Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 161
13 November - 19 November, 2017


The people’s assembly is a town hall writ large

The phrase “The People’s Assembly” has become one of the most used phrases in Kenya in the past few weeks. It has inspired both anxiety and confidence and as usual divided the country into two. Accolades and epithets, in regard to the idea are determined by the side of the political divide which one stands.

This idea of “The People’s Assembly” was introduced by NASA leader Raila Odinga when he was highlighting how the coalition shall be rallying its supporters against the government of President Kenyatta after his withdrawal from the controversial fresh election which was conducted on 26th of October.

In short “The People’s Assembly” is supposed to take shape of an inflated town hall where the people shall be discussing their issues then have them ratified by their respective County Assemblies. “The People’s Assembly” shall be different from a town hall because it is envisioned to have a structured membership and it shall have a “unique mandate” from the County Assemblies.  “The People’s Assembly” which shall not recognize the government of President Kenyatta (if Supreme Court validates his re-election) shall operate as a parallel government of the people.

Presently the questions are – what is the justification of the “The People’s Assembly”? What legal environment shall they operate in? These are questions that Kenyans have been grappling with, because this proposal has been confusing and to some extent vague.  Let’s try to dissect these two questions. Generally, the people’s assemblies are justified, because good governance and democracy thrives where people are consulted and they are free to question the government of the day.

Normally, people’s assembly is a forum where people meet to discuss and participate in decision making. They are formed for the sole purpose of facilitating public participation and putting the government on check. Looking at Odinga’s proposal, does it fall within the above justification? The answer is both yes and no. It is justified because like its look-alike the “The People’s Assembly Movement” in the United Kingdom, they shall be venting on the issues pertinent in the Kenyan society such as exclusion.

News of the Week

Concerned about buildings that are disaster waiting to happen? Contribute to this bill

The Building Surveyors Bill, 2017 that aims to raise standards in the construction industry has been tabled before Parliament. The Bill proposes to establish the Building Surveyors Registration Board that will be responsible for regulating the activities and the conduct of building surveyors. This bill comes in the wake of loss of lives and life threatening injuries following the rampant collapse of buildings in major towns across the country.

The bill proposes to have all registered building surveyors be members of an Institution of Surveyors of Kenya or be a corporate member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Additionally, practising building surveyors must have an insurance policy or have a guarantee bond as compensation for those who experience any losses as a result of their negligence. The bill is currently in the first reading and available for scrutiny and comments on our dokeza platform. Kindly register and make your contribution.


Senate Speaker and Chief Whip in trouble over questionable use of public funds

Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka and Chief Whip Susan Kihika are on the spot over Auditor General Report over their misuse of public funds. The Auditor General Robert Ouko’s report indicts the two Senate leaders when they served as Governor Bungoma and Speaker Nakuru County respectively.

Speaker Lusaka is expected to appear before the Senate’s Public Accounts Committee over Sh3.16 billion assets inherited from the defunct local authorities and another Sh194.9 million for expenditure on goods and services. Moreover, Bungoma County is set to lose Sh. 25.9 million due to bad loans after the youth and women groups defaulted last year’s (June 2016) repayment deadline.

The former Nakuru Speaker on the other hand is expected to explain the Sh. 42.5 million and Sh24.9 million spending for MCAs local and foreign travel respectively. Additionally, the Senate Speaker is also expected to explain the more than Sh.24 million outstanding imprests and another Sh2.2million paid to Toyota over motorbike supplies that were never delivered and why transaction did not reveal Withholding Tax.

Also, not forgetting the Sh. 3.9 million borrowed from the Bungoma referral hospital without going through Bungoma county treasury. The Senate Deputy Speaker has indicated the two will have to obey summons if asked to appear before the Senate committee regardless of the positions they hold in the house.


Activist wants Luo Nyanza excluded from Kenya

Jubilee Activist Washington Makodingo has drafted a bill to allow the counties that did not participate in the repeat 26th October polls to secede. The four counties include: Kisumu, Homabay, Migori and Siaya Counties. However, the Jubilee Activist wants the creation of Kuria County to cater for Kuria East and Kuria West who participated in the fresh polls as the 44th county after the other four counties are expelled.

Makodingo argues that the people from Luo Nyanza have always wanted to secede and the objective of the bill is to grant them this wish. Interestingly though, the Jubilee Activist drafted the bill only a day after Homa Bay Town MP, Peter Kaluma tabled another bill to split the country into two: People’s Republic of Kenya and the Central Republic of Kenya. 

The Activist wants Maseno division of Kisumu County-North West Ward in Kisumu Constituency moved to Vihiga County via an amendment of the First Schedule to reflect the new counties. The bill however, needs to be tabled by a sitting MP as a private members bill and can only be passed by a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly or by collecting one million signatures.


Quote of the Week

"Halleluyah! Glory to God in heaven. He has remembered our Nation, given us hope & future. Wakenya jameni mubarikiwe mpaka mshangae together."

Quote by Deputy President-elect William Ruto following the Supreme Court ruling upholding Jubilee win in the repeat fresh elections on November 21, 2017


Lest we forget

"As we speak today, we should ask questions for example, to what extent can our national examinations be considered to be globally competitive..."

Sentiments by former Rarieda MP Hon. Nicholas Gumbo when debating The Basic Education (Amendment) Bill on November 18, 2015.

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu made headlines this week after his County showed interest in preventing under 21 year olds from enjoying alcoholic drinks. While the country wide drinking age is set at 18 years; the Kiambu County Alcoholic Drink Control Bill 2017 is proposing to have only those over 21 years to be allowed to buy, consume and sell alcohol. The Kiambu governor is excited about the bill as it will allow him to tame the drinking menace in the county.

Those found on the wrong side of the law should they be found guilty will serve at least one year jail term or pay a fine of Sh. 250, 000. The new law if enacted will demand those engaging in the alcohol business make it clear to their clients the age limit. Also those found selling-knowingly adulterated alcohol will pay up to Sh. 500,000 or serve two years jail term. In addition, the county will have zones where alcohol cannot be sold should the bill become law.


Public Participation

Do you have questions on issues of national interest discussed by our elected leaders - especially Members of Parliament, and Senators?

Are you lost in the current political temperatures that you don't even know which bills are being debated in Parliament?

Are you interested in contributing to the law making process? 

If your answer is yes, please send your questions via SMS to 21516 and we shall do our best to respond promptly. Don't agonize with your questions alone, #BongaNaMzalendo 

 Mzalendo invites you to comment on the following bills on our Dokeza platform:
  • The Physical Planning Bill, 2017
  • The Public Trustee (Amendment) Bill, 2017
  • The Building Surveyor's Bill, 2017
  • Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority Bill
  • The Computer and Cyber crimes Bill, 2017
  • The Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2017
Kindly click on this link to get to the site; sign up or login and submit your comments.

You can register using your Facebook or Twitter account too.

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

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