Mzalendo

Mzalendo

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...

26 September 2013 » Mzalendo

Our Constitution states “All sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya …” and never has this been more evident than in the aftermath of the Westgate Mall terrorism incident on Saturday, 21 September 2013. Kenyans took ownership of their country, not waiting for politicians to drive the agenda and shape the story.  We owned our flag, our city and our land. Adversity birthed brotherhood in Kenya, across tribe, race, class, religion and politics. No one could have envisioned this. Kenyans...

17 September 2013 » Mzalendo

Since the promulgation of the constitution three issues have been particularly contentious, and more for Parliamentarians than for the public. These are the issues of MPs salaries, MPs paying taxes, and the standard of leadership and integrity required of state officers. While the public have pushed for a following of the constitution with regard to these issues, the National Assembly seems to be pulling in the opposite direction. Yet the constitution is clear on these issues: Chapter 6 sets...

13 September 2013 » Mzalendo

Last week an article appeared in the Standard Newspaper in which the author Pravin Bowry wrote, “Gender equality amongst the emancipated women in Kenya and the world over is a mantra sung repeatedly. But in Kenya, there is under the Constitution — the National Gender and Equality Commission — yet there are disturbing indicators that women’s rights are only a myth.” Last week’s assault of Nairobi Women’s Representative, Rachel Shebesh, by Nairobi Governor, Evans Kidero, was illustrative of this...

11 September 2013 » Mzalendo

Last month the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury, Henry Rotich, stated that there was no cause for alarm over the new Value Added Tax (VAT) Bill. The Cabinet Sectary also stated that the new bill would only revise the list of goods exempted from tax, and was not intended to hurt mwananchi, similar assurances were given by the Deputy President. However it is clear since the Act became operational on 2nd September, that this is not the case. The VAT Act imposed a 16 percent tax on...

09 September 2013 » Mzalendo

Earlier in the year while attending his pretrial hearing the Deputy President, William Ruto, stated, “the new Kenyan administration … will cooperate with the court, because President Kenyatta and myself believe in the rule of law.” The President, Uhuru Kenyatta, has also made similar promises to cooperate with the ICC. There is also Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Kenya and the Court in 2010. However a few days to the start of the Deputy President’s trial at the...

04 July 2013 » Mzalendo

During its campaigns the Jubilee coalition made several promises, the most famous being the one-laptop per child project. However the Jubilee government also made promises with regards to security, maternal health care and youth unemployment among a whole gamut of other promises. A few weeks ago the MP for Rarieda, Nicholas Gumbo, sought a statement on the progress of the programmes and promises made by the Jubilee Government. The specific promises he wanted addressed were: the provision of...

02 July 2013 » Mzalendo

For the last week teachers have been striking over pay and work conditions. More specifically an agreement between the government and teachers over pay; an agreement which according to the teachers unions has been outstanding since 1997! And which successive governments have failed to honour. Yesterday the industrial court ruled that the striking teachers should return to work immediately. Following the order of the courts the Attorney General issued a warning that the striking teachers could...

13 June 2013 » Mzalendo

Last week one of the points of order raised on the floor of the National Assembly was on the ‘Establishment/Composition/Operation of the Commissions’. MP John Mbadi Ng’ongo asked the Budget and Appropriations Committee to issue a statement on the establishment, composition and operation of all constitutional commissions. Citing the Constitution, the Public Finance Act, the Public Finance Management Act, MP John Mbadi Ng’ongo, stated that the National Assembly had a “constitutional...

10 June 2013 » Mzalendo

It is difficult to know exactly what the government’s position is with regards to the ongoing International Criminal Court’s cases against the President and Deputy President. The constitution is clear on Rome Statute’s position in Kenya’s laws. Article 2(5) of the constitution states “the general rules of international law shall form part of the law of Kenya”: Kenya has also domesticated the Rome Statute in the International Crimes Act of 2008. So while the law is clear on the Rome Statute and...

06 June 2013 » Mzalendo

According to the Nation: “The Clerk of the National Assembly Justin Bundi has issued an ultimatum to journalists to vacate Parliament’s media centre. The Clerk has also ordered that journalists will be “invited” to Parliament as and when they are needed. He said the media centre will host parliamentary committees. “We’re not creating residence for journalists in Parliament,” said Mr Bundi, shortly after he issued the ultimatum. The implication is that the parliamentary orderlies have the...

27 May 2013 » Mzalendo

South Igembe MP, Mithika Linturi, has brought to the floor of the National Assembly a petition to have the Salaries and Remuneration Commission disbanded. In his petition the MP asks for “for the removal of Sarah Jepkemboi Chumo Serem as the Chairperson of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and the removal of Daniel Ogutu, Sellestine Kiuluku, Serah Kinyua, Retired Brig. Samuel Ndururi, Isaiah Kubai,Jacqueline Mugo, Ann Elizabeth Owuor, Peter Oloo Aringo, Jason Namasake, Joseph...

20 May 2013 » Mzalendo

The protest was in response to continual demands by members of the 11th Parliament to their salaries returned to that of parliamentarians in the 10 parliament. A demand that is neither sustainable nor supported by a majority of Kenyans (an Ipsos Synovate survey shows that 88% of Kenyans support the protest. The protests of old were are fraught with violence tear gas thrown, running battles between police and protestors. The Occupy Parliament protest in comparison seemed well organised and...

17 May 2013 » Mzalendo

Last week MPs vowed to amend the CDF to give themselves more control over the funds. However on wonders at the effectiveness of the fund when it was under the management of the MPs, or even whether MPs should be administering the CDF fund, or whether we even need a CDF fund given new devolved structures? CDF was created to encourage development and ensure community participation in development at constituency. By bypassing central bureaucracies and channel funding directly to community level it...

03 May 2013 » Mzalendo

MPs have and never had an easy relationship with the independent commissions. In the last administration we saw members of parliament continually butt heads with both the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution. It seems that in the new Parliament the battle between the MPs and the independent commissions’ rages on, this time between Parliamentarians and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission over the MPs Salaries. Before...

29 April 2013 » Mzalendo

It is not really surprising that the process of nominating Cabinet Secretaries took as long as it did or that there were continued delays during the nomination process itself. While the government may not be a coalition government in the traditional sense i.e. where parties form a coalition after an election, it is a government that is made up of a coalition of parties, with a 50-50 power sharing agreement. The implication being that behind the matching shirts and ties we saw during the...

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