Ruto to Abolish Old Driving Licenses, Chebukati Denied Job

President William Ruto drives a car
President William Ruto drives a car.

Hello and welcome to the Evening Brief Newsletters where we are all worried about our transportation (driving licenses).

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Smart Moves

President William Ruto is determined to streamline the transport sector by phasing out the old driving licenses as part of the core agenda.

On Wednesday last week, the Head of State launched the National Road Safety Action Plan 2024-2028 which gave a 3-year timeline for the process of phasing out the document.

The plan comes after the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) rolled out a slate of smart driving licenses paving the way for the state to issue instant fines to motorists nabbed breaking traffic rules.

What the Plan Says: "This is critical to the integrity of road safety in the future, and will be accompanied by identity checks to eliminate identity fraud through the licensing system. With every Kenyan driver's smart driver license, it will be possible to administer and implement an instant fine regime and a demerit point system."

The Future: The smart license contains a chip to collect driver's information including name and date of birth and will manage a system that deducts points up to 100 for every traffic offense committed.

The punishment: "In relation to driving schools and instructors, processes will be established to identify poor performers, provide them with the opportunity to improve and remove persistence non-compliance. Standards will also be enforced by strengthening the online processes administered by NTSA to run the necessary theory tests," the plan showed.

Chebukati's Job Prospects Bites Dust

For 16 months now, former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairperson Wafula Chebukati has been jobless and will be for a little bit longer.

This is after he failed to attain the threshold to serve as a Court of Appeal Judge for he applied for one of the 11 vacancies advertised in April this year.

Former IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati and Chief Justice Martha Koome.
Former IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati and Chief Justice Martha Koome.

The Numbers: In total, Chief Justice Martha Koome received 82 applications which were whittled down to only 41 shortlisted candidates.

Former IEBC Chair Issack Ahmed Hassan, who served between 2011 and 2016, was part of the shortlisted candidates. He featured alongside justices Chacha Mwita, Athony Murima, Grace Nzioka, James Wakiaga, and Dalmas Omondi.

Interviews for the shortlisted candidates are scheduled to commence on June 3 at 9:00 am and conclude in the afternoon of June 20.

Chebukati ascended to the position of IEBC Chairperson in 2017 and left shortly after overseeing the 2022 General Election.

Push Has Come to Shove

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha says she has instructed the Ministry's legal counsel to move to court after doctors remained adamant about participating in the ongoing strike over interns' stipends.

The CS confirmed that the warring parties had reached an agreement on 18 of the 19 demands fronted by doctors with the Ksh206,000 monthly pay for interns remaining the thorn in the flesh.

Nakhumicha insists that the Ministry secured Ksh2.4 billion for interns' pay and a Ksh70,000 offer from the state remains on the table.

A photo of Health CS Susan Nakhumicha.
A photo of Health CS Susan Nakhumicha.

What Nakhumicha is saying: "We would like to confirm that the Ministry of Health has managed to get Ksh3.5 billion for payment of salary arrears from 2017 to 2024 June. This will be paid in five installments each financial year."

"The Ministry has received Ksh2.4 billion for payment of internship and I want to clarify that this Ksh2.4 billion is available to the Ministry up to June 2024."

"So the offer of Ksh70,000 (stipend) for those interns who want to be posted is still available and this offer shall have to be renegotiated after June 2024," Nakhumicha added.

"Following up on the doctors' refusal to call off the strike, we have instructed our counsel to immediately move to court and file the status report as to what we had agreed to as a return to work formula."

KMPDU Deputy Secretary General Dennis Miskellah, in a chat with me, insists that the strike will stretch for as long as the government is willing to meet their demands. (Check our chat below).

Derrick Okubasu: The strike has extended for 41 days now and interns are demanding a salary of Ksh206,000,   is KMPDU likely to accept a lower salary offer?

Dennis Miskellah: It is not accepting. This is like asking is KMPDU ready to accept a salary cut because interns have been earning Ksh206,000 for the last seven years. As a union, we cannot accept that

Derrick Okubasu: From the talks held, has the government met any of the expectations and what are they?

Dennis Miskellah: Yes, the government has met some. It has agreed to pay our debt of 7 years which they will settle for a period of five years. It amounts to Ksh3.5 billion.

The government said that it will give us a medical cover as well as follow through with all pending doctor promotions. The school fees that was pending will also be paid.

Derrick Okubasu: If the Government has offered that, what else does the doctors want?

Dennis Miskellah: The deal breaker, whatever is causing this problem, is the interns issue who must be paid what we agreed 7 years ago. If you have to change the salary, then increase it, you cannot reduce what they were earning years ago when milk was Ksh10.

Derrick Okubasu: What if the government fails to pay?

Dennis Miskellah: Then the strike will continue.

KMPDU Secretary General Davji Atellah also insisted that doctors will not be intimidated into resuming work.

"Dear Government, the doctors are saying that since you have publicly said that you conceded to 18 of our 19 demands(except internship), kindly take back the 18 and give us the 1. As a community, we are not used to abandoning the most vulnerable, and to us, interns are currently very vulnerable," Atellah stated.

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This newsletter was written by Derrick Kubasu and edited by Brian Muuo.

Washington Mito contributed to the content.

Graphics prepared by Adongo Kyalo.

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