Newspaper Summaries

DAILY NATION

Jubilee wins election law duel: Jubilee senators left the Senate on Thursday midnight a delighted lot after successfully passing contentious Election Law (Amendment) Bill, without amendments, paving way for President Uhuru Kenyatta to assent it into law.

This is despite spirited efforts by the opposition led by minority leader Moses Wetang’ula that the Bill was unconstitutional and could plunge the country into chaos.

Senator Wetang’ula called for the voice of reason to prevail saying the Senate should rise above parochial interests that does not advance the interests of the country.

“Bulldoze what you want but don’t drag our image into the mud. Let’s be bipartisan and salvage the image of this House,” Mr Wetang’ula said.

But, the jubilee lawmakers, who appeared not ready to delay the process by disagreeing with some clauses, used their numbers to defeat all the amendments fronted by the Opposition.

Eventually, 26 lawmakers voted in support of the Bill as 10 opposed it, rendering a blow to the Opposition’s push to have the law struck out.

THE STANDARD

State warns schools against flouting set fees guidelines: School heads flouting the set fees guidelines by levying unauthorised expenditure will face disciplinary action. Strict instructions have been issued from the Ministry of Education to ensure that any school heads found flouting the guidelines would be dealt with accordingly. In Mombasa, County Director of Education Khalif Hirey said yesterday any school heads found contravening the guidelines would have themselves to blame.

“We have not approved any fees hikes in Mombasa County. Clear instructions have been issued on how much schools should charge as fees this academic year,” Mr Hirey said. “We have our officers on the ground monitoring the level of compliance.”

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) National Executive Council member (in charge of Coast), Dan Aloo, however criticised the Government for showing little effort in addressing the issue of fees subsidies for secondary schools and free primary school funds.
THE STAR

Squatters to stop Too burial over land ownership dispute: More than 1,000 squatters are to move to court today to block the Monday burial of former nominated MP Mark Too on land near the Eldoret International Airport.

This comes just a day after a woman, Fatuma Ramadhan Hassan, moved to court to block Too’s burial, claiming he sired a son with her and the child is being sidelined from his father’s burial plans. Justice Agree Muchelule will today hear the matter.

The squatters, through lawyer William Arusei and chairman Benjamin Rono, said ownership of the 27,000 acres is disputed and they had a court case with the late Too over it. The squatters are members of the Sirikwa Group. They say they were given the land by President Daniel Moi’s administration. Too had disputed the claims. He produced documents in court, indicating how he acquired the land. Too served as Lonrho East Africa chairman before the company sold off its land and exited Kenya.

Arusei said a High Court ruling on the dispute is set for January 27 and they want the burial stopped until the matter is determined. He said the squatters were allocated the land, which they say was part of that owned by Lonrho East Africa.

“We’re very sorry for the family that they have lost Too, but the matter was pending in court and we believe the burial on the disputed land will jeopardise our case,” Arusei said.

“We have no problem if he is buried on any other land besides the one disputed. The ruling is coming up soon and both sides have to wait, instead of one party interfering with the suit.”

Rono said it is unfortunate Too died before they settled the dispute. But Too’s family lawyer said there is no court order stopping his burial.

Too collapsed at his Eldoret home and was rushed to St Luke’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, on New Year’s Eve. Burial committee chairperson Kiprop Chirchir yesterday said Too died of a heart problem known as aneurysm. He said he got a crack in his heart, which later burst, causing serious internal bleeding.

BUSINESS DAILY

Rotich memo reveals Treasury fears over rising public wage bill: Treasury secretary Henry Rotich has stopped fresh recruitment in the public service and announced new measures to curtail spending in a special memo that signals rising fears over the ballooning wage bill.

Mr Rotich says in the memo to Cabinet secretaries and accounting officers that new recruitment — except for essential services such as security, health and education — remain frozen.

The December 21, 2016 memo also stops the upgrading of schemes of service in the public service.

“The idea is to ensure that we have an appropriate labour force. To get an appropriate number, recruitment must be done in a manner that will not to create a bloated workforce,” Mr Rotich said in a telephone interview with the Business Daily.

The minister said that recruitment, upgrading of staff and replacement of critical technical staff will be considered on a case by case basis after obtaining the necessary approvals from the Public Service Commission.

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