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Governors want to remove term limits

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Governors want their term limits removed to allow them seek re-election as many times as possible.

Article 180 (7) of the Constitution says “a person shall not hold office – (a) as a county governor for more than two terms; or (b) as a deputy county governor for more than two terms.”

A draft document by a special committee preparing for a possible referendum on behalf of the Council of Governors proposes that county bosses be allowed to contest elections beyond the ten years limit.

They argue that its unfair to limit them two five-year terms when other elected leaders like MPS and MCAs are allowed to run for office as may times as they wish.

The proposal is in its initial stages. The committee, co-chaired by Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and Kiraitu Murungi of Meru, has only met once since it was constituted last October. It is expected to meet again within the next two weeks to firm up its proposals.

Yesterday, CoG chairman Wycliffe Oparanya said he was yet to see the report. Once it is presented to him he will call all the governors to a retreat so they can adopt a common position, he said.

In October last year, the CoG backed calls for a referendum to change the Constitution on condition that the changes would increase allocation of cash to the counties.

Once the eleven-member committee completes its proposals it will present them to the Building Bridges team.

Other members of the special committee are Joyce Laboso (Bomet), Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu), Amason Kingi (Kilifi) and Charity Ngilu (Kitui) together with Francis Kimemia (Nyandarua), Paul Chepkwony (Kericho), Oparanya (Kakamega), Ali Roba (Mandera) and Cornel Rasanga (Siaya).

The committee has proposed that counties’ allocation be increased to at least 45 per cent from the 15 per cent based on the current budget.

At the moment the central government gives counties 15 percent of the audited budget.

The special team has also proposed reduction of MCAs’ powers to make it difficult for them to impeach a governor. Specifically, they want the law to provide for a two-thirds majority of MCAs to remove a governor from office.

Previously MCAs have fought battles with governors and attempted to remove them from office on flimsy grounds.

It emerged yesterday that pro-referendum agents face obstacles in their push to amend the law even as plebiscite calls appear to have lost steam in the recent weeks.

Read: What next after Term 2? Governors plot future

Sharp differences among the political class over the country’s preferred system of governance remain the elephant in the room amid extreme views.

Deputy President William Ruto, who was initially seen as the face of the anti-referendum brigade, has backed the law changes but vehemently opposed creation of more positions at the top.

However, his political nemesis ODM chief Raila Odinga is said to be rooting for an expanded system of governance that reintroduces the powerful prime minister and a ceremonial president.

Serving his last term and legacy-focused, President Uhuru Kenyatta has sent out mixed signals on the clamour for a referendum.

At some point Uhuru said he would support calls for a referendum to deal with the “winner takes it all syndrome”, saying that would cure tribalism.

There have been past failed attempts to amend the Constitution.

In 2014 , CoG under the leadership of Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto attempted to push for a national referendum to amend to Constitution to give counties at least 45 per cent of the national revenue but the initiatuve soon ran into headwinds.

So was the one by Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) that went as far as collecting the pre-requisite constitutional one million signatures.

However, Cord’s dream died after Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission found out that the collected signatures were not authentic.

Then in 2015 came the senators’ attempts to push for a national referendum to ensure a more empowered Senate and to strengthen devolution, but it fizzled out.

Experts caution the same fate that has met the previous attempts could also befell the current cause unless it gets political goodwill across the board.

The first challenge that is likely hamper the referendum push could be failure to build consensus on referendum issues.

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale yesterday said apart from the challenge of striking common ground, the country at the moment has no law to guide a referendum.

“If the people of Kenya will decide they want to move from a Presidential system to a Parliamentary system, I have no problem. Unlike before, everybody, every party and every region will have a chance to present their question or questions. So how to marge these questions and get uniformity on the sets of questions to be put in a referendum will be a battle,” Duale said.

The Garissa MP added: “Those who want a referendum, we are telling them we are fine, the Constitution provides for that. It is unfortunate that as of now, we have not enacted a referendum law so even how to conduct referendum, the process are not anchored in law”.

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He said it is important for the country to develop a referendum law before embarking on calls for the plebiscite noting that his Jubilee Party was not likely to present views to the Building Bridges Initiative task force formed by Uhuru and Raila.

“We have not given a position as a party as of now. Whether we want to have a referendum as a party is a decision that will be made by the top organ of the party – the National Governing Council chaired by the President,” he said.

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr said if there will be any referendum, it will only require “roughly a year to start and finish the process”.

He said if the issues will be more than three, otherwise it will fail.

“Any amendments that may follow will have to be put in law within a tight legal framework. In 2010, then Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo did an A to Z of the road to August 2010 and the transitional period. Nothing stops us from doing the same,” he told the Star.

Mutula noted that while it is necessary to have a referendum law in place, lack of it cannot be reason to stall the process.

” An agreed framework can easily chart the course,” he said.

The other headache that will face the proponents is the mode to adopt. It can either be the popular initiative or the parliamentary initiative as stipulated in Articles 256 and 257.

If the proponents for the plebiscite will opt for parliamentary initiative, then the huge task will be marshaling the requisite numbers to push through at least 233 of 349 (two-thirds) legislators of the National Assembly to vote in favour.

The ruling Jubilee alliance enjoys numerical strength in both Houses and it will be a major test for the Raila team.

If they opt for the popular initiative which requires collection of 1 million signatures from registered voters, the proponents will not have much challenge but the trap lies in the verification of the signatures to ascertain whether those who signed up are genuine registered voters.

If verification and certification of signatures will be successful, the next challenge will lie in the county assemblies.

At least half of the county assemblies are required vote in favour before the proposal goes to Parliament and if half of each house (half of the total number) vote in favour, the President will then sign. And if either House of Parliament does not pass it, it goes to a referendum.

And here comes the other hurdle, the pending reforms at IEBC.

Currently, the electoral agency has three commissioners: Wafula Chebukati (chairman) and commissioners Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu. According to the IEBC Act 2012 (Clause 5 ), it lacks a quorum to conduct business.

Read: MPs want Senate abolished, governors appointed by President in radical proposals

The clause states that “the quorum for the conduct of business at a meeting of the commission shall be at least five members of the commission.”

The plenary activities of the commission were paralyzed last year following the resignation of former vice chairperson Consolata Nkatha and commissioners Paul Kurgat and Margaret Wanjala and Roselyn Akombe who quit days before the October 26 repeat presidential election while CEO Ezra Chiloba was fired.

Currently, the National Assembly is grappling with how to come up with the law that will put in place a procedure for replacement of a commissioner who have quits. At the moment there is no law and how MPs will go about it will determine the earliest time the country can hold the referendum.

Then there are the budgetary challenges. This year the country is expected to conduct a national population census costing the taxpayer Sh18.5 billion.

The amount is expected to be allocated to the National Bureau of Statistics in the 2019/2020 budget, meaning if the national referendum is to happen, the earliest could be sometime next year after the 2020/2021 budget in June 2020. Will MPs allocate the monies to the plebiscite?

The August 4, 2010, referendum on the Constitution cost the country Sh10 billion while the 2005 referendum, in which the question of approving the Constitution was defeated, cost slightly over Sh13 billion.

Experts estimate that the next referendum could cost the taxpayer close to Sh25 billion.

Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni said those calling for a referendum to amend the Constitution were wasting time, saying the exercise is costly and not easy.

“Change of the Constitution is expensive and involves many processes including being passed by Parliament. I was among those who participated in the making of the current laws and I want to say it’s not easy. Even changing a word alone is hectic,” Kioni he said on Sunday at a function graced by tDP William Ruto.

Also Read: How governors are wasting counties’ money – Auditor

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Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’

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Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
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Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –

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Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised

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“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through www.t.me/kahawatungu

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard

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Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

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