Mzalendo's Weekly Newsletter

Issue No 63 : 14th December - 20th December, 2015
  • Senate has affirmed that it will go to court to challenge the new CDF Act after it was signed into law without their input. The threat comes just days after the National Assembly Speaker  Justin Muturi  pushed MPs to rush the drafting of regulations to ensure the new law takes effect. President Uhuru Kenyatta assented to the National Government Constituencies Development Fund Bill last Tuesday after it was unanimously adopted by MPs before they went on recess a fortnight ago. The senators said the Head of State signed the law against the directions of the High Court, which annulled the former law. The new Act caters for national functions, including security, as well as education, and the fund will not be used to finance devolved roles. The senators said any funds intended for use in the counties ought to have their input. They said because they are the custodians of devolution, they should have a say.
  • The drafters of the Constitution (CoE) have differed with separate efforts by two MPs to reduce the number of counties, warning that no single person can execute such a process without offending the supreme law. Mr Nzamba Kitonga and Mr Bobby Mkangi argue that the latest initiatives by MPs Moses Kuria (Gatundu North) and Joe Mutambu  (Mwingi Central) lack the ingredient of nationwide consultation that can only be achieved through committee work. Mr Kitonga noted that it was MPs who made it hard to have a lean team of elected and nominated officials to represent Kenyans when the Constitution was being created. He said that when the lawmakers met with the CoE in Naivasha in 2010 to chart the way forward for the draft constitution, the legislators insisted that the number of constituencies should not be reduced. Other MPs, he added, wanted each of their districts to become counties, which led to the compromise of 47 rather than an initial 14 that had been suggested.
  • The Young parliamentarians pledged bipartisan support to get more youthful aspirants into leadership positions. The young legislators said that the youth have capacity to break the yoke of tribalism and corruption in the country as well as add flavour and freshness in leadership. The Kenya Young Parliamentarians (KYPA) members were speaking during celebrations to mark end of the year on Thursday. “You must understand that there is nothing more powerful than a generation that is in tune with its season and its cause, and the call of our generation is to unite our country. On matters concerning youth we can always find convergence and stand with one voice,” said the association’s chairman Mr Johnson Sakaja . Ugenya Member of Parliament David Ochieng’, who also serves as the KYPA’s Secretary-General, said younger leaders in Parliament add value to issues and need to be supported in bid to enter into leadership positions.
  • The Jubilee coalition has picked Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen to replace former Kericho Senator   Charles Keter as the House’s deputy majority leader. President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto asked the coalition’s lawmakers to have Mr Murkomen take over during a parliamentary group meeting held at State House on Wednesday. Mr Keter resigned from the Senate after being approved by the National Assembly on Wednesday to join the Cabinet. Mr Murkomen will also replace Mr Keter in the Jubilee steering committee as the coalition’s political mobiliser. Following his appointment to the seat, Mr Murkomen relinquished his seat in the Pan African Parliament. He has been replaced by Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow . In the Speaker’s panel, the Elgeyo-Marakwet lawmaker has been replaced by Nandi Senator Stephen Sang, who will need the House’s approval before formally joining.

Editorial:  Lessons from the People’s Shujaaz Awards
The just concluded People’s Shujaaz Awards offered Kenyans a fresh lens through which to look at Parliamentarians. Despite the despondency that Kenyans show when a thought on Parliament crosses their mind, People’s Shujaaz brought a ray hope.These are the few lessons we learnt from the campaign: Lesson one, there is demand for Parliament to change how it operates. The Legislature has to change the way it communicates to the people. Parliament needs to re-engineer its image. For a long time now Parliament’s website has not been up to standard. There is need for Parliament to modify itself and embrace new technology to communicate efficiently and effectively. To date Parliament lacks social media outlets for real time updates. Lesson two, is that there is a group of Kenyans who have a permanent negative attitude towards Parliamentarians. Read more
Quote of the Week

Sentiments by President Mwai Kibaki during a Presidential Address to Parliament on 21st April 2009  .
We must bear in mind that Kenya is in competition with other countries in the region and globally. We are competing for investments, tourists, markets and businesses. Therefore, let us commit ourselves to protect and promote the image of the country. At this juncture, Mr. Speaker, Sir, some elaboration on the Vision 2030 would be in order for the avoidance of doubt. The Vision is Kenya’s blueprint for socio-economic transformation by the year 2030. It represents a roadmap that will see every Kenyan enjoy equal opportunity and access to development. The Grand Coalition Government is currently implementing the first Medium Term Plan, which is the first phase of Vision 2030. This plan is drawn from a joint manifesto of the political parties in the Grand Coalition. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the attainment of Vision 2030 will require our single-minded focus, proper organization and a high level of discipline. This is what will lead to the emergence of a prosperous, equitable and stable country. Read more
Lest we Forget!

Sentiments by Gitobu Imanyara  during a debate on refusal by Kenya Forest Service to hand over Mt. Kenya Forest to Kenya Wildlife Service on 13th June 2012

Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I appreciate the answer given by this Assistant Minister. He is one of the very hardworking Assistant Ministers. When he answers his Questions, he addresses the issues. This is an issue that has been pending since the year 2000, that is for 12 years. In the meantime, the forest is undergoing tremendous destruction because it is not clear which Government department is responsible for the protection of the species of animals and the forest, yet the Assistant Minister is saying the Government is reviewing regulations. I am aware that as far back as 14th July 2000, the then Minister actually handed over forest area by a letter. The letters says:- “Following the decision of the Government that the whole of Mt. Kenya gazetted forest area which is currently managed by the Forest Department be placed under the KWS” As a result of the two Government arms fighting over the control of this forest, we are now facing a real situation of the complete destruction of the forest. When will this review take place? How soon can you assure us that this legal notice will be amended, so that we are clear as to who is managing this forest in order to save the destruction of the forest that is currently going on? Can you give specific timelines when we can expect this to be done? Read more

Newsmaker(s) this week:

Young lawmakers are better than their older counterparts in articulating certain issues in Parliament, a survey has shown.  The lawmakers excelled in various categories of service in the past one year, according to a study by Mzalendo, an NGO. Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr , 39, is top in articulating land matters. He is closely followed by MPs Alex Mwiru and Thomas Mwadeghu. Recently, Mr Kilonzo sponsored the County Boundaries Bill that seeks to deal with disputes. Nominated MP Isaac Mwaura, 33, was recognised for pushing interests of people with special needs. Mr Johnson Sakaja, 30, came second. In the education category, Nominated Senator Agnes Zani is at the peak. Kiharu MP Irungu Kang'ata, 37, came second, but first in the National Assembly.

Parliament started its long Christmas recess on Thursday 3rd Dec 2015. 

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2016!

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