Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 175
26 February - 4 March, 2018


Why are Kenyans Comfortable With Mediocrity?

Kenyans deserve better, from our healthcare, education and infrastructure. This is the feeling that one gets whenever they go to a public facility to be served. Every year, public funds are channeled to improve service delivery and the lives of Kenyans, but it seems the more funds are allocated, the more public services deteriorate. Increasingly, public facilities are becoming a perfect representation of mediocrity and this has forced more Kenyans to prefer private facilities which they can ill afford.

For example, let us focus on the healthcare sector.

It is only last week that we heard that a surgery was conducted on the wrong patient in the largest public referral hospital in Kenya. The ills in Kenyatta hospital that are highlighted daily are just a tip of the iceberg. Kenyatta hospital personifies the collapsed healthcare in Kenya. Getting sick in Kenya is synonymous to a death warrant.

Our healthcare is on its deathbed, if not collapsed; countless problems from a disgruntled human resource to the dilapidated physical facilities can explain this assertion.  Across the country, Kenyans complain about the poor services that they get in public hospitals. For instance, nowadays it isn’t guaranteed that our mothers will deliver safely in public hospitals. Kenyans have resulted to airing their grievances on social media, because we even lack feedback systems where patients can channel their complaints or even compliments. Public hospitals have turned into some sort of organized anarchy.

On a Facebook page, by the name “United States of Kiambu”, a woman narrates an alleged ordeal in Kiambu Level 5 hospital when her sister was giving birth. The woman goes ahead to allege that four babies lost their lives from Friday evening to Saturday morning last week, due to negligence.

In this particular hospital, there has been a litany of allegations of misconduct, it is even alleged that staff in this hospital go the extent of asking for bribes to treat patients. To be served well isn’t guaranteed. Yet we are still talking of universal healthcare while we cannot offer basics. It won’t be a surprise if this situation is replicated in most of the public hospitals across the country. Most of these problems continue unnoticed because people who make are responsible for these hospitals do not use them. Public hospitals are left to the poor in the society and it seems that it is well if they suffer.

Our constitution, on the bill of rights – article 43(1) (a) accords all Kenyans the right to the highest attainable standard of health, which includes the right to health care services, including reproductive health care. Why then should Kenyans get only mediocre service yet their taxes pay for better services? In the last budget, healthcare services got an allocation of 60.9 billion, more money than in the previous budget, but did the situation in the sector get better?

News of the Week

Opposition NASA on the verge of collapse

The opposition outfit appears to be collapsing only weeks after the grand mock oathing by their leader Raila Odinga. Ford Kenya’s Wetangula has promised to be on the ballot and wants ODM’s support. Wiper Party leaders now say their leader Kalonzo Musyoka will not take part in the mock swearing-in, terming it as having no value as they have not seen anything tangible from the January 30th event. The party now appears focused on 2022. Meanwhile ANC now claims Raila fooled them into taking oath alone and ODM MPs on the other hand are pushing their party leader Raila Odinga to drop his co-principals over ‘betrayal’. It appears it’s only a matter of time before the coalition falls apart.

Jubilee NASA still disagree on Eurobond

National Assembly Majority and Minority leader clash over the recent Eurobond. Hon. Duale insists the country is capable of paying back the loan and that it was factored in the 2017/18 budget while Hon. John Mbadi accuses govt of borrowing with no idea what they want to spend the money on.

Auditor General confirms Afya “gate” scandal

The Auditor General now confirms local media reports of a scandal at the ministry of health where at least Sh. 5billion had been squandered. The Auditor General 2015/16 report shows the amount as was then estimated by the media, indeed can’t be accounted for and another additional Sh. 6billion bringing the total of money the Health ministry is unable to account for at Sh. 11 billion. Money was lost in payment of goods and services not delivered in contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.

Quote of the Week

"When you travel out of the country, you almost want to hide your passport because people will say: “This person is from a very corrupt country”."

Quote by Hon. Ferdinand Wanyonyi when debating the motion on Presidential Address on  on March 31, 2016

Read the Hansard

Lest we forget

"The Afya House corruption scandal was alleged to be worth Kshs5 billion in just one Ministry. Never mention the others."

Sentiments by Hon. Kenneth Odhiambo Okoth when debating motion on response to effects of drought on January 31, 2017.

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

Embakasi East MP Paul Ongili Owino, alias Babu made headlines this week after losing his seat following a petition by his challenger Francis Mureithi of Jubilee party. Mr. Mureithi had successfully petitioned the High Court to have a vote re-count and while the court found Babu to have won the re-count, Justice Joseph Sergon still found that the elections were marred by violence and ordered that he (Babu Owino) pay Sh. 5million to the petitioner. Babu Owino has since filed a notice of appeal challenging the nullification of his election. The case has attracted a lot of commentary both in Jubilee and NASA with different lawyers weighing in on the matter. The MP insists the decision to nullify his win was ochestrated at State House, Nairobi.


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

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