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Mzalendo's Weekly Newsletter

Issue No 51: 21- 27 September, 2015


News of the Week:
  • More than 50 senators are without offices after they were asked to move out of the KICC in Nairobi to provide space for the World Trade Organisation conference slated for December. The lawmakers were asked to vacate their offices in the building last week. They are expected to return to the KICC in February. Some of the senators have complained that they were not given adequate notice to move out, saying they do not have a place where they can meet their constituents. However, Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro asked the lawmakers to move out as soon as possible to avoid inconveniencing the WTO secretariat, which is setting up office in the KICC in readiness for the global conference slated for December 13 to 18. Senate committee leaders are not affected as their offices are located at Parliament Buildings while others are in County Hall. Mr. Ethuro said the affected senators would be refunded the money they will use to rent offices elsewhere.
 
  • Hon. Ababu Namwamba filed a motion at the National Assembly seeking to have state officers earning huge salaries to take a 50 percent pay cut to arrest the run-away wage bill. The officers whom Namwamba is targeting comprise the president, his deputy, MPs, senators, speakers, judges, constitutional commissioners, cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries, governors and county government officials including MCAs and CEC. The Bill also calls on formation of a team to consider downwards review of representation units; constituencies, counties and wards, in order to reduce on number of legislators. The move, Namwamba argues, will also help in addressing the teachers’ pay stalemate. Namwamba also proposes “that a seven-member bi-partisan Select Committee composed of three member of the National Assembly, two members of the Senate, one officer from the Treasury and a representative of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, to be known as the Public Wage Review committee to be formed forthwith to oversight the whole process of restructuring, harmonizing and balancing the wage structure.” In his motion, Namwamba says the members of the committee shall not be entitled to any form of allowance or remuneration.
 
 
  • The Auditor-General’s office has cited insufficient funding as a major hindrance to efficient services. Speaking during a training workshop for county leaders, Deputy Auditor-General Humphrey Wanyama said lack of funding was undermining their job. Mr. Wanyama said the office had been allocated Sh2.5 billion by the National Treasury instead of the Sh6 billion they had requested for their budget. Mr Wanyama accused the government of going against the Kenya National Audit Commission Act by reviewing their budget. He said the office audits more than 1,200 state corporations and the insufficient personnel and facilities were slowing down their mandates that were set on strict timelines. Mr. Wanyama raised concerns about public institutions that were frustrating efforts to have them audited by not providing necessary documents. On the issue of accuracy, the deputy auditor-general said their reports were thoroughly done. He added that the Sh67 billion indicated in the Auditor-General’s report did not necessarily mean that money had been lost, but that it was unaccounted for.


 
  • A Nairobi court rejected the Director of Public Prosecution’s application to deny Gatundu South MP Hon. Moses Kuria bond in a case where he is charged with incitement. Senior Principle Magistrate Teresa Nyangena said the court had found the DPP’s application inadequate to provide compelling reasons on the matter. Nyangena said the right of bail was a constitutional right for every accused person unless it was proven otherwise. The magistrate also found fault in the inadequacy of the police to arrest Kuria, saying if DPP had found enough evidence, the accused should have been arrested. She said that the transcript of the video presented before court was not clear on what the Kikuyu words meant, if the Swahili words indicated were connected to the Kikuyu ones and whether they were spoken at the same time or on different intervals.
     
 
  • Sen. Boni Khalwale has vowed to resign if found guilty of receiving Sh12.5 million bribe from Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero. Dr. Khalwale asked relevant authorities to probe the matter to establish the truth, saying he was ready to quit as Senator in line with Chapter Six on integrity. He dismissed allegations that he was bribed by the governor to keep silent on the financial woes facing Mumias Sugar Company (MSC). He claimed some individuals took advantage of his absence when he was away in Arusha, Tanzania on official duty, to tarnish his name by saying he received a bribe through direct deposit to his bank account.
 
 
  • The anti-corruption watchdog has advertised the positions of chairman and four commissioners. The decision by the government to recruit commissioners means the current secretariat will work for at least one year before the officials are vetted. The officials will enjoy greater independence from the commissioners as the commissioners will work on a part-time basis. This is meant to end the perennial conflicts between the secretariat and the commissioners. The new chairman should be a degree holder, have at least 15 years' experience in the relevant field and meet the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution on integrity. The required qualifications are the same for the commissioners, but the requirement for experience is shorter, at 10 years in fields such as ethics and governance, law, public administration, public relations and media, economics, accounting and religious studies. The new commissioners should not be members of a governing body of a political party and should not have been declared bankrupt, convicted of felony and removed from office for contravening the Constitution.
 
  • Sen. Johnstone Muthama recorded a statement with the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) over remarks he made at Uhuru Park during a rally in support of the teachers’ strike. Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery stated that Muthama accused President Kenyatta of interfering with constitutional dispensation of Burundi and that his statements undermine the authority of a public officer. The minister further claimed the statements are obscene and indecent and undermine NCIC Act on his remarks that the president is out to ensure children of the poor continue to suffer in poverty. Nkaissery said Muthama has made a habit of verbally attacking state officers in a matter that is intended to undermine cohesion and national unity for political gain. He argued his remarks brings disrepute to the president, undermines cohesion and stability of the country with the potential to cause uncertainty, tension and threatening national security.



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Editorial:  Sobriety will end public servants strike


The four week long teachers’ strike ended in a stalemate as the Executive remained adamant that the 50-60 per cent pay increment teachers were demanding for could not be met. Though, this teachers strike has been the longest in Kenya’s history, it is just but one in a recent spate of industrial unrest that the civil service has faced. Over the last 30 months, Kenyan doctors and nurses have been on sporadic strikes in various counties. In a public address to the nation, President Kenyatta stated that paying the teachers will disrupt harmonization of the public service that is in progress. He also argued that the current state of the economy make the increment unsustainable. However, a substantive argument from the Parliament’s Budget Office (PBO) said that Government can afford to increase the wages and end perennial industrial strikes if it cuts down on wasteful spending. Going by the PBO’s report, teachers, doctors and nurses need to be accorded their due significance given their contribution to the economy. On the short to medium term, government should negotiate with all the public servants unions. Read more



Quote of the Week

Sentiments by Hon. Nuh Abdi during debate on adoption of report on inspection of Ontulili and Lower Imenti forests on January 10, 2013
 
“I want to add my voice by saying that apart from conservation of forests and water catchment areas, the Government should know that the responsibility of safeguarding catchment areas and forests comes with the responsibility of ensuring that those people who are near parks and national reserves are also well taken care of. The conservation of the environment and natural resources is for the benefit of people. If we seem to be safeguarding the environment at the expense of the people who live near the forests, then the whole essence of conservation is lost. We will not know for whom we will be conserving the environment. The people who are near the parks and national reserves, many a times, bear the brunt of such conservation efforts and are not duly compensated when things go weary…”  Read Hansard




 Lest we Forget!

 

Sentiments by Hon. Esther Murugi when responding to question as the Minister in-charge of Special Programmes on the resettlement of IDPs in Kenya on August 1, 2012


“(a) In the Financial Year 2009/2010, the Ministry of Lands was given Kshs1.4 billion. In the Financial Year 2010/2011, they got Kshs1.5 billion; in the Financial Year 2011/2012, they got Kshs2.5 billion and in the current year, they have Kshs1.8 billion. That makes a total of Kshs7.2 billion. The Government has not received any funding from development partners for purchase of land for resettlement of IDPs, but we have received donations of land from County Councils of Turkana and Lodwar and from a Reverend Gichuki.” Read Hansard




Newsmaker this week:


A Senate select committee has proposed changes to the Constitution requiring all Bills to be approved by both Houses of Parliament before presidential assent. The far-reaching amendments would require a referendum to become law. All Bills would have to go through the National Assembly and the Senate if the amendments by the team chaired by Sen. Kipchumba Murkomen are supported by Kenyans. The President will also be required to rely on a certificate from both Speakers before assenting to any Bill. These recommendations, tabled in the Senate, are meant to deal with the frequent superiority wars between the two Houses. The select committee was established to look for various sections in the Constitution and in existing Acts that could be amended to make the Senate stronger. Profile



Bills before the National Assembly

Bills in the Second Reading
THE ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGISTS AND TECHNICIANS BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 07 OF 2015) is sponsored by Hon. Cecilia Ng'etich
 
THE AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD AUTHORITY (AMENDMENT) BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO.17 OF 2015) is sponsored by Hon. Silas Tiren
 
THE HEALTH RECORDS AND INFORMATION MANAGERS BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 24 OF 2015) is sponsored by Hon. Agostinho Neto
 
THE POLITICAL PARTIES (AMENDMENT) BILL (SENATE BILL NO.3 OF 2014) is sponsored by The Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs Hon. Samuel Chepkonga
 
THE STATUTE LAW (MISCELLANEOUS AMENDMENTS) BILL (SENATE BILL NO. 6 OF 2014) is sponsored by The Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs Hon. Samuel Chepkonga
  
THE COMMUNITY LAND BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 45OF 2015) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 
THE PHYSICAL PLANNING BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 46 OF 2015) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 
THE LAND LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 55 OF 2015) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 
THE CONSTITUTION OF KENYA (AMENDMENT) (NO.2) BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 26 OF 2013) is sponsored by Hon. Lati Lelelit
 
THE CONSTITUTION OF KENYA (AMENDMENT) BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 01 OF 2015) is sponsored by Hon. David Ochieng'
 
THE MAGISTRATES’ COURTS BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 41 OF 2015) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 
THE HIGH COURT ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 47 OF 2015) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 
THE SMALL CLAIMS COURT BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 50 OF 2015) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 
THE COURT OF APPEAL (ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION) BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 52 OF 2015) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 
THE PETROLEUM (EXPLORATION DEVELOPMENT AND PRODUCTION) BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 44 OF 2015) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 
THE COMMUNITY LAND BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 45 OF 2015) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 
THE PHYSICAL PLANNING BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 46 OF 2015) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 
 
Bills in the Third Reading
THE FISHERIES MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 20 OF 2014) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 
THE CONSTITUTION OF KENYA (AMENDMENT) (NO.2) BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 02 OF 2015) is sponsored by Hon. George Kaluma
 
 
Before in the Committee of the Whole
Consideration of the Senate Amendments to the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments)(No.2) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 33 of 2013) is sponsored by The Leader of the Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale
 



Bills before the Senate

 Bills in the Second Reading

THE HIV AND AIDS PREVENTION AND CONTROL (AMENDMENT) BILL (SENATE BILL NO. 4 OF 2015) is sponsored by Sen. Wilfred Machage
 
THE OFFICE OF THE COUNTY ATTORNEY BILL, (SENATE BILL NO. 37 OF 2014) is sponsored by the Chairperson, Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights Sen. Amos Wako
 
THE KENYA NATIONAL EXAMINATIONS COUNCIL (AMENDMENT) BILL, SENATE BILLS NO. 7 OF 2015 is sponsored by Sen. David Musila
 
THE PRESERVATION OF HUMAN DIGNITY AND ENFORCEMENT OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RIGHTS BILL, SENATE BILL NO. 8 OF 2015 is sponsored by Sen. Hassan Omar

 THE SENIOR CITIZENS CARE AND PROTECTION BILL (SENATE BILL NO. 43 OF 2014) is sponsored by Sen. Wilfred Lesan
 

 
Bills before Committee of the Whole

THE CLIMATE CHANGE BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 1 OF 2014) is sponsored by The Senate Majority Leader Sen. Kithure Kindiki
 
THE PUBLIC APPOINTMENTS (COUNTY ASSEMBLY APPROVAL) BILL (SENATE BILL NO. 20 OF 2014) is sponsored by the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Labour and Social Welfare Sen. Stewart Madzayo
 
THE COUNTY EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION BILL, (SENATE BILL NO. 32 OF 2014) is sponsored by the Chairperson, Standing Committee on Education Sen. Daniel Karaba



Access to information Bill

There is a draft Access to Information Bill 2015 which intends to give effect to Article 35 of the Constitution; to confer on the Commission on Administrative Justice the oversight and enforcement functions and powers and for connected purposes. You can download and read it here




 
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