Demonetization Gets Rid of Black Money is a Fallacy

Kwame Owino
Post Date: 30 April 2021

This fad captured the imagination not only of policymakers but also of many citizens. In essence, demonetization is the policy choice of ensuring the obsolescence of state-issued currency denomination against a tight timeline of a few months or less. The literature shows that three main reasons are often cited for this policy measure. 


The Delusion That Was and Is COVID 19 Measures in the Matatu Sector

Fiona Okadia
Post Date: 26 April 2021

Regulating the public service transport (PSV) system, particularly the matatu sector in Kenya, which is a quasi-formal sector has been problematic. A case in point is the well documented resistance of the Legal Notice No. 161 of October 2003 rules and regulation (Often referred to as Michuki rules 2003). The policy objective of this regulations was to institute improved organization of the sector through SACCOs by among things phasing out 14-seater matatus in preference to bigger capacity matatus.

Fast forward to mid-March 2020, after the outbreak of COVID pandemic, the government intervened in regulating the PSV sector, in the fight in reducing transmission of COVID given its importance and the role it plays in enabling mobility of people. To this end, supportive policies to enable it to assist in curbing the spread of the pandemic were then put in place. In particular, the COVID-19 regulations anticipate that every matatu should provide hand-sanitizers for all passengers before boarding the vehicle. In addition to this, the vehicles need to be cleaned twice a day and long-distance operators are required to keep a detailed list of all their passengers. Furthermore, to prevent contamination, Kenyan officials have stated that 14-seater matatus will carry only eight passengers, and vehicles that carry more than 30 passengers will carry not more than 60 percent of their capacity. These are guidelines that hoped that as the matatu industry ferries thousands of people every day from one destination to the other, these people will be protected. 


Is Education Technology the great equalizer? Lessons from Kenya

Oscar Ochieng and Winnie Ogejo
Post Date: 21 April 2021

In early 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic plunged the world into an unprecedented education crisis that left 1.6 billion learners out of the classroom, from pre-primary to college. This situation forced countries to find alternative modes of delivering education. The World Bank estimates that 53% of learners in Low-Income-Countries have no reading proficiency by age 10. Prolonged school closures are likely to magnify the already existing inequalities. Literacy, digital, and general skills gaps widen and further threaten the academic and professional prospects for young people. According to a Save the Children report, over 9 million children could miss out on education permanently due to the pandemic.


Are Matatus the main Cause of Traffic Congestion in Kenya?

Maureen Barasa
Post Date: 31 March 2021

A congestion tax coupled with a  carbon tax whose main aim is to reduce pollution would also raise the cost of travel. The carbon tax can be set by looking at the vehicle fuel capacity divided by the number of passengers per vehicle. A 6000 cc bus ferrying 62 passengers would pay Ksh 96.77 carbon tax per passenger whereas a 3000 cc 14-seater pays Ksh 214 carbon tax per passenger or a 1500 cc car ferrying 4 passengers pays Ksh 375 carbon tax. This is shown in table 2 below. The smaller vehicles would not be cost-effective. The private preference will shift towards higher capacity vehicles which are relatively cheaper in this case.


The Case for More Women in Kenya’s Supreme Court

Leo Kipkogei Kemboi and Jackline Kagume
Post Date: 29 March 2021

The Constitution of Kenya, 2010, under Article 27, requires that not more than two-thirds of the members of elective or appointive bodies shall be of the same gender. The Two-thirds Gender principle is founded on the right to equality and freedom from discrimination, entrenched in the Constitution. The spirit of this principle is that “wwomen and men have the right to equal treatment, including the right to equal opportunities in political, economic, cultural and social spheres”. Following the declaration of vacancy for the position of Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya in January 2021, and retirement of Justice Jackton Ojwang in February 2020, there is an ongoing recruitment for Chief Justice and Judge of the Supreme Court . 

All Judges in Kenya are recruited by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) through an open and competitive process and recommended to the President for appointment per Article 172 of the Constitution and the Judicial Service Act. The JSC is an independent commission established under Article 171 of the Constitution. The Constitution details the Commission’s composition to include the Chief Justice as Chairperson, one Supreme Court Judge, one Court of Appeal Judge, one High Court Judge, one Magistrate, Attorney General, two advocates representing the statutory body for lawyers, one person nominated by Public Service Commission and one woman and one man to represent the public, appointed by the President with the approval of the National Assembly . 

The Supreme Court is established under Article 163 of the Constitution and is the apex court in the Republic of Kenya. It is considered the final arbiter and interpreter of the Constitution . The Court is composed of the Chief Justice as the President of the Court, Deputy Chief Justice as the Vice President and five other judges. It has exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and determine disputes relating to elections to the Office of the President. The Court also has appellate jurisdiction to hear and determine appeals from the Court of Appeal and any other court or tribunal as prescribed by law. The Supreme Court may give an advisory opinion at the request of the national government, any State organ or any county government. Its decisions are final and all courts, other than the Supreme Court, are bound by its decisions.

In this piece, we argue that the Judicial Service Commission, the Supreme Court and by extension the whole Judiciary, acting within the limits of the Constitution, ought to interpret their mandate in a manner that advances rights, as outlined under Article 259. Article 259(1) requires the constitution be construed in a manner that promotes purposes, values and principles, advances the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms in the Bill of Rights and contributes to good governance. Based on analysis of the laws and facts presented, we settle on two reasons why the next Chief Justice or Judge of the Supreme Court should be of the female gender.


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