Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 172
5 February - 11 February, 2018


Cabinet Secretary Vetting by Parliament a Charade

Lately, it appears as though breaking the law is the new normal. All politicians are talking about the need to follow the rule of law, only they mean the exact opposite.

Take the vetting of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s nominees this week. Firstly, the President departed from a clear tradition sending only nine nominees despite the fact that all the re-appointed CSs should have undergone fresh vetting and taken oath of office. This act of defiance makes it appear as though there were no elections in 2017 that brought him back to power.

It’s instructive to note that this is a second term for which the President took oath of office and was handed the instruments of power. Otherwise he could have told us that since we have reappointed him-through elections, there’s no need to take another oath; but it’s just hard for Jubilee to do the right thing.

One would expect therefore that the 12th Parliament as the institution that directly wields the people’s power would demand the Executive abide by the law but no, they’re there to catch a cold when the Executive sneezes.

And the opposition by choosing to abscond the vetting process, have in one single act sealed the fate of Kenyans with this Jubilee farce. It’s hypocritical for NASA to keep off the vetting exercise in the name of ‘illegitimate government’ yet continue to draw salaries and allowances for work not done and from an institution they appear to have little respect for. Failing to attend Parliamentary sessions is nothing short of contempt.

Kenyans therefore are left with a government that is showing disinterest in upholding the rule of law and an opposition that is more interested in holding press conferences- abandoning every opportunity to challenge the government through the available legal channels anchored in the constitution like Parliament.

What is even worrisome is the fact that Parliament appears okay with their hard stance. Jubilee lawmakers are willing to move on and rubberstamp the Executive orders without their NASA counterpart making the process an exclusive Jubilee affair. NASA appears willing to entertain this in the hope that it will paint Jubilee as the selfish group. What both opposition and government leaning MPs make light of is that this is the stuff that breaks nations.

News of the Week

Parliament resumes after Christmas break

The Senate and National Assembly resumed sitting Tuesday after a two month break. Both Houses are returning to a hostile environment as MPs from both opposition NASA and Jubilee seem to dig their heels further even as the country looks up to Parliament for direction. Parliament also faces an uphill task of proving that it’s still an independent arm of government following the replacement of the committee chairpersons upon the request of the Executive. National Assembly is expected to debate the report by the Committee on Appointments that vetted President Uhuru’s nine nominees to the cabinet.

Request for Parliament to reject CS nominees by lobby groups falls on deaf ears

The petition to the National Assembly Speaker Muturi to return the names presented to Parliament by President Kenyatta for CS position over failure to meet the two-thirds gender rule fell on deaf ears after committee on Appointments went ahead to vet the nominees. Out of a 22 Cabinet list the President named only five women despite the law requiring that no gender occupy more than two-thirds in any appointment. Interestingly the vetting committee reasoned that the two-thirds gender rule was observed based on the nine nominees, choosing to ignore the other 13 CSs whose names were not forwarded to Parliament.

The lobby group comprising of United Disabled Persons of Kenya, Fida and the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) expressed their displeasure saying the list sent to Parliament was discriminatory based on age, disability, ethnicity and gender. They held a peaceful demonstration to show their displeasure to no avail. The activists also accused President Uhuru of creating positions of Assistant Ministers in the name of Chief Administrative Secretaries in complete violation of the Constitution

Lawmakers want ICT Cabinet Secretary summoned over TV shutdown

Senate ICT Committee wants ICT CS, Joe Mucheru to explain why Citizen and Inooro TVs remained shut when NTV and KTN had been switched back on despite a court order expressly ordering the government to switch back on the media houses. The committee Chairman and Baringo Senator, Gideon Moi expressed concerns over the flouting of constitutional freedoms and media independence.

This comes on the backdrop of NASA MPs call for both the Interior, ICT CSs and Communication Authority Boss Francis Wangusi appear before the National Assembly committee on Communication and Information over the same. Seven members of the ICT committee wrote to National Assembly Clerk Michael Sialai, asking that he convene a meeting to discuss the matter. The decision to shut down the main media houses has received condemnation nationally and internationally.  

Reprieve for NASA MPs after court orders their security be reinstated

All the 141 MPs whose security detail had been withdrawn breathed a sigh of relief after a High Court judge directed that their body guards be reinstated. The NASA MPs had through lawyer Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay MP) sued the government for revoking their firearm licences and withdrawing their body guards. The MPs had sued specifically, the Inspector-General of Police, the Firearms Licensing Board and Chief licensing Officer, Samwel Kimaru who is also the secretary of the licensing board.


Quote of the Week

"PGs [Parliamentary Groups] are not voluntary, they're mandatory...going forward, the party through the Secretary General will also take punitive action against those who do not attend without good reasons."

Quote by H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta during a Parliamentary Group meeting for Jubilee Party MPs at State House, Nairobi on February 13, 2018.

Read the Hansard

Lest we forget

"Even if we were to divide the 18 Cabinet positions based on ethnicity, it does not justify why two ethnic communities can get four nominees when others do not have even one."

Sentiments by Hon. Isaac Mwaura when debating the motion on adoption of report on vetting of cabinet nominees
 on May 14, 2013.

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

Embakasi East MP, Paul Ongili, alias Babu Owino made headlines yet again after a Judge ordered for a recount of votes cast in his constituency on August 8th General Elections. Babu Owino had cried foul during his incarceration early in the year where he claimed the petitioner challenging his win had planned to stuff the ballot boxes used in August 8th during his absence, an allegation that appears not to have persuaded the Judge. IEBC Nairobi county election manager argued that despite the errors in a number of forms, it was not enough to allow for a fresh scrutiny. Nonetheless, the court found it necessary that the sealed ballot boxes be opened for the recount of votes in the entire constituency because the accuracy of forms 35Bs had errors. The court order is considered a blow for the outspoken opposition leader who was pleading with the court to quash the petition.


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P. O. Box 21765 00505 Nairobi, Kenya

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