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Showdown looms in Parliament over fuel levy

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BY OLIVIA MUNGWANA

Battle lines are drawn as legislators consider a memorandum in which President Uhuru Kenyatta had expressed reservations on the Finance Bill, which MPs had passed an amendment suspending a 16 per cent VAT on petroleum products.

And today, the MPs find themselves between a rock and a hard place as they are called upon to back recommendations in the memorandum to ease pressure on Treasury, unlock impediments and allow fiscal decisions to move the country forward even as a number of them insist they will oppose.

The lawmakers had, in the Finance Bill, passed an amendment suspending the  levy on petroleum products for a further two years.

But Uhuru returned the Bill to Parliament with a proposal to cut the fuel tax by half to eight 8 per cent.

Despite reports of discord and revolt among Jubilee legislators, the leader of majority in the National Assembly Aden Duale, was yesterday confident the motion containing the presidential memorandum on the Finance Bill will sail through without much resistance.

Jubilee MPs are this morning scheduled  for a meeting with President Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto where they will lobbied to back the memorandum, while the Opposition team will meet at the County Hall to chart the forward.

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House Minority Leader John Mbadi  and his Senate counterpart James Orengo (Siaya) were emphatic that the Opposition will reject the motion in totality.

“We don’t need any VAT on petroleum products. Whether it is eight per cent it is not good because it still has a spiral effect to the economy,” Mbadi said, adding; “We have a meeting on Tuesday (today) where we may take a position against the proposals by the President.”

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Kimunya hits at Maraga over Parliament dissolution

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BY KEVIN KOECH

National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya has accused Chief Justice David Maraga of creating chaos in the country with his advisory to President Uhuru Kenyatta on dissolving the Parliament.

Kimunya said Maraga made advisory just a week after he appeared before a House committee that apparently annoyed him by insisting he should be prepared to leave office soon.

Speaking to K24 on Sunday, September 27, Kimunya said Maraga appeared before the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee on the September 14 and a week later, he issued the advisory “as an act of self-preservation”.

“This advisory was not done in good faith. It was an act of self-preservation,” he said.

The majority leader also added that the CJ was fully aware that the House had started the process of passing the law allowing for the representation of the marginalised groups including women.

He said there was a matter pending in court also linked to the law and said it was shady that Maraga did not wait for the court case to be determined but thought it was better the Parliament to be dissolved.

In his letter to the president, Maraga said the National Assembly and the Senate had failed to enact legislation required to implement the gender rule for nine years.

READ ALSO:   President Uhuru leaves politicians out of commendation list

He said the dissolution of Parliament under Article 261(7) needed to be enforced to compel the political elite to fully adhere to the 2010 Constitution.

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Bungoma man who hung onto a helicopter dies

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BY KEVIN KOECH

Bungoma’s ‘James Bond’, the man who made headlines when he hung onto a chopper that was ferrying the body of fallen businessman Jacob Juma, has died.

The man, identified as Saleh Wanjala, died at the Bungoma County Referral Hospital on Monday, September 28, 2020.

Family members confirmed that ‘Bond’ was found unconscious and then taken to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

The man will be remembered for his dare-devil stunt when he was filmed in 2016 hanging onto a chopper for over 2km in a manner reminiscent of James Bond, the famous British movie spy.

After the chopper incident, he was arrested and arraigned but released thereafter.

His body was taken to Bungoma County Referral Hospital mortuary.

READ ALSO:   BREAKING NEWS: Kenyan opposition plans to set up a vote tallying station in Tanzania, says Duale
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Ruto skips COVID-19 conference despite invitation 

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BY KEVIN KOECH

Deputy President William Ruto on Monday, September 28, failed to attend the Covid-19 conference hosted at the KICC.

The official programme indicated that Ruto was expected to speak after former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and welcome Uhuru to issue his speech.

Kanze Dena confirmed that Ruto was invited to the conference but was a no-show when it commenced at around 2 p.m.

Ruto’s Deputy Director of Communications Emmanuel Talam, however, raised questions about the Deputy President being invited to the conference.

However, Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa said the DP had a meeting planned with European Union delegates.

“He had a very important meeting which took longer than expected. It is not necessary that he has to attend the conference because he is the assistant to the President so when Uhuru is attending, he does not necessarily have to attend.

“He was meeting EU delegates in Karen to unlock the deadlock of global funds brought about by the Covid-19 millionaires Exposé so that the country can resume receiving the funding,” explained Barasa.

Nominated Senator Millicent Omanga on her side insisted that Ruto was not invited to the conference.

“When planning for COVID-19 response mechanisms they neither invited Ruto nor did they offer him a seat.

READ ALSO:   Meet the Harvard trained lawyer who said No to Uhuru's ambassadorial appointment

“After messing up and they need someone articulate they offered him a seat at the National Covid-19 conference. And you expected him to attend? NEVER!” she noted.

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