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Daily Nation : February 27th 2014
6 | National News POWER STRUGGLES | Lobby wants voters to check Parliament Start recalling rogue MPs, Kenyans told Lawyers urge the electorate to collect signatures ahead of March 2015 BY WALTER MENYA @menyawalter firstname.lastname@example.org E ast African lawyers have urged Kenyan voters to start recalling rogue MPs as Parliament’s fight with the governors and the Judiciary persists. East African Law Society (EALS) president James Mwamu said lawyers would begin mobilising voters to recall members of Parliament for disregarding court orders and holding Kenyans to ransom with their car and mortgage demands. “When the people of Kenya passed a new Constitution, they were not only against a rogue Executive, but also did not want a rogue Legislature. MPs have run amok. They want to vilify everybody— governors, the Judiciary and anybody—who dares to oppose them,” said Mr Mwamu in a statement. The MPs’ actions, he said, were meant to intimidate the Judiciary and make it weak which, he said, was tantamount to subverting the Constitution. 2015 Due time in March as per the Constitution, when the electorate can recall MPs. “They have now threat- ened to paralyse government activities unless their car and mortgage facilities are increased by an additional Sh5 billion. This is holding the people of Kenya to ransom,” said the EALS president. He added: “We must remind them that March 2015 is not far when time for recalling members of Parliament is due. We therefore urge the public to start raising signatures for recalling them en masse so that we can have mini-elections to put a stop to this impunity.” The Constitution under Ar- ticles 97 and 98 empowers the electorate to recall MPs before the end of their terms. The Senate has been at loggerheads with the Judiciary after the latter issued a court order stopping the members from approving the impeachment of Embu governor Martin Wambora. As a result, the Senate and the National Assembly are said to be plotting to tame the Judiciary and governors, a move Mr Mwamu said was against the Constitution and akin to interfering with the sovereignty of Kenyans as espoused in the supreme law. MPs are also allegedly plotting to slash the Judiciary budget in what Mr Mwamu said was engineered to stop judges from doing their work. “By cutting Sh500 million for infrastructure, they want to stop the expansion of the courts. They also want to have a weak Judiciary that they can control. The people of Kenya must reject these acts of impunity,” he said. STRIKE | Lecturers to boycott work DAILY NATION Thursday February 27, 2014 Bid to block county chiefs from flying flag halted BY NATION REPORTER Progress on the proposed law to strip governors of the power to fly the national flag on their official cars was halted last evening after questions emerged about its legality. At the same time, cracks began to emerge in the new-found alliance between Senators and members of the National Assembly after one of the leaders said “Senators are hoodwinking” their counterparts. Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso said the Speaker will examine the law and make a ruling on whether the National Flag, Emblems and Names (Amendment) Bill was rightly before the National Assembly. She was forced to make the decision after Deputy Minority Leader Jakoyo Midiwo and MP Millie Odhiambo questioned the legality of the Bill, which was passed on by the Senate. JACOB OWITI | NATION University Academic Staff Union secretary-general Muga Kolale addresses officials at Maseno University yesterday. The officials asked the government to order vicechancellors to pay workers Sh3.8 billion or they would go strike on March 12. House seeks to audit impact of new laws BY NATION REPORTER Parliament has commissioned an audit of the impact of the Constitution, now in its fourth year of implementation. The Budget and Ap- propriations Committee has proposed an allocation of Sh80 million in the Supplementary Budget to the Parliamentary Service Commission to pay for the audit, which will be carried out with the supervision of the Kenya National Audit Office. “There has not been any comprehensive analysis or audit of the impact of the Constitution on the country’s wellbeing,” the committee said in a report on the Supplementary Budget estimates. Transition period “Undertaking such a socio-economic audit is now timely in the light of the expansion of institutions and services as well as taking stock of the experience gained in working with the current document during this period of transition,” it says. The committee has pro- posed the formation of “a task-and-finish working group” under the Auditor General’s office to audit the Constitution. This group shall report on its progress to the National Assembly 90 days after the signing of the contract, with the final report then being tabled in the National Assembly 90 days after that. The committee says the audit’s purpose is to provide the National Assembly with necessary information and analysis to help it execute its oversight mandate. The audit would be car- ried out by seven persons with experience in public finance, law and public administration. Social impact According to the report, the team will assess the financial and social impact of the Constitution’s implementation and assess the impact on public institutions. The team will also make recommendations to the National Assembly on ways to enhance the prudent management of Kenya’s public resources and to make recommendations. In its report, the com- mittee stated that despite concerns around the increasing wage bill, due partly to heavy staff hiring by counties, the Supplementary Budget proposed increased funding for salary and related matters. Ms Odhiambo raised the issue first soon after Samuel Chepkong’a, the chairman of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, said the Bill should actually have originated in the National Assembly. Mr Chepkong’a had initiated the Second Reading of the Bill with the statement that: “This is a national matter that resides at the National Assembly, but not withstanding, I hope that any amendments that will be made will not need to be subjected to the Senate.” Jumping on that, Ms Odhiambo argued that if the Bill ought not to have originated in the Senate, then that was breach of the Constitution and cannot be brushed away. “If this Bill is originating from this House, then it must originate in this House. There are no two ways about it,” she said. Law before House Ms Odhiambo argued that if Mr Chepkong’a’s assertion was true, then the Speaker would have to rule that the proposed law was not properly before the National Assembly and shouldn’t be considered. Dr Laboso allowed Mr Chepkong’a and the Justice Committee chairman said that the current law is silent on whether governors should fly the flag on their vehicles because it was enacted long before they came into existence. “The flying of the flag by gover- nors is not legal. Because the law is silent, you shouldn’t assume that you can just fly it,” he said before he was cut short by Mr Midiwo, who said the Bill is the subject of plenty of public debate.
February 26th 2014
February 28th 2014