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Citizen Weekly

Sunday 31 August 2014


All is not well with the Parliamentary Committee on Labour and Social Welfare whose chairman is Matungu MP David Were.

It has emerged that Were, using outside forces in parliament, is out to sabotage the National Security Fund Act. Parliament passed an amendment if that if signed into law, will bar the fundsA board from meeting without the workers and employers’ representatives.

The amendment which was initiated by Homa Bay women representative Gladys Wanga states that NSSF will not have a quorum in the absence of trustees representing the two parties.
It is imperative to note that the Labour Committee took the matter via Financial Bill since NSSF falls under a financial institution.

The Matungu MP was to table the matter on behalf of his committee as chairman and not on his own behalf. But somewhere on the way, the MP confided to his allies on the committee that he was under pressure from Deputy President William Ruto’s office to drop the amendment.
Feeling betrayed, defiant committee members confronted him and eventually forced the house to get a committal to have it discussed the following day, Thursday last week.

Come the D-day, intense lobbying was in top gear. An argument then emerged that the proposed amendment was not a tug-of-war between Jubilee and Cord but for the benefit of Kenyan workers. The idea was to avoid looting at NSSF as has been the case before when billions of pensioners’ money has gone down the drain.

The move is said to have divided the Jubilee side. Those allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta TNA are said to have seen sense in the matter. One TNA MP was overheard saying that in order to avoid president being linked to NSSF ghosts, it was necessary to support the amendment.
However, the URP side of deputy president read from different script. Majority of them were under instructions to oppose. They were determined to have the matter blocked.

At first, the amendment was through acclamation which favoured Wanga. Feeling defeated, the URP gang fought for a division and thus voting was done. They whipped those allied to them but ended up losing disgracefully. MPs voted 73-63 in favour of the amendment as it was debated in Finance Bill.

After the defeat, URP side started claiming that Uhuru will not assent to the bill. However, it has surfaced that the president is caught between a rock and hard place. Since the amendment was passed in the Finance Bill, he cannot isolate it and if he fails to sign, the government will not be able to finance it development activities.
In fact, it is said that TNA wing want Uhuru to move with speed and sign it to block those out to loot workers’ funds.

NSSF was the brainchild of the late Tom Mboya when serving as the economic and planning minister in 1960s. His plan was to help workers to have what they would rely on once in retirement. Once the scoop enlarged, successive government’s operatives and opportunists have used workers money for their own benefits and political interests.

During the Kenyatta era, NSSF money was used to kickstart various finance houses and banks belonging to Kikuyu businessmen. When former president Daniel arap Moi took over, many of them were closed.

But Moi era saw NSSF workers’ savings being used to reward politically correct individuals and to oil Kanu campaign kitty across the country.
Workers cried foul as their money was being misused and then resisted through a revamped trade union. This led to its structures being put in place to caution misuse of workers’ funds from looters. Cotu and FKF were to be represented on key board decisions.

During the Kibaki, Raila coalition government, Raila then prime minister tried to interfere with funds management by making appointments at the helm but faced the wrath of workers. On his side, Kibaki made sure NSSF was run at the behest of workers.

Then came the Jubilee government of the digital drive that had a number of YK92 remnants and heavy beneficiaries of NSSF in 1990s.
They first initiated an effort to draft NSSF Bill whose major aim was to create bigger scope of contribution.

Second was to redraft the Act to ensure the requirement and the quorum to seat on board to which many felt it was not necessary.
Thirdly, it was an effort to have workers representatives not allowed and if allowed not those who had served before and last, there was the move to have NSSF converted from pension scheme to providence one.

Looking at the above scenarios from the onset, they were aimed at enhancing contributions and reorganising NSSF to look profitable, glamorous and friendly to workers.
However, the idea was to have workers and employees kept out and the government enthusiasm in getting involved directly in NSSF operations. Targeted were Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli and FKE’s Jackline Mugo.

The appointment of Kazungu Kambi, he who has openly declared when it comes to corruption that he leads from the front, as Labour minister,  further complicated matter. Kambi is allied to URP.

He appointed Richard Langat from URP to replace Tom Odongo at NSSF helm. The deal first to emerge was the Tassia II and Lifestyle extension development projects scams targeting billions from worker’s fund. Cotu and FKE were kept in dark as board meetings were done via emails to sanction and give the project a nod running into Sh50.3 billion.

A war of words erupted between workers, representatives and Kazungu forcing Were committee to get involved. Apart from Labour committee, Public Investment Committee and Ethics Anti-Corruption Commission entered the fray, instituting investigations.

EACC sent investigators to the field and made a water tight report implicating the chairman Adan Mohammed, Langat and senior chief officers at the fund in the multi-billion scandal. However, a top official at EACC Michael Mabea has reportedly interfered with the report.

The Labour Committee which is to play an oversight has done very little despite spending taxpayers’ money and time due to the fact that its chairman, Were and other corrupt members are working to protect NSSF top men, Kambi and a number of Chinese firms.

They have employed delay tactics to make the report so as it dies a natural death. This development has brought disquiet in the Labour Committee with a section of it accusing the Matungu MP for having a serious “love of beer and women”. This makes him very vulnerable to manipulation by monied groups in NSSF.

During his tenure as chairman, he had made various trips to Dubai with a young girl who is now pregnant. It is suspected the girl is his third wife. The second wife was a married woman. She worked as a secretary to former vice president Moody Awori. Were is accused of eating from both sides and going for the best buttered bread.

Kipipiri MP Samuel Gichingi is also on the committee. He replaced former Finance minister Amos Kimunya as MP. Having done consultancy works on the Tassia II project as lawyer, he is embedded in business interests.

He is said to be close to chairman Aden Mohammed a man who owns four passports at ago. Aden the chairman holds Canadian, America, Hergesia and Kenyan passports.
Nominated MP Abdi Noar is on the committee. He is related to majority leader in parliament Aden Duale. Noor works as a sniffer dog for the chairman, Kazungu and NSSF in parliament. He has less interest in parliament and he is always looking for business deals, it is claimed.

Then we have Aldai MP Cornelius Serem. He is less exposed, too vulnerable and has a big appetite for money since he has a demanding wife who likes to be entertained like a girlfriend, it is alleged. He is said to have no hold on the constituency due to Sally Kosgei’s development record in Aldai when she was area MP.

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