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Unmasking MPs: How they tricked Kenyans on new tax vote

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MPs may have tricked Kenyans into believing that they were on their side when they met for a special sitting on Tuesday and Thursday to consider President Uhuru Kenyatta’s memorandum on the Finance Bill, 2018.

A section of the MPs had planned to veto President Kenyatta’s reservations on the bill because it was going to increase the cost of living.

They cited the President’s proposal of eight per cent VAT on petroleum products, the 1.5 per cent levy on housing fund as well as the extra Sh18 for every litre of Kerosene among others.

In so doing, they lobbied a good number to shoot down the President’s views ahead of the big day. Just like amending the Constitution, it requires two-thirds or at least 233 of the 349 MPs in the House to veto the memorandum.

Although the MPs had been lobbied by their respective party leaders to pass the proposals, they were in a Catch-22 situation.

They were to please their party leaders, Mr Kenyatta, who held a Jubilee parliamentary group meeting at State House, Nairobi on Tuesday and the National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader Mr Raila Odinga.

Mr Odinga had chaired the Nasa parliamentary group at Orange House on the same day Mr Kenyatta did at State House. However, the tricky part was that they were to please their party bosses without betraying the public.

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But how possible could this have happened? Unbeknown to the public, the MPs may have just killed two birds with a stone.

On Thursday afternoon, after approving the supplementary budget the MPs retreated to the committee of the Whole House to consider the memorandum.

Narok Woman Representative Soipan Tuya, also a member of the Committee of Chairpersons, was the chair of the committee for the afternoon.

When Ms Tuya put the clause on the eight percent VAT on fuel products to vote, she declared the “ayes” had won.

Those in opposition protested and stood up as the House almost degenerated into chaos.

According to Article 115 of the Constitution, those voting “nays” have the obligation to confirm that they have the requisite two-thirds majority before the presiding chair calls for a division.

Though leader of majority Aden Duale led some members out of the chamber, a claim he confirmed saying it was meant to deny the others the numbers, it is a trick that even the opposition previously employed to have their way.

However, under the same provision and Article 122, those voting “ayes” just need to be 26, being the simple majority.

In a voice vote, the only legally known and procedurally simple process is to rule that the “ayes” have it like Ms Tuya did so that the “nays” can vote electronically or by way of being counted, which is called roll call vote so that their number of 233 is confirmed.

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The roll call vote is quite popular in the US congress.

When Ms Tuya called for a roll call, the MPs would not listen with Isiolo Woman Representative Rehema Dida Jaldesa captured on the table microphone saying that they did not want the roll call because it would be known which side they were leaning on.

She would also be heard advising Mandera North MP Bashir Abdullahi against the roll call vote.

One of the MPs, who was against the memorandum blatantly told a parliamentary orderly that all they wanted was to be allowed to shout, as they did not have time for a roll call.

Daily Nation

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CNN’s Quest ‘more than impressed’ in Nairobi

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Gliding into Nairobi’s airport early on Monday morning, the first thing I noticed was the light. Even over the terminal buildings, it was just gorgeous. I was back in Africa.

Almost immediately, my reasons for coming were further reinforced.

Yes, there were queues at immigration, but no more than one might find during a busy period at JFK or Heathrow.

Perhaps it felt a little chaotic, with some confusion in arrivals about where exactly passengers should go and what was required of them. But overall it worked. The staff was excellent and determined to help.

The building was modern, clean, attractive and made sense. The lines outside for taxis and Ubers were neat and orderly.

Of course, once I began my journey into the city by road, the cliche of traffic-clogged streets revealed itself to be true.

At one point I was able to hop out of the car to stretch and remove my jacket, with no fear whatsoever that my driver would gain more than a few inches of ground on me.

As we reached the city centre, that cliche was overtaken by something else though: a sense that Nairobi’s citizens take pride in their home.

The flowerbeds and neatly trimmed trees, the new roads, the signs, the general respect for other road users. There is something both gentle and genteel about it.

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We spent the afternoon in Karura Forest. If you wanted something to underscore this sense of pride you would be hard pushed to find a more pristine example.

Here is a park that rivals New York’s Central Park, London’s Hyde Park, or Sydney’s botanic gardens.

Of course I discovered Karura’s remarkable history, learned about its sometimes checkered, shady past, the land grabbers, and the ultimately successful campaign to save it for the people. But more than that, I saw a place that Kenyans have taken to their hearts. This is a place that is ring-fenced, literally and figuratively, for ordinary Nairobians to enjoy. We saw couples hand in hand, joggers, women walking alone. We also saw wildlife, different species of monkey, all kinds of birds, all around us. It was safe, spotlessly clean, peaceful and completely beautiful. All this, just minutes away from the city centre.

I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting this. Our guide told us that 37,000 people visited Karura last month. I can see why.  I’m more than impressed.

nation.co.ke

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17 Somalis cause disturbance at JKIA, get repatriated

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Kenya on Sunday repatriated 17 Somali nationals who caused disturbance at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport when they were denied clearance to travel to Uganda.

The passengers, according to Immigration PS Gordon Kihalangwa, landed from Mogadishu but they could not be cleared because of security concerns and anomalies with their documents.

Kenya Revenue Authority, the police, National Intelligence Service, Port Health Service and other agencies have been strict on security as Kenya prepares to launch direct flights to the United States.

The repatriation matter came to the fore when Thika MP Patrick Wainaina said “illegal immigrants” had been casually handled by government officials at the airport.

The MP who had jetted in from the United Arab Emirates around 6am said while queuing at passport control, he saw three young men arguing with an immigration officer.

He added that they wanted the official to stamp their passports.

Mr Wainaina said he sought to find out what was happening and was referred to the officer on duty.

He was told that the three, “who were roaming freely at the airport”, were to be deported.

The lawmaker told the Nation that he discovered the immigrants were not three but 17. He took photos of the three men.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Nasa backs Uhuru Kenyatta's 8pc fuel tax with conditions

Mr Wainaina said when he demanded to be shown the plane to be used by the group, he was given a passengers manifest but the 17 were not included.

“It is not possible that they could have moved from terminal 1A to T2 within 10 minutes and boarded the plane. Deportees are usually confined and do not have room to persuade officers to allow them into the country,” the MP said, adding that he raised the matter with the National Assembly Security Committee.

However, committee chairman Paul Koinange told the Nation that Mr Wainaina’s account of the events contradicted one given by the JKIA management.

Mr Kihalangwa said the 17 were to be repatriated, not deported. He added that the airline that brought the group was indemnified to return them to Mogadishu

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What Raila’s new Africa job means

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NASA leader Raila Odinga’s appointment as African Union Special Envoy elevated him to a continental statesman whose time will now be divided across Africa.

Raila joins the league of former presidents and senior leaders in the continent and this places him near a climax of his pursuit as a Pan Africanist.

With a lot of travel around the continent rallying political support to his new cause, Raila might find himself divorced from local politics.

But just where does this appointment place the opposition leader?

As a special envoy of the AU chairperson, Raila will have an office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, but with frequent travel across the continent.

He will mediate in peace negotiations and conflict resolution. Raila will also have a fully-furnished office in Nairobi, with staff and advisers to boost his local presence and unity programmes with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Addressing the country during Mashujaa Day celebrations at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega County Saturday, President Kenyatta celebrated Raila’s appointment.

“When we come together, it allows us to be better. See now our brother has got a continental job, the biggest beneficiaries is us as Kenyans,” Uhuru said.

He said the new appointment will help his government achieve the Big Four agenda in terms of infrastructure and development of the country. “Raila will work closely with my government to ensure he allocates more resources to Kenya to fast track infrastructural development so as to make Vision 2030 a reality. We have made history as a country and with the handshake deal in place, Kenya stands to achieve more,” he added.

Mr Odinga meets with an AU dignitary in Addis Ababa. FILE PHOTO

Bury hatchet

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“Our agreement to bury the hatchet and work together with the Opposition leader has been recognised globally. The AU Commission has appointed Raila as the High Representative for Infrastructure and Development in Africa,” Uhuru said.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi said Raila’s appointment was well deserved at the continental level. “It was a great recognition of the roles he has played in our country,” Muturi said.

Senate speaker Ken Lusaka wished the Opposition leader well, saying Raila has what it takes to transform the continent in infrastructure.

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale congratulated the Nasa leader for the new posting and urged him not to forget the Building Bridges Initiative that he initiated with President Kenyatta.

Political risk analyst Dismas Mokua says in theory, with such an appointment Raila should now exit the local political space and stay focused on the infrastructure at the continental level.

However, in practice, Raila is not likely to leave the Kenyan political scene and will therefore be forced to balance between the two.

Saturday, he said he had accepted the position and promised to use his political experience spanning over 30 years to fast track infrastructural development in the continent.

Raila is expected to pay much attention to the missing links along the transnational highway corridors identified as part of the Trans-African Highways Network, with a view to facilitating their development and modernisation.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Nasa backs Uhuru Kenyatta's 8pc fuel tax with conditions

He will focus on the continental high-speed train that is one of the flagship projects of the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063.

In making the appointment, AU Commission Chairman Moussa Faki acknowledged Raila’s “rich political experience and strong commitment to the ideals of Pan-Africanism and African integration, as well as a deep knowledge of infrastructure development.

“In this respect, his mandate includes mobilising further political support from Member States and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and facilitating greater ownership by all concerned stakeholders on the continent,” Faki said.

-Standardmedia.co.ke

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