Realistic – How Will They Be Tracked?

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) invoked Article 88 (4)(i) of the Constitution that allows them to regulate the amount of money that may be spent by or on behalf of a candidate or party in respect of any election through a Gazette notice last week. The announcement was made in good faith and with the view of creating, “…equal opportunity for eligible persons to compete in elections by not allowing money or resources to be a key determinant of the outcome” their statement read, only it does the opposite.

For starters the capping of the expenditure’s main goal is to discourage the corruption that elected officials engage in solely to secure their positions in the next election. In light of this argument, wouldn’t it have been prudent to cap the expenditure (at least for candidates) at half the total amount they earn for the entire period they are serving?

For example if an MP earns about Ksh. 1 million per month, then it follows that this MP makes Ksh 12 Million per year and therefore Ksh. 60 Million after his term. Assuming he or she is so frugal and was spending only half of his or her salary, then the MP can honestly (and this is quite a stretch) afford only Ksh. 30 million to run his or her campaign at the end of his term. In any case, does it mean if one doesn’t have money they should not seek a legislative post?

Accordingly, why should any candidate invest Ksh.432 million to vie for Nairobi’s gubernatorial position? Are Kenyans supposed to elect businessmen or servants? Indeed such a candidate will spend the better part of his term recovering the money he used during campaign at the expense of the county’s development agenda. Having said that, it is important to reiterate that what IEBC is trying to do despite the gaping challenges is quite necessary considering the place of money in Kenyan politics; more so during the campaign period. More often than not the poor leadership on display is usually because the best candidate was arm-twisted out of the ticket during party elections because they didn’t have enough money to impress the party.

The 2013 campaigns saw parties cashing in big on candidates hoping to get nominations. Majority parties were charging Ksh. 1 million for candidates challenging party flag bearer, Ksh. 300,000 and Ksh. 200,000 for Governors, Senators and MPs respectively. Interestingly, smaller yet visible parties also made a killing from the defectors who claimed they were rigged out of nomination from the bigger parties.

News of the Week

Parliament races against time to ensure new IEBC team in office

Parliament is working hard to make the election laws reforms in time to ensure the seven-member electoral commission is in office by end of September. The joint Parliamentary select committee crossed a last minute hurdle in a bid to meet the 30-day deadline. Immediately their report is adopted by Parliament, a nine-member panel drawn from the clergy and the Parliament select commission will begin the recruitment of the new commissioners.

Meanwhile the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) have published an international tender reported to be worth Ksh 3.9 Billion for the supply of ballot papers and poll registers.

 

Senator MP Wrangles are a result of ambiguous laws says Speaker Muturi

The ego battles between Members of Parliament and Senators are as a result of vague constitutional articles said National Assembly Speaker Justine Muturi. He gave a case of Article 218 conflicting with Article 95 (4)(a) where the former says the division of revenue Bills must be introduced to Parliament; meaning both houses, while the latter says National Assembly should determine allocation between levels of government. A team of experts from the National Assembly and the Senate will be formed to address the matter.
 

New law to give Senators funding for oversight

A new law sponsored by Bumula MP Otsiula is set to give Senators funding for oversight by amending the constitution to create a Parliament Oversight fund to help Senators hold Governors accountable over public funds. This will be a reprieve from the Senators who have complained that the National Assembly was the stumbling block having denied them the oversight funds whenever it is brought to the floor of the house. The big question is, why do they need a separate allocation yet it is already part of their committee work?
 

Anxiety as President Uhuru keeps mum on Bill on Bank loans

President Uhuru Kenyatta has a little over a week to sign the Bill that seeks to cap interest loans or veto it. Members of Public remain anxious as the president has not made any public statement on the Bill leaving pundits to speculate the likelihood that he will veto the Bill. This is partly because the CS Treasury and the CBK Governor have both voiced their concerns against the Bill. Parliament can however overrule a veto by a two-thirds majority.

Meanwhile National Assembly approved recommendations by the Senate on the Access to information Bill and is now ready for presidential assent. The Bill seeks to open up access to government records, making it easier to get information previously protected.
 

Quote of the Week

"I wanted to say that the NGCDF is very important to this House and the country. It has contributed so much to development. If there is no NGCDF, there will be no Budget."

Sentiments by Hon. Francis Nyenze when contributing to the debate on the High Court Case on the National Government Constituency Development Funds on June 21, 2016.

Read the Hansard

Lest we forget

"Actually, every resource of this country is misappropriated. Funds meant for bursaries are being given to people who do not mind what education is for. For example, you will find money being given to an MCA who does not even know how to utilise it or MPs allocating money for bursaries which they use as working or campaign tools. You will also find governors giving bursaries and telling people that they are doing that for them because that is their campaign tool...We need to have a proper policy which defines the utilisation of these funds."

Sentiments by Sen. Ali Bule when contributing to the debate on Payment of School Fees in Schools and Collegees on July 20, 2016.

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

Chuka MP Muthomi Njuki made headlines this week with his Bill that seeks to transform Jomo Kenyatta Mausoleum into a tourist attraction and library on the country’s history. The Bill was overwhelmingly supported by MPs who agreed with him that the Mausoleum had the potential of being a major tourist attraction site. Currently it is a no-go zone and only the President and top dignitaries are allowed access. While the proposal to make mausoleum a heritage site is great, isn’t it enough to gazette it under the National Museum and Heritage act? Is a separate legislation really necessary?
 
 

... PROFILE

Bills before the National Assembly

First Reading
THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT CONSTITUENCIES DEVELOPMENT FUND (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 35 OF 2016
Sponsored by Chairperson, Select Committee on the National Government Constituency Development Fund  Hon. Moses Lessonet
Second Reading
THE BETTING, LOTTERIES AND GAMING (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 30 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

The Bill amends the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act (Cap. l3l) to introduce tax to be paid by gaming operators of lotteries, gaming and prize competition in Kenya, who currently do not pay any tax. The Bill formulates the proposals announced in the Budget 2015/2016 relating to the liability to, and collection of taxes and connected purposes. Under Article 209 of the Constitution, the imposition of taxation is the sole responsibility of the national government.
 
 
THE PUBLIC FUNDRAISING APPEALS BILL 
- NO. 28 OF 2014 (SENATE BILL)
Sponsored by the Chair, Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs Hon. Samuel Chepkonga
 

The Bill institutes a regulatory mechanisms at the national and county levels which manages the conduct of fundraising appeals, to provide for the licensing and regulation of fundraisers and the promotion of transparency and accountability in their conduct. The Bill acknowledges the need to maintain the altruistic rationale that Harambees serve in the Kenyan society while addressing the shortcomings that have accompanied this process.

The sponsor of the Bill (Prof Nyong’o) says that there is need to reduce the culture of dependency that harambees have imbued in society, extending even essentially private affairs to the larger public.

What is your opinion on Harambees? Do you think the government should control Harambees, which are largely social affairs? Let your Senator know your opinion so he can inform the bill discussion.

THE KENYA UWEZO FUND BILL

- NO. 65 OF 2015
Sponsored by Hon. David Kangongo

The Uwezo Fund came from the promise by President Kenyatta to allocate the KShs. 6 Billion that was meant for a presidential run-off, to youth and women groups. After his election, the National Treasury allocated and Parliament approved the sum of KShs. 6 Billion to go towards this Fund in the budget covering the Financial Year 2013/2014.

The Kenya Uwezo Fund bill seeks to change the Uwezo Fund Regulations, 2013 into an Act of Parliament. Secondly, the bill adds the Youth Enterprise Development Fund and the Women Enterprise Development Fund into the Act. The Bill aims at making these funds available as loans to youth, women and persons with disabilities groups.

Do you support the merger of Uwezo Fund, Youth Enterprise Fund and Women Enterprise Development Fund? Please let your MP know what you think. You should also plan to submit your written opinion to Parliament when the call for memoranda is issued.
 

THE CIVIL AVIATION (AMENDMENT) BILL

- NO. 14 OF 2016
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

THE KENYA REGIMENT (TERRITORIAL FORCE) (REPEAL) BILL

- NO. 39 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
THE UNIVERSITIES (AMENDMENT) bill 
- NO. 67 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

 

THE COUNTY ASSEMBLY SERVICES BILL 

- NO. 27 OF 2014 (SENATE BILL)
Sponsored by Chairperson, Committee on Administration and National Security Hon. Asman Kamama

THE STATUTE LAW (MISCELLANEOUS AMENDMENTS) (No.2) BILL

- NO. 58 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

THE BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERS BILL

- NO. 65 OF 2015
Sponsored by Hon. Stephen Mule

THE KENYATTA MAUSOLEUM BILL

- NO. 11 OF 2016
Sponsored by Hon. Muthomi Njuki

THE CONSTITUTION OF KENYA (AMENDMENT) BILL

- NO. 07 OF 2016
Sponsored by Hon. Mithika Linturi

THE FINANCE BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL

- NO. 07 OF 2015
Sponsored by Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Finance Planning and Trade Hon. Benjamin Langat
Third Reading: Committee of the Whole House

The Kenya Roads Bill 

- NO. 26 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
The Public Finance Management (Amendment) Bill 
- NO. 04 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
Senate Amendments to the Protection of the Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions Bill 
- NO. 48 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

Bills before the Senate

Second Reading
THE NATIONAL HOSPITAL INSURANCE FUND (AMENDMENT) BILL 
- NO. 09 OF 2015 
Sponsored by Sen. Martha Wangari

The Bill makes amendments to the National Hospital Insurance Fund Act, so as to reduce the penalties imposed by the Act for late payment of standard contributions and special contributions. The penalty as imposed by the Act has been a deterrent to defaulters who may wish to continue remitting payments to the Fund.

Will this Bill assist in increasing the number of insured Kenyans? Please let your Senator know what you think. You should also plan to submit your written opinion to Parliament when the call for memoranda is issued. You can also participate in a public hearing when one is held.
 
THE KENYA MEDICAL SUPPLIES AUTHORITY (AMENDMENT) BILL 
- NO. 04 OF 2014
Sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader Sen. (Prof.) Kithure Kindiki
 

The Bill seeks to deny governors discretion on where to buy drugs and medical supplies. The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Amendment) Bill gives KEMSA exclusive rights to procure drugs and medical supplies for the 47 counties. There is however no legal provision that obligates the devolved units to buy drugs and equipment from KEMSA.

Should Counties be forced to by medical equipment from KEMSA? Please let your Senator know what you think. You should also plan to submit your written opinion to Parliament when the call for memoranda is issued. You can also participate in a public hearing when one is held.

THE PHYSICAL PLANNING BILL 
- NO. 46 OF 2015 (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL)
Sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader Sen. (Prof.) Kithure Kindiki

The Bill aims at implementing Article 66 (1) on “Regulation of land use and property” in Kenya. This section provides that the State may regulate the use of any land, or any interest in or right over any land, in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, or land use planning. For that reason the Bill will repeal and replace the Physical Planning Act, No. 6 of 1996.
 
Land has been at the centre of Kenya’s politics before and after independence in this respect, what’s your take on regulation of land use and property?  Please let your Senator know what you think. You should also plan to submit your written opinion to Parliament when the call for memoranda is issued. You can also participate in a public hearing when one is held.
THE COUNTY GOVERNMENTS (AMENDMENT) BILL 
- NO. 21 OF 2015
Sponsored by Sen. (Prof.) John Lonyangapuo
THE CONSTITUTION OF KENYA (AMENDMENT) BILL 
- NO. 16 OF 2015
Sponsored by Sen. Judith Sijeny
THE PARLIAMENTARY POWERS AND PRIVILEGES BILL 
- NO. 35 OF 2014 (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL)
Sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader Sen. (Prof.) Kithure Kindiki
THE COUNTY GOVERNMENTS (AMENDMENT) BILL 
- NO. 04 OF 2016
Sponsored by Sen. Daniel Karaba
Third Reading: Committee of the Whole House
THE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE BILL 
- NO. 17 OF 2014
Sponsored by Sen. Judith Sijeny

The Bill makes proposals for the actualization of reproductive rights. The right to make free and informed decisions. Respect for protection and fulfillment of reproductive health the rights and welfare of every person particularly couples, adult individuals, women, adolescents and mentally unstable persons. The Bill also seeks to deal with the issue of inadequate facilities at county government hospitals such as ambulance services, equipment for intensive care services and gynecological services.

The Bill proposes unhindered comprehensive sexual education through the school the school system and access to contraceptives.

What would you like to be removed, incorporated or regulated in this Bill? Please let your Senator know what you think. You should also plan to submit your written opinion to Parliament when the call for memoranda is issued. You can also participate in a public hearing when one is held.
 
THE EMPLOYMENT (AMENDMENT) BILL 
- NO. 01 OF 2015
Sponsored by Sen. Martha Wangari
THE COUNTY OUTDOOR ADVERTISING CONTROL BILL 
- NO. 11 OF 2015
Sponsored by Sen. Mutula Kilonzo Jnr.
 
THE COUNTY LIBRARY SERVICES BILL 

- NO. 06 OF 2015
Sponsored by Sen. Joy Gwendo
THE CONSTITUTION OF KENYA (AMENDMENT) BILL 
- NO. 16 OF 2015
Sponsored by Sen. Judith Sijeny

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