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Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

 

Case delays defeat justice

EDITORIALBy EDITORIAL
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Long delays in hearing and determining cases are a travesty of justice. But this is the sickening reality around the country as there are many pending criminal cases, with the lives of victims and even suspects left in limbo for too long.

Indeed, Chief Justice David Maraga has, in his judicial reform agenda, prioritised clearing the huge backlog. And the old adage that justice delayed is justice denied could not be truer.

SEXUAL ABUSE

It is even more harrowing in cases where lives have been wrecked. Without closure in many cases, victims cannot move on with their lives while others die before those who have wronged them are punished. Sexual abuse has devastating consequences for victims.

Their pain is aggravated by the long wait to see their tormentors punished.

Nearly half of the pending cases have dragged on for more than three years, making a mockery of the reforms to improve the delivery of justice.

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As of June last year, 45 per cent of the backlog of 327,928 cases had dragged on for more than three years. Ideally, the maximum period a case should take is one year.

DEFILEMENT

The gravity of the problem is evident in the fact that, in only one court in Makindu, Makueni County, for instance, some 200 defilement and rape cases have not been heard and concluded since 2014. This is an indictment of the justice system.

However, it is encouraging to note that a group of visiting magistrates has joined their colleagues in Makueni to help tackle the backlog.

But urgently required is a more robust and comprehensive effort to clear the backlog. We could not agree more with one of the magistrates that these delays just defeat justice.


Wrong for President to recycle retirees

EDITORIALBy EDITORIAL
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President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration has attracted public outrage with its latest appointments to key parastatals, and for good reason.

The public is incensed that, contrary to all pledges of fairness, equity, merit and diversity, the government is obsessed with recycling old guards to positions that they are not only least qualified for but really do not deserve. They do not have the skills, aptitude and comportment for the jobs.

Yet the deserving and highly qualified young people are left to rot out there. It is an unfair system that must be brought to an end.

This week, Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani appointed Ms Mary Wambui, a former Othaya MP, the chairperson of the National Employment Authority, sparking public hostility. In the same gazette notice, President Kenyatta appointed nine individuals to the State Corporations Advisory Committee. Mr Jeremiah Matagaro, a long-time retired civil servant, was appointed chairperson.

Despite his illustrious civil service career, however, his best is in the past.

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The appointments follow a pattern that has now come to define the Jubilee administration’s modus operandi, where cronies and elderly people are rewarded to the chagrin of the youth, a majority of whom suffer joblessness despite solid academic credentials.

A few examples illustrate this howler. A fortnight ago, President Kenyatta appointed Esther Murugi, 66, as a member of the National Land Commission.

FAVOURITISM

In December, he had appointed former vice-president Moody Awori as a member of the National Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund Board.

Earlier, he had named Mr Francis Muthaura, a former Head of Civil Service, as chairperson of the Kenya Revenue Authority.

The list of geriatrics in the Jubilee government is long. The public’s concerns are as follows: One, most of the old people appointed to key positions are not qualified for them. Two, the government is promoting favouritism and mediocrity in public service and the consequence is poor delivery.

Three, the government is breaching the law by failing to follow the principles of diversity, meritocracy and fairness in public appointments.

PUBLIC RAGE

During his presidential campaign in 2013, Mr Kenyatta then styled himself as a poster picture of youth empowerment. Now, he is the exact opposite. What has changed?

The President has to listen to Kenyans and stop this bungling that is stirring public rage and is bound to create social unrest.

He should revoke the appointments. For those given jobs that they do not deserve, the honourable thing to do is quit.

We are reminded of the living statement by former South African president Nelson Mandela that “there can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children”.


Dialogue can secure evictees’ liberties

HILLARY BARCHOKBy HILLARY BARCHOK
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Decades of efforts to restore the Mau Forest complex have yielded mixed results and disrupted the lives of thousands of families with mothers, children and the elderly bearing the brunt of evictions from the forest.

Another innocent victim has been the indigenous Ogiek community, who have been perennially evicted from their ancestral land with little or no compensation, yet they have harmoniously coexisted with this natural resource since time immemorial.

The government’s effort to provide easy access to education and health services to the Ogiek is laudable despite the occasional disruption of their traditional lifestyle. In a judgment on May 26, 2017 on a suit by the community, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights ordered corrective steps against the violations of their rights.

The wanton plunder of the forest is evidence of cover-ups and failed policies. Yet the perpetrators have been quick to blame the “squatters”, despite allocating trust land to individuals who later sold it to unsuspecting buyers — ordinary citizens without the wherewithal to engage in huge commercial activities such as timber harvesting.

Law enforcement agencies do not require a battalion of soldiers to catch the real culprits of the plunder. An acknowledgment of systemic mishaps will pave the way for dialogue to ensure long-term commitment to protect the water tower.

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The focus should be on the ‘original sin’ rather than punitive acts meted out on the hapless, innocent victims of deceit.

CONTENTIOUS RANCHES

The Mau issue is laden with historical injustices. The first admission should be the issuance of contentious ranches to some individuals that spelt the genesis of the encroachment. Greed took over and the ranches went beyond the demarcated boundaries.

Subsequent adjudication saw expansion beyond the initial lines and the land, as it became more lucrative, has since changed hands to third parties.

Years later, landowners have found themselves at a crossroads as the government declared most title deeds illegal.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), past evictions were conducted abusively and unlawfully. Children were driven out of school, elderly men rustled out of their homes in the dead of night, communities assailed with batons and gun butts, homes torched and thousands made homeless. AND These are residents born and raised in this land for nearly 40 years!

Under the law, eviction of bona fide landowners should be carried out in a humane way and with adequate compensation and/or resettlement. The task force chaired by Prof Fredrick Owino clearly justified why the peasants should be given alternative land.

TRUST LAND

The government initiated adjudication of the trust land in 1975, when 70 per cent of the current legal owners, with genuine land titles, were not yet born.

The Mau issue has been riddled with endless threats and denials. No entity wants to own up for the systemic failures — the illegal allocation of forest land, cover-ups by various commissions whose recommendations were never fully effected, inhuman evictions, the compromised rights of the Ogiek community and evident government facilitation of habitation.

The Forests Act 2005 has achieved little to ensure sustainable afforestation or undertake awareness campaigns and lacks strategic focus.

Failure to deploy effective surveillance and law enforcement against illegal logging is evinced by the huge trucks ferrying charcoal from the Mau.

Lack of sustainable alternative energy sources contributes to perpetual forest loss critical to ecological and hydrological existence of rivers downstream — like Sondu, Mara, Molo, Naishi, Makalia, Nderit and Njoro.

MAU RECLAMATION

The solution to the contentious Mau reclamation and restoration is a win-win deal. Consider participatory approaches, community sensitisation and continuous training to spearhead progressive restoration efforts. But we must uphold human dignity, equity, social justice, inclusiveness, equality, human rights, non-discrimination and protection of the marginalised.

The government should gazette or re-gazette key areas as water catchment and compensate the poor evictees as per the law.

It is unjust and inhumane to rebuff the honest poor, whom the government aided to buy their parcels of land.

The missing piece in this impasse is to compensate and resettle Mau evictees. Dealing with the ‘original sin’ doesn’t translate to endless political jabber but is the jarring reality of the ramifications to the Mau community and our national outlook regarding the much-needed conservation and ethos enshrined in our Constitution.


Even as we fight graft, let us also rebuild many of the institutions

ROBERY SHAWBy ROBERY SHAW
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Lately, Kenyans have been fed a rich and vulgar diet of scams, fraud, thievery, pillaging and outright plunder. Much of the pillaging has resulted in many of our key institutions being run down and decimated.

Reconstruction is not just of the brick and mortar kind. These institutions were built with an assortment of labour and skills over many years.

Those with long memories will remember how well Kenya Power and Lighting Company, under the stewardship of Julius Gecau (now deceased) and others, was run.

SOUND MANAGEMENT

The same can be said for the (defunct) Nairobi City Council. Yes, they were arguably simpler and less complex outfits but, all the same, the principles of sound management were there.

Likewise, the running of the country is dependent on competent and honest people and well-functioning institutions.

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The more there is, the greater the heights of achievement. Remember also the demands on these institutions grow as population and its demands increase.

If they are creaking under the strain or struggling to function now, what will they be like in, say, 2030-plus? Imagine Nairobi City County in 10 years if its run-down state continues!

Walking into Nairobi county offices today, one experiences a stuttering snail-like administration under siege. The relevant departments are there but the productivity is low — just as is the morale of the people manning them.

Obtaining the purported goods and services it purports to offer is often an exercise in futility; even getting a rate demand statement requires both dedication and patience. One can be in the bizarre and ludicrous situation of wanting to pay a levy but not knowing how much he should pay.

The city county is an example of an institution functioning at a fraction of its capacity. Kenya Power is another. But what we forget is that, over the years, the majority of institutions in the public sector have also been run down, cannibalised or even destroyed. And it is not just the public sector. A number of private sector institutions, too, have taken a battering.

The energy sector, with its various operations being directly controlled by the Department of Energy, is another.

This ‘State-captured’ sector is almost totally owned and controlled by the government with the exception of Kenya Power, which is half-owned by private shareholders.

Over the years, their institutional capacity has been literally emasculated to the extent that, in reality, they are lackeys of their parent ministry.

Many county governments have been consigned to the same fate. There is an additional factor here, which is that they are relatively new institutions inheriting what little was left of their local government predecessors.

PARASTATALS

Institution building needs time and effort and neither has happened.

The story is the same with many parastatals. The exceedingly vital Kenya Pipeline Company is mandated to transport our oil needs yet its operation has as many leakages as its own pipeline. The Kenya Forest Service has presided over a declining forest cover — from 10 per cent to 7.2 per cent.

The Kenya Ferry Services has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Pedestrians and drivers use its ferries only because they have no safer alternative.

What comes out clearly is that the appointing agency must not be the parent ministry and, indeed, must be delinked from and independent of it.

Their management and operations must be subject to strict professional rules and regulations and accountable to an independent board.

Institutional malaise or rot is not confined to government. It covers all — from the KTDA to the many saccos Kenyans have poured their billions into.

While the ongoing onslaught against corruption must continue, rehabilitate and reconstruct the institutions.


Let heroes address nation on Mashujaa Day

JEREMIAH KIPLANG'ATBy JEREMIAH KIPLANG’AT
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The drafters of the Constitution, in their perfect conscience, saw the need to dedicate a whole day to national heroes, which shows the importance of Mashujaa Day, which will this year be celebrated on Sunday.

The transformation of the day from Kenyatta Day during the 2010 constitutional change was designed to make it relate to more people, not confined to the Kapenguria Six, including First President Jomo Kenyatta, who were arrested during the Mau Mau crackdown in the 1950s.

In addition to posthumously honouring those who fought — or even sacrificed their lives — for the country’s freedom from colonialism, the ceremony will, almost predictably, be used to reward those who have dedicated their lives to the people and the nation.

A country that doesn’t remember and appreciate its history is dead. History preceded the present; the present represents the future.

The importance of the October 20 fete cannot, therefore, be overemphasised. Other than the independence day, Jamhuri, Mashujaa should never be scrapped from the law.

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However, the manner in which the day is celebrated has become too routine, predictable and repulsive for an impatient young generation that abhors repetitive declarations and musings. Although the rotation of venues breathes freshness into the day, more should be done to make it more memorable, expansive and eye-catching. It ought to ooze creativity, so that it does more justice to its name.

Heroism is difficult to hide. Those who do heroic acts radiate all over. Why shouldn’t they be properly involved in celebrating this important day? Why should they play extras when they should be the protagonists? Why should they be guests and not the hosts?

We don’t lack inspirational men and women of repute. The country is endowed with an array of talented individuals who will not lack what to tell Kenyans, especially when new voices need to be heard.

REPETITIVE MESSAGES

The presidential addresses to the nation on public holidays are said to be flat, repetitive messages. The joke on the street is that anybody can easily predict what President Uhuru Kenyatta will say.

The President could give an opportunity to some of the heroes to give the keynote address during Mashujaa Day.

Some people may argue against diluting the presidential message and that’s perfectly understandable. But would the day be rendered useless if Peter Tabichi, for instance, was to deliver the keynote address? Tabichi, 37, was recently declared the world’s top teacher.

Would anyone feel slighted if world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, who has been labelled the greatest of all time by respected fellow athletes and organisations, was to address the nation? What if David Rudisha, the 800 metres world record holder, was the chief guest? Or the great wordsmith, Prof Ngugi wa Thiong’o.

HEROES ACT

Setting aside Mashujaa Day for the honourable men and women of this country should not take away the day’s flavour; rather, it will give some oomph to the dull monotone of officialdom associated with it.

The Kenya Heroes Act should be amended to guide how the speakers are picked for this auspicious event. In that case, the ordinary mwananchi could send suggestions to the National Heroes Council.

Mr Kiplang’at is the Nation Media Group Regional Editor – North Rift. [email protected]


Treasury, MPs got us into debt hole we can only go deeper into

JAINDI KISEROBy JAINDI KISERO
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Why has the government increased the public debt ceiling by Sh3 trillion? What is the magic around this number? I found myself scratching my head for answers.

Yet if you track the level of the fiscal deficit in the past five years or so, you will discover that the government has been running a budget deficit at an average of Sh600 billion every year.

Multiply that number by five years and you can see how your magic number of Sh3 trillion upward adjustment came about.

SH9 TRILLION

Add this number to the current public debt ceiling level and you have the new ceiling of around Sh9 trillion. The assumption is that the budget deficit level will be maintained at the average Sh600 billion for the next six years.

The intellectual dishonesty displayed by the National Treasury when it comes to debt is mind-boggling.

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Until the other day, the narrative from the Treasury was that our public debt levels were sustainable. Even when all the evidence was that public finances were in the deep red, the standard refrain was that we did not have a debt problem.

The reality check time came in June, when they started admitting that they had all along been living a lie and it emerged that the country had breached debt ceilings.

The narrative that our debts were still sustainable could no longer hold.

With the make-believe narrative about how debt levels were sustainable having run out of tarmac, it was time to make an about-turn and seek parliamentary approval for an upward adjustment to the ceilings.

You can’t insist that your debt levels are sustainable in one breadth and in the next minute publicly admit that you have broken limits and ceilings stipulated by your own laws.

Looked at more closely, what the Treasury was dealing with was, basically, a compliance issue. Parliamentary approval was needed to bring public debt levels in line with what is stipulated in the law; namely, the Public Management Finance Act.

Accuse me of being a pessimist if you like but I predict that we will exhaust the new Sh9 trillion ceiling in less than two years.

CLEAN NUMBERS

If anything, we are yet to see clean numbers giving us the full picture of debt levels, especially details such as outstanding disbursements on existing loan commitments, the level of pending bills at both the national and county governments and contingent liabilities from murky debts and external loan guarantees to parastatals.

The biggest elephant in the room is pending bills accumulated by the national and county governments. Sectors such as the roads department accumulated massive pending bills in their books.

What is my point? It is that we still have major credibility issues with the numbers on debts and the size of the fiscal deficit. It’s like we have yet to appreciate the fact that part of the Greek debt crisis came about because of the credibility of the macroeconomic figures.

Exaggerated GDP growth numbers will lead you to exaggerated revenue targets that lead you to unsustainable budget deficits and on to spending plans that you are incapable of funding.

What both Parliament and the Treasury need urgently is a dose of honesty.

GAPING HOLE

When you approve a budget with a gaping hole of Sh635 billion, as Parliament did in the current financial year, you must be prepared to face the consequences of excessive borrowing. No one can live beyond their means forever.

Our problem is that we have MPs who will approve massive budget deficits only to make an about-turn in the middle of implementation to start whining about rising public debt levels. MPs will tinker with the Finance Bill and remove proposed tax measures as if unaware that what they are doing has implications for the size of the whole on the books of the government.

I don’t see this financial year ending without the Treasury going back to the international credit markets to make substantial commercial borrowings — a Eurobond, syndicated loans or even a diaspora bond. When you look at the budget for this financial year, is it not clear new commercial borrowings are provided for in the budget?

RENT-SEEKING

Here is food for thought. Before 2013, most of the money we borrowed came from multilateral lenders such as the World Bank, African Development Bank and European Investment Bank.

Today, most of our debt is commercial borrowing, including syndicated loans that are negotiated opaquely in smoke-filled rooms.

Multilateral loans are far much cheaper in terms of interest, grace periods and repayment terms. But we prefer commercial loans because they open better opportunities for rent-seeking. There is a direct relationship between the spike of commercial borrowing and corruption.


Defiant Nakuru MCAs to skip Uhuru function in Naivasha

FRANCIS MUREITHIBy FRANCIS MUREITHI
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In a rare defiance, Nakuru County Assembly rejected a motion to reschedule its House business on Wednesday to allow MCAs attend President Uhuru Kenyatta’s function in Naivasha.

The Jubilee dominated House said it had crucial businesses to attend to. 

Moment after the Chief Whip Melvin Kipkoech Kutol moved the motion which was seconded by his deputy Wahome Jambo Kenya, the MCAs united to reject the motion. Rhonda Ward MCA Timothy Kabutu Kabiru said that the House had a full in tray.

“The President’s visit in Naivasha is okay but it will not add value to this assembly,” said Mr Kabutu.

He added: “Let us not disrupt our Wednesday sittings because of the President’s Naivasha visit.”

TIGHT SCHEDULE

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Malewa West MCA Josphat Githinji Murage said the House should not be held at hostage by the function.

Soin MCA Irene Chebichi Cheruiyot opposed the motion saying: “We have a tight schedule. Apart from plenary sessions, we have committee meetings and trying to reschedule the Wednesday sittings to attend a presidential function is tantamount to overburdening the Ward Reps.”

“We have MCAs from Naivasha, Speaker Joel Maina Kairu and other House leaders who can represent the Assembly in the presidential function,” said Ms Chebichi.

However, acting Speaker Wanjohi urged the MCAS not to become emotional while debating the motion.

Naivasha East MCA Stanley Karanja said he was surprised that the motion was tabled in the House yet Speaker Kairu and Leader of Majority Moses Ndung’u Kamau had agreed that the House sittings would not be disrupted.

“In a consultative meeting I attended with Speaker Kairu and leader of majority, we agreed that the morning and afternoon sessions would be held simultaneously with a short break of 30 minutes to deliberate on pending businesses before MCAs proceed to Naivasha,” said Mr Karanja.

“This motion was not sanctioned by the House Business Committee as required by House Standing Orders,” said Mr Karanja.

Majority Leader Ndung’u concurred with Naivasha East MCA Karanja that House business would not be disrupted. 

Nominated MCA Alice Kering (ODM) faulted Mr Ndung’u for stating that only Jubilee MCAs were invited at the Naivasha function.

However, Mr Ndung’u and Naivasha East MCA Karanja assured Ms Kering that all MCAs were invited.

 “In the spirit of handshake all the opposition MCAs are free to attend the Naivasha meeting,” said Mr Karanja.

POLITICAL VIEWS

Mr Peter Karanja Mburu of Lake View Ward said it was wrong to discuss a motion that had not been approved by the House Business Committee.

Mr Peter Mwamba Kajwang of ODM said MCAs should separate their views on presidential function from their biased political views on the visit.

“As opposition MCAs, we are also in the government and we are not opposed to the rescheduling of the House sessions because the President’s visit will bring goodies to residents of Nakuru,” said Mr Kajwang.

Jubilee MCAs led by Mr Stanley Karanja told Mr Kajwang that ODM was still an opposition party and was not part of the government.


Defiant Nakuru MCAs decline to attend Uhuru function  

FRANCIS MUREITHIBy FRANCIS MUREITHI
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In a rare defiance, Nakuru County Assembly rejected a motion to reschedule its House business on Wednesday to allow MCAs attend President Uhuru Kenyatta’s function in Naivasha.

The Jubilee dominated House said it had crucial businesses to attend to. 

Moment after the Chief Whip Melvin Kipkoech Kutol moved the motion which was seconded by his deputy Wahome Jambo Kenya, the MCAs united to reject the motion. Rhonda Ward MCA Timothy Kabutu Kabiru said that the House had a full in tray.

“The President’s visit in Naivasha is okay but it will not add value to this assembly,” said Mr Kabutu.

He added: “Let us not disrupt our Wednesday sittings because of the President’s Naivasha visit.”

TIGHT SCHEDULE

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Malewa West MCA Josphat Githinji Murage said the House should not be held at hostage by the function.

Soin MCA Irene Chebichi Cheruiyot opposed the motion saying: “We have a tight schedule. Apart from plenary sessions, we have committee meetings and trying to reschedule the Wednesday sittings to attend a presidential function is tantamount to overburdening the Ward Reps.”

“We have MCAs from Naivasha, Speaker Joel Maina Kairu and other House leaders who can represent the Assembly in the presidential function,” said Ms Chebichi.

However, acting Speaker Wanjohi urged the MCAS not to become emotional while debating the motion.

Naivasha East MCA Stanley Karanja said he was surprised that the motion was tabled in the House yet Speaker Kairu and Leader of Majority Moses Ndung’u Kamau had agreed that the House sittings would not be disrupted.

“In a consultative meeting I attended with Speaker Kairu and leader of majority, we agreed that the morning and afternoon sessions would be held simultaneously with a short break of 30 minutes to deliberate on pending businesses before MCAs proceed to Naivasha,” said Mr Karanja.

“This motion was not sanctioned by the House Business Committee as required by House Standing Orders,” said Mr Karanja.

Majority Leader Ndung’u concurred with Naivasha East MCA Karanja that House business would not be disrupted. 

Nominated MCA Alice Kering (ODM) faulted Mr Ndung’u for stating that only Jubilee MCAs were invited at the Naivasha function.

However, Mr Ndung’u and Naivasha East MCA Karanja assured Ms Kering that all MCAs were invited.

 “In the spirit of handshake all the opposition MCAs are free to attend the Naivasha meeting,” said Mr Karanja.

POLITICAL VIEWS

Mr Peter Karanja Mburu of Lake View Ward said it was wrong to discuss a motion that had not been approved by the House Business Committee.

Mr Peter Mwamba Kajwang of ODM said MCAs should separate their views on presidential function from their biased political views on the visit.

“As opposition MCAs, we are also in the government and we are not opposed to the rescheduling of the House sessions because the President’s visit will bring goodies to residents of Nakuru,” said Mr Kajwang.

Jubilee MCAs led by Mr Stanley Karanja told Mr Kajwang that ODM was still an opposition party and was not part of the government.


More blows to Punguza Mizigo bill as five more counties reject proposal

NATION TEAMBy NATION TEAM
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Five more counties on Tuesday joined the growing list of counties that have rejected Thirdway Alliance party leader Ekuru Aukot’s Punguza Mizigo bill.

Kisumu, Kericho, Meru, Tana River and Trans Nzoia joined 16 other counties in shooting down the bill.

At the Kericho County Assembly, the bill was tabled by Legal Affairs Committee chairperson Edith Chepkoech but was rejected by the MCAs.

 “It is clear that the MCAs were not supporting the bill from the onset despite their initially warming up to it. It is all behind us now” said Ms Chepkoech at a press briefing.

Following the rejection, Cheboin Ward Rep Edward Kibet led seven of his colleagues in expressing their disappointment over the rejection.

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“It is unfortunate that the bill was tabled at a time when only 18 out of 47 MCAs were in the House,” said Mr Kibet.

Mr Kibet said members of the public had been supportive of the bill but the MCAs failed them.

TRANS NZOIA

In Trans Nzoia, the MCAs rejected the bill on grounds that its proposals are too unrealistic and retrogressive.

The assembly termed the bill as a populist agenda saying its main proponent, Dr Auko,t seems to be pursuing a political agenda rather than a reform one.

The assembly’s Justice and legal affairs committee chairman Mathew Orang’o said the bill similarly received a resounding no from majority of residents during a public participation forum on October 11.

“Majority of the members of the public felt that the bill is too unrealistic and a shot in the arm to the gains made by the country under the current constitutional dispensation,” Mr Nyarango while tabling the motion said.

Sitatunga Ward Rep Daniel Kaburu faulted the bill over a proposal to scrap the position of the deputy governor saying such a move would create a constitutional crisis in the event the governor is not around.

In Kisumu, MCAs rejected the bill saying it seeks to erode gains made over the years especially on women representation in leadership.

Kolwa East Ward Rep Stephen Owiti specifically pointed out the proposal to reduce the number of constituencies, which he said no ‘sane’ Kenyan would support.

“This is simply a populist development and its proposals may not see the light of the day because they are not easy to implement. This is why we reject it,” said Majority Leader Kenneth Onyango.

He added that the local leaders are waiting for the report on Building Bridges Initiative where he said, adequate public participation was done to capture the views of many Kenyans.

Meanwhile, in Meru County the MCAs rejected the Punguza Mizigo bill after a roll call vote tallied 42 against 17.

The chairperson of the joint committee that comprised of the justice and legal affairs, and cohesion and devolved units committees Gacheri Muthuri presented a report that termed the bill unrealistic.

There was push and pull in the debate after an MCA cited errors in the report while a vote was disputed forcing a roll call.

Speaker Joseph Kaberia was forced to suspend the debate for 30 minutes after the MCAs raised concern over inconsistencies in the report.

They argued that some member signatures were missing from the minority and majority reports.

When the vote was cast, 42 members rejected the bill against 17 who supported it.

Ms Muthuri said most members of the public called for the rejection of the bill as they were against reduction of MPs to two per county.

“The committee finds that reduction of constituencies will lead to unfair representation in the national assembly. Use of audit reports to bar government officials from holding office goes against the right to a fair trial. Such an amendment usurps the mandate of the judiciary. Most of the amendments proposed by this bill are based on emotions,” Ms Muthuri said.

TANA RIVER

In Tana River, the county assembly shot down the bill saying Dr Aukot disregarded the opinions of Kenyans before drafting the proposal.

Reporting by Vitalis Kimutai, Gerald Bwisa, Stephen Oduor, David Muchui and Rushdie Oudia


City Hall casuals to quit over five-month wages delay

COLLINS OMULOBy COLLINS OMULO
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Over 800 City Hall casuals have threatened to quit over delays in payment of their wages by the county government.

The casual workers, attached to the Environment department, on Monday camped at City Hall demanding payment of their delayed dues for between five and seven months.

They were later dispersed by police.

The group accused Governor Mike Sonko and his Environment executive Vesca Kangogo of playing hide-and-seek with them and threatened to resign if the devolved unit does not release their payments. “Going five months without payment is not easy. It is our right to be paid and we will not allow anyone to play around with our salaries. We have loans, rent and school fees to pay,” said Embakasi Group chairman Mwangi Kuria.

The county government has engaged about 850 casuals who are paid around Sh20,000 per month.

However, Mr Sonko has defended the county, saying the delay was occasioned by a hold up of approval of the payments by the Controller of Budget (COB) who had asked for more information over the casuals, including their contracts and payroll status. “As you may be aware, I have banned all on-source spending and all county money is banked and swept to the Central Bank. For any expenditure in Nairobi City, the COB approval has to be obtained for CBK to release the funds,” said Mr Sonko on his Facebook account.

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