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Mzalendo's Weekly Newsletter

Issue no. 32, May 11 - 17, 2015


News of the Week:
  • Four North Rift leaders were grilled by police over the killing of 66 people in Nadome, Baringo County after Turkana and Pokot warriors clashed. They were West Pokot Senator John Lonyangapuo,  MPs Asman Kamama, who is also the chairman of the Parliamentary Security Committee, Samuel Moroto, and Alois Lentoimaga. They were among others, supposed to respond to queries over the killings. Internal Security Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaiserry had earlier alleged that the attacks may have been politically instigated and warned that politicians found to have incited the Turkana-Pokot conflict will be arrested and prosecuted.

     
  • Two MPs risk losing their seats after the Director for Public Prosecutions Mr. Keriako Tobiko allowed the anti-corruption commission to start the process of removing them from office. Hon. Alfred Keter and Hon. Sunjeev Birdi are alleged to have breached constitutional provisions on integrity. The two were recorded while trying to intimidate weighbridge officials to release trucks that had been impounded for breaching weight rules. Mr. Keter was recorded in the clip invoking State House during the January incident at the Gilgil weighbridge where he was accompanied by Ms Birdi, the owner of the impounded trucks. The matter will also be referred to the National Assembly, where appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against them.



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  • Attorney General Githu Muigai has called for a “package of reforms” on everything that needs to be amended in the Constitution. Prof Muigai said the package would deal with all the thorny issues in the four-year Constitution which turns five on August 27. This looks like a tacit approval of the ongoing campaigns of the governors, the opposition and the civil society to amend the Constitution to fix legal and political issues. The AG further cautioned women against pushing for a constitutional amendment to implement the two-thirds gender rule, at a time the country is divided over the principle. He has also asked Parliament to extend for one year the deadline for legislation to implement the one-third gender rule.
 
  • Pumwani Maternity Hospital administrators came under fresh criticism over the mishandling of two bodies that have been missing since January. Speaking before Senate's Health Committee, Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor exposed administrative gaps made by the hospital before the bodies were submitted for a postmortem at the City Mortuary. Dr Oduor said it is still unclear how the twins bodies were replaced with the two others, whose origins are still unknown, even as hospital administrators maintain that the bodies belong to grieving parents Dedan Kimathi and Jacinta Wanjiku. The senators were also told that the box that carried the twin's bodies was changed just before the Government pathologist did a post-mortem. The government pathologist also revealed that unlike normal practice where bodies have to be identified before a postmortem, these two were not identified or labeled.
 
  • MPs from Garissa have said they will petition Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery over the curfew imposed on four counties. They have said the curfew is a violation of the constitutional rights of the residents from the area and will therefore present their petition when Parliament resumes in June. They said the curfew order was meant to intimidate and punish the people from the region and to divert attention from government’s failure to address insecurity in the country. The added that the curfew imposed on the four counties of Mandera, Wajir, Garissa and Tana River is illegal and against the Constitution of Kenya since it has restricted the freedom of movement, association and worship. The leaders were angered by the extension of the curfew by the Interior Cabinet Secretary from May 16 to June 16, 2015.
 
  • Governors’ quest to control the multi-billion shilling Equalization Fund has suffered a major setback after the Treasury said it will channel Sh6 billion allocated to the fund directly to counties. Treasury secretary Henry Rotich told Parliament that governors will not receive the billions and that the national government will determine how the funds will be used in the counties. Mr. Rotich has already created a board, largely dominated by principal secretaries, to administer the fund, signaling that MPs and county chiefs would have little say in the control of the billions. Both MPs and governors have been seeking control of the fund —which is targeted at 14 underdeveloped counties and meant to fund short-term projects that address food insecurity, health, water and sanitation, education as well as electricity and energy needs. The fund is supposed to be equivalent to 0.5 per cent of latest audited annual government revenue. But the billions have never been disbursed since 2012 due to failure by the Treasury and MPs to agree on its model in line with the Public Finance Management Act. Cash allocation for poor counties will nearly double from the 2015 fiscal year in a bid to compensate the devolved governments for non-disbursement since 2012. The 14 underdeveloped counties will receive Sh6.1 billion in the year starting July 2015 and Sh6.9 billion after a year from the current allocation of Sh3.4 billion, which has remained unchanged over the last two years. In 2012, 14 counties were picked to benefit from the programme for three years. They are Turkana, Mandera, Wajir, Marsabit, Samburu, West Pokot, Tana River, Narok, Kwale, Garissa, Kilifi, Taita Taveta, Isiolo and Lamu.




     
Editorial: Budget estimates reveal increase in spending but at what cost! 


Critical to determining how bread and butter is allocated to who, why and how much is the budget. In Kenya, the government embraced Program Based Budgeting (PBB) in 2012. PBB can be described as a budgeting structure where money is distributed by program or functional area with an emphasis on the latter’s service delivery objectives. A good program budget should explain the overall mission and objectives of the budget, clearly link priorities to programs, explain changes over time in allocations and expenditure and relate challenges and objectives in the sector to budget allocations and how the challenges would be addressed. ‘Power of the Purse’ lies with Parliament, as the people’s representatives. Although Parliamentarians budgetary choices are often informed by projects in their regions, alignment to national priorities, implementation plans and audits the public can still inform the choices they make. Read more


Quote of the Week

Comments by the late Hon. Joshua Ojode when commenting on debate on the murder of Joseph Cheptarus in Parliament on 7th April, 2011


"We have said, and I want to repeat it, that those who are holding illegal guns--- Illegal guns are guns in the hands of those who do not have the licence to have them. Anybody who is holding an illegal gun should surrender it to the nearest police station. Otherwise, we will use force to mop out those guns. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I will be forced to amend the law, like is the case in Uganda, to allow those who are keeping illegal guns to be tried at the court martial other than the civilian courts. That will reduce the use of illegal guns in this country. Anybody who is holding a gun illegally must be a criminal. If he is not a criminal, then he should get a licence first so that we know that So-and-So has got a gun for this-and-that purpose. I will bring an amendment to this House and I will want my colleagues to support that amendment so that those who are holding guns illegally are tried at the court martial." Read Hansard



Lest we Forget!

Motion by Hon. Yusuf Chanzu titled seeking the introduction of policy to balance cost of education in public universities presented in Parliament on 14th July, 2010


“Aware that the minimum university entry requirement is a C+ attained at KCSE, concerned there has been an exponential increase in students attaining the qualifying mark against stagnating capacity in public universities; alarmed at the continued drastic increase in the cost of university education; this House urges the Government to balance the cost between the regular and parallel systems of university education, in order to ensure equity and accord more students an opportunity to pursue education at that level while providing the institutions with sustainable sources of income.” Read Hansard



Newsmaker this week:

The Government has been asked to revise the security policies and strategies in order to accommodate the emerging new security threats. Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe also said security agencies need to be restructured and well-equipped in the face of increased insecurity in the country. He said security agencies should be compelled to work in harmony and respond to distress calls on time. In reference to the Pokot-Turkana killings, Mr Wangwe said bandits took advantage of insufficient numbers of security personnel to kill over 46 people at Nadome village on the Turkana East-Pokot border. He added that the Government should not pretend that the country is safe yet innocent Kenyans are being killed by bandits. At the same time, the legislator asked Kenyans to embrace the 'Nyumba Kumi' initiative as one way of reducing insecurity. Profile


Victims’ fund set up

The National Treasury has set aside Sh1 billion of the Cabinet's budget for a special fund for victims of historical injustices and post-election violence. The fund set up by President Uhuru Kenyatta to help victims of the 2007/08 post-election violence is expected to grow to Sh10 billion over the next three years. Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury Henry Rotich also noted that part of the Sh3.4 billion increase in the budget for the Ministry of Devolution will also go towards the National Fund for Restorative Justice. The Cabinet secretary noted that the money had been taken from the Transport docket that is handling the building of a new terminal at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. There's no explanation, however, why the money was being diverted from the flagship Sh55 billion airport project launched in December 2013.



Bill proposes bidding for oil exploration blocks

The Petroleum Bill 2015 provides for bidding rounds to licence its oil exploration blocks, moving away from one-on-one negotiations with firms under a proposed law that also guides natural gas exploration. It proposes that oil blocks will only be allocated after bidding, a departure from the current law that permits the minister in charge of petroleum to allocate the blocks. The auction system will see investors compete for oil blocks with the exploration licence awarded to the firm offering the best deal. The Cabinet secretary will only be allowed to directly allocate a block if there are no bids, the tenders do not meet minimum criteria or where the blocks do not have adequate data. Even then, the minister will have to issue a 30-day public notice of the intention to conduct direct negotiations in at least two newspapers and will commence negotiations only if no other party declares interest. Firms that are awarded contracts after bidding or direct negotiations will be required to pay a signature bonus that will be set in the petroleum agreement. The process to auction multiple oil blocks has been on hold since 2013 because the government needed a new legal regime for fresh licensing. The Bill has been in the pipeline since 2012.



Events

The Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ-Kenya), invites you to a regional meeting on balancing the right to information and the protection of national security. The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss the actual or perceived conflict between the right to information and national security and suggest ways of promoting improved democratic oversight of government.

 The meeting will be held on Tuesday 26th May, 2015 at the Norfolk Hotel, Nairobi and Hon. Joseph Nkaissery has been invited as the Chief Guest.
Kindly confirm you attendance with Ms. Anne Nderi at anne.nderi@icj-kenya.org or on 0721519350.


 
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