Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 165
11 December - 17 December, 2017


Twelfth Parliament: To hope or to despair?

Since the promulgation of the Constitution in 2010, Kenya has never found herself on the crossroads like in 2017. The 2017 election was one of the most contested by bitter rivals. It brought about toxic emotions and stretched people almost to a breaking point. The concluded election brought about wounds that may haunt Kenya forever, if they aren’t healed soon.

In the post-election period, a daunting legacy of the dangerous politics of secession has been left. There are some regions which are adamantly calling for “self-determination”. In the politics of state formation, there is no country that comes together and anticipates a day when it will disintegrate and that’s why there is no Constitution in the world that has a chapter on dissolution.

Since Kenya is better as one, our government through specific institutions needs to calm these separationists call by tackling the grievances of these regions whether perceived or real. It is either we live together as brothers and flourish; or fight and perish together as fools.

Coming from such a grueling, nasty and brutish political period, Kenyan citizens are fatigued and on the verge of hopelessness. In the last four or so months nothing seemed to work and things were falling apart. In such a situation, the job of the already elected leaders is clear cut – to restore hope to Kenyans.

The 12th Parliament as an institution should be the first to realize that combative politics are over and it is time to forge ahead as a country. The occupants therein ought to sacrifice their pleasures and pursue the interests of their constituents relentlessly.

There are still healthcare challenges to be addressed, take counties like Mandera and Tana River for instance, where we have a ratio of one doctor to 10,000 patients. In such counties hospitals and clinics are like a privilege. We are still in a country where 7 out 10 Kenyans do not have a medical cover. Can the 12th Parliament rise to the occassion and ensure that the system works for all Kenyans?

News of the Week

President Uhuru Speaks on calls for secession

President Uhuru Kenyatta has warned first time governors and their deputies over secession talks at the governor’s induction at Diana Reef Hotel, Kwale County. In what appeared as a reference to Hon. Peter Kaluma’s Bill on secession, the President warned that he will not “entertain any language, any action, that threatens our territorial integrity,”

He added that while he remains open to dialogue, the law will deal with those who will “cross the line” referring to opposition leaders and particularly NASA leader Raila Odinga who has promised his supporters to swear-in as the People’s President. The country underwent a most divisive general elections yet that has seen the Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma draft a secession Bill and at least 12 counties passing a People’s Assembly motion that does not sit well with the national government.

EALA nominees reveal ugly underbelly of political parties

Kenya finally nominated nine members to join the East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) after months of political bickering from the opposition NASA and ruling Jubilee. However, the list sent to Parliament from both parties revealed the ugly truth about the main political parties. The nominees included former MPs and close aides or relatives of the party bosses.

The final list approved by Parliament contains seven former MPs who are in good standing with the party owners including former PM’s elder brother Oburu Odinga and his NASA deputy, Kalonzo Musyoka’s son. This is the ultimate betrayal of the common people who trusted Jubilee and NASA to represent them.


Parliament wins first round of salaries and benefits fight against SRC

Parliament through the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) challenged in court the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) gazette notice reducing member’s sitting allowance among other benefits. PSC in a petition before High Court Judge George Odunga argued SRC were encroaching on their mandate and sought to cripple the mandate of the 12th Parliament.

They further argued that the SRC failed to conduct a conclusive study on labor market efficiency, dynamics on the prevailing economic situation and doing a comprehensive job evaluation before setting the new structures.

The SRC on the other hand are reported to have argued that they factored Gross Domestic Product, ordinary revenue, expenditure and public service wage bill sustainability in determining the new pay structure. The case will be heard on January, 29th 2018.


MPs take a firm stand on public sugar companies

Members of Parliament approved a motion by Awendo MP Walter Owino to write off debts owed by public sugar companies. The Awendo MP argued that people from his constituency heavily depend on sugarcane either as farmers or sugarcane factory workers. He therefore wanted contracts with millers honored. MPs also want the reintroduction of the sugar development fund to help in the revival of the ailing sugar sub-sector.

They also want the government to relook at the proposed sale of five State-owned millers – Sony, Chemelil, Nzoia, Muhoroni and Miwani to ensure protection of growers of the product and workers. MPs also want the government to immediately gazette sugar regulations on licensing of factories and compliance requirements, revive the sugar tribunal to handle contract disputes and clarify the role of the Agriculture Food Authority (AFA) and county governments in the licensing of sugarcane production.


Quote of the Week

"If Jesus were to come back, Mr. Wetangula would send him to Kamiti Maximum Prison straightaway. This is untenable and that is why Jesus has refused to come back."

Quote by former MP Paddy Ahenda when debating the Penal Code Bill on August 1, 2007

Read the Hansard

Lest we forget

"I am not aware that poor design has been the cause of accidents at Salgaa/Sachangwan on the Nakuru-Eldoret Road. Indeed, majority of the accidents on our roads are being attributed to human error."

Sentiments by former Assistant Minister for Roads Hon. Lee Kinyanjui when responding to a question on improvement of road design at salgaa/sachangwan on February 2, 2011.

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

Nairobi Governor, Mike Mbuvi Sonko, made headlines this week after reports in the local media that he had abdicated his duties to the national government after an alleged fall-out with his deputy Polycarp Igathe. Governor Sonko has however rubbished the claims. The reports that Statehouse was virtually running City Hall, making key decisions and appointments  did not sit well with the governor. The Star Newspaper reported that the President had told the governor to his face to focus on politics and leave the running of the county to his deputy and Tourism Minister, Najib Balala. 

This comes in the wake of the special task-force on programmes to improve Nairobi's social and economic sector. In which Polycarp Igathe and CS Najib Balala were appointed by the President to co-chair the technical committee chaired by himself (the President). Governor Mike Sonko took to social media to disprove the notion that he was not in good terms with his deputy, releasing a series of text messages from WhatsApp on his facebook platform.


Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved.

Mzalendo Trust, Heinrich Boll Foundation,
Prof. Wangari Mathai Road.
P. O. Box 21765 00505 Nairobi, Kenya

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