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Monday, July 16th, 2018

 

Kenya Power swoop proof that graft purge takes no prisoners

By MACHARIA GAITHO
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If ever dramatic evidence was needed that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s renewed anti-corruption purge takes no prisoners, it manifested at the weekend when the management suite of Kenya Power Company was decimated in one fell swoop.

A dozen or so top managers, including the chief executive and his predecessor, along with scores of vendors and suppliers, were expected to overflow the dock in court this week facing multiple counts of corruption.

The scandal-plagued electricity distribution monopoly and its cousins in the energy production, development and transmission sectors have, for decades, been the epitome of corruption and impunity in Kenya but have always appeared untouchable because of close links with the political power elite.

Now, indeed, we are seeing that it is no longer business as usual. Kudos to Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti and Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, who have taken the frontline in the graft war.

PUBLIC FACES

But the two are just the public faces of a vast and coordinated multi-agency approach put together in an audacious plan to slay the corruption dragon.

Key to everything, obviously, has to be untinting political support as President Kenyatta finally moves to contain the scourge that has been a nearly indelible stain on his leadership.

The Kenya Power purge stands as dramatic testimony that officials who treat public resources as private property will be called individually to account and no longer shelter behind political affiliation or ethnic solidarity.

It is a signal that those who loot public wealth at the behest of their political patrons will be left to fry on their own.

GODFATHERS

And that raises another question: The managers from Kenya Power, National Youth Service and other public institutions now being called to account are merely cogs in the wheel of a vast organised crime network controlled, directed and ultimately benefitting powerful politicians and State apparatchik.

However senior in public service they may be, those so far arrested are just the bagmen; the capi di tutti capi and the ‘Godfathers’ somewhere near the top of the political totem pole remain untouched.

As long as the lords of graft and impunity remain free to play obstructionist politics and employ their ill-gotten wealth to sabotage the war on graft and hinder the quest for national peace, unity, reconciliation, they remain clear and present danger to the nation.

NO SACRED COWS

That is why the next phase in the war must be to demonstrate that there are no scared cows, that no individual, however mighty, enjoys the power of impunity and immunity from arrest and prosecution.

The ‘Justice is Blind’ principle must apply to all elected and appointed State officers, together with their spouses, parents, children, siblings, cousin, uncles and aunts, in-laws and all other relations, friends and associates.

Let us also remember that, as we whoop and cheer the latest developments, the war on corruption is not won on the drama and showmanship of tough statements, media leaks, arrests and prosecutions.

Victory is when the corrupt are found guilty, sent to jail and relieved of all the proceeds of their crime.

CORRUPTION

Victory is also the eradication of a national culture where corruption is an accepted way of life, where the route to leadership in politics and salvation by the Church must be watered with the proceeds of crime. To that end, we must go back to deep self-reflection and find out what went wrong.

We had a chance to chart a new direction with the enactment of the current Constitution in 2010 but, not long afterwards, conspired to trash constitutional requirements on national values and principles of governance and the leadership and integrity code.

We sabotaged a key element of the Constitution just so that two individuals could vie for high public office despite the fact that they were under International Criminal Court indictment for crimes against humanity.

When President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto parlayed their election into successful fightback against the ICC prosecution, the precedent was set that integrity in leadership was just a meaningless principle even if enshrined in the Constitution.

Now, we are paying for that grand conspiracy in the unchecked return of grand corruption. We must accept that, unless we reverse the rot, this country will drift towards implosion.

There was a time when a diplomatic assignment was a real achievement, a mark of honour on being entrusted to represent your country in foreign shores.

Now it has been reduced to a dumping ground for failed politicians and public servants who are no longer of use.


Student unrest: Blame the adults, not children

By TWALIB MBARAK
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Our schools are burning, the students are relentless on burning more schools and no one from their side is talking.

Government officials are trying to contain the situation and the blame is perceived to be lack of values, indiscipline, strict supervision of national exams, peddling of drugs in schools and many others.

The Minister for Education is quoted in a local daily saying that Kenya is the only country in the world where students burn schools.

Overall, the problem is bigger than what we are observing and what we perceive. Our youth is a time bomb in the stability of this country. Forget terrorism, urban crime, poaching and even corruption.

What we are observing now is just a tip of the iceberg. The most unfortunate thing is that all of us are focusing on the symptoms of the problem rather than the root causes.

YOUTH DEFIANCE

Punishing the students, threatening them that they will do exams under trees is futile.

The youth defiance started slowly in the early nineties when one school lost over sixty children in an arson attack.

We have had many other school arson attacks and as usual in our simplistic approach to issues, we keep on saying exams is the main reason. Now we hear boarding schools, substance abuse and exams are the problems.

I can assert that our children are totally innocent and what we are seeing is an apex of a rotten society due to poor parenting, societal rot, hypocrisy in religion, collapse of key institutions and values.

There are three pillars of moulding children namely parenting, the local environment and the institutions (schools, places of worship and other guiding lines). Today parenting has literally collapsed.

We got cheated and adopted the Western way of life and forgot our children. In Africa, parenting is the responsibility of an entire village and not parents.

Young male have decided not to marry and instead opted to cheat young ladies impregnate them and abandon them as single parents.

EMPOWERED WOMEN

Many innocent ladies today are struggling to bring up families single handed. Empowered women have decided marriage is no longer necessary and opted by choice to become single mothers due to male brutality.

We have a dual challenge, ladies who have been abandon to raise family single handed and men who have been abandon by their wives hence bringing children as single fathers.

Marriages are collapsing everywhere since many young couples find marriage to be more of a burden than a sacred responsibility.

Many children even from well-off families are now being brought up by disgruntled, frustrated and under paid house helps.

We have no time for our children, since we believe success is making money, accumulating wealth and pursue our careers to achieve top positions.

We believe as long as you have given enough money to the house help, your parental obligation is done. Most parents don’t know their children.

Our children are just connected to us on shelter, feeding and monetary gains, other than that there is no connection at all.

SOCIETAL MALADIES

Outside marriages, our children come across all sort of societal maladies.

They see policemen taking bribes openly in our road blocks; they see how motorists break traffic rules irrespective of their social status.

They hear how top government officers are implicated in theft of government resources.

They even hear that some theft is done openly by carrying sacks of cash. Our children are exposed to images that most of the senior citizens saw when they were grown-ups. Today, a six year old kid may be exposed to more pornography than a person who is fifty years.

The social impunity doesn’t spare a child. They see how our politicians and leaders make it in life due to crooked ways of social mobility.

ELECTED POSITION

For us to secure an elected position, you need resources to bribe the citizens. Our children as much as we underrate them are very much aware that some of our top leaders are ex criminals, school dropouts with dubious academic credentials.

Students see their senior’s tarmacking as jobless graduates while those from elite families secure employment through nepotism and connections.

Overall the youth in Kenya see no hope for his future hence they believe using uncouth means to articulate their grievances is the only hope.

Education is no longer seen as a means to prosperity.

REACTIVE APPROACHES

Let us address the youth problem with long-term solutions not reactive approaches. Blame game will not help.

This is not a challenge to Ministry of Education neither is it a challenge to government but the entire society. There is no instant solution to the current defiance displayed by our children. If not, expect the worst.

Mr Mbarak is the chairman, Association of Corporate and Industrial Security Management Professionals (ACISMP). [email protected]


It is time ICC rose to the challenge

By KENNETH ROTH
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By SAUL SHETTY
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Four years ago, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International — and hundreds of others — urged the United Nations Security Council to send atrocity crimes committed in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for prosecution.

By then, the conflict had killed 100,000 people, mainly civilians.

Today, the death toll is at over half a million amid violations and unlawful killings.

Yet the ICC is unable to act. Russia’s veto has blocked a path to justice for the victims. Other UNSC members, including the United States, have used, or threatened to use, their veto on other atrocity crimes.

This sad situation is a far cry from the summer of 1998, when many governments, with the support of non-governmental organisations, created the ICC in Rome. Many of the major powers, including the US, opposed it.

With a post-Cold War faith in multilateralism and a resolve driven by genocide in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, the governments acted on longstanding unrealised ambitions for a permanent global criminal court.

The Rome Statute, its founding document, was adopted on July 17 and the court set up four years later.

The court of last resort for the most serious of international crimes — including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity — it can act in all the 123 signatory states and, where a state is not a member, as in Syria, after a “referral” by the government or the UNSC.

These and other limits notwithstanding, the court’s creation was an extraordinary achievement, firmly establishing a marker on the side of justice and the protection of human rights.

The court has opened formal investigations in 10 countries. But with mass atrocities in many parts of the world, it is moving away from its all-Africa focus. The prosecutor’s request to open an investigation in Afghanistan would put in reach Americans accused of war crimes there.

UNTOUCHABLE ACTORS

That is likely to provoke fierce opposition from the Trump administration. But it would demonstrate the potential of the ICC to investigate previously “untouchable actors” and to demonstrate that no one is above the law, puncturing a damaging, if misleading, narrative that the court targets only African leaders.

Similarly, Palestine’s ratification and recent request to the ICC prosecutor to investigate war crimes there brings into the court’s sights a decades-long situation of near-complete impunity by both Israeli and Palestinian forces.

Yet, parallel with this acute need, the court faces steep challenges. Some of these were to be expected as it becomes more effective and investigates more powerful states. But that is not a sufficient explanation.

The court needs to improve its performance. It has been plagued by lengthy proceedings, insufficient investigations in its earliest cases and case selection strategies that don’t always reflect what is most meaningful to victims.

CLEAR PRIORITIES

The prosecutor’s office should articulate clear priorities within and among the countries it addresses — and live up to them.

The burden of bolstering the ICC also rests with member states. Like other human rights-protecting institutions, it has struggled with a lack of political will among its ostensible government supporters, especially when on arresting suspects.

Fifteen ICC arrest warrants are unenforced amid damaging haggling among members over restricting its budget.

The ICC has also attracted predictable opposition from leaders with a reason to fear accountability.

Facing possible ICC investigations, Burundi and the Philippines announced their withdrawal; the former formally left.

But as the now-open Burundi investigation shows, withdrawal has little legal effect on the court’s ability to pursue past crimes.

POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE

When cases were pending before the ICC against the country’s president and deputy president over the 2007/2008 post-election violence, Kenya attempted to orchestrate a mass pullout by African countries.

But it failed in the face of strong opposition from other African governments and civil society.

Member states that have complained about a perceived selectivity should support the court by building pressure to execute outstanding arrest warrants and ensuring that it has the necessary funds to do its job.

At stake is not just the success of an institution. The Rome Statute “system” is a network of the national courts of ICC members.

The accountability embedded in the treaty serves as a catalyst for other justice efforts, such as a UN-backed investigation mechanism set up for Syria to circumvent the Russian UNSC veto.

On the 20th anniversary of the ICC treaty, it is time to renew commitment to this landmark institution and for more states to join.

These are the dangerous times that the court’s founders anticipated, warning in the treaty that the “delicate mosaic (of humanity’s common bonds) may be shattered at any time”.

They believed the ICC would ensure the most basic values — equality, dignity and justice — are protected by law. It is critical not to turn back from this goal.

Mr Roth is the executive director of Human Rights Watch. Mr Shetty is a former secretary-general of Amnesty International. Twitter: @KenRoth and @SalilShetty


Malik Obama a no-show in Kogelo events

By JUSTUS OCHIENG’
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Controversial former US President Barack Obama’s half-brother Malik on Monday kept off the proceedings in Kogelo.

He said the event was for two people: Barack Obama and (Rita) Auma Obama.

“Rita Auma is not the Obama family. It was her and her brother’s affair,” said Malik, while responding to questions why he avoided the family function.

He flatly refused to justify his absence. He only responded by asking another question.

“Did you see me there? No. You only saw Auma and Mama Sarah. No further comments,” he said.

IGNORING FAMILY

Malik broke ranks with his family two years ago when he campaigned against Mr Obama’s Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton.

He endorsed Republican candidate, Donald Trump.

In 2016, Malik accused President Obama of ignoring his Kenyan family and the African continent after he was elected the first black president of the US despite using “his Kenyan roots as a strong pillar of his 2008 presidential campaigns”.

On Monday, he was unwilling to comment on the opening of the Sauti Kuu Resource Centre, further depicting his strained relationship with his family.

ADDRESS GATHERING

There were reports some of his family members were barred from accessing Mama Sarah Obama’s home when Mr Obama visited.

Malik refused to comment on the claims, only saying: “I have no further comments.”

Politicians who attended the Sauti Kuu Resource Centre launch were not given an opportunity to address the gathering.

Former Kisumu Deputy Governor Ruth Odinga faulted the organisers, saying it was wrong to bar local leaders from “just saying hi”.


Nasa is officially 'dead', says Wetang'ula

By MOHAMED AHMED
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Ford-Kenya party leader Moses Wetang’ula says Nasa coalition is dead as he announced his bid for the presidency in 2022.

Mr Wetang’ula termed the coalition as a “history” which cannot be repeated as he took issue with ODM leader Raila Odinga for betraying Kenyans.

“Nasa is a moribund organisation. It is history and we always say that those who ignore history run the risk of repeating it. We were in Nasa but suffered a massive betrayal by our presidential candidate and as a party we are now focused on how to strengthen our grassroots support,” said Mr Wetang’ula.

The Bungoma senator said that the party leadership will concentrate on building the ground support through meetings before they conduct public rallies ahead of the 2022 General Election.

GRABBING POSTS

He said the party has been losing chances of grabbing elected posts because of joining alliances with other parties.

Mr Wetang’ula also downplayed reports of joining Deputy President William Ruto’s camp as he insisted that his party will field a candidate in the next elections.

“I am a presidential candidate; my party has endorsed me as such. How can I join somebody’s camp when I already have my own,” said Mr Wetang’ula while addressing journalists at Gasaro Hotel in Mtwapa, Kilifi County.

He further opened a scathing attack on Mr Odinga accusing him of leaving behind the interests of Kenyans that the opposition had been fighting for.

He said what the opposition leader was fighting for has become historical and meaningless “because one of us is now being accommodated.”

Mr Wetang’ula accused Mr Odinga of tribalism, a vice that the opposition was against adding that the grievances that they had, have not been addressed.

“We have seen since he got the chance to join the government, the issue of inclusivity is nothing to him. Those who are given top positions are people from his community. What about other Kenyans who supported him? That is not the way to go. That one of us has joined the gravy train does not solve the problems of the country,” said Mr Wetang’ula.

Meanwhile, he urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to address the challenges that Kenyans face during elections for peace to be attained in the country.

“Peace will only be achieved if there is justice. Even if we shake hands 100 times but no justice is served, we will continue facing the same challenges as a country,” he said.


The best way to remember Mandela is to emulate him

By RAPHAEL OBONYO
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This year, the world celebrates the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth, and the fifth year since he passed away.

Let us not forget that the best way to remember this iconic son of Africa is to emulate him.

I am convinced that former President Mandela would be deeply concerned about the present state of Africa, and its leadership crisis.

Undoubtedly, Nelson Mandela – who died at the age of 95 years – was a a giant of history and a true legend if one considers what he was able to achieve in his lifetime.

African leaders must emulate Mandela, who is credited with steering the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

Certainly, Mandela was not perfect and he admitted his imperfection. “I am not a saint,” he said, “unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying”.

But his unique qualities, visionary and selfless leadership shine bright in the continent and around the world.

ROLE MODEL

Madiba is missed in Africa. His leadership is missed in the continent – a gap that African leaders can fill if only they turn around and emulate his ideals.

As we mark the 100th anniversary, there are many lessons that we can pick from the man who had an impact in the lives of many people – young and old globally.

For example, I still remember when Mandela toured African nations particularly Kenya in 1990 after he was released from prison.

I was a child, and in lower primary school when Mandela came to Kenya.

Unbelievably, I was amongst thousands of Kenyans who thronged Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi to give a rousing welcome to a man we knew little about, other than what we had watched in then popular film Sarafina.

My only encounter was in History class, in a textbook – the picture of a man – who according to me, exemplified leadership.

Mandela’s speech at Kasarani Stadium no doubt touched my heart, my mind, my will power.

His visit to Kenya planted the seed for selfless leadership, and values among young people like myself.

Many of us – young and old – who drew strength and inspiration from Mandela’s good example must carry on with his legacy – to transform our continent, and make life better for everyone – promote total liberation of Africa that Mandela championed.

The departure of Mandela left a huge gap in our continent that has scarcity of leaders of Madiba’s stature and character.

AWARD WINNERS

If the Mo Ibrahim award is anything to go by, African countries must urgently develop a new generation of visionary and transformative leaders.

In recent years, the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership has gained notoriety for not being awarded for lack of a suitable candidate.

So far only six presidents have received the award since its launch in 2007, Nelson Mandela, Pedro Pires of Cape Verde, Festus Mogae of Botswana and Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.

One important fact that Mo Ibrahim has exposed is that Africa is in urgent need of visionary and committed leaders.

Cases of human rights violations, repressive leadership and massive corruption continue to characterize African countries decades since we got independence.

It is sad that in Africa, wealth and power have been a major influence in ascending to leadership positions in the continent, regardless of whether those seeking to be elected have what it takes to lead.

Indeed, Africa is in dire need of visionary leaders like Mandela – who are selfless and committed to improving the livelihoods of the citizens.

Unlike Nelson Mandela who took office as president in 1994 and retired in 1999 after serving for only one term, many African leaders do not want to leave office.

The continent is yet to see the zeal, sacrifice and humility that the iconic inspirational leader demonstrated throughout his life.

CHOOSE WISELY

African leaders should learn from Mandela, who refused to compromise the welfare of his country and principles that goes with good leadership.

On the other hand, Africans, particularly young people, must think of building a new generation of visionary and selfless leaders.

More importantly, citizens must open their eyes and elect credible leaders who can stand the test of time.

We must take action and risks for our ideals – the change that we desire in our communities and continent will not happen unless and until we get actively engaged as citizens.

Mr Obonyo is the chairman of the African Leadership Institute advisory board. [email protected]


KRA told to respond in import duty case

By PHILIP MUYANGA
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The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has been given two weeks to respond to a case in which car importers are challenging a method used to calculate the import duty payable on used vehicles.

The judge also directed the Car Importers Association of Kenya to file and serve its further affidavits within seven days upon getting a response from KRA.

Through lawyer Pius Nyaga, KRA told the court they were served with suit papers on Friday and were, therefore, unable to file their response on time.

KRA currently uses a revised Current Retail Selling Price (CRSP), which became effective on February 5.

According to the importers, who have filed the petition at the High Court in Mombasa, KRA can only alter the CRSP values published in September last year after public participation.

INCREASE COST

The association argued that the new rates have led to an increase in the cost of used cars by more than 50 per cent. The importers wanted the court to declare the new rates null and void because they were not subjected to public participation.

According to the petitioner, importers have always paid a CRSP value of Sh14.4 million for imported used Toyota Land Cruiser V8, but KRA has demanded Sh17.9 million for a similar vehicle being imported by one of its members.

They said the continued holding of the vehicle while the importer has paid the required duty is a violation of his rights.

OPPRESSIVE

Through lawyer Gikandi Ngibuini, the importers said the new charges are oppressive and unreasonable.

“The CRSP values imposed by KRA threaten car importation businesses and put importers’ livelihoods at risk as the charges are unreasonably high,” the petition stated.

According to the importers, on January 30, they wrote a letter to KRA to suspend the new rates to allow for deliberations, but the agency has never responded.

“Even though in the stakeholders’ meetings KRA were directed to hold meetings with the association so as to resolve the CRSP issues, it has always been reluctant to do so,” the petition stated.

The case will be heard on September 18.


Lawyer Mboya vindicated in Kenya Power billing fiasco

By PETER MUNAITA
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After leading a relentless fight for openness in electricity billing, Nairobi lawyer Apollo Mboya would be forgiven for feeling vindicated after 20 Kenya Power managers were charged in court over contracts for transformers, labour and transport.

Kenya Power had buried its head in the sand regarding how leaky transformers and expensive services increase power bills, and consumers read in the managers’ arraignment on charges of abuse of office and fraud a triumph over impunity.

Mr Mboya describes the prosecution as a good start.

“We are waiting for the next phase, which the Director of Public Prosecutions (Noordin Haji) promised on the billing system, where even the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will be involved as the tariff setter,” Mr Mboya told the Nation.

BOARD MEMBERS

On social media, Mr Mboya’s followers have been urging for charges to be preferred against the board of directors, who insiders say were the main beneficiaries of the Sh408 million faulty transformers tender.

Mr Mboya said he did not have the facts on who the beneficiaries of the transactions were and would not, therefore, speculate.

“The culpability is with the old and new managers who are in charge of operations. The board has a policy role but where they are culpable, they should take responsibility,” he said.

Mr Mboya said the focus should be on reforms to align the energy sector with the Constitution, which devolves power distribution alongside other utilities like water supply.

“Kenya Power’s operations need to be reassessed. It is now styled as an engineering company, and this explains why there is no customer focus, transparency in billing and procurement,” Mr Mboya said.

NEW MANAGEMENT

On Monday, the board sought to assure stakeholders that the company’s operations will not be affected, despite most of its senior managers being in the dock.

“The company has in place a business continuity strategy, hence all operations will continue normally,” Kenya Power board Chairman Mahboub Maalim Mohamed said.

At a media briefing later in the day where an interim team led by Mr Jared Omondi Otieno was appointed to manage the company, Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter declined to take questions.

He said the interim team would serve for three months, pending restructuring.

Kenya Power said the board had asked the legal department to establish the fate of the 20 managers who were charged in court.

The options include suspension on full pay for two months, suspension for two months on half pay as per labour laws, and suspension without pay.

“The board has asked to be briefed on the options this morning. We will communicate the decision,” spokesman Johnstone ole Turana said.

Urged on by consumers and against great odds, Mr Mboya has been a one-man crusade for fair billing of consumers.

He filed a class action suit against the electricity distributor in January for abusing its monopoly by inflating power bills, thereby infringing on consumer rights.

COMPLAINTS

The case arose from Kenya Power’s attempt to recover Sh10.1 billion from customers retrospectively.

Mr Mboya said in suit papers that the inflated power bills started in October last year, much to the chagrin of consumers, who were mobilised to participate in the suit through an e-mail address, [email protected]

When he filed the suit he said he had received 600 complaints on overbilling, a reduction in units, malfunctioning equipment, quality of electricity, customer care, bill adjustments, unexplained and fluctuating tariffs, standard charges exceeding the value of the actual electricity and standing amounts deducted from some accounts.

The suit saw Kenya Power stopped by High Court Judge Chacha Mwita from recovering Sh8.1 billion from consumers until the case is heard and determined. At the time, Sh2 billion had been recovered.

In May, the High Court in Nairobi directed Kenya Power and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to respond to the petition.

Some people questioned what motivated Mr Mboya’s crusade and accused him of being caught up in Kenya Power management


Scrap High Court powers on laws, says Muturi

By CHARLES WANYORO
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National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi wants powers of interpreting laws transferred from the High Court to the Supreme Court.

Mr Muturi wants Article 165 of the Constitution, which gives the High Court powers to interpret laws, scrapped. He called for a constitutional amendment to bar High Court judges from overturning deliberations by the Senate, county and national assemblies to avoid conflict among the various arms of government.

Speaking at ACK St Luke’s Kibugu in Embu County during Senator Njeru Ndwiga’s homecoming, Mr Muturi said it is wrong for assemblies to come up with laws that had undergone public participation only for them to be annulled by a single judge.

“If we want to give credence to the three arms of government, we must think of the level at which such a law should be challenged. At the national level, the laws are scrutinised by the Attorney-General before being taken to assembly,” said Mr Muturi.

COUNTY ASSEMBLIES

He added: “We want the power to interpret what has been done by the other two arms of government be given to the Chief Justice, so that he can give the matter proper consideration,” said Mr Muturi.

The Speaker said they had last year proposed that matters before committees of Parliament or those of county assemblies must not be entertained in a court.

Mr Muturi took issue with petitioners naming Speakers as first respondents in cases seeking to have laws passed by assemblies annulled.

“The Constitution says Speakers don’t have votes, but whenever people challenge the laws, the first respondent is usually the Speaker. Sometimes we are even tempted to tell the legal department not to respond since we are not involved,” he said.

PARTY UNITY

He was accompanied by Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki, senators Charles Kibiru (Kirinyaga), Ephraim Maina (Nyeri), Mwangi Githiomi (Nyandarua) and Mithika Linturi of Meru.

Also present were MPs Muriuki Njagagua (Mbeere North), Jane Wanjuki (Embu woman representative) and John Muchiri of Manyatta.

Mr Lusaka said Jubilee party’s unity had helped the national assembly and Senate to hold together and there were no squabbles between the two Houses.

He said it was a waste of time and resources for assemblies to come up with laws that were subjected to research, expert opinion and then be overturned.


35 students arrested over arson

By NATION TEAM
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Police on Monday arrested 35 students across Mt. Kenya region after their schools were burnt.

The affected schools are in Kirinyaga, Embu, Meru and Nyeri counties.

In Meru, police arrested 11 students of Rumanthi Secondary School after teachers foiled an attempt to burn a dormitory.

A nearby school, Luuma Secondary, was also closed after a girl’s dormitory was torched.

Buuri chief John Mamira said the fire at Luuma broke out at around 5.30am while students were attending morning preps.

“Investigations are ongoing to establish the cause of the inferno. However, preliminary investigations show that the fire was not caused by an electric fault. Police will soon make arrests,” Mr Mamira said.

INVESTIGATIONS

Mr Mamira said students who were arrested are helping the police with investigations.

In Nyeri, 24 students of Endarasha Boys are in police custody after a dormitory was burnt on Sunday.

Kieni West OCPD Ahmed Ali said the boys are being questioned at Mweiga police station over suspicion of arson.

“We are trying to zero in on the suspects. Once we get them, they will be taken to court,” the police boss said.

The school was closed indefinitely on Sunday. Students were told to go home yesterday morning.

Nyeri County Director of Education Moses Makori said the decision to send the students home was made because they do not have accommodation.

The razed dormitory houses 102 students.

“They do not have a place to sleep. The dorm and all their property were destroyed. So we have decided to send them home,” he said.

CHURCH SERVICE

The fire is said to have started while the students were attending Sunday’s church service. But the cause has not yet been established.

However, the school management has claimed that the students did not want to sit exams that were set to start on Wednesday.

In Embu, education officials have closed Nguviu High School indefinitely after two dormitories were set on fire on Sunday night.

County Director of Education Margaret Mwirigi said three Form Three students were arrested and they were being questioned over the inferno.

She noted that the fire, which started soon after the World Cup finals, left 224 students without shelter and property worth thousands of shillings.

Ms Mwirigi said the education board was investigating the cause of the fire since she had asked all school principals to allow the students to watch the match.

EDUCATION STAKEHOLDERS

The incident at Nguviu High is the first in the entire county, where security agencies and education stakeholders have been meeting to prevent occurrence of the trend that is prevalent in many counties.

“We held a meeting with the principals where I insisted that they must allow students to watch World Cup finals on Sunday. I also urged them to amicably address grievances affecting students and contact us whenever they face difficulties,” said Ms Mwirigi.

Local leaders led by Manyatta MP John Muchiri and nominated MCA Sicily Warue visited the school before the decision to close it was reached.

Deputy President William Ruto had two weeks ago promised the school Sh5 million from the national government to boost infrastructure development.

In Kirinyaga County, a dorm was burnt at Kiburu Secondary School.