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Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 119
16 - 22 January, 2017

Editorial

The Electorate Needs to Read the Times Correctly

A Swahili adage goes that the ear destined to die does not take its medicine. The electorate is the ear in this case. It’s quite baffling that Kenyans turn up in their hundreds, brave the heat to listen to a politician advice them about voter registration, constantly shouting excitedly at every word they (politicians) say, but only a handful of the people actually register to vote. Despite the momentum set by politicians from both government and opposition, and indeed the electoral commission the numbers of those registered so far this week are disturbingly low.

From the look of things, Kenyans – particularly the youth who form the bulk of would be first time voters – have no idea what is at stake for them. Without belaboring the point, the over month long doctors strike and the recent one by university lecturers are leveraging on the fact it’s an election year. Timing is everything in any activity one undertakes unless it is a hobby. Of course the unions may disagree on this but an election year is a good year to get the government’s attention. There’s a lot at stake and therefore demanding what was promised at this time is a smart move.

Why then can’t the electorate like the unions realize that this is a good time to flex muscles? One can only flex muscles having registered as a voter – otherwise you can’t scare the corrupt elected leaders who need to go home. Kenyans must realize that showing up for registration at Independent Electoral and Boundaries (IEBC) constituency offices and registration centres’ is more important than showing up at politicians’ rallies.

Politicians understand the season and they’ve hit the road running promising to do this and that. Interestingly, Kenyans don’t ask their elected officials hard questions, we complain privately or with peers but not publicly.  Yet, Kenyans go hungry because of drought despite millions budgeted for mitigation that never materialized. The electorate remains unmoved despite others skipping work when it floods during the rains or are overcharged for basic services. Who bewitched us?

In December 2011 Nairobi Women Rep Rachael Shebesh’s complained that the coalition government liked working on a crisis mode. Six years later it appears the Jubilee regime has learnt nothing or perhaps has inherited this management by crisis method. Scores of Kenyans have died and hundreds others unable to fly abroad for treatment like our politicians continue suffering after doctors downed their tools for over 40 days now. Not to mention the Emergency service medical practitioners and medical school lecturers in the University of Nairobi also joined the nationwide strike followed by the medical students this week.

While local media reports that a new deal maybe reached the government having looked at the 2013 CBA article per article, one wonders why it had to take so long? Why intimidate them with jail term or replacement leading to needless loss of lives when they could have just sat down and put all cards on the table? That a government only responds when its public service threatens to go on strike is a sad situation.

News of the Week

Last Mass Voter Registration Begins as Key voter ‘importation’ hot spots revealed

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) began the last phase of the Mass Voter Registration (MVR) exercise, even as officials remain vigilant over voter ‘importation’. In what is likely to be the most competitive elections yet, there’s evidence of candidates spending huge amounts of money to aid unscrupulous voter transfer notoriously tilting the scales to their favor. According to the local media, IEBC sources have identified Murang’a, Kiambu, Meru, Kajiado, Narok, Bomet, Nairobi, Busia, Bungoma, Siaya, Machakos and Kakamega as regions where the voter ‘importation’ is likely to be expected. The MVR continues until February 14th 2017.
 

Parliament approves new electoral team to oversee 2017 polls

Parliament cleared lawyer Wafula Chebukati and team to lead the new IEBC and steer the country through the upcoming 2017 General Elections. Claims of regional imbalance emerged after some MPs pointed out that both the Chair and the CEO came from the same region. However majority MPs gave the new team the vote of confidence. Chebukati’s team is taking over a commission that has suffered public mistrust since the 2013 General Elections. Their immediate main task would be to satisfactorily over see the cleaning of the voter register ahead of the 2017 elections.
 

Anglican Rtd Archbishop Wabukala new EACC boss

Members of Parliament unanimously approved the nomination of retired Anglican Archbishop Eliud Wabukala as the new Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) chairman. Majority MPs showed confidence in Wabukala as the right man for the job mainly because of his religious back ground and clean record. However a number of MPs also warned him to be wary as corruption is likely to fight back.  

MPs want hunger declared a national disaster

At least seven Members of Parliament from regions adversely affected by the ongoing drought have asked the government to declare hunger a national disaster. The MPs who come from the pastoralist regions say the drought has led to conflicts as people scramble for scarce resources like water and land for pasture. Meanwhile students have abandoned school to help their family look for the scarce resources. They want the government to move with speed and task credible humanitarian organizations like the Red Cross Society and World Vision to handle the relief food.

    

Quote of the Week

"Drought is not an emergency. It is predictable. We know that after every three to five years, it is here with us. Our approach of dealing with drought in this country as an emergency is ill-founded. It has been a very bad policy."

Sentiments by Hon. Francis Ganya while contributing to the motion on establishment of Drought Management Authority on July 22, 2009

Read the Hansard

Lest we forget

"We, Kenyans, are interesting people because we kill each other over election results. If we go into elections with an IEBC that does not have the confidence of the public, then we will be deliberately setting this country on a path to self-destruction."

Sentiments by Sen. Moses Kajwang' when contributing to the Status on IEBC's Preparations for the next General Elections on September 29, 2015.

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

Cord co-principal and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka made headlines this week after he discovered he shared his I.D number with Ms. Salome Wanjiru Njoroge-born in 1993. The former Vice President was verifying his voter details in Wajir when he made the discovery. Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in a press release said they were addressing the issue and that the electoral agency was looking to see the circumstances under which the mix up occurred. The revelations led to an online exchange over supporters who saw it as an attempt at rigging the upcoming General Elections. IEBC has since confirmed over 100,000 similar cases and is in the process of sorting out the issue. The Wiper leader has urged the new IEBC team to ensure free, fair and credible elections.

... PROFILE

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