News 2004


Cheap Party Politics scatter serious talks on Forest Law

Index of this compilation

We'll block more Bills, say LDP and Kanu

MPs acting out of order

Forest Bill: How they voted

Factional bickering within NARC is hurting the country

Forest Bill defeated in House

Publication Date: 06/03/2004

The conflict between the main affiliates of the National Rainbow Coalition –LDP and NAK- took a new face yesterday when Liberal Democratic Party back-benchers and some Ford Kenya MPs joined hands with the opposition Kanu to reject a Government Bill.

The Narc back-benchers who voted against the Forests Bill 2004 were understood to have done so to protest recent statements by some Cabinet ministers allied to NAK which the LDP saw as an onslaught against their party.

They were also protesting recent removal of some councillors allied to LDP by Local Government minister Karisa Maitha, and his latest calls to carry out a Narc recruitment drive for individual members.

LDP MPs were also protest against Cabinet minister Chris Murungaru's dismissal of LDP's agitation for the contentious memorundum of understanding.

"We wanted to show our outrage against recent reckless statements made by ministers and the onslaught against LDP spearheaded by Mr Murungaru, Maitha and Charity Ngilu,'' said LDP vice-chairman Joe Khamisi after the motion was thrown out.

"We are sending a political message to the Government that we want it to respect the spirit of the Coalition and for the President to also tame his ministers who have been hatching plots against the LDP", the Bahari MP added.

The MPs were angry that some NAK ministers had reignited the party's recruitment drive even before a committee was charged with that responsibility had announced its recommendations, said Mr Khamisi.

"The Bill was okay. What was wrong could have been amended at the committee stage, but we wanted to send a message and "to show who is incharge," said a Kanu MP who did not want to be named.

Other Government business lined up between now and the Budget will meet the same fate, Mr Khamisi said.

In Parliament, Vice President Moody Awori–leader of Government Business, watched in silence as humiliating defeat as excited MPs swore to "teach it a lesson'' and threw out the Forests Bill, tabled by Environment minister Newton Kulundu.

Consequently, the Bill, to provide for the establishment, development and sustainable management, including conservation and rational utilisation of forest resources, can only come back to the House for debate after six months.

The Government which appeared to have anticipated the situation had a heavy presence.

We'll block more Bills, say LDP and Kanu

Story by NATION Team
Publication Date: 06/04/2004

A makeshift alliance of Opposition MPs and the Liberal Democratic Party – part of the ruling Narc coalition – will continue to block all future attempts by the Government to pass new laws until it agrees not to take MPs for granted.

Kanu chief whip Justin Muturi yesterday described the alliance's decision to stop the Forest Bill in its tracks as a wake up call, and accused the Government of trying to bulldoze its legislation through Parliament.

It was ignoring the views of MPs from all sides of the House, he said.

The Government suffered a humiliating defeat in Parliament on Wednesday after its own backbenchers teamed up with the Opposition to defeat the Bill, aimed at managing forests better. It cannot now be debated for at least six months.

And Narc politics seemed to have taken centre stage after a cross-section of MPs later conceded outside Parliament that there was nothing wrong with the Bill, even though they had voted it down.

The MPs said they only wanted to send a message to the Government that they should not be taken for granted.

Mr Muturi, MP for Siakago said the Bill's defeat was, however, the beginning of things to come.

"The Government is not serious and we have decided to assert ourselves as the people," he said.

He confirmed it was a deliberate decision to block the new law but denied it was part of a wider plot with the LDP and Ford People to bring down the Government.

"What we are doing is not sabotaging the Government, but just flexing our muscles. What happened to the Forest Bill was not a one off incident. The Government must be ready to face more humiliation unless it wakes up and stops taking MPs for granted," he said.

Mr Muturi cited disharmony and lack of proper coordination by the Narc administration as one of their major grievances.

Narc's MP for Molo, Mr Macharia Mukiri, while blaming Kanu for igniting wrangles within Narc – and criticising the LDP for attempting to derail a Government of which they were members – asked President Kibaki to intervene and look afresh at the pre-election Memorandum of Understanding.

The MoU set out the various roles each party and its members might play in a new coalition government.

"We have wasted a lot of time since elections with wrangles arising from the MoU. It has caused a constitutional impasse while the economy is not going the way Narc had initially wanted,'' said Mr Mukiri.

He suggested the MoU be renegotiated to avoid the Government being paralysed

But he blamed Kanu for the impasse in Parliament, saying it was an attempt by the former ruling party to derail the Government's fight against corruption.

"The people who were instrumental in whipping MPs to vote against the Bill were Kanu hardliners some of whom are implicated in corruption,'' he said.

Bomet MP Nick Salat said Kanu was concerned by inconsistency in the Government, particularly on the Constitution review.

He admitted Kanu's protest and that of the LDP was not a coincidence and added that the ''sabotage in Parliament will continue until the Government puts its act together".

Nominated MP Mutula Kilonzo asked President Kibaki to intervene, saying MPs were reacting to a deliberate failure by the Government to follow the law over the review.

"The Government has shown that one can ignore the legal process and get away with it,'' Mr Kilonzo said, adding that the MPs' action, "is purely a tip of the iceberg.''

Mr Kilonzo supported rejection of the Forests Bill, saying the Bomas draft had better and more elaborate legal provisions than those provided for in the Bill.

"If the Government was really serious, it would ensure that the draft Constitution is enacted because it has a better machinery for helping in protection of forests,'' he said.

The proposed law was interfering with trust lands, he argued.

Mumias MP Wycliffe Osundwa (Narc) commented: "There was nothing wrong with the Bill. In fact, most of the MPs who voted against it had earlier supported it."

He continued: "We wanted to show the Government who is in charge. It must start cultivating goodwill if it expects the same from MPs."

Mr Osundwa said the MPs were protesting against the "arrogance and conceit" of certain Government ministers and accused the President of having failed to tame them.

MPs acting out of order

Story by
Publication Date: 06/05/2004

The quest for political supremacy is taking a dangerous trend if what happened in Parliament in the past two weeks is anything to go by. Only the other day, backbenchers rejected a Government's motion that sought to adjourn sittings till Budget to protest at the delay in disbursing constituency development funds.

This week, the members flexed their muscles yet again and threw out the Forest Bill, which, paradoxically, they had earlier cleared in the preliminary stages. Reason: they wanted to teach the Government a lesson.

When voters sent in their representatives to the august House, their mandate was to serve the interest of the people. The voters expected that the MPs would be debating matters of national, not sectarian, interests.

What we now see is nothing more than a child's play. It is unfortunate when the MPs confess that they have no reason to reject Government Bills or motions other than to show their might.

We thought the MPs were above such petty showiness; that they would differ in principle but on motions or Bills that served the greater good, they would join hands.

This chest-thumping business must stop. MPs cannot hold the country at ransom because of some inter and intra-party politics.

Even so, barbs also go to Cabinet ministers who have taken to speaking at, and not with, the people. There is an alarming level of recklessness among some ministers, who besides abusing their Cabinet colleagues in public, are fond of giving edicts reminiscent of the days of single party.

They have failed to respect the basic principle of collective responsibility and most importantly, they have not understood that being called upon to serve in the Cabinet is such a privilege that demands from one a high sense of respectability.

The long and short of all this is that our leaders are sliding fast in the path of anarchy. They are failing to provide leadership and instead exposing themselves as incapable of reasoning and sorting out differences in a more dignified way.

We exhort all of them to reflect on their actions and desist from activities that put the future of the country in jeopardy.

Forest Bill: How they voted

Story by
Publication Date: 06/05/2004


Messrs. Abdiraham Hassan, Moody Awori, Wakoli Bifwoli, Morris Dzoro, Kyalo Kaindi, Ms Martha Karua. Messrs. Mutua Katuku, Kembi-Getura, Prof Kivutha Kibwana, Mrs.Linah Kilimo. Mrs Jayne Kihara Messrs. Viscount Kimathi, Amos Kimunya, Kingi kaindi Mwangi Kiunjuri, Koech John . Dr Newton Kulundu, Mr Andrew Ligale, Prof Wangari. Maathai, Messrs Karisa Maitha Maora Maore, Ms Cecily Mbarire, Messrs Elias Mbau, John Michuki, Petkay Miriti, Mohamed H.Maalim, Mohamed A.Chiaba

Gachara Muchiri, Mrs. Beth Mugo, Messrs. Patrick Muiruri, Danson Mungatana, Peter Munya, Joseph Munyao, John Munyes, Dr Chris Murungaru Messrs. Kiraitu Murungi, Chirau Mwakwere, Mrs Adelina Mwau, Messrs David Mwiraria , Davies Nakitare, Messrs Kalembe Ndile, Peter Ndwiga, Mrs Charity Ngilu, Messrs William ole Ntimama, Nyagah Norman, Dr. Julia 0jiambo, Messrs Joshua Ojode, Raila Odinga, John Serut, Shaaban Ali Isaak , Adan Sugow, Messrs. Zaddock Syongoh, Stephen Tarus, Mrs Betty Tett, Messrs Ali Wario, Dr. Noah Wekesa and Mr David Were.


Dr Abdullahi Ali, Ms Amina Abdalla, Messrs Abdul Bahari, Franklin Bett, Nicholas Biwott, Boit, Lucas Chepkitony, Jim Choge, Abdullahi Dahir, Dr Bonaya Godana, Messrs Haji Yusuf , Otieno Kajwang, Uhuru Kenyatta, Charles Keter, Dr Bonny Khalwale, Messrs Khamisi, Kilonzo M.C., Kilonzo J.K., Kipchurnba, Koech S.C., Kombe, Kosgey, Maj Marsden Madoka, Messrs. Lucas Maitha , Dr Hezron Manduku, Prof Christine Mango, Messrs Stephen Manoti, Godfrey Masanya, Jakoyo Midiwo, Mohamed M.A., Samuel Justin Muturi, Mwanzia, Gideon Ndambuki, Reuben Ndolo, Stephen Ntutu, Eric Nyamunga, Dr Oburu Odinga , Messrs Ochola Ogur, Chris Okemo, Prof Ayiecko Olweny, Messrs Odhiambo Ornamba, Mwancha Okioma, Ken. Nyagudi, Messrs, William Omondi, Archibishop Stephen Ondiek, Messrs Joel Onyancha, Osundwa Wycliffe, Peter Owidi, Owino Likowa, samuel Poghisio, Nick Salat, John Sambu, William Ruto, Paul Sang, Abdi Tari Sasura, Musa Sirma, Soita Shitanda, Too, Koigi wa Wamwere and Arthur Weya.



Factional bickering within NARC is hurting the country

Statement of the Kenyan Community Abroad

Released: Tuesday, June 08, 2004

There is no doubt in our minds as Kenyans that the factional discord within the ruling NARC coalition has reached its acme, unfortunately at the expense of the entire country's well-being.

We have noted with great consternation the priority this Parliament, the Government and the opposition have placed on factional politicking at the expense of all else. The constant tag-of-war, especially between the NAK and LDP factions of the ruling coalition, is draining on the Government and the country, rendering the Government ineffective or non-operational. It is especially embarrassing to see cabinet colleagues engage in public bickering over petty, inconsequential or peripheral factional matters while major national issues go unattended. The goodwill, internal and external, that welcomed the new government into office has all but diminished and investors are beginning to wonder if Kenya is really worthy their investment. It appears that various political factions only agree when it comes to looting the country, as in legislating outrageous pay hikes and allowances for MPs. We have not forgotten the MPs successful blackmailing of the Minister for Finance, threatening not to vote for a bill for funding free universal primary education, one of their own campaign promises, unless the Minister first authorized payment of millions of shillings in car allowance for each MP.

It is very demoralizing to see that after months of hard work, billions of shillings, and even after the ruling coalition itself promised Kenyans a new constitution within 100 days of coming to power, and after Kenyans agreed on a draft constitution, the draft is still the subject of factional contention at the Parliament level. This clearly indicates that MPs are not interested in a constitution that will serve Kenyans for posterity, but rather one that will serve their parochial short-term factional interests.

We would like to appeal to our political leaders to put the long-term interests of the country before their short-term ones. Leaders should promote compromise and consensus building among contending parties for the benefit of the country. We would especially like to encourage our leaders to focus on rebuilding the country now and wait for 2007 after Parliament has been formally dissolved to embark on political jostling and campaigning. Constant squabbling is scaring investors away and
this will seriously encumber our efforts at economic recovery. Perennial politicking is going to be the painful consequence of commercializing our politics by having MPs award themselves outrageous
salaries and allowances.

Angaluki Muaka
Secretary, KCA
The Kenyan Community Abroad (KCA)