Mzalendo

Mzalendo

30 October 2014 » Mzalendo

A recent report on Constituency Development Fund (CDF) use published by the CDF Board calls for deeper interrogation on how exactly these public funds should be allocated and utilized. The Board declined to approve proposals from 137 constituencies as it termed them ‘not of public interest’. Some reflection of what these legislators wanted would put it to better context. Voi constituency sought to use CDF money to take teachers on trips it termed “inter-county benchmarking”. Turkana Central...

23 October 2014 » Mzalendo

Supreme Court Judge Justice Njoki Ndung’u arguably reflects how best women Parliamentarians have a critical role in politics. Through focusing on one issue, sexual offences and drilling it down, she was able to birth the Sexual Offences Act 2006. The journey towards realizing that law was fraught in many hurdles but she never lost sight of what she wanted to achieve. Today, while sexual offences continue to occur, the current regime is incomparable to before. Tougher penalties with broader...

17 October 2014 » Mzalendo

Two related issues have re-ignited the anti-corruption debate. One is the order from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) that State officers should not engage in harambees as it is against the law. Secondly is the decision by the President not to assent to amendments to the Public Officer Ethics Act (2003) that would have led to executive office bearers to take personal responsibility when adversely mentioned in corruption cases. Kenya cannot afford to continue making anti-...

10 October 2014 » Mzalendo

Public participation in governance has been a reverberating issue since the promulgation of the constitution on August 27th 2010. While the Constitution did not expectedly give, the modus operandi of realizing it, it offered broad principles that should define good governance, transparency and accountability in public affairs. The Buntwani conference held earlier this week was therefore very critical in shaping this issue with a view to find ways, already being practiced, and new ones that...

02 October 2014 » Mzalendo

Parliament’s move to have Cabinet Secretaries respond to questions in the created session called general oversight on Tuesday fails to abide by the Separation of powers principle as the Constitution envisions. One of the reasons CSs were supposed to be technocrats are they are to engage Parliament on the technical level at committee stage. Going to Parliament plenary is not their role. The move by Parliament seems calculated picking from sentiments from legislators who want to amend the...

25 September 2014 » Mzalendo

By Shitemi Khamadi Parliament is aggrieved by the Judiciary in how it has exercised its powers in the recent months. On Tuesday 23rd September, when the Senate resumed sittings, Senators led by nominated Senator Beatrice Elachi discussed the Judiciary at great length. They were all united that the Judiciary is overstepping its mandate with its temporary orders that are impeding the work of the house. Two weeks ago, the National Assembly had raised the same concern. In fact, National Assembly...

18 September 2014 » Mzalendo

  By Shitemi Khamadi Sections of the proposed Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Bill, 2014 of Kenya that touch on access to information not only contradict the Constitution but also fail to align to basic democratic tenets that Kenya has gained so far. Article 35 of the Constitution provides for the right of access to information held by the State. This is the guiding principle applicable to parliamentary processes that Parliament must be open, transparent and accountable to the public in its...

12 September 2014 » Mzalendo

By Shitemi Khamadi Thomas Paine, the English-American political activist stated that “what we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.” These words reverberate when reflecting on the Kenyan politics of the day. This past week has evidenced news on magnitude of greed from the politicians....

05 September 2014 » Mzalendo

“Being single is a status, not a competitive advantage,” replied Lucy Chelimo, the Kenyan nominee ambassador to Canada when asked by MP Chris Wamalwa how her single status would affect her work. In her case, what would status really mean! Status could mean being politically correct! It could mean being ethnically correct! It could mean an age transition that she will surmount, like all else and be older, probably wiser and have this question not asked again if she is to appear before any...

28 August 2014 » Mzalendo

The Constitution of Kenya 2010 turns 4 this week, giving us a chance to reflect on the gains and missteps that have marked the implementation exercise. At the centre of the 20 year clamour for a new Constitution was the need to give the public a say in Kenya’s governance and development. This was meant to ensure the interests of the Kenyans are always represented as well as to provide a check against the wanton misuse and waste of public resources. Article 1 of the Constitution lodges all...

14 August 2014 » Mzalendo

The intention behind devolution is noble – to bring both government and services closer to the people. However the implementation of the devolved governance system is more than a bit clunky. Since its inception devolution has seen turf wars – between the Senate and Governors, between Governors and the National Assembly, between the National Assembly and Senators, and at times all three simultaneously. Issues of role clarity and hierarchy are especially apparent in the most recent power struggle...

03 June 2014 » Mzalendo

Fifty-one years ago, on 1st June Kenya attained “Self-Government / Self-Independence,” but do Kenyans individually own and occupy that political space beyond Election Days? Article 1 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 re-emphasises the same idea as it states, “All sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya and shall be exercised only in accordance with this Constitution.” Kenyans exercise this power indirectly through the democratically elected representatives including their...

28 May 2014 » Mzalendo

In early April the government began a nation wide crackdown dubbed ‘Operation Usalama Watch’.  The intention of the operation, arrest and prosecute people suspected of engaging in terrorist activities and eliminate terrorism. However almost two months in one wonders if the operation is achieving this. Since the start of the operation we have seen the arbitrary arrest, detention and deportation of thousands of people, mostly of Somali descent. According newspaper reports, since the 2nd of April...

26 May 2014 » Mzalendo

Land has always an emotive issue in Kenya. The new constitution with its provisions on land and the pursuant legislation were all intended to improve country’s contentious land situation. However the recent goings on between the National Land Commission and the Lands Ministry calls into question whether Kenya’s land issue will ever be resolved. Confidence in the ability of the bodies to resolve the country’s land issues is not helped by the sudden discovery of millions of ‘missing’ files from...

22 May 2014 » Mzalendo

Anglo Leasing seems to be one of Kenya’s most convoluted and drawn out scandals to date. The scandal has been going on for over ten years, has spanned three Presidential administrations, and most recently has cost Kenyan taxpayers 1.4 billion shillings (this figure could be much higher if one considers payments which may have made in the past). This most recent payment is a result of an order entered against the Kenyan government made in a London Court in December 2013. A case at which it turns...

22 April 2014 » Mzalendo

Kenya’s First Lady’s historic London Marathon run after barely six months training is a great shot in the arm for the child and maternal health sector; unfortunately, the President’s record after a year in office is not as illustrious. For instance, with regards to progress in the health sector the President referenced his declaration of free maternal health care in all public hospital and the positive outcomes stemming from this initiative stating, “Before we came to power, we had already...

04 April 2014 » Mzalendo

Shortly after the Westgate Attack, making the link between corruption and the increase in terrorism in the Guardian article ‘Kenya: behind the terror is rampant corruption,’ Giles Foden wrote:  “In Kenya crime and terrorism are deeply linked, not least by the failure of successive Kenyan governments to control either….These attacks are part of a spectrum of banditry, with corruption at one end, terrorism at the other, and regular robbery in the middle. Some Kenyans will feel that the conditions...

01 April 2014 » Mzalendo

Last week the President gave his second State of the Nation speech. A speech he is constitutionally required to give every year for the term of his Presidency. However if one was expecting this year’s speech to be a marker of the administration’s progress in achieving the goals and promises made in both its manifesto and during last year’s speech they were sorely disappointed.  The speech barely made reference to the administrations manifesto, or to promises made by the President in his last...

20 March 2014 » Mzalendo

It is laudable that the government is finally taking steps to reduce the wage bill and while the outcome of the efforts remains to be seen, it would be great if concrete steps were alsotaken towards correcting government inefficiencies particularly when it comes to the tendering process. Recently there have been a slew of reports on the inefficienciesin the tendering process and the resultant losses, for instance: The Public Procurement Administration Review Board found that the laptop tender...

13 March 2014 » Mzalendo

The Cabinet is back from its one week retreat, and if the President’s speech is any indication dealing with the country’s public wage bill is high on the government’s agenda. Unless you live under a rock it’s likely that you know or have heard, that two of the highest paid public sector workers (the President and the Deputy President) will be taking a 20% wage cut, the Cabinet will also be taking 10% pay cut all effective immediately. It seems that since the President’s speech, the offers to...

11 March 2014 » Mzalendo

According to a report in the Business Daily, “Parliament has questioned a Sh32.7 billion increase in public wages and benefits despite devolution of several functions and shifting of personnel to counties. The Budget and Appropriation Committee has asked the Treasury to explain its projection that the wage bill will rise from Sh263 billion to Sh295.7 billion in the financial year starting July 2013, a 12.4 per cent rise.” While it is a welcome move that the National Assembly is finally...

03 March 2014 » Mzalendo

Combined the National Assembly and Senate has over 400 members that cost the country billions of shillings in wages annually. The representatives that sit in both Houses are supposed to ensure responsiveness and accountability of government to citizens by conducting open debate on government policy, legislation, finances, and representing citizens’ views in Parliament. But how well are our representatives in the National Assembly and Senate performing? How do we evaluate the quality of a single...

20 February 2014 » Mzalendo

The conditions for removal of Governors are stipulated in Article 181 of the constitution; the article states that governors may be removed from office for, gross violations of the constitution and laws; where there are serious reasons for believing the county governor has committed a crime under national or international law; gross misconduct, abuse of office and/or physical or mental incapacity that prevents him/her from performing the duties of a governor. Less than a year since governors...

19 February 2014 » Mzalendo

Following the Salaries and Remuneration Commission’s downward review of the MPs salaries last year (a welcome move given how much MPs are paid, as well as country’s public wage bill that grew in leaps and abounds with the addition of the new governmental structures) MPs engaged the Commission in a battle over salaries that seemed to take up most of 2013’s legislative agenda. Member of the National Assembly, Mithika Linturi, filed a motion that sought to remove the SRC Chairperson Sarah Serem...

18 February 2014 » Mzalendo

How much do we really know about the country’s public procurement process? Chapter 12 of Constitution on public finance commits the government to transparency; efficiency and cost effectiveness as far as use of public funds is concerned. Article 227 (1) that specifically addresses public procurement states that: “When a State organ or any other public entity contracts for goods or services, it shall do so in accordance with a system that is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-...

31 January 2014 » Mzalendo

As far as megaprojects go the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) is definitely one. One of the flagships of Vision 2030, it is projected that the railway will take 5 years to build and will run through at least 7 of the 47 counties, opening up previously ‘difficult to reach’ areas and will extend to Rwanda and South Sudan opening up at least 40 business centres. According the Vision 2030 website the SGR: ‘The SGR is the largest project to be undertaken in the country in 50 years….Kenyans are set to...

29 January 2014 » Mzalendo

Last week the story below the impending drought/famine crisis in Turkana appeared in the press: “The government has dispatched a team to survey the famine situation in Turkana County. The drought has affected at least 400,000 people. More than 35,000 children are out of school due to the drought. Most school children have dropped out to join their parents in the search for water and food…  the county government has sent out an appeal to humanitarian groups to come in aid of the starving...

24 January 2014 » Mzalendo

Since 2010, there have been at least 30 terrorist attacks in the country, with a majority of the attacks occurring post Kenya’s Somalia intervention. While in this light the Westgate attack was only one of many, it is that attack that has by far received the most international and national attention. Following it the National Assembly set up a Joint Committee to investigate and report on all matters surrounding the attack, as well as make recommendations on preventative measures and steps to be...

20 January 2014 » Mzalendo

Devolution is intended to bring services closer to the people. The county budget process is a big part of doing this as it is how the government, including the county governments, allocate scarce resources to various programmes and services. Under the Division of Revenue Act Ksh 210 billion was allocated to county budgets, Ksh190 billion in unconditional transfers, and Ksh 20 billion in conditional transfers. To say that the last county budget process was messy is an understatement. Several...

15 January 2014 » Mzalendo

Just before Christmas 2013 the President assented to 8 bills, it will be interesting to watch the implementation of the three laws below given their wide reaching effects on social justice, cohesion, and the freedom of the press respectively. The National Social Security Act Article 43 (1) of constitution entitles every citizen to social security and Article 43 (2) requires that the government, ‘provide appropriate social security to persons who are unable to support themselves and their...

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