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Public Retraction: Tigania West CDF Mismanagement

Posted by on 13th April 2012

Categories: Breaking News MP Participation

[UPDATE]

Two months ago we published a report that alleged that the CDF fund for the Tigania West Constituency. managed by Honourable Kilemi Miwria was mismanaged.

The member subsequently got in touch with us to clarify the serious allegations and we subsequently took down the post.

We however failed to publicly acknowledge this, a significant oversight on our part.  In this regard we take this opportunity to unreservedly apologize to Honourable Kilemi Mwiria and the people of Tigania West for the aspersions unwittingly cast against him and his committee.

In the interests of transparency we also will obtain and publish the clearance from the EACC in this regard as soon as possible. we have obtained the letter from the EACC  as displayed below

Mzalendo is a non-partisan volunteer project started in 2003 whose mission is to ‘keep an eye on the Kenyan parliament.’ Mzalendo seeks to promote greater public voice and enhance public participation in politics by providing relevant information about the National Assembly’s activities, MPs, and aspirants ahead of the 2012 elections.

As such we have no political, or any other affiliations with any political party or politician, and are totally non partisan.

This matter has pointed out to us the significant flaws in dealing with content sourced from third parties, and dealing with the right of response. In this regard we are preparing a policy on the same that we hope will avoid any such occurrences in the future.

Bio Safety Act /GMOs, Have The Promises Been Kept?

Posted by on 3rd August 2011

Categories: MP Participation News

By Moreen Majiwa (@mmajiwa)

The issue of whether or not to import GMO’s into the country has been ongoing for over a decade.  Despite the initial resistance to the Bio Saftey Bill it was passed almost unanimously during its third reading. The passage of the Bio-Safety Act was the official enactment of a law to that would both allow and govern the importation of GMOs. Several MPs supported the bill with the promise that GMOs would be properly policed. Below are excerpts from the debate on the Bio-Safety Act and the names of the MPs who supported the Bill and those that did not.

Have the promises on regulation of GMOs made during debate on the Bio Safety bill been kept?  You decide.

MPs who supported the Bill

Dr. Kilemi Mwiria (The Assistant Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology)

‘This is a Bill on safety to safeguard Kenyans against the unintended use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In other words, it is to guard against the very same fears that a lot of us are expressing with regard to issues of biotechnology. It is also to guard us against a situation which is already occurring in that we already have GMOs with us.’

Robert Monda: “we are putting in place safety and regulatory mechanism so that we can through an Act regulate any GMOs. We want to allay the fears that have been expressed by hon. Members – I think it is the name that has fuelled the fears. These are genetically modified organisms! That is simple and straightforward English: It is not science. We want to be very clear that we do not create unnecessary fear in the public; that GMOs are coming in with complications, health problems or lack of food. We are not introducing GMOs now. They are already there!”

William Ruto: “There are very clear guidelines on the safe use of GMOs that are provide in the Bill. The framework established under the Bill are full-proof mechanism that no GMO will be introduced into this country unless it has been subjected to a thorough research and scientific analysis to ensure that it is safe in not only in terms of health for humans beings but also safe for the environment.”

Jakoyo Midiwo: “It is very surprising that there is lot of opposition to this bill.”

Dr. Wilber Otichilo: “GMOs are part of science and technology. This Bill is going to guard this country against anybody bringing in GMOs or any other crops that we deem unfit for this country.”

Sally Kosgey: “Sir, the new law does not seek to introduce any GMOs or products of GMOs without strict supervision and quarantine. The new law is, indeed, for the protection of Kenyans from careless escapes or presentation of GMOs or products of GMOs, in strict accordance with the Cartagena Protocol”

Per the Hansard MPs who spoke in support of the bill – David Koech, Elizabeth Ongoro, Danson Mungatana, Rachel Shebesh, Noah Wekesa

MPs Opposed to the Bill

Silas Ruteere: “I am not convinced because I know contrary to what has been advocated for the countries that use GMOs like maize or sorghum…grow then for animals. WE want to introduce GMOS but the mechanisms for the issues to do with warehouses, proper control and lack of control for contamination of our seeds have not been provided for in the bill.”

John Mututho: “I am prepared to table a document which gives a summary of the world research on food productivity based on GMOs, showing clearly that there has never been any significant change except for the maize variety MO810, which increased up to a level of 10% and not beyond that .”

Aden Duale:the fundamental question I want to ask and which I want everybody to hear is; if today you are the policy-maker in this country, could you allow a large scale-farmer to plant GMOs? If you are a policy-maker in this country, you need to ask yourself; if you were a consumer, will you eat such food?”

Franklin Bett: “We must not mix these seeds with other seeds. I want to say that we must allow risk assessment to be properly done before we introduce GMO products. In this country we seem to be in a hurry to introduce them.”

List of Kenyan MPs who are refusing to pay taxes

Posted by on 28th June 2011

Categories: Expose MP Participation Vox Pop

Dear Wazalendos,

We have put together a list capturing the names of MPs who are refusing to pay taxes and where possible their public statements, this is for posterity reasons…since we know how kigeugeu our politicians can be.

Please help us build the list by adding a comment below or emailing us info-at-mzalendo.com

MP taxation

Posted by on 27th June 2011

Categories: Members of Parliament MP Participation

By Mzalendo Contributor – Moreen Majiwa (@mmajiwa)

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) announced that in accordance with the constitution MPs will now be required to pay taxes on their income i.e. just like every other income earning Kenyan.  Moreover KRA wants the MPs taxes back-dated to August 2010, the month in which the constitution promulgated, and has threatened to penalise any member of parliament who fails to pay taxes.

The move is a win for the Kenyan public who have campaigned numerous times for the members of parliament, that they have elected to pay taxes.  However, the implementation of the constitutional requirement that MPs pay taxes has sparked opposition from the members of parliament, in effect dismissing the wishes of the electorate. What happened to sovereignty of the people?

MP Olago Alouch, Kisumu Town West, has said if the negotiations with the KRA fail MPs could affect proposals in the Akiwumi report, which would allow MPs to increase their basic salary to Kshs1.2 million if adopted.

However there are a few constitutional hurdles that would invalidate this option:

First, the new constitution removes from MPs the power to set or review their salary or benefits and puts that decision on the hands of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission [Article 230 (4) (a)].   This means MPs can no longer raise their salaries unilaterally as in the old dispensation. The commission is independent so parliament’s ability to influence it is limited.  Increasing their salary through the adoption of a report would probably be unconstitutional given that this is no longer under the mandate of parliament.

Second, the Article 210 (3) states no law may exclude or authorize the exclusion of a State officer from payment of tax. This is pretty clear any law that allows state officers not to pay tax is in contravention with the constitution, and would be invalidated by virtue of this contravention.

It would seem in bad faith for the MPs to act increase their salaries so that increase would offset the cost of the taxes. Let them join the rest of hardworking Kenyans and lets make sure our katiba mpya is adhered to.

Should use of indigenous languages be banned in public offices?

Posted by on 20th June 2011

Categories: Motions MP Participation

By Moreen Majiwa (@mmajiwa)

A few weeks ago the media covered an audit report conducted by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission on ethnicity in the civil service.  The NCIC report showed despite the existence of the 48 communities in Kenya 80% of public services is occupied by only 6 communities – ethnicity continues to be an ongoing conversation not just on the street but in parliament as well.

However , unless you watch parliamentary sessions on TV or were actually at parliament on the 8th June 2011 you probably missed this..on 8th June 2011 Maragwa MP Elias Mbau stated that he was: “Concerned that the use of indigenous languages in public offices and national institutions is a major contributor to disharmony, suspicion and discomfort in public offices in the country>”

He then urged the Government to: “Ban the use of indigenous languages in all public offices, except by Government Field Officers at the level of locations and sub-locations in public barazas, where it is expected that nearly all of the audience understand the local language used.”

He stated the motion aimed: “to ban the use of vernacular languages in public offices as it causes disharmony and discomfort to those who may not understand a particular vernacular language and might stir ethnic hatred.”

He used as his main point of reference Article 7(2) of the Constitution that recognizes Kiswahili and English as the official languages of the Republic of Kenya. While the MP recognized that the article 7 (3) provides for the protection and promotion of diversity of the language of the people of Kenya, and the importance that language as tool of communication, as tool of culture and identity. He argued ethnicity had a negative aspect declaring “we have a good proportion of ethnic chauvinists both in this House and outside this House – who are inclined to see only the members of their tribe as people and also denigrate all others as something less.” He went on state that in the workplace and particular in the aftermath of the 2007/2008 post election violence language has been used a way that is exclusionary, discriminatory that fosters conflict.

Work place diversity is a complex issue when you consider issues of the gender, age, education, background, ethnic group, language adds another layer to the complexity.  What has your experience of use of indigenous languages in the workplace been, positive or negative?  Do you agree with the motion put forward by MP Elias Mbau to ban the use of indigenous language in the workplace? And would it have the intended effect of reducing discrimination and promoting social cohesion?

What’s Happening at Kenya’s Borders?

Posted by on 14th May 2011

Categories: Expose Ministries MP Participation News

By Mzalendo Contributor – Moreen Majiwa (@mmajiwa)

There’s a saying that goes ‘good fences make good neighbours’. If the saying is true what do goings on at Kenya’s borders and borderlands say about the quality of our fences and neighbours they make?

On Tuesday this week protestors marched to parliament after more than 40 people from the Turkana community were killed and another 100 injured in attacks by Ethiopian militia. The massacre as, people have referred to the attack, took place in the town of Todonyang in Northern Kenya border with Ethiopia on the 2nd of this month.

The protestors demanded urgent and expeditious deployment of the army to Turkana, to safeguard the security of local residents from recurring attacks by Ethiopian, Ugandan and South Sudanese militia.  The incursion in Turkana is the latest what seems to be an increasing number of the incursions into Kenya by foreign troops, bandits or armed militia. In the last 20 months there have been no less then 10 incursions into Kenyan borders by foreign forces.

Currently:

  • The Ugandan Armed forces still occupy Migingo Island and last week they extended their occupation to Ugingo Island also on the Kenyan side of lake Victoria, the government is yet to respond to the latest incursion either diplomatically or otherwise.
  • In the last two years there have also been repeated reports about attacks by Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) in parts of Pokot, particularly in Kacheliba and raids by Ugandan security forces in Sigulu in Budalang’i.In 2010 Somali militia linked to the terrorist group Al Shaabab made six incursions into Kenyan territory.
  • This year there have been incursions by Somali militia in the North Eastern Towns of Liboi, Moyale and Mandera. Earlier in the year MPs from North Eastern Province Aden Adualle (Dijui’s), MP Mohamed Hussein Ali (Mandera East) and Mohamed Affey (nominated) demanded the government act on the growing incursions in the North Eastern Region.

This week the Ministries of Internal Security, Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of State of Defence came under fire for failure to protect the borders. Saboti Member of Parliament Eugene Wamalmwa moved a motion for the House to set aside regular business to discuss the attacks as an issue of national importance. Several parliamentarians made strong remarks in support of the motion.

In putting the motion Saboti member of parliament declared parliamentarians were reminding the Government of its cardinal duty to protect the citizens of the country stating ‘Kenyans are beginning to ask: Really, are we in Kenya? Are we citizens of this country? Are we entitled to the protection of the Constitution of Kenya or should we be subjects of Uganda or Ethiopia?’

MP Nicholas Gumbo also criticized the government over its indifference over state of security at the borders stating that the ‘political leadership in this country that does not seem to care about our territorial integrity. We have 40 million Kenyans to protect. We must decide whether we are going to continue to allow our country to be a play-ground for all forms of militias, ragtag armies and formal armies in the neighbourhood.’ MP Martha Karua raised the issue of the 5 billion shillings in the recently passed supplementary budget for enhanced security and whether or not the additional funds are being used effectively to prevent incursions.

No doubt the issue of security particularly for a country like Kenya, which is surrounded by unstable neighbours, is an issue more complex than just making better fences or guarding the fences that we have better. Would there be fewer incursions if the borders were better policed? No doubt the people at the borders would like to see.

*It is worth noting that Professor George Saitoti jointly heads the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Internal Security, after MP Moses Wetangula was suspended from his position as minister of Foreign Affairs. Questions should be asked whether it is possible for one minister to effectively run these two immensely huge and important dockets simultaneously, and what the implications of this are on both security and diplomacy?

Hansard Highlights Week of February 1 2011

Posted by on 28th March 2011

Categories: Hansard Analysis Members of Parliament MP Participation

This is a new regular feature where we will review past editions of the Hansard to highlight debates that are of particular national importance (and to show that we know that MPs do work from time to time).

I. We all know that KACC has forwarded several cases to the AG’s office for prosecution. But exactly how many files were delivered to the AG and when does he plan to prosecute them?

DETAILS OF CORRUPTION CASES FORWARDED TO ATTORNEY-GENERAL BY KACC

Mr. Kombo: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Attorney-General the following Question by Private Notice.

(a) Could the Attorney-General provide details of corruption cases that the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) has investigated and forwarded to the Attorney- General for direction since the appointment of the current Director?

(b) How many of these cases has the Attorney-General approved for prosecution, rejected and/or returned to the Commission and why?

The Attorney-General (Mr. Wako): Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. Since the appointment of the current Director of the KACC in July 2010, a total of 53 files were forwarded to the Attorney-General for direction.

Mr. Kombo: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I had a chance to peruse through the documents and to my pleasant surprise— In the past there has been a ping pong game between the KACC and the Attorney-General. They have been accusing each other of not doing this and that.  However, it would appear that since Prof. Lumumba became the Director of KACC, he has been agreeing on many cases with the Attorney-General. So, with regard to the Report that we have, they have agreed almost 100 per cent.

Mr. Njuguna: Mr. Speaker, Sir, emanating from the report given by the Attorney- General, you will note that about 53 cases were referred to his office for prosecution. Could he inform this House what deliberate steps he is taking to make sure that all these cases will be prosecuted even before his retirement this year?

Mr. Wako: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I hope the Member is asking for a further extension before I retire, so that I can deal with all these cases. The fact of the matter is that one cannot prosecute all the cases by the time he retires.  I am the last Attorney-General who is also the prosecutor. Since 27th August, 2010, I am wearing two huts, namely, for the Attorney-General and the Director of Public Prosecutions. That is why I recently called for the appointment of the Director of Public Prosecutions, so that there is a proper appointment under the Constitution of an Attorney-General who will only be the principal legal advisor to the Government. I am sure that the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will be appointed, will continue the good work that the Chief Public Prosecutor, Tobiko Keriako, has done. I can inform this House that I was with the Committee of Experts and as soon as I realized that the Director of Public Prosecutions will become a constitutional office, we immediately began re-organizing that office.  It is now really organized just awaiting the appointment. I am sure we will continue with the prosecution of corruption cases with rigor and gusto.

Mr. Kombo: Mr. Speaker, Sir, to successfully prosecute corruption cases is not an easy job. Part of the problem that we have had is that the KACC investigates while the office of the Attorney-General prosecutes. The people who have all the facts are at the KACC. Now that the Attorney-General is actually retiring, could he consider giving more powers to the Commission, so that it can prosecute? Prosecutorial powers should be given to the Commission because it is the one that investigates cases and is the only one that can best prosecute.

Mr. Wako: Mr. Speaker, Sir, my opinion on this matter is that now that we are going to have a Director of Public Prosecutions, a constitutional office, devoted to nothing else but prosecutions, he should continue to prosecute corruption cases…it is too dangerous for one institution to be charged with investigative powers plus prosecutorial powers.  This applies more to these type of cases. Unless you have checks and balances between the investigator and the prosecutor, some people will be taken to court with very little evidence just because the investigator has the power to prosecute. If the powers are separate, the investigator will be focused on obtaining sufficient evidence to allow that other person to come to the same conclusion and prosecute.  So, in the interest of justice, I am still of the opinion that in corruption and serious criminal cases, the distinction between the investigator and the prosecutor should be there. What is important is that the two should work in tandem. While respecting their independent functions, they should work in unison.

II. Now that the ‘shuttle diplomacy’ is seems to be crumbling before our eyes it’s a good time to assess exactly how much money has been spent on it and maybe time for proponents of it to cut their losses, or rather the tax payers losses?

GOVERNMENT POSITION ON VICE-PRESIDENT’S “SHUTTLE DIPLOMACY”

Dr. Khalwale: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the following Question by Private Notice.

(a) Could the Minister clarify whether the mission by the Vice-President to lobby African States to support Kenya’s bid to pull out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) reflects the official Government position on the issue?

(b) How much money has the Government spent on the Vice-President’s “shuttle diplomacy” so far?

The Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Onyonka): Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.I wish to inform this House that the mission that was undertaken by His Excellency the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs of “shuttle diplomacy” across the African Continent was not with an objective of lobbying the African countries to support the deferral of the International Criminal Court (ICC) intended prosecutions for one year.  The “shuttle diplomacy” was with a view of bringing the process of justice for the election crimes back home, so that the suspects can be tried locally since we believe that even the ICC Tribunal appreciates the fact that a local tribunal is better than taking our people to be tried in Europe.  The ICC Prosecutor, Mr. Luis Moreno Ocampo, on 17th December, 2010, named six suspects whom he was requesting the ICC to issue summons to secure their attendance at the court. However, the Kenyan Government is not a failed State.

With the passage of our new Constitution, the Government felt that there was a necessary need for us to negotiate and have a moral position whereby the African Union, the Inter- Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the East African Community would have to support our country to solve the problem of the post-election violence peacefully by providing justice and at the same time making sure that we have reconciliation in our country. The grant of a deferral would, therefore, allow for sufficient time to revamp the key judicial institutions and other Government infrastructure.

Further, prosecution of post-election crimes at home would facilitate the trial of all post-election violence suspects, and not just those who are bearing the highest responsibility. Conducting those trials locally would send a very strong message both internally and externally, so that Kenya would no longer accept impunity.  So, even when the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs was doing the “shuttle diplomacy” within African, his agenda was not to demand that Kenya pulls out of the ICC. The agenda was to ask that the ICC allows us to look for a local mechanism, which would then make it possible for all the victims and all the perpetrators of the crime to face each other.

The information I have from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is that the amount of money that the Kenya Government spent for the “shuttle diplomacy” within the last two weeks is Kshs3,659,728. This amount does not include the small amount of money that the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs and the officers he carried along with him have spent from his Ministry. This is a budget which has been given to me by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which includes expenses incurred by officers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who were with the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs.

Mr. Olago: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Arising from hon. Khalwale’s point of order and the answer given by the Assistant Minister, it is clear that the answer to part “b” of the Question is not complete in the sense that it does not encompass the amount of money that the Government has spent. He seems to be concentrating on what his Ministry has spent.

Mr. Onyonka: Mr. Speaker, Sir, unfortunately, the answer is “yes”, because we were unable to get the Accounting Officer in the Office of the Vice-President and Ministry of Home Affairs to give us the full amount. So, the figure I have given is what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has spent.

Dr. Khalwale: Mr. Speaker, Sir, given that the Assistant Minister has admitted that his answer is incomplete, could I request the Chair that we give him until Tuesday, so that we can get a comprehensive answer to this very important issue touching on accountability? The reason for raising this point of order is that if we are going to accept only the expenditure that was incurred by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the taxpayer will not know how much was spent from the Office of the Vice-President and Ministry of Home Affairs, how much was spent from the Office of the President and how much was spent from Parliament.The Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs was having, in some of those trips of his, accompaniments of up to ten people. Those people did not come from the Office of the Vice-President and Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Office of the President, alone. Some of them come from Parliament. Therefore, the taxpayer would like to know about the expenses incurred by those other persons who accompanied him.

III. The debate below highlights the need get the real statistics on how many extra judicial killings have taken place since the promulgation of the constitution?

STATISTICS ON POLICE SHOOTINGS SINCE AUGUST 2010

Ms. Karua asked the Minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security:-

(a) Whether he could state how many people have been shot dead by police in the country since 4th August, 2010, giving the names and places they were shot and the circumstances;

(b) Whether he could also provide the identities of the officers involved and indicate the disciplinary action taken against them; and,

(c) What measures he is taking to ensure that the trend is curbed.

The Assistant Minister, Ministry of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security (Mr. Ojode): Mr. Speaker, Sir, as you are aware, I answered this Question yesterday. But we agreed that the format should be changed to relate to what was asked by my friend, hon. Karua.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. Since August 2010, 18 people have been shot dead by police officers. The following are the victims and circumstances under which they were shot dead.

Ms. Karua: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Have you noticed that the Assistant Minister has been answering his own question and not my Question? In part (a) of my Question, I have asked the Assistant Minister to tell us how many people have been shot dead by police officers in the country since 4th August, 2010, when we voted in the new Constitution…He has given me the names of the people who have been shot dead in circumstances that pointed to criminal intent on part of the police. So, he has modified my Question because he knows that police officers have shot dead more than 100 people since then. He has modified the Question, so that there can just be below 20 people.

Mr. Ojode: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have given a very good answer to the Question. I cannot give answers on which I cannot make any substantiation. Apparently, from August last year to date, my police officers have not killed as many as 100 suspects as is being alleged by the Questioner.

Mr. Ojode: Mr. Speaker, Sir, indeed, the story is true. Those of us who have not experienced those kinds of carjacking and criminal activities are the people who are not supporting the services of the police. I would like to urge my colleagues: Let us not demoralize police officers. Let us all support the work of police officers.  The reason why I am saying that is because police officers are being bashed every now and then. The day you will be carjacked is when you will realize that police officers are doing a good job. But I will not hesitate to tell the police to do their work. I would like to request my colleagues that, as the police officers are doing their job, let us support them. Let us not demoralize them!

The other thing is that we are undertaking reforms. Yes, we will get rid of trigger happy police officers to clean the Police Force. We want a Police Force to mind about the welfare of innocent Kenyans. Otherwise, my appeal is that let us support the police officers to do their work.

Hansard Highlights – Who gets to “step aside”

Posted by on 18th March 2011

Categories: Hansard MP Participation

This is a new regular feature where we will review past editions of the Hansard to highlight debates that are of particular national importance (and to show that we know that MPs do work from time to time).

The debate below on the irregular award of the concession highlights an important issue – who gets to “step aside” when allegations of corruption have been made.


Irregular Award of Concession to Rift Valley Railways (RVR) (week of January 16, 2011)

Mr. Mbadi: asked the Minister of State for Public Service what disciplinary measures the Government has taken against the public officers mentioned in the 16th Report of the Public Investments Committee adopted by the House, for their involvement in the irregular concessioning of the train operations to Rift Valley Railways by the Kenya Railways Corporation.

The Minister of State for Public Service (Mr. Otieno): Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. The 16th Report of the Public Investments Committee recommended that the Director of the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission should carry out investigations to establish the roles played by the Chief Officers from the Treasury and the Ministry of Transport in awarding the concession to Sheltam Railways/Rift Valley Railways. The PIC Report did not recommend any disciplinary measures to be taken against the Chief Officers who participated in awarding the concession to the railway company. However, it did recommend further investigations on the process of concessioning. Consequently, no disciplinary action has been instituted against any of these officers.

Mr. Mbadi: Mr. Speaker, Sir, Chapter 6 of the Constitution of Kenya is very clear on the requirements on the part of public officers with regards to integrity. Not long ago, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Secretary had to step aside before the Report of the House was debated. Early last year, we had a case where five permanent secretaries were asked to leave office because of pending investigations by the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission. My question is: Why is the Executive applying double standards in terms of asking for accountability from its public officers?

Mr. Otieno: Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Committee recommended investigations. There is no basis of taking any disciplinary action until we get the report of that investigation.

Mr. Mbadi: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Is it in order for the Minister to evade my question? I was very clear. I said that in February last year, the Government asked five permanent secretaries to step aside because they were facing investigations by KACC. Here is a case where two Ministers, one Permanent Secretary and the Investments Secretary of the same Government are confronted by investigations by KACC. Why is it that they have not been asked to step aside to pave way for investigations? In fact, one of the Ministers is in charge of the Ministry of Transport at the moment, where investigations are supposed to take place.

Mr. Otieno: Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Committee, in its wisdom, did not ask anybody to step aside when it asked KACC to proceed on this matter. In other cases, the Committee recommended stepping aside to facilitate investigations. It means that the Committee did not have adequate information. It was referring the matter to KACC to investigate. But it did not, in its wisdom, request any stepping aside to facilitate that investigation.

Mr. Mbadi: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to find out from the Minister how investigations will take place in that Ministry and that State Corporation when the Minister in charge is among the people to be investigated?

Mr. Otieno: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think we all know that KACC is very competent and can investigate whether you are in office or not. At an appropriate timewhen there is need to step aside, they have procedures to follow.

Mr. Mbadi: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Is it in order for the Minister to continue misleading the House, while he knows very well that the reason why Ministers and public officers are asked to step aside is – and in their own words when they step aside – it has become a tradition to say that they are leaving to give room for fair investigations? The main reason for stepping aside is to give room for fair investigation. It is not that a body is incompetent or not. Could he explain why, this time round, you are leaving those officers in office and yet, other officers in a similar situation were asked to step aside to give room for fair investigations?

Mr. Otieno: Mr. Speaker, Sir, we make decisions on the basis of the content of the issues that arise. Where the content is of a type that stepping aside is the way forward, then that direction is taken. The other examples he is giving, there was content that warranted such steps forward. In this particular case, the Committee itself did not even see it fit to suggest that anybody should step aside. There was insufficient content in that Report and I have said that the Treasury has already addressed the Office of the Speaker on this particular matter; on the basis of the facts that were laid before the Committee, which need to be further reviewed and possibly the Committee will make a different decision after receiving all this feedback from the Treasury.

Disband Parliament before they disband everything?

Posted by on 8th January 2011

Categories: Members of Parliament MP Participation

By Mzalendo Contributor – Moreen Majiwa (@mmajiwa)
The call by politicians to disband Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) seems to be the latest in what could turn out to be a worrying trend.  One day after the resignation of Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey, over allegations of abuse of office, a section of ODM parliamentarians issued a two week notice to KACC to prosecute members of PNU suspected to be corrupt or face a censure motion when parliament resumes.
On December 17th, a section of parliamentarians led by Belgut MP, Charles Keter, called for the disbanding of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR).  The MPs accused the body of working for foreign nationals and ‘fixing’ the six persons named in the ICC case.  They plan to file the motion to disband the body when parliament returns from Christmas recess.  And just before the Christmas recess, parliament successfully moved a motion to withdraw from the Rome Statute.
It seems that the parliament’s response when their members are called to account is short term tightened controls and disbandment of monitoring organisations. In crisis parliamentarians seem to default to practices of a bygone era in order to quell their own fears. Their primary mode is drawing from familiar experiences even in changing and vastly different times.

The calling of  leaders to account should not be viewed negatively. It offers the opportunity to for the country to the hit the reset button and use the turbulence to bring closure to the past, it is an opportunity for leaders to change the rules of the game, reshape the country positively.

And if parliament is unwilling to do unwilling to reset then perhaps it should be disbanded before they disband everything.

On a (suprisingly) inspiring visit to Parliament…and why you should try it.

Posted by on 29th October 2010

Categories: Citizen Engagement MP Participation News Vox Pop

BY MZALENDO CONTRIBUTOR – Moreen Majiwa @moreenmaj

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of visiting our National Assembly. I am ashamed to admit that the last time I did this was as part of a mandatory primary school visit.  That was so long ago I can’t recall the details. Excited about my impending parliamentary visit I told a few of my friends about it.  My excitement was met with awkward silences followed by blank stares and the inevitable, “Why don’t you just watch the proceedings on KBC, besides how are you going to get in?”

Under this steady attack I found myself, an only one-time visitor to our National Assembly becoming its staunchest defender and activist-in-chief for citizen visits to parliament. It appears my peers are trapped in a cycle of political apathy and cynicism.  Some have given up the good fight as it were and are simply getting on with it.  Others complain about everything under the sun from traffic to
poor leadership, lament about the uselessness of making demands to our government and then get on with it.

As was pointed out severally KBC does stream parliamentary proceedings in real-time, which is a huge improvement over previous years where the Hansard and newspapers were pretty much the only way for members of the public to glean what was going on in Parliament.  In addition, thanks to technology, we can keep up with the latest news through online newspapers, blogs, facebook and twitter.   So the idea of visiting Parliament in person seems pretty redundant.

The problem with accessing the goings on in the Parliment through different forms of media is that you only see, read or hear what is presented to you. The content is shot, cut, packaged and presented to us.  A live in-person visit has a different quality there is an energy that is almost palpable.  You get to see the
whole show uncensored version of the good, the bad and the ugly.

So once I decided to visit Parliament, I realized that I had no idea whether I could show up or needed something special to get in.  After a few calls I found out that I would need a pass to get in, and this pass is usually organized by a sitting MP. Going to the gate and trying my luck with the security officers, had little
appeal, and since I didn’t know any MPs personally I sent out  e-mails to my contacts who I hoped would help me connect to someone who could assist with a pass.   I got lucky and got a pass organized, but couldn’t help wondering whether the process of attending a session couldn’t be a bit more straight forward (apparently you can just show up but your ability to get in depends on the security personnel you encounter that day).

I arrived at the gates of parliament precisely at 9:00 am only to find that the session did not start till 2.30 pm (note to self-check out www.bunge.co.ke to find out the parliamentary timetable next time).

I had low expectations mainly due to the poor portrayal of our leaders in the media.  Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to encounter such lively debate (although the fact that it was the Wetangula report being discussed might have contributed to some of the energy). I got see that some  MPs
really did fight the corner of their constituents valiantly, and wondered whether the media couldn’t do a better job of not just focusing on the negative aspects of MPs but also showcasing those who do work and the fact that a lot of other business is dealt with in parliament.

For those whose expectations of our parliamentarians are at an all time low, it may be time to stop being so pessimistic, to take a visit to parliament; it may inspire you to increase your expectations and make a demand or two of our leaders while you’re at it.