Top 10 News in Brief: Raila in Catch-22 as Key Allies Dump Him

As you start your day, you need to power your mind with some relevant and useful information.

We have picked for you the Top 10 stories making the headlines on this day, 4th May 2021.

BBI Splits ODM

ODM leader Raila Odinga may be forced to seek a quick solution as his BBI project threatens to tear apart his party at a key moment when members should be speaking with one voice ahead of the referendum and the 2022 elections.

Siaya Senator James Orengo and his Nyamira counterpart, Okong’o Omogeni, Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo, and Ruaraka lawmaker Tom Kajwang have signed a majority report of the Joint Committee of Parliament that declared as unconstitutional the section in the BBI Bill on the proposed 70 new constituencies in 28 counties.

Although Orengo and Amollo have declared their support the proposed constitutional review, they have also said that the role of Parliament is not ceremonial.

Raila spokesperson Dennis Onyango has scolded the leaders pushing for changes in the referendum Bill, saying: “The demagogues have had their years, indeed, decades discussing politics in flawless English on the floor and public rallies. It’s time for a different path.”

City Tycoon Loses Ksh10 Billion Property

Controversial city businessman Francis Mburu has been dealt a major blow after the High Court ruled that he is not entitled to a 60-acre piece of land valued at Ksh10 billion.

In 2019, an arbitration had granted Mburu ownership of the land located at Jamhuri Estate in Nairobi, but other interested parties including Telkom Kenya and a company linked to Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho moved to court protesting the award.

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Mburu, a veteran land dealer, is remembered due to his involvement in the Ruarakara land scandal that also saw Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Mataing’i mentioned.

D-day For BBI as MPs Expected to Vote on Bill

As Parliament resumes today from recess, the fate of the BBI-backed Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020 could be known before the end of the day.

Lawmakers from the National Assembly and Senate are sharply divided over whether the two houses have powers to amend the Bill.

Sources hinted that a majority of the senators have agreed to correct errors as well as amend the BBI report, a position contested by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, who are the architects of the bid to change the supreme law.

However, Suna East MP Junet Mohamed and his Kangema counterpart, Muturi Kigano, insisted that no changes should be made.

Should the Bill be amended by the Senate and National Assembly does not, Kigano said the latter would be subjected to a plebiscite.

What a Joke? Uhuru Confidants Dismiss DP Ruto’s Economic Plan For Mt Kenya

President Uhuru Kenyatta backers from Mt Kenya have laughed off an economic blueprint developed for the region by Deputy President William Ruto and his allies.

The lawmakers said the DP cannot be trusted to advance the interests of the mountain region and yet in the past, he has shown disregard to the economic well-being of the vote-rich area.

Kieni MP Kanini Kega maintained that it is only the President who can negotiate on behalf of the region and not power brokers.

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All Eyes on Muturi Ahead of Debate on BBI Bill

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi is expected to rule on crucial constitutional matters that will pave the way for either amending the BBI referendum Bill or leaving it the way it is.

Muturi will expain whether the Bill is a popular initiative as stipulated under Article 257 of the Constitution.

Also the Speaker will determine the value of the views collected by the Joint committee of both Houses if they were not to be included in the BBI Bill.

DPP Haji, Orengo in Legal Battle Over Kidero’s Graft Case

The Director of Criminal Investigation (DPP) Noordin Haji has asked Siaya Senator James Orengo to stop representing former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero in a multi-million graft case.

Haji is riding on a landmark ruling made last week by a Mombasa court that barred state officers from being lawyers of suspects facing economic crimes.

However, Orengo through his lawyer, Julie Soweto, dismissed the DPP, saying that he is yet to understand the ruling.

KRA Warns Entrepreneurs

The Kenya Revenue Authority has warned that the people who will fail to file tax returns by the end of this month will get new penalties.

In a statement, the taxman said businesspeople would lose their personal identification numbers (PIN).

Further, defaulters will be expunged from the KRA system.

KCSE Examiners Down Tools

Teachers marking the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCSE) exam on Monday afternoon boycotted the work, protesting over poor working conditions.

The examiners said they had not been served with lunch despite an order barring them from buying food from outside the marking centre due to Covid-19.

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They also said it was contemptuous for the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) to deduct some of their allowances without involving them.

New TSC Chair Takes Oath of Office

Former Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau was yesterday sworn in as the chairperson of the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) for a six-year term.

Timothy Alfred Otieno also took the oath of office as a commissioner at the teachers’ employer.

Kamau promised to uphold the TSC’s integrity for the benefit of all stakeholders in the education sector.

Journalists Deserve Better Pay, Media Owners Told

As Kenya marked the World Press Freedom Day, a call to have journalists rewarded more dominated the talks.

In an event organised by the Media Council of Kenya (MCK), National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi urged media owners to pay their employees well so that the era of “brown envelope” journalism can come to an end.

Muturi said well-paid journalists could not be compromised by the government and other news sources.

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Robert Mwangi

I am a professional journalist trained at Kenya Institute of Mass Communication, with experience in reporting; Current Affairs, Human Interest and General News. Let's connect and engage on Facebook ( Journalist Robert Mwangi) and Twitter (@robertmwangi254)