Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Omogeni: Anti graft body not in leadership crisis

Written By:Catherine Achieng'a,    Posted: Wed, Aug 31, 2011

KACC Advisory board chair Okong'o Omogeni says they will meet Thursday to chat the way forward
Implementation of the new Constitution continues to render top government officials jobless the latest casualty being the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) top brass including the director PLO Lumumba who have since vacated office.
However several questions remain over the implications to the taxpayer with the KACC directors hounded out of office just a year into their 5 year term contract.
Chair of the KACC advisory board Okong'o Omogeni has however confirmed the board will be meeting Thursday to discuss the transition strategy even as he dispelled fears of a leadership gap in prosecution of pending corruption cases.
Integrity centre has had its share of public praise and condemnation in equal measure.
First was the exit of former director Aaron Ringera after a bruising battle in parliament, after which the immediate former director PLO Lumumba was appointed.
Barely a year after receiving thumbs up from parliament his reputation has been put to test with Runyejes MP Cecily Mbarire alleging claims by Lumumba that her husband attempted to bribe him were false insisting lumumba received a cash donation to the Lumumba foundation of 100,000 shillings.
Omogeni speaking exclusively to Channel one, said the board will be meeting to discuss among other issues the transition process to the new board as well as the corruption claims facing the immediate former director.
He also sought to reassure Kenyans that there is no leadership gap with the exit of the directors, just one year into the job.
Also of concern to the taxpayer has been the financial implication of hounding the top brass out of office one year into their 5 year contract.
To this, Omogeni says the board will be looking into the issue, saying a clause to compensate the commission initially crafted in the transitional clauses to the Ethics and Anti Corruption law was scrapped by legislators who amended the particular clause.
As fate would have it, the signing into law of the Ethics and Anticorruption Commission repealed the functions of the KACC, but the way forward will be known Thursday once the board meets over the issue of compensation and transition.

Tussle over devolution laws won't budge

Written By:Halligan Agade,    Posted: Wed, Aug 31, 2011

The group points out that the two laws generated by Treasury and endorsed into law are a dangerous development as it subordinates the county government to the national government
A section of civil societies are calling for immediate resolution of the current stalemate between the Treasury and the Devolution Taskforce regarding the County Public Finance Management Bill.
The civil societies led by Decentralization and Governance Non State Actors (DEGONSA) accuses the treasury for preparing a bill that seeks to treat devolved county funds as a condition remittance to the counties.
A dressing the press on Wednesday, DEGONSA chairman Stephen Mutoru warned that without a decentralized management of funds, the spitit and later of the devolution articulated in the Constitution will be lost.
This comes even as the clocks tick to the next general elections which will pave way for county governments.
The tug of war remains unresolved even as Treasury in its bid to meet constitutional timelines on the Bill, drafted the National Loans Guarantee Law, and the Contingency Fund Law as the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution consults to harmonize the parallel bills.
Mutoru called upon the CIC to conduct a comprehensive and objective review of the bills and come up with a legislative that will not water down the independence and effectiveness of the financial management of the counties.
He also called on the CIC to involve the public in reviewing those bills and provide a ha critique to the draft harmonized bill before preparing the final one.
But the stalemate on the latest laws on Public Finance passed by Parliament last Friday and assented to by the President still raises concerns.
DEGONSA argues that the situation is likely to cripple the operationalization of the new county governments.
The group points out that the two laws generated by Treasury and endorsed into law are a dangerous development as it subordinates the county government to the national government, contrary to the Constitution that spells out the distinctiveness but interdependent nature of the two.
The chairman further claims that the Government has prematurely appointed county co-ordinators flouting the constitution.
They claim the Constitution empowers the governor to run the county government and the new by treasury over funding is a recipe for conflict and will impact negatively on the delivery of services.

Thika investors innovates power source

– AUGUST 30, 2011

By RADAR REPORTER in Nairobi County August 30,
An Inverter Power System
A real estate developer has moved to beat power cuts in its setting. Thika-based Bahati Ridge is offering a rare power cut system to ensure its developments remain lit during power cuts in the dwindling Kenyan power supplies.
The system, called the Inverter Power System, involves storage of electric power in purpose-built batteries connected to the power system.
Each of the homes in its establishment will continue to draw power from the installed in-built batteries for up to 8 hours after a blackout and recharges the batteries when the mains power returns.
“The power management plan will be rolled out soon after the completion of the first phase of the construction project. The power plan will come as an option for all buyers of the project,” said Margaret Kibe, Bahati Ridge Development Marketing and Communications Director.
Families grappling with frequent power outages are set to revert from the need for noisy petrol-fueled generators hence ending the nuisance of unexpected blackouts.
The Inverters are set to transform family living in Kenya and users don’t even notice a blackout, according to Ms Kibe.
“The Inverter earmarked for use has no moving parts and so they are easy to maintain. The batteries too have a long life of up to five years depending on the nature of the power cuts and environmental temperatures,” she explained.
Above all, the System eliminates irritating noise meaning that the quiet natural environment at Bahati Ridge will be retained. The Inverter backup system also has very low running costs.
Bahati Ridge aims to utilize power Inverters that range from 1500VA to 10KVA of input. To fully light up a five-bed roomed house and make use of appliances such as fax machines, DVD players, DSTV, computers and fridges, among others, a house will typically need a 3.5KVA Inverter, power that can last for a backup time of 6 to 8 hours depending on the load.
The solution comes as the Kenyan power supply continues to be overstretched causing rationing in some areas and putting investors on alert for alternative power sources.

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Tuju rouses Luo elders

The Luo council of elders plan to hold a meeting to discuss the impact of the announcement by the former Cabinet Minister Raphael Tuju’s bid for the presidency may have on the prime minister Raila Odinga's candidature for the post. The announcement has continued to draw mixed reactions from a section of Nyanza leaders.
While some leaders say it is his democratic right to contest any position in the country, others view it a scheme to scuttle PM Raila Odinga’s votes.
Yesterday, Luo council of elders chairman Ker Willis Otondi confirmed that they are planning to meet to discuss Tuju’s candidacy. “All is set and we want to meet as elders before formally inviting Tuju and church leaders to chat our political destiny,” said Otondi.
Otondi said Prime Minister Raila Odinga is better placed to clinch the Presidency next year adding that they would not want another candidate from the region to be a barrier. “We want the Prime Minister to get block votes from this region come next elections,” he said. He however, noted that “our quest to meet the former Minister should not be viewed as a threat to democracy since it is aimed at creating unity of purpose.”
He said they would advise the former Rarieda MP to vie for other positions in the devolved government system. “We know Tuju’s past records as Rarieda MP speaks for itself and we are ready to support him for other positions in the government,” added Otondi.
Tuju’s resignation as Presidential adviser on ethics and media relations last Week and subsequent launch of his Presidential bid has met criticisms from several leaders from Nyanza region including MP’s Nicholas Gumbo (Rarieda), Jakoyo Midiwo (Gem), Oyugi Magwanga (Kasipul Kabondo) and Martin Ogindo (Rangwe).
They accused him of being used by G7 alliance to block PM Raila Odinga from the Presidency next year.   “Tuju is not a reformist and has never been known to fight for democracy and therefore lacks the credentials required for a President,” said Gumbo.   He said Kenya needs a personality who can steer it through the new political dispensation as the President.  
He however, said everybody has a democratic right to vie for any position in the country but warned Tuju that if his intention is to scuttle Raila’s votes then he will be in for a rude shock next year.   “If those are his plans then we can only be seeing a man taking a very expensive route to a bitter painful disappointment", added the MP.    

Corridors of Power

An environmentalist who was the face of the group pushing for the introduction of jatropha plant for biofuel in Kenya has become hard to get after reports started emerging that the plant is not really as beneficial as touted by his NGO. The man has become difficult to get for comment and seems to avoid responding to emails and text messages or even honour appointments with the media. This is a far cry from the way he hounded the media when he started his campaign!
Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere was at the JKIA on Monday night to see off Eldoret North MP William Ruto who was heading to The Hague for the confirmation of charges hearings. Asked what he hoped for Ruto as he left for the Hague, Mwakwere was non-committal. “Nina mdomo mkali sana (I have a very sharp tongue). Let my friend take his position. I don’t want to talk anything now. I may err and find myself hitting headlines tomorrow. Let me not just speak!” Mwakwere said when prodded.
A group of youthful MPs from Western Kenya have come up with a game plan, which if successful, will see Forestry minister Dr Noah Wekesa nominated as his party's candidate for the Trans Nzoia governor's race. The MPs then plan to sponsor and campaign for their preferred candidate who is much younger, is from a different party and who they believe will easily defeat Wekesa.

Marende deals a blow to Budget Committee

It is not mandatory for Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta to alter the budget and reallocate resources are recommended by the Budget Committee, Speaker Kenneth Marende has ruled.
The Speaker yesterday appeared to give Treasury a smooth sailing in Parliament after ruling that the minister was free to differ implementing any of the resolutions of the Budget Committee.
Marende ruled that the report prepared by the Budget Committee and endorsed by Parliament in July proposing budget cuts for certain ministries in this year’s budget should be treated as a motion which does not compel the minister to adopt in total. “Some resolutions of the budget committee have to be deferred to another date,” ruled the Speaker.
He said the country was in a transition period making it impossible to implement to the letter some of the provisions in the constitution guiding the budget making process.
Marende delivered the ruling after several MPs challenged the Executive saying it was unconstitutional to ask MPs to debate and pass Estimates of Recurrent and Development Expenditure for the 2011/2012 financial year.
The MPs, led by John Mbadi (Gwasi) argued that the Budget Committee collected views from Kenyans where the committee prepared a report with various alterations to the budget presented in June by Uhuru. The MPs said Treasury was now bound by all the resolutions contained in the report.
Lawmakers said the government could not introduce a motion on Estimates of Recurrent and Development Expenditure which does not encompass the resolutions of the Budget Committee. “It is unconstitutional for the House to debate and pass figures yet budget committee had prepared a report which was passed on the same,” said Mbadi. He wanted the debate on the budget estimates at the Committee of Supply stifled. Once debated at the Committee of Supply stage, the government gets Parliament’s approval to incur expenditure.
Mbadi said the new constitution had ushered in a new era in budget making which ought to be respected. He said the committee had set aside cash for employing the intern teachers. “We either go back to the old constitution which we discarded or we follow the new constitution to the letter,” said the MP.
In its report, the committee after collecting views altered Uhuru’s budget and saved about Sh13 billion which it wanted to be used to boost several sectors which it said had been ignored by the finance minister.
The committee had in its report agreed that Sh2 billion Treasury had set aside as budget reserves be diverted for other urgent matters. The committee has also recommended that a further Sh2 billion Treasury had allocated itself as cash for financial services be diverted.
Also raided was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where the committee chopped off Sh206 million meant for foreign travel and subsistence. Budget for printing, advertising and information supplies had also been reduced by 50 per cent netting an extra Sh1 billion.
The committee had also proposed that allocations for hospitality supplies and services be cut by 25 per cent to create a saving another Sh1 billion.

Kamar says technical colleges to be expanded

THE government has set aside Sh50 billion to expand Technical, Industrial, Vocational, Entrepreneurship and Training colleges in every county to accommodate the youth who do not make it to universities.
Higher Education Science and Technology Minister Prof Margaret Kamar said yesterday that with the promulgation of the constitution, her ministry plans to put up Tivet institutions in counties that currently do not have. She added that the ministry will also continue to refurbish existing ones and upgrade others.
According to the minister, more than 90 per cent of students are not accommodated currently either in Tivet colleges or universities. “Currently we have so many people graduating from secondary schools and only 32, 645 can be accommodated in public universities, less than 20, 000 in private universities and only 10 percent to Tivet colleges,” she said.