asked the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs:- (a) what led to the cancellation of the swearing-in ceremony at State House, Nairobi, on 6th December, 2006, of Mr. Aggrey Muchelule, Ms. Florence Muchemi and Ms. Abida Ali-Aroni as Judges; and, (b) whether she could confirm whether the names of the Judges-designate had been entered into the register of judges, in keeping with the tradition established by the High Court since Independence.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) Following the ruling by yourself, Mr. Speaker, my Ministry contacted the Judiciary for an answer and the response I got is that the Judiciary is not obliged to answer. The Judiciary, being an independent arm of the Government and, indeed, one of the three pillars of the Government, is not like a department in a Ministry. I have no means of compelling it to answer.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. This House consists of the elected representatives of the Kenyan people. The Chief Justice, fully-robed, and these three judges fully- robed, went to State House for the swearing-in ceremony. So, the cancellation could not have been by the Judiciary. It was by the Executive. Mr. Speaker, Sir, are you satisfied that this answer is not undermining the authority of the institution of Parliament?
Maybe I can ask the Minister: What happens when the Speaker is sued and taken to court? Would the Speaker say that he will not go to court because we are independent?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, there are issues that this Parliament cannot be forced to do by the Judiciary, because it too, is independent. The Judiciary cannot direct this House on how to conduct its business, but it can declare laws made by this House unconstitutional. Similarly, this House, as our current Constitution is, has no means of compelling the Judiciary to bear its workings in relation to hiring and firing. However, if the hon. Member for Kabete has an answer, if he was party to the matter, then 2676 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 24, 2007 he would enlighten the House. I am not aware of what he is saying for the galleries.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Is it in order for the Minister to refuse to answer this legitimate Question? The matter is about the cancellation of the swearing-in ceremony of the judges by State House. It is not the judges who cancelled the swearing-in ceremony. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we want the Minister, as the representative of the Executive, to tell us why the swearing-in ceremony was cancelled. It is not the judges or the court which should tell us why the ceremony was cancelled. The Minister, who was supposed to swear them in, should tell us why the ceremony was cancelled.
Could it be, by any chance, that this answer is to overrule the Chair?
I cannot act that way, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I sought an answer personally, not through my Permanent Secretary, and that is the response I got. I cannot go beyond it. I would urge any hon. Member who wants to place responsibility on me, to acquaint themselves with our Constitution and see where the responsibility lies.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. The solution is that this Parliament should not give the Judiciary money until it answers the Question. It is so easy! The Ministry's Vote will be moved next week.
I have not followed what you have said!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it looks like we are going to be in a conflict with the Judiciary. The way to handle the Judiciary is to deny it funds as Parliament. We are also independent. The Judiciary cannot force us to give them funds until they respond to the Question.
If I may just ask the following question for me to understand: What harm is there to know whether these judges are in the register or why they were not sworn-in? What harm really is there? In my view, it is not asking the Judiciary to employ them, if they were not employed in the first place, or to sack them. It is just interrogating and seeking answers!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, my guess is as good as yours.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, with all due respect to the Minister, she has said that she got an answer from the Judiciary. It is the responsibility of the Minister to see whether she is satisfied with the answer she got from the Judiciary. Is the Minister really satisfied with the answer that she got from the Judiciary? Does she not think that she needs to delve further, if that is the only reason?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, as far as constitutional theory and law goes, I am satisfied.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. It is, indeed, a sad day. Is the Minister in order not to explain or to give an answer to the august House on a grave matter like this one? Is she in order?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think we should help the Minister in her work. She should not have asked the judges why the function was cancelled. She actually should be telling the judges why the swearing-in ceremony was cancelled. The issue here is actually with the Executive. So, would I be in order to ask the Chair to defer this Question, for the Minister to go back and ask the Executive to explain why the swearing-in ceremony was cancelled? We have no quarrel with the judges, indeed!
Order, hon. Members! I want to state from here that this is actually not a good trend. I think it is bad! On straightforward Questions by Parliament, Parliament ought to get it! But, as you know, I cannot answer for the Minister. I have made my ruling, which I still stand by, and I think this Question is legitimately before the House.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have done my duty to the House. I said that I personally contacted the Judiciary, not through my Permanent Secretary, and that is the answer I got. I cannot manufacture an answer to satisfy the House. July 24, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2677
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. It is obvious that the Minister does hold the Chair and the House in contempt. In that line, would I be in order to ask that the Minister be named right now? This is the National Assembly of Kenya and nobody can be above it, however, powerful or clever they are! This is the House of the Republic of Kenya!
Order, hon. Members! It is a very difficult thing. It is very difficult because I understand clearly the basis upon which the ruling was made on this Question. It is very clear in my mind that it is a legitimate Question. The only other thing that I do not know is if the Minister is right. She is saying that she personally asked of this question. What do I do to the Chief Justice?
Order, hon. Members! I think I need to hear from a few hon. Members because this is a very delicate issue. I really want to hear from the hon. Members.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, if you look at part (a) of the Question, it seeks to know what led to the cancellation of the swearing-in ceremony at State House. This has nothing to do with the Judiciary. This is a legitimate Question for the Office of the President. I believe that the Minister should seek an appropriate answer from the Office of the President and give it to this House. Perhaps, part (b) of the Question, which talks about whether the names have been entered into the register--- I believe the Minister is obliged to answer part (a) of the Question and the answer should be available from the Office of the President.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I was going to suggest, with respect, that the Committee on Administration of Justice and Legal Affairs be mandated by this House to investigate this matter including summoning the Registrar of the High Court. We are not interfering with the Judiciary. We should also summon the other individuals in the Executive, so that we can lay a report on the Table of this House.
But why must the Chair run away from its responsibilities? Mr. Muite, are you suggesting that the Committee is superior?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I was suggesting that since the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs is not able to get the information from the Registrar of the High Court, since he has refused or declined to confirm, for example as to whether the names of these Judges were entered into the register, including trying with respect to give excuses that cannot stand--- The cancellation was not done by the Judiciary. So, the Minister had no business asking the Judiciary to explain. The cancellation was by the Executive. Will the Chair accept undermining of the authority of this House, by the Minister refusing to give full answers and particulars to the representatives of the people?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. Member who has just spoken, who I suppose tries to shadow me as Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs---
He is missing one point when he says that I am refusing to answer. He knows very well that Judges are appointed according to this Constitution. When a Question is asked which is not within my ambit, but which administratively falls on my Ministry to answer, I go to the relevant Government department or agency. In this case, I did not go to a department which I can order. It was the Judiciary. I did communicate. If Mr. Speaker were to recall, the first time this Question was answered, I sought the answer. The answer was given that the swearing-in was cancelled because the processes were incomplete. I did not get any answer beyond that. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the second time, I sought the answer that I have given. Anybody implying 2678 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 24, 2007 improper motives on me without any reason or fact, can bring a substantive Motion according to the Standing Orders and prove with evidence that it is so. Let not this House be used as a forum to vilify people. I have a responsibility to answer and I have laid the answer that I got before the House.
I now understand the Minister saying that the first time she came here - unfortunately I was not here - the swearing-in process was incomplete because certain procedures had not been completed. Madam Minister, if that was the answer, that would be an answer.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, that was the answer we had the first time and it was given to this House by my deputy. I was away on Government business.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. It is very obvious that, by whatever pretext, the hon. Minister has no intention of giving an answer to a straightforward Question and that she has no intention of respecting the Chair's advice. Would I be in order to request that given that the Leader of Government Business is in the House and that he is the second in command of the Executive arm of Government, the Speaker does rule that this Question be handed over to the Leader of Government Business on behalf of the Executive arm of Parliament.
Order, hon. Members! I want hon. Members to reflect on this matter in a very sober manner. It is not that simple. It is not a question of the Minister dealing with this Question individually, or even the Leader of Government Business. It goes through the very route of what the House is all about. I think it also goes to respect a ruling by the Chair. I cannot contemplate a situation where the Speaker has made a ruling on one particular issue to be overruled by a Minister. I honestly cannot contemplate it. I will urge the hon. Minister to go and think about this.
Order! You are not the ones running this place! I am! Madam Minister, go and reflect on this issue and we will come back to deal with it on Tuesday next week. Please, go and reflect on it.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will reflect on this issue. But may I be on record emphasising that I sought the answer, to do my duty to this House. That is the answer I got. However, as requested, I will reflect.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Not on this issue any more! Order! I think hon. Members must understand that there are certain limits beyond which the person presiding will not go. This House must be respected and respect itself. This is what I intend to do. Hon. Members, there is no point in taking on the Minister as an individual. It is a question of principle. It is not about hon. Karua. The issue is this: Is this Parliament entitled to this answer? That is all. Let us go to the next Question.
On a point of clarification, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
There is no such thing known to the law!
Hon. Members, the hon. Minister for Local Government has a very urgent and unavoidable appointment outside the House. I will go to Question No.334 so that I can discharge the hon. Minister to attend to other functions.
DISMISSAL OF KISUMU MUNICIPALITY WORKERS FOR HECKLING MINISTER July 24, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2679
asked the Minister for Local Government:- (a) whether he is aware that ten employees of Kisumu Municipal Council were dismissed from service on allegations that they had heckled the Minister during his tour of the council on 11th March, 2005; (b) whether he is further aware that the said employees have not been reinstated to date and are undergoing much suffering; and, (c) what action he is taking to ensure that they are reinstated immediately.
Where is Mr. Kombo? I was obliging to you and you are not in a hurry at all?
I apologise, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I did not know that the Question had been asked. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) The Ministry is aware that there were nine employees and not ten as alleged by the Questioner. (b) The employees were given six weeks to appeal to the Public Service Commission. (c) The Ministry shall direct the council to give the employees a hearing provided they formally appeal.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, last week this Question came to this House and it was deferred because I had tabled letters even from the Ministers office and he said that these employees of Kisumu Municipal Council did not heckle him. The reason why this Question came to the House today, was that his Assistant Minister who answered the Question was ordered to come back to the House and tell us whether or not the Ministry will reinstate these employees. As a matter of fact, I was with the Minister during this tour and he was not heckled and he has said it. Could the Minister order the reinstatement of these people according the letter which he wrote which I have tabled in the House?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the letter referred to was actually a response to mis- interpretation by the Press. The letter suspending these people is very clear if you look at the heading. It states: "Desertion of duty, taking part in an illegal strike and using bad language to those who are legally in authority". It has nothing to do with the heckling. So, I gave instructions that if they formally appeal, then the matter will be looked at. The case regarding the two that appealed was dealt with. Those remaining ones refused to appeal.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish that the Assistant Minister was the one who was answering this Question. Based on that argument---
How do you want the half when you have the whole?
Because we are going round circles! The Assistant Minister who was advised by the Chair that this Question be deferred had actually read the letter, which I tabled, proving that these employees were dismissed because they heckled the Minister. Is the Minister in order to mislead this House?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, perhaps we are reading different letters. The letter of suspension is here and I am reading it. It states: "Desertion of duty, taking part in an illegal strike". It has nothing to do with heckling. The heckling business came from the Press. My office was simply setting the record straight about the fact that there was no heckling, which is true. The hon. Member was there and he said there was no heckling. So, that is correct. I then gave instructions that they formally appeal. Two of them appealed and we dealt with their case. The others refused to appeal. The hon. Member should tell them to appeal and we shall deal with their cases. 2680 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 24, 2007
Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is a serious matter touching on the lives of ordinary people. I know the Minister is a very good-hearted person and he is my personal friend. These so- called allegations that are written on that letter of dismissal are reasons that were fabricated so that these people could be sacked. These people were sacked because of the high-handedness of the then Town Clerk of Kisumu Municipal Council who has now, fortunately, been removed from there. I would like to appeal to the Minister to kindly intervene to have these people reinstated. These are people with children who are going to school and they were only unionists representing other workers. They were not acting out of malice.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, whatever the reasons behind the letter, that is not the issue. My good friend knows that I did give instructions for them to appeal and we sorted out the problem of the two that appealed. Let these seven appeal and we shall look at the issue.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is really unfair. The same letter that the Minister is holding is actually referring to this particular situation that I am talking about. If he can read the second paragraph, it says that they were actually dismissed because they heckled the Minister. So, the Minister should just do the honourable thing.
Can I ask you a question personally? Are you supporting workers of local authorities to be heckling the Minister wherever he goes?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am not supporting the heckling of anybody. The fact is that they should not be fired for a mistake which they did not do.
I am confused! Mr. Minister, will you answer?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am being very magnanimous. Just tell those seven people to appeal. They should do the formal thing and we will sort it out.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. The Minister knows very well - and everybody knows very well - that if you want to sack somebody who is under you, you can use all types of excuses. So, is it in order for the Minister to ask these poor people to appeal before they are reinstated?
Next Question by the hon. Member for Rongo!
asked the Minister of State for Youth Affairs whether he could include Kitere Youth Polytechnic in Rongo Constituency in the list of village polytechnics earmarked for improvement and staffing by the Government.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, this Question was answered last wednesday by the Leader of Government Business. What is left for me is just to table the list of all the polytechnics that are being assisted by my Ministry, as nominated by Members of Parliament. I, hereby, table the list of 155 polytechnics that were nominated by hon. Members of Parliament. To date, we still do not have polytechnics from 55 constituencies. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to lay the list on the Table.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is true that the Question was partially answered. But today, I have received another written answer that is very different from the answer that was given by the Assistant Minister. In the answer, he alleges that Kitere Youth Polytechnic is July 24, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2681 registered as Kitere Harambee Technical School. Now that I am telling the Assistant Minister that it is a youth polytechnic, would he be kind enough to consider it for funding alongside other youth polytechnics, instead of giving it separate registration and, thereby, denying it the support that it requires?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the polytechnics we are talking about are based in the constituencies. They are being assisted by my Ministry in the 2006/2007 Financial Year. For Rongo Constituency, the hon. Member forwarded Awendo Marindi Youth Polytechnic. It is being considered for that financial year. So, maybe, when we ask for polytechnics this financial year, the hon. Members could forward Kitere Polytechnic now that it has been registered as a youth polytechnic. Then, we will consider it.
Last question, Mr. Ochilo-Ayacko!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I did not quite get the Assistant Minister. Is he asking us to give our submissions this year? He has indicated that they will ask for more polytechnics this financial year. Is the Assistant Minister actually asking us to forward the names? If the answer is "yes", then I have forwarded Kitere. Could you do the necessary?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, what I have said is that in the last Financial Year - 2006/2007 - we asked for one polytechnic per constituency. The hon. Member forwarded one polytechnic from his constituency. So, for this financial year, we have not asked for other polytechnics because we are still finalising the logistics of delivering equipment to the 155 polytechnics in the constituencies, including the one from Rongo Constituency. So, when the time comes in this financial year, we will ask for more polytechnics and we will consider the one you have forwarded to the Ministry.
asked the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources:- (a) whether he is aware that forest guards attached to Arabuko Sokoke Forest in Bahari Constituency are in the habit of harassing and demanding bribes from villagers on false claims of destroying the environment; (b) what steps he is taking to ensure that those inhuman incidents at Mkongani, Kararacha, Mpendakula and Matsanjeni are stopped; and, (c) in view of the seriousness of the matter, whether he could take immediate action to transfer and replace all forest guards at Gede Camp.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) No, I am not aware that forest guards attached to Arabuko Sokoke Forest in Bahari Constituency are in the habit of harassing and demanding bribes from villagers on false claims of destroying the environment (b) I wish to inform you that no action is contemplated since there are no inhuman incidents being perpetrated by forest guards in the various places alleged. (c) No action is contemplated to transfer or to replace the forest guards at Gede Camp. Thank you.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, if the Minister had done his research, he would have found out that this matter is actually in the hands of the District Criminal Investigations Officer in Kilifi. That is the question of bribes. The area we are talking about is where the Constituencies Development Fund is investing Kshs18 million to build a fence against elephants. There is a lot of 2682 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 24, 2007 clearance of forest there. What those human beings are doing is merely to collect the shrubs from the fallen trees. Could the Minister assure or tell this House whether it is fair for the forest guards to harass wananchi who are merely collecting the remnants of trees that are being cleared to pave way for that electric wire?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, if the hon. Member was informed by some of the people that he works with at the constituency, indeed, on 26 January, 2007, several people were arrested because they were undertaking illegal charcoal burning. Those people were taken to court and on 29th January. They were convicted and placed on community service orders. Therefore, those people were properly processed because, contrary to the law, they were actually cutting down the forest. The hon. Member should help the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources to ensure that forests are protected.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am fully aware of that date and that incident that he is talking about. I have in my possession a document that was actually written by the villagers themselves, with the names of the people who were harassed. Even a pregnant woman was actually beaten. But this Minister is standing here to tell us that he is not aware! Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to ask the Minister to do further investigations on this matter. It is a very serious matter but he is taking it very casually!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is important that the hon. Member helps us in this matter. We have arrested people who were destroying forests and engaged in illegal charcoal burning. They were taken to court and were found guilty. They are still complaining that they should be allowed to reap forest products. They should follow the law. They should not do so in an illegal way.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, we passed a new forest law in 2005. I raised the question of operationalization of that Act, through the creation of a Kenya Forest Service. That Act allows the creation of forest associations. Such forest associations can work jointly with the Government, in a much more friendly and harmonious way, to utilise the forests products. What action is the Minister taking to ensure that there is harmonious relationship between the new Kenya Forest Service and the communities, especially now that there are elephants in that area?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is correct that there is a new Kenya Forest Service, which is in the process of finalising regulations that will pave the way for the establishment of community associations. Those associations will, in a legal and sustainable way, make use of forest products.
Next Question by the Member for Nyeri Town!
asked the Minister for Lands when plot owners at Nyeri- Majengo Scheme will be issued with title deeds.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. The scheme is currently at an advanced stage of planning and surveying before allocation is done.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have never seen a shallow answer like the one provided by the Assistant Minister! The planning of this scheme was commissioned in March 1985. All the plots were demarcated. Therefore, I do not understand what he means by "scheme is at an advanced stage" and yet, the allocation has not been done.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to confirm to the hon. Member that my answer is July 24, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2683 not shallow. It is very comprehensive as far as my Ministry is concerned. Again, I want to confirm to him that the current status of this scheme is that we are trying to compile the names of allottees. That job is being done by the Nyeri Municipal Council, together with the Provincial Administration. Once we are through, I will personally go there and issue title deeds as I did about six months ago in that constituency.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Assistant Minister has undertaken to go to Majengo and issue title deeds. Could he tell this House if the owners of those plots are paying rates to his Ministry? Who are the legal owners of those plots if his Ministry has not issued them with the title deeds? Secondly, if they have not issued title deeds to those people, why is the Ministry collecting rates from them?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, we are not collecting rates from those people. We are only collecting rates from the people we issued title deeds about six months ago.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will surely "push" this man! He says they are not collecting rates. What is this I have here? Secondly, these people were allocated this piece of land by the Governor of Kenya in 1913 at an annual rate of 13 Rupees payable quarterly in advance. Could he tell us under what terms Nyeri Municipal Council is collecting rates if those people with title deeds have not been allotted plots? Could he further tell us who are the rightful owners of this piece of land? I do not really understand how people live in Majengo Estate because they use pit latrines in a town which is about to become a city. They have no room to dig any more pit latrines. They require sewerage services. Could he tell us when he will provide those services to the residents of Majengo Estate?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is not our responsibility to provide those services to Nyeri Municipal Council. It is the responsibility of the Ministry of Local Government to do so. I urge the hon. Member to direct a Question to that Ministry and he will be answered accordingly. On the issue of rates, I want to ask him to forward enough evidence to our office and we will deal with the matter expeditiously.
Next Question by Mr. Omingo!
asked the Minister for Roads and Public Works:- (a) whether he is aware that work on Kamagambo-Nyasembe-Etago- Mogonga Roads (D204/D205) has not commenced despite the fact that Kshs84 million was allocated in the Financial Year 2006/2007; and, (b) what the reason for the delay in commencement of the works is, since design works were completed in 2005/2006 at a cost of Kshs19 million.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) I am aware that work has not commenced on the Kamagambo-Nyasembe-Etago- Mogonga Roads (D204/D205). (b) The construction work did not commence in the 2006/2007 Financial Year as originally planned due to the delay in the finalization of the design. The delay was caused by increase in the scope of work. The design work has since been completed and the Government has set aside Kshs221 million for the construction of the following sections: Mogonga-Kenyenya-Etago Road at a cost of Kshs150 million. A sum of Kshs71 million has been set aside for Kamagambo- Riosiri-Ogembo Road. 2684 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 24, 2007
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to thank the Minister for the answer. He says there is a provision of Kshs221 million set aside by the Government for the construction of some sections of those roads. I also want to note here that the design works were completed last year. An environmental impact assessment report was completed in mid last year. Be that as it may, to be sure that we are on course on this road, could he kindly confirm which Vote they will get these funds from? Secondly, could he confirm whether that money will be allocated this financial year? Thirdly, could he also tell the House when the works are likely to commence?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the issue of the environmental assessment report is not the same thing as design of a road by a consultant. Secondly, the hon. Member should take it from me that this money is available in this financial year. We can even go into details in the books. We will also be advertising the tender this financial year.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have a lot of relations with the Gusii people. They are our brothers-in-law and mothers-in-law. I wish---
Order, Mr. Owino! What has the road got to do with relations?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to ask hon. Nyachae, because he is somebody we respect so much as a brother-in-law---
Order, Mr. Owino! You know there is a very thin line between sweet-talking and corrupting a person. Which one are you intending to do?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have withdrawn! Could the Minister ensure that the road is started in this financial year before he ceases being the Minister for Roads and Public Works?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, whether I leave the Ministry of Roads and Public Works tomorrow, the Government will still run it. There will be a Minister to run this Ministry. Also, the road that I have said in this House that it will be done, it will be done by whichever Minister and the technical officers in that Ministry. So, if it is a question of confirmation, the Government is still there and the road will be constructed.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think this Question has got really sufficient response, but could the Minister also confirm the routing of this road? I am not sure when he will leave because we do have the capacity to determine when he leaves the Ministry. Could he confirm the routing of this particular project designed by Span Construction is Kamagambo-Nyasembe-Etago-Mogonga and then Ogembo-Riosiri-Rongo? For the records, what is designed, and perhaps, not as indicated in his response---
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the route that I confirmed today relates to the route of Roads D204 and D205. Any other road which is outside this route has to be covered separately and it may not be under the same classification. So, it will have to be handled differently. However, this route will be constructed with the money I have stated.
INADEQUATE PREVENTIVE/TREATMENT MEASURES AGAINST MALARIA July 24, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2685
asked the Minister for Health:- (a) whether she is aware that the country is losing the war against malaria because treatment and preventive measures are inadequate; and, (b) how many people have died of malaria and malaria-related illnesses in the country in the last six months.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) I am aware, and my Ministry, over the last four years, has scaled up malaria control intervention measures in order to control the high number of deaths and cases due to the disease. Let me highlight some of the things which we have done. (i) Ten million nets have been distributed over the last four years through clinics and commercial outlets. (ii) The Government has introduced a new and more effective drug for malaria treatment called "AL." Last year, we procured 20 million doses at a cost of Kshs1.2 billion. This drug is free at all Government hospitals and all mission health facilities. (iii) In April 2007, the Government initiated in-door residual spraying campaign, targetting 630,000 households in 16 malaria epidemic-prone districts. (iv) There is an ongoing public awareness campaign called Komesha Malaria Okoa
. The call of this campaign is to empower Kenyans with information to take specific steps, at household level, to prevent malaria. As for "b" so far, 3,160,965 malaria cases have been attended to out of which there were 3,951 people who passed away due to the disease in the last six months.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to thank the Assistant Minister for that comprehensive answer. The "AL" drug is not known to Kenyans. That, I am 100 per cent sure. Whenever people go to health centres and hospitals, doctors prescribe Coartem. Coartem is not available in the hospitals. The patients are given prescriptions which they go with to chemist stores. These patients are not able to buy the drug because it is sold between Kshs700 and Kshs800 per dose. Mr. Speaker, Sir, why is it that Coartem is not available and yet, the Ministry recommended it as the basic drug for treating malaria?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, for the information of this House, the drug called "AL" and Coartem are one and the same drug. I want to confirm to the House that we have enough doses of Coartem or "AL" in all our health facilities. If there is a specific case that the hon. Member knows about, I would like him to bring it to us because we are confident that all our health facilities have these drugs available.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, we appreciate what the Ministry has done to reduce malaria incidents in the country. Of course, that situation being as it is, we have not heard of a case of Highland malaria being reported. However, is he aware that there has been an upsurge of malaria incidents in the western parts of Kenya, Nyanza and Nakuru? What are they doing to ensure that those cases reduce because the disease is still the No.1 cause of deaths in this country?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, with the interventions that have been put in place--- I am glad that Dr. Manduku, being a medical doctor has appreciated that we have not had cases of Highland malaria being reported in the last few months. I would like, again, to confirm that some of the indicators to show that we are actually winning the war against this disease are for instance; the cases of blood transfusion in our hospitals have dropped by 90 per cent and admissions due to malaria in our health facilities have also dropped by 50 per cent. I can say with a lot of confidence, that we are actually on course on winning the war against malaria.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, many patients being treated for malaria die because it is eventually discovered that they were suffering from typhoid fever. The symptoms for the two 2686 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 24, 2007 diseases are quite similar. The Assistant Minister, being a medical doctor, is aware of this. We now have many health dispensaries and health centres in the country without laboratory technicians and microscopes. What is the Ministry doing to ensure that the personnel and the microscopes are made available so that diagnosis is done properly in order to administer proper treatment?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, as a medical doctor, I know that any competent medical personnel should be able to diagnose malaria as opposed to typhoid, even with the clinical signs and symptoms. We should not always rely on equipment like microscopes, as my colleague has said, in order to diagnose malaria. Malaria is a disease that can be diagnosed by any medical personnel. As I had said, and will repeat, we have adequate treatment in all our health facilities.
I will give the last question on this issue to another medical doctor. Yes, Dr. Ali!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I also want to appreciate the work that the Minister for Health is doing. That is a fact. However, the truth of the matter is that prevention is better than cure because drugs have their own side effects. Nowadays, the Ministry of Health is not very active on the side of prevention. What actions are you taking to make sure that you educate people about malaria and the preventive actions? Is it by increasing the number of public health officers and public health technicians?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, that is a good question. Some of the interventions I mentioned earlier were preventive interventions; for instance, using of bed nets, residual sprays within houses and the aspect of using the campaigns we have put forth. That is also a preventive measure. So, I think that with those interventions, we are winning the war against malaria. We are also confident that we will meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as far as deaths due to malaria are concerned.
Let us move to the next Order! Order! That is the end of Question Time! Order! We are ruled by the law and the clock! The clock says that time is up. There are two Ministers who wanted to give Ministerial Statements. One is the Minister of State for Special Programmes and the other one is the Minister for Local Government. You could do that tomorrow morning. Please, avail yourselves tomorrow morning.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I July 24, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2687 beg to move that Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair to enable me to introduce debate on Vote 13, Ministry of Roads and Public Works. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Ministry's Vision Statement is: "To achieve excellence in roads, buildings and other public works to support socio-economic needs and aspirations". Our Mission is, therefore, to facilitate the provision and maintenance of quality infrastructure, mainly in roads---
Order! Order, hon. Members! Order! To the best of my recollection, Questions on roads take up the bulk of our time. When the Minister is moving his Vote and telling you what he is doing about roads, nobody is listening! So, you had better be very attentive now! Listen very carefully! Proceed!
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Our Mission is, therefore, to facilitate the provision and maintenance of quality infrastructure, mainly in building roads and other public works so as to promote and sustain socio-economic development. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the core functions and responsibilities of the Ministry of Roads and Public Works include the following:- (1) Road development standardisation and maintenance policy. (2) Roads policy, material testing and advice on usage. (3) Public works planning and policy development. (4) Development and maintenance of public buildings. (5) Maintenance of inventory of Government property. (6) Provision of mechanical and electrical services. (7) Routine maintenance of security airstrips. (8) Registration of contractors and material suppliers. (9) The Kenya Roads Board (KRB). Mr. Speaker, Sir, my Ministry undertakes the above functions under the following expenditure sub-votes of Vote 13:- (i) General Administration and Planning (ii) Building and Public Works (iii) Roads; and, (iv) Other Services. Mr. Speaker, Sir, having implemented a largely successful Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment Creation Policy since 2003, the Government has now embarked on Vision 2030 with an aim of making Kenya a competitive and prosperous nation with a high quality of life in the next 25 years. The role of the infrastructure sector and, in particular, the roads subsector, in the achievement of this Vision cannot be over-emphasized. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the state of infrastructure in the country still remains of great concern to all Kenyans and, in particular, hon. Members of this august House. Over the last two decades, the general condition of rural and urban roads in Kenya has progressively been deteriorating due to under-investment and inappropriate institutional framework. The poor condition of our roads is affecting quick enhancement of economic growth in the country all round. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the challenges in the roads subsector cannot be addressed without sufficient funding, improved construction capacity and supervision. The allocated increased funding for road projects, if backed up by corresponding construction capacity, will go a long way in addressing the challenges in the roads subsector. 2688 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 24, 2007 Mr. Speaker, Sir, further to the foregoing, the Government recognizes that the existing institutional framework within the roads subsector has not been able to address the challenges in the subsector. In this regard, the Government has set in motion a number of reforms aimed at addressing the shortcomings as follows:- Establishment of three road authorities, hopefully before December, 2007, after this House passed the necessary legislation on 4th July, 2007. The institutions to be established will be: i. The Kenya National Highways Authority (KNHA) which will be responsible for Class "A", "B" and "C" roads. ii. The Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KERRA), which will be responsible for Class "D", "E" and other roads. iii. The Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA), which will be responsible for urban roads. Mr. Speaker, Sir, realignment of the functions of the various existing organizations, such as the Kenya Roads Board and the conversion of three service departments of the Ministry, namely: Mechanical and Transport, Materials and the Kenya Institute of Highways and Building Technology into semi-autonomous Government agencies, will enhance the involvement of private sector in road financing and maintenance activities, especially through the "Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT)" Schemes as well as capacity building for local contractors. We will also increase the construction and consultancy capacity in the roads subsector through incentives and training. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we will continue using labour-based methods under the Roads 2000 Programme to generate employment opportunities among our people. We will also enhance the supervision of road projects to ensure efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Mr. Speaker, Sir, having outlined the above reforms which we intend to continue with in this financial year, allow me now to present my Ministry's budgetary proposals for the 2007/2008 Financial Year to this august House. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will start with the Recurrent Vote (R13). Under the Recurrent Vote, my Ministry has a gross provision of Kshs20,264,212,165. Out of this amount, Kshs18,335,000,000 is in the form of Appropriations-in-Aid (A-in-A) under the Fuel Levy Fund (FLF) while Kshs86,621,035 is in ordinary local A-in-A to be collected by the Ministry's departments. The remaining balance of Kshs1,842,591,130 is the net expenditure to be sourced from the Exchequer Account. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish to point out that the provisions for operations and maintenance of office activities falls short of the Ministry's requirements. The amount is not sufficient to cover financial requirements of the new districts, the proposed new roads authorities and enhancement of the Ministry's operational and maintenance expenditure Items. I intend to apply the Recurrent provision to finance major activities as follows. First, Kshs1,499,797,896 will be used to meet the expenses of staff salaries, allowances and other related activities while Kshs429,414,269 will be used for the operations and maintenance and Kshs18,335,000,000 from the Fuel Levy Fund will be used for road maintenance activities. As hon. Members may have noted from the Printed Estimates, there is an increase in the collection of the Roads Maintenance Levy Fund (RMLF) from Kshs15 billion to Kshs18 billion this financial year. This amount will be used for maintenance of roads. The funds will be disbursed to the various roads agencies by the Kenya Roads Board (KRB) as per the RMLF Act. Due to the increase in fuel levy collection, each constituency will receive an annual allocation of Kshs12 million instead of Kshs11 million received in the previous financial year. In addition, the Nairobi City Council (NCC) will receive additional funding of Kshs300 million, out of which Kshs200 million will be spent on rehabilitation works on Lusaka and Enterprise roads. The balance of Kshs100 million will be utilised on the improvement of selected roads within the Industrial Area. Mr. Speaker, Sir, during the current financial year, my Ministry will put more emphasis on July 24, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2689 routine maintenance to prevent investment in roads from wasting away. In this regard, my Ministry will set aside a substantial amount of money under the RMLF, specifically for periodic maintenance. This will be used for extensive repairs of some major roads within the country. Some of the roads earmarked for periodic maintenance this financial year are--- I am not giving a complete list, but I would like to give an indication of the regional maintenance programme are:-
As you can see, your time is up! But I will give you two minutes.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, thank you very much for giving me those two minutes. Under Public Works Services, I will require Kshs339,976,600, mainly for construction and maintenance of sea walls and jetties, electrification of Government pool houses and improvement of infrastructure services of Ministry's buildings. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in summary, I am requesting this House to approve a gross expenditure of Kshs41,871,507,120, under the Development Expenditure. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in conclusion, for my Ministry to be able to finance its total expenditure, I am asking the House to approve a sum of Kshs62,135,719,285 for both the Recurrent and Development Votes for the Financial Year 2007/2008. Mr. Speaker, Sir, thank you for your two additional minutes. I beg to move.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I rise to second the Motion before the House. I want to begin by congratulating the Ministry of Roads and Public Works for the efforts it has made in rehabilitating our roads and buildings and, especially, in the last one-and-a-half years. The Ministry has moved from road shows of visiting sites where construction is about to begin, to the actual work. It has now registered several complete projects. We are seeing a lot of activity in this Ministry and a fair distribution all over the country.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I say this realising that the road and building works are capital-intensive. It is not possible for this Ministry to have projects in each individual constituency, but the way it is moving, I am convinced that very soon, all our constituents will register projects starting and being completed in their constituencies. The importance of our roads network cannot be overstated. We need our roads in order to go about our business, transport our produce to the market and even communicate as human beings. As hon. Members of Parliament, we need good road networks to be able to consult our constituents. I want to urge the Ministry and its team to continue increasing the speed with which they rehabilitate and construct new roads in the country. I want to acknowledge and support the reforms that are going on within this Ministry and its efforts to decentralise its services. I notice with appreciation that they do resemble the reforms and decentralisation in the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, which I am familiar with, having been in that Ministry. Decentralisation, actually, helps to speed up the rate of planning and implementation. It gives the people the chance to be able to give an input in the process of planning and implementation. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would want to say that coupled with these reforms, there is one area 2692 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 24, 2007 where I know that the Ministry is making some efforts. But I am calling upon the Ministry and, especially, the technocrats in it, to increase their efforts, in terms of their efficiency in the use of both financial and human resources. It is generally said that our roads are the most expensive in the region. It is, therefore, the work of this Ministry to ensure that a market survey is conducted, so that we get more kilometres from our money and more roads from our shillings. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have in mind a market survey that would involve checking what a kilometre of road is costing in our neighbouring countries, that is, Uganda and Tanzania. We should also look at the cost in countries like Botswana, South Africa and, generally, the African region. I say "the African region" because if we look at Europe where the standard and cost of living are higher, it may be deceptive. We want to compare with our region and see how well we are doing. I am convinced that if this Ministry conducts a market survey and insists that anybody bidding for roads construction has to conform with the prices obtaining in the market, after this market survey, we shall be able to double the number of kilometres that we get from our shilling. It is of vital importance that this Ministry becomes very conscious of the need for cost effectiveness and value for money, remembering that it influences strength in Government in key areas, such as, purchase of motor vehicles and their repair, construction and maintenance of buildings and partitions and, also, the very important work of constructing roads. This Ministry is the one which is responsible for giving specifications in, almost, all the civil works. This means that if there are exaggerated prices emanating from this Ministry, they affect the entire Government. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I had occasion, two years back, to encounter a contract for purchase of motor vehicles, which was above the market price. Why is this happening when we have so many professionals in this Ministry? With the lame excuse that the Government takes long to pay--- Since the money is budgeted for, why not expect that each Ministry and department will pay on delivery and, therefore, get the best value for money? It is time we held each officer accountable. Any officer who makes the Government pay more than it should, should be surcharged and punished individually. I want to say that when it comes to contracts for construction of roads and buildings, there must be no variation. If there is variation, we should look at why it is necessary. We do not want contractors who start as the lowest bidders and by the time they finish the contracts, they end up as the highest bidders. Looking all over the country at the roads network constructed recently, you will see some roads which are just six years old, having such potholes that you wonder whether any professional advice or scrutiny was exercised during the construction. I do take it that some of the engineers who supervised these roads may still be with the Ministry. I am, therefore, asking for vigilance in this Ministry, so that we ensure that all the roads that are constructed will last for the duration that they are expected to last. The quality of roads in the recent times appears to be up to standard. What do we do with the contractors who built the substandard roads? Should we continue to give them contracts, or should we blacklist them? It is an offence against the Kenyan public to give a contractor, who has recently shortchanged Kenyans, more work. I am asking this Ministry, and especially the technocrats, to be vigilant. I know that efforts are being made to meet all the issues that I am raising, but I am calling for increased vigilance and for speeding up of the reforms that will ensure that we get more kilometres for the money that we have budgeted. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to generally support this Vote, and also call upon hon. Members to support it. I would also ask them to appreciate the good work that is being done by the Minister and his team. Mr. Speaker, Sir, with those many remarks, I beg to second.
July 24, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2693
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to agree with the contents of this year's allocation for the Ministry of Roads and Public Works, and also wish to agree with Minister on the issues that have been raised by him in the presentation apart from what is appearing in the Budget. The money which we are giving the Minister to go and utilise this financial year, on the Development Vote alone, is being put as merely Kshs59 billion, or almost Kshs60 billion. That kind of money, in the period that we have left, is a lot of money, the reason being the various jobs that are lined up for work in the current financial year. Again, there is this issue of the procurement rules that we passed here. Indeed, in order to comply with the performance contracts that have been signed with the Ministry of State for Public Service, and to actually deliver by ensuring that all these roads are in place between now and 30th June, 2008, we need to have this issue of consultancy services for the design of roads to be in-house. Mr. Speaker, Sir, if you were to advertise for all these roads that the Minister has talked about with regard to design, it would take between now and March, 2008 before you can have the design alone ready. Before you start doing documents for tender and any other processes, 30 June, 2008 will be with you, and it will not be possible to honour the promises and pledges that we are making here today to Kenyans. We would, therefore, want proposals to come in the form of Government policy pronouncements later, that they want to expand the issue of consultancy within the Ministry. That way, we will not require them to advertise for these services, which will require 28 days and then another four weeks to evaluate and another four weeks to check what it is, thereby wasting a lot of time and money before we can commence any road project. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the other issue is that of actualising the Bill that we passed here. In that Bill, we wanted to bring forth the Rural Roads Authority, Urban Roads Authority and the National Highways Authority. We want their establishment speeded up, so that we can have the enhanced efficiency in the use of the monies that actually go into the road sector. This is because with the current set-up - Hon. Members are very keen on the issue of the miscellaneous amendments - the money that is meant to go to the districts and that which is meant to go to the constituencies, the separation of the two is very critical. You will find that in most cases, the money that goes to our districts--- You may see it reflected in the work programme of the District Roads Committees (DRCs), but we never get to know what work has been done. At the end of the financial year, you will find that there are no roads that have been done and the money is not there. What is the reason? Mr. Speaker, Sir, there are cartels, in the districts, of suppliers or contractors and the Ministry officials. They sit and agree on which roads to allocate money. They wait until the last minute when the Budget is about to be read and the money does not have to go to Treasury. Quickly, wanakuja, they are given the voucher and they wait for the following financial year to do the job. Soon, when we get to another financial year, you do not see the road and the money is gone. They are not accountable for this money, and that is why we are very keen to ask the Minister that even while he draws up the budget for the Kenya Roads Board (KRB) for the districts roads allocations, he needs to take into account the anticipated amendments that the House will approve. I know that it is out of our Standing Orders to anticipate a Bill, but I am assuring the House, and the country, that we are going to pass them very quickly after they come here. So, when that happens, we will have roads on the ground. I remember early last year, when we took the Departmental Committee on Energy, Communications and Public Works around my constituency, we passed an 11-kilometre stretch on which we took almost two hours. For the last three years, that stretch has been taking Kshs1 million plus in the name of maintenance, but if you look around, there is not any evidence that, that road has ever been maintained. On only one occasion when I complained in writing about a fictitious road that had taken Kshs1,000,056, the biggest thing that the Ministry's Headquarters did 2694 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 24, 2007 was to transfer the engineer from Maua to the Headquarters. That did not give us back the money or the road. This is why we say that we need some proper efficiency for this money that is being allocated to districts. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the other issue is, generally, the hon. Members themselves. When we debate the Roads Bill, it will be wise for hon. Members to look carefully through the Budget. This is because the way itemisation is done, you will find that--- I want to give an example of this road in Mbeere District, that is being allocated Kshs275 million. Somebody looking at the Printed Estimates casually will think that it is Kshs275 million being allocated to Siakago Constituency, when the rest of Mbeere District is not getting anything. However, this kind of project will cover Tharaka, Embu, Mbeere, Nithi, South Imenti, Central Imenti and North Imenti districts. Those are seven districts! So, if you are looking for money to be allocated to your district, you will realise that the money meant for that road--- We popularly call it "Mati Road" and it covers Runyenjes all the way to Meru Town. This kind of allocation might be misunderstood by hon. Members when they do not see road Items that appear under their own constituencies or districts, and then think that the money has been lumped into one district, yet it is helping one district or another. The other issue is the Maintenance Unit, or Resealing Unit as the Ministry puts it. We would like a process within the Ministry whereby the department, on its own initiative, is able to go and identify and seal damaged roads, whether it is a bridge or a pothole. That is what happens all over the world. In countries where there are tarmacked roads, there is something called maintenance. That is what we are lacking. You will find a pothole on a road, and it will be there for one month, two months, a year or more until you can actually tell where the pothole is even when driving with your eyes closed. It is as if the pothole is a natural or normal feature on road. We want that to be stopped. If there is a road, we need somebody to ensure that potholes on that road are sealed immediately before they cause death and other unnecessary damage to the vehicular traffic. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the other issue that we need to raise, and commend the Ministry for, is that of the "cow boy" contractors. They used to be there. We know they were there. They used to pick money. They used to do no work. To date, most of them have either taken off and wound up or reformed or transformed into good contractors. Luckily for them many of them had enough money for works not done. They are now aware that for one to pick a cheque, one must actually work for it. So, that one is a major plus for the Ministry in the recent past. On the issue of the Architectural Association of Kenya, we have had major incidents of collapsed buildings, and this should be stopped. I know that the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Roads and Public Works happens to be the patron of this association. We want a situation where they have the capacity and infrastructure to monitor buildings that have come up, so that if such buildings do not conform to the specifications, they are condemned. The association should liaise with local authorities, place notices even in the newspapers to the effect that if you are a good client of a certain building, or you are a tenant, you check out because the building is not suitable for human habitation. That way, we will not have the embarrassment arising from the fact that if you get into a building you are not sure at what time of the day it might collapse on you. So, this needs to be stopped. Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is a professional duty for the Architectural Association of Kenya, in liaison with local authorities, to tell us that certain buildings are not safe. This professional body should not wait until a building has collapsed and then somebody goes to a Press conference to give flimsy excuses and says: "In fact, you can see that I am addressing the whole country. There is a problem. This building was not properly inspected. We are very serious about this matter. It will not happen again. We are going to do this", and nothing happens. The only way to prevent this kind of incident is to ensure that those who have contracts, or registered builders, make sure that in every stage of their construction, they involve the professional institutions or apply the proper professional standards that are required. July 24, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2695 The last issue that I want to raise is that of road construction, that was mentioned by the seconder of the Motion. It is true that we are seeing roads being constructed in every corner of the country. If you go to the Coast, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Central and Eastern provinces, you will see activities going on all over. This has not happened before. That is why we have had this kind of catching up to do. We need to thank the Ministry for making sure that the resources that we are allocating it, as a House, are being distributed fairly and efficiently, and that roads are being seen everywhere, including the Kaweru-Mutwati-Lare-Kacuru Road in my own area that links us to the Isiolo-Modogashe Road. I have noticed that, that road has been allocated Kshs240 million. With those remarks, I beg to support.
I want the Clerk-at-the-Table to take note of the names of the hon. Members who have an interest. Mr. Lesrima!
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir---
Sorry; I should have come to the Government side. I will come there next after Mr. Lesrima.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this debate. The economic development of this country will depend very much on the development of infrastructure. It is for that reason that I must commend the Minister and his team for the work they have done so far. I also congratulate them for getting an increase of 59 per cent in their resources. Mr. Speaker, Sir, some time back, the Minister mentioned in this House that even if they had all the money with which to do the roads, given the backlog, the capacity to do the job is, simply, not there. Looking at our infrastructure today, particularly the roads sector, we could be categorised as being in a state of emergency. Sometimes I wish that the Ministry could be given an opportunity for a bit of flexibility in terms of implementation of the programmes in the roads sector. In the State of California, in the United States of America, which is affected by earthquakes, the procurement regulations are sometimes relaxed to enable faster implementation of repairs whenever earthquakes occur. I am told that contractors are even awarded projects with an incentive. They are told that if they complete the projects earlier than the time given, they would be rewarded. However, given our own situation here, I am sure that a number of people would say that we cannot allow that in Kenya because it will be corruption. It is about time that the Government was run just like any other business to get best value for its money. This brings me to the question of designs. I hope that with all this money that has been budgeted for, when the resources are made available, the Minister will be in a position to take off with steam, having done the designs already. We have been told that there is a constraint in availability of engineers. That is a very serious situation. One wonders where our engineers have gone to over the last ten or 15 years. They must have gone to the Southern African countries, where pastures are, perhaps, greener. We need to do something to increase the internal capacity of our engineers. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I raised an issue in this House last year with regard to my pet subject: the Rumuruti-Maralal Road, which was designed. It was in the books in the period between 1991 to 1994. It was top priority under the African Development Bank-funded projects. I was rather disturbed last year to learn that when the Ministry tendered for upgrading of the design for that road, there was no consultant in Kenya who turned up for the Kshs30 million project. It is very 2696 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 24, 2007 serious, indeed, that you can have Kshs30 million, and a road which donors are willing to fund, and have no consultant come forward to offer services. So, this constraint, in terms of availability of consultants, engineers internally and contractors locally, is an issue that the Minister must address. I am pleased that the Minister has proposed the establishment of the urban and rural authorities to be responsible for roads at the respective levels. I hope that once that law comes into place, we will move with speed to establish those authorities, so that they can be avenues for speeding up the implementation of programmes to reduce the backlog. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not know whether the Ministry of Roads and Public Works is still in charge of the enforcement of the axle load regulations, or whether this a matter for the Ministry of Transport. Looking at our excellent highway from Nairobi to Nakuru, the impression that one gets is that, that wonderful road is beginning to sink. This is something which has to do with the enforcement of the axle load regulations. Let me also talk about concern for pedestrians and cyclists. We need to incorporate in our road designs pavements and lanes for cyclists. Someone just needs to visit Moshi or Dar-es-Saalam in Tanzania to see that those facilities are in place. But as we enter most of our urban centres, we have to be extremely careful not to hit cyclists on the road. Mr. Speaker, Sir, on the question of maintenance, I would like to encourage the Ministry to apply for more resources under the Roads 2000 Project. That is a good project. But it is not clear why that project is confined to high potential agricultural areas. I hope that areas that are not 100 per cent agricultural could also be considered. On the question of security on roads and airstrips, I believe that, that is an area that can be delegated to our armed forces. Our armed forces have the equipment. They are disciplined and have the capacity to operate in those difficult terrains. But with the assistance in designing some of the roads in some of those difficult areas, like where I come from in North Rift, the military could provide very useful service. That would ease the services that are offered by the Ministry. Mr. Speaker, Sir, with those few remarks, I beg to support.
Prof. Maathai, before I give you a chance to contribute to this Motion, let me give the list of hon. Members who have shown interest in contributing to this Motion. They are: Messrs. Muturi, Sungu, Karaba and Munyao. That is a balance! Proceed, Prof. Maathai!
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, for giving me an opportunity to contribute to this Motion. I thank the Minister for the excellent work that his Ministry is doing. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to draw the attention of the House to a subject that I always observe almost every time we discuss this Vote. I appeal to the Minister and the Ministry to pay attention to it. It is about the management of our road reserves. The road reserves in many parts of our country are there. There seems to be a perception that, in fact, road reserves should be there. But the road reserves, especially in rural areas, contribute towards soil erosion. When it rains, the water runs along the roads and, in many places, destroy the work that would have been done by the Ministry before the rains come. Somehow, we have never connected the fact that, when we open up the roads and use tractors to loosen up the soil, we make it very easy for that soil to be washed away when it rains. Since the water is heavy with silt, it literally destroys the road. More often than not, much of the work that will have been done during the dry season completely destroys the roads. This is an area that, perhaps, the Ministry is not keen to manage. It could be easily managed by, first of all, allowing the growth of vegetation along the roads. I know that many people do not like trees on road reserves. They say that trees create obstacles and obstruct vision. But trees can be very useful in stabilising roads and making sure that when it rains, soil erosion does not take place. In the highlands, like where I come from, those trees help to prevent landslides which, quite often, July 24, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2697 cut the roads into two! It becomes impossible for people to pass. It also takes a long time to repair such roads because of the landslides. I would like to encourage the Ministry to encourage the growth of vegetation on road reserves and plant trees especially in the highlands.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this time round, we are talking about global warming. We know that the green vegetation on our road reserves absorbs carbon. Cars that travel on the roads contribute towards green house gases. One way the Ministry could mitigate that problem is to allow vegetation on our highways. Vegetation absorbs some of those green house gases. What good do we get when we cut vegetation? Why do we love clear-cut road reserves? I just do not understand that. They look ugly and they expose the soil. I do not want to belabour this point. But I have raised it so many times and nothing seems to happen. People almost believe that when you have bushes along the road reserves, you have to clear them. But it would be much more beautiful, the land would be stabilised and we would protect our soils and our roads if we allowed vegetation to thrive along the road reserves. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also like to mention that, in many places, especially along the highlands, water tends to run very fast down hill. Many farmers, for some reason, believe that, that water should not be allowed to get to their farms. Quite often, the water is allowed to gush fast downstream. By the time it reaches the streams, it is so strong that it washes away the bridges. It takes more money, resources and frustrations of communities who call their hon. Members to say that their bridges have been washed away. When you visit such places, you will realise that the water that washed the bridge came from upstream and flew very fast downstream. The Ministry should really look into that and find ways in which we can manage the flow of water along the roads, especially in the highlands. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, farmers whose farms border roads should be encouraged, even financially, to enable them to cut furrows on their farms. Those furrows would help to harvest that rain water. If the furrows are deep and not too wide, the water will go into the underground. We will then harvest that rain water. We lose a lot of water when we do not harvest rain water. That water goes into the rivers and flows downstream. Unfortunately, it also carries with it the top soil. So, not only are we losing water - and we are not able to replenish underground water because it is running off - but we are also losing the soil. Sometimes, we also lose the bridges and roads. I want to encourage the experts - the road managers and engineers - to look into those issues because they seem to be completely forgotten. I see it along the roads in my constituency. I try to do it on my own, but it ought to be addressed from the Ministry level. Maybe, we need to work very closely with the Ministry of Agriculture, so that we can harvest water and, at the same time, help our roads. That way, we will not lose so much money, especially during the rainy season. This is something I have looked into very closely. Not only from the environmental point of view, but also from the fact that we spend so much money on these roads. We want them to be passable. It is a pity that after heavy rains, our people are always on phones telling us those roads are impassable, terrible, horrible and so on and that they are stuck. They tell us the bridge has been washed away and so on. It is all a combination of these factors that could be addressed. I am quite sure to do so, would not be expensive. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to speak for my constituency. It is, probably, the only one that does not have a tarmac road in this country. It used to have a tarmac road that was built in 1960s. This is Kiakanja-Githerere Road. Initially, we have been trying to make a U-turn 2698 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 24, 2007 from Githerere, so that it joins Muthuaini, Tetu Constituency. I hope that this time this road will be considered because it is extremely helpful to my constituency. We had also recommended that the same road be tarmacked from Githerere through the Aberdares Forest up to Kinangop because we have a lot of trouble trying to keep people out of the forest on the Nyeri side. As I said, the Nyeri side has food problem because they have put most of their land under coffee and tea plantations. However, on the Kinangop side, they have no coffee or tea plantations. They are agricultural people who grow a lot of food. However, since they do not have a market, a lot of their food goes to waste. We have, therefore, suggested that if we could open up that road between Nyeri and Kinangop, we would allow food to come to the Nyeri side. The Nyeri people would have enough food and stop encroaching on the forest or putting pressure on the Aberdares Forest. On the other hand, the people, on the Kinangop side, would have a very big market for their produce in Nyeri. Secondly, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this is an extremely beautiful part of our country. It would help tourists coming from Maasai Mara National Park. They do not have to come to Nairobi and then to Nyeri. They could cut across the Aberdares Forest to Nyeri side. This is such a scenic part of the country that I am sure will be an attraction. So, economically, it is quite a viable proposition. I hope that the Ministry would seriously consider it. I know, at one time, the Ministry was giving it serious consideration, but I do not know what happened. I still think that it is a very important proposition. It is very economically important. It is also environmentally very helpful to our country to protect forests, especially the Aberdares Forest. With these remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity to say one or two things about this very key Vote. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I believe that if Vision 2030; even though we have not had occasion to debate it here in the House, will have meaning in this country, then it must incorporate very serious issues that are addressed by the Ministry of Roads and Public Works. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am grateful that the Minister indicated, among other things, a programme called Roads 2000 Programme. We have been told that it will begin this year. Unfortunately, like I know, in my area they were supposed to hold a seminar between 12th to 15th of this month. However, it was called off because of lack of funds. So, we have begun again and that is how we have started with Roads 2000 Programme this year. You can see where we are headed. If that is the way we are going to begin in August, already one month is gone, and where we were to begin with a workshop for stakeholders, it has been called off because of lack of funds. I want to urge the Minister and his team to re-look at this programme critically because I agree with him that, apart from improving our road network, it would go a long way to provide the much needed employment to our youth in various parts of the country if ever it will be implemented. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, since the years 2000/ 2001 and 2001/2002 financial years, we have been talking about Roads 2000 Programme. It is one reason that I speak with scepticism and cynicism about Roads 2000 Programme. It just remains Roads 2000 Programme. I hope if there will be need, we can revive it and call it Roads 2008 Programme, if that will make it move. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, while congratulating the Ministry and appreciating the key role that it plays in national economy of the country, I am mindful of the people we call Resident Engineers. Sometimes I wonder what they do. At this era of performance contracting and some other new phrase they coined recently called Rapid Results Initiative (RRI), we cannot for sure say what these fellows do. You go to a road, you see a Resident Engineer. In fact, I have in mind, for instance the Nkubu-Thuci Road. Right now, it is 18 months behind schedule yet, there is a Resident Engineer. We also have the RRI and performance contracting, are the Resident Engineers part of this RRI? Are they put under any performance contracts which would, include, among other things, supervision. They should also have value-for-money audit. As the road is July 24, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2699 constructed, we do not want to see potholes develop after six months. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, you remember last week when Mr. Ndambuki raised the issue of potholes that he said were emerging, I said that all I have noticed is that they develop, but they do not emerge. I do not want to see a situation whereby after one or two years a road which was supervised by a Resident Engineer under the supervision of the Chief Engineer develops potholes. We need to put those people on performance contracts, so that they know that they will be held responsible, alongside the contractor, for any shortcomings as a result of due diligence which could be avoided during construction. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would say that the same should go towards the areas of rehabilitation. My Committee, while taking evidence on the issue of Kenya Roads Board (KRB), one occasion visited some roads in Kinangop area. A road was said to have been gravelled, but yet, it was a tarmac road! This is one of the greater wonders that I ever saw. That a tarmac road -and, indeed, it is tarmacked up to now, but it was also paid for as having been gravelled and the Ministry staff were there. The road goes to a place called Mutobio Gate into some hill there. We need to be serious with the way we do our things. Again, the Resident Engineer and Chief Engineer, Roads, should be held to account should we see these kind of ghost projects having been implemented. I think it is important that we bear this in mind. This is captured in a Public Accounts Committee (PIC) Report that I tabled here last year. I was saying that it is important that the Ministry also bears in mind that as a technical Ministry, we have very many projects that are being proposed to be funded through the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF). Therefore, this Ministry is very key to the successful implementation of the various projects funded through the CDF, among other things, if only to assure quality and quick implementation. We want proper technical advice to be given when building hospitals or schools, so that the CDF which is public funds, does not go to waste because we did not get proper advice from the Ministry. This Ministry is very critical. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is also the issue which is tied to that point that I am making about the advice being given at the constituency and district level--- I believe that would, of necessity, mean that the headquarters should be staffed with qualified personnel. If the staff are not available, I think the Ministry should be permitted to recruit more staff. That way, we will have more personnel at the district to offer services to various Constituency Development Committees and various projects that they come up with. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, there was a programme that was once said to be offering equipment at regions. I think that equipment was said to be available for hire. I wonder whether that programme "died", or was it part of those road-show projects which were meant to excite the minds of Kenyans in the villages? If the Ministry is, indeed, still serious on implementing it, we really want to encourage the Ministry to ensure that all the regions have various equipment. That way, at any time when we need them, we can hire them. I think those being Ministry equipment, their rates would be favourable especially now that we are going to increase the allocations to the District Road Committees (DRCs). Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is also a very critical area, which is also tied to the issue of Vision 2030. Whether we like it or not, for us to undertake the many projects that we have seen in the Estimates, we need to have contractors. I believe it is imperative upon this Ministry, through some of its colleges and institutes, to train as many people as possible to undertake local jobs. Whether we admire China Roads and Bridges Construction Company or some other satellite foreign firms, we must, at all times, bear in mind that foreigners are only here to make money. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us, as a country, to train our own local people and equip them with the necessary skills to undertake local contracts. It will be difficult, if we are going to say that we are going to implement so many of them. I do not want to repeat the point made by Mr. Maore that, we can have a lot of commissioning in the Estimates, but the implementation is 2700 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 24, 2007 nil. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, last year, there a provision in my district for a bridge called Ithura. It was allocated or proposed to be allocated Kshs4 million. This year, it is allocated Kshs400,000. Last year, when it was allocated Kshs4 million, nothing was done on it. I think there is something that is not very clear. We seem to be making provisions in the Printed Estimates which, apparently, due to lack of capacity and personnel, we are unable to implement. Therefore, it is important that what is given in the Printed Estimates is actually seen to be implemented on the ground. As we support this Ministry, we also support development in our country. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this chance to support the Vote of the Ministry of Roads and Public Works. It is a very important Ministry and we need to give it the necessary support. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, sometimes, we wonder whether things are moving in the right direction when we see constructions that stalled over 20 years ago. Those projects were started, but they were never completed. We have bridges which were half-way done. The steel works have been destroyed and vandalised by thugs. The Government has not come to save the situation and people have lost hope. I have in mind a road that I always speak about whenever there is a debate on roads in this House. That road was abandoned in 1987. From 1987, I am aware that very many new roads have been constructed. Very many roads have also been allocated funds. Some of those roads are in my neighbouring constituencies. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, so, one is left wondering what process Members of Parliament would follow to ensure that roads in some of those particular constituencies are constructed.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is not fair to see a lot of money going to certain regions. There should be equitable distribution of resources to all the areas. Money should not be allocated to certain areas at the expense of some areas which are highly productive and qualify to be supported through roads constructions. We should support areas which are endowed agriculturally. We even grow tea leaves in my area. During the rainy days, our tea leaves rots in buying centres because of a poor road network connecting tea factories. Since those factories were constructed in those areas, no tarmac roads have been built to connect them. I have in mind factories such as Mununga in Kerugoya/Kutus which is located in a very rich agricultural area. There are tea zones in our neighbourhood. But you find that, more often than not, tea leaves rot in tea buying centres. That is because of the poor roads connecting the factories. That is something that the Ministry should look into. I would like to be advised on who should be approached to have a road tarmacked. Is it the District Roads Engineer? Is it a politician? Is it the sitting Member of Parliament or, maybe, other powerful agents? It is like, as much as you make noise, or as much as you make consultations, nothing seems to happen. But all of sudden, you find somebody will just say that something is wrong in his or her area, and a lot happens. So, I am here to be corrected. We need proper direction. If it is the Engineer who is to be held responsible, then we should be told he or she is the person who should determine the number of roads to be tarmacked, just as we do in the power sector. I am still complaining about Road D454 Kagio-Baricho, Baricho-Kerugoya. According to what I have seen in the district allocation, that road has been left behind. It has been left out, but July 24, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2701 roads in other areas have been considered. You will find that in some constituencies, even two roads are being constructed and yet, my constituency has nothing. Roads in my constituency have stalled for the last 20 years. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, whom do I go to? I am at a loss! There is something else that we have noted. Some of the ongoing road construction projects which are funded by the Government take too long to complete. It is an eye sore when you travel on Nairobi-Thika-Sagana-Karatina-Maru Road. That road is impassable and yet, it is the same road that most senior civil servants pass through. You will even wonder whether they see that and nothing happens! So, I am requesting the Ministry of Roads and Public Works to reseal the potholes as soon they develop. Many deaths are caused by those potholes. The road that I am mentioning here was started before I came to this Parliament. Of course now, we are going for elections. We do not know whether we will come back or not. But that road is still not complete and yet, it is just a section of 20 kilometres. Every time there is some construction, there are potholes to be resealed after a month! After one is done, another develops. So, are we having proper engineering works going on on our roads? This is a challenge we are facing. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the road I am talking about is very important to Central Province. It connects Nairobi and the Central Province. It also connects Nyeri with the President's area, but nothing has happened on it. Do we, therefore, say that there is negligence? Is there somebody who does not want it done? Has the constructor not been given enough money or has he not been able to use it properly? We need to be told the truth now. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have a lot of other things happening along our roads. When we have very heavy rains, the roads are damaged by heavy flooding. We wonder whether the contractors do not see to it that gabions are constructed on site, so that we prevent such cases from happening. Driving on such roads at night is very dangerous because deaths can occur. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is also important to note this money comes from the taxpayers who are mainly cash crop farmers. Therefore, it would be sensible to make sure that this money is ploughed back to those areas to make sure roads there are passable. I am talking about the tea growing areas where roads must be maintained, so that agricultural development in the same areas can be accelerated or agro-based industries can be built. That is the only way we can come up with cottage industries and industrial development in our country. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have a lot to say about this Ministry. Though the Minister has really done well with his team, we need to really pay a lot of attention to this department of roads. It takes too long before the design is done and before the contract is awarded. When we ask what is happening, we are told that the procurement process is taking too long. Could we have it shortened? Instead of having a lot of money which is lying idle, we can shorten the process, so that as soon as the design is done, we can have the construction going on without unnecessary delays. This might give the residents confidence and that is what we are waiting for. Without this, people will wonder as to what is happening. Let us support the Ministry. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as I conclude, I request the hon. Minister to please consider my constituency. If I do not get a tarmac road constructed in my constituency this time round, my chance of coming back here might be doomed. All my neighbouring constituencies have tarmacked roads. I beg to support.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute and support this Vote. The Ministry of Roads and Public Works is one of the core Ministries that supports infrastructure. Whether we do actually get roads or not, we would like to support this Ministry. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, my fear is that year in, year out, the Minister comes here and we give money to the Ministry. I have one quarrel with this Ministry in that even when monies have been allocated to a district or to a constituency like Kacheliba, most of it is returned to the Treasury 2702 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 24, 2007 because of lack of capacity. I remember that priorities were set. We were given some money under the security roads. However, most of that money was returned to Treasury. This is the problem with the Ministry. It has to kind of stretch out the country and enable the roads to be constructed. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I come from a constituency that has no tarmac road. I heard one Member say that her constituency might be the only one without a tarmac road in this country. The only tarmacked road I have seen in my constituency is in the yard of a police station. That is all. We have no road per se that is tarmacked. Yet, the Government has hired all the most qualified engineers in this Ministry. I want to challenge the Ministry that while the Minister is in charge of that docket, let them try and do something about introducing an element of a tarmacked road in Kacheliba Constituency. Let it be an element of tarmac. Let there be even one or two kilometres of tarmac road, so that we can say that we are now in the mainstream of our road infrastructure. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, secondly, is basically classifying the roads. Most of the roads that pass through Kacheliba Constituency are going either to neighbouring districts or to other countries namely, Uganda and Sudan. Classifications are very interesting thus making it difficult even to get funding. So, re-classifying those roads as per international classes will do us a lot of good because we are connected to Uganda. Even the names and the descriptions of them should read "Uganda Border" but then you are given a class that does not even attract the funding. So, re-classifying the roads will be very useful. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would expect that in this day and age, when everybody knows in advance what has been allocated to them, the Ministry should be fair to all parts of this country. There are no two ways about it. If you gave good roads to one constituency last year, surely, and they are working on those roads, just look at other constituencies which have not been allocated that kind of money. We do not want to be following the officers later to ask them to allocate money to our roads. Since Independence, there has never been a tarmacked road in the whole of Kacheliba Constituency. It will not cost a lot of money to do a 200 kilometre tarmacked road from Kapenguria to Alale which is the new district headquarters for Pokot North District. It will not cost that much money, but you have to be reminded that there is such a place and that actually you can do it. The engineers can begin to design that road because when going about our business we might find that we will need good roads to go to those places. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am glad that the Minister of State for Administration and National Security is here. This morning, the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) crossed into Kenya and shot at our people. They have taken our livestock, but Kenyan security forces cannot go to that place because there are no roads. So, when we do not plan for the roads we are making it difficult for the Minister of State for Provincial Administration and National Security even to send the police to pursue those forces. These are the UPDF coming ten kilometres into Kenya with mortars and tanks and then shooting indiscriminately at our people. It is very interesting in this day and age, that we cannot respond because in Asilong, the place where this happened yesterday, there are no roads beyond the borehole and to the border. So, they have take away our animals and we have raised this matter. It is a serious matter that I think will not require any more sitting down. The Government should begin to talk to Uganda Government about this. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to particularly take note that I come from a region that has serious security lapses and security roads are very much needful. This is the northern part of Kenya. When you design roads, let them reflect the design and terrain of an area. Let us not allocate Kshs1 million to a road. When allocating Kshs1 million or a few hundred thousands to a road, you are, basically, saying that you are doing so just to keep the name of the road alive. That money cannot make any road at all. We would like to ask the Minister to seriously consider the so- called marginalised areas. These are the areas which have not hitherto been considered in terms of tarmacking. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, one of the problems in the area that I come from, and many other July 24, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2703 areas which are similar to that one, is the serious run-off soil erosion that washes off roads from the hills. That occurs very frequently. In the past, the Government had road maintenance units after a certain number of kilometres of a road, but that was discontinued. There are no road maintenance units on roads any more. Once you see a road suffering from neglect for one year, the following year, you will think there was no road at all. I would just like to urge the Government to resuscitate or re-establish the maintenance units. The units can be run by the people in the villages and they should be taught how to maintain roads so that we can maximise on the use of the labour that is available. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to touch on the issue of road networking. In recent times, when the bridge at Kainuk on the Kitale-Lodwar Road broke down, I realised that the Ministry was at a loss on how to direct traffic to Lodwar. The road, which was given as an alternative route by the Ministry through the Press, was very misleading. It was leading people through the Turkwel Gorge, and then over through some very insecure and bad road. I thought that the Minister knew that the road that was used previously to Lodwar, before the tarmack one was constructed, is the one that goes through Kacheliba. There are no two ways about it. In fact, even now, it is good for the Ministry to reconstruct the road that goes through Kacheliba to Halale, Loya, Loringit and to Lodwar. That is the old Kitale-Lodwar Road that was used before the tarmack road that goes through Sigor was constructed. When we have a problem on one end, we should use it so that we can direct traffic properly. That way, Kacheliba and Turkana Central constituencies will benefit from a good road. It is also an alternative road to Sudan. If we construct it to good standards, we will have a good road that can take us to Sudan. I want the Ministry to know that I am, myself, cautious of the fact that areas in the north, including my own constituency, have not been prioritised in the past. I would like us to depart from that practice and begin to realise that we also need to reach places faster and safely. One area which has completely gone out of the district is the gravelling unit. What happened to the gravelling unit? It used to be very easy for that unit to take care of roads which are not necessarily tarmacked. We would approach this unit and it would put up for us an all-weather- road without necessarily calling for tarmack. Not all the roads will require to be tarmacked. The other one is the Bridges Unit. I realise that there is no quick response to the bridges' situation. Once a bridge is washed away, there is no quick response. It takes a very long time for any bailey bridge or emergency bridges to be brought in. I think that is an area which the Minister needs to strengthen in the Ministry. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am very happy that we can now hire graders and we have trucks that can be used to make roads, if we are using CDF money. However, I would like to appeal to the Minister that road networking is a very important part of the infrastructural development for the Vision 2030 and even for the industrialisation of this country, especially in areas which have not been connected to the mainstream Kenya, as it is the case with Kacheliba Constituency. I do not want to belabour a point that has been raised by many hon. Members, that grading of roads is a science. Many times, I see people who are operating graders running through the land and not grading the road. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to contribute on this very important Vote. Right from the outset, I would like to commend the Ministry for a job well done. It is a job well done, but it could have been done better if we had given them adequate resources. This Parliament has granted the Ministry its request to be given an organisational structure that can implement Government policies adequately.
2704 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 24, 2007
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. We realise that the technocrats can consult and they also take notes. However, there is a lot of consultation coming from the technocrats to the extent that they cannot take notes of what is being said by hon. Members. I wanted your guidance on this matter.
I think hon. Members know that they can consult reasonably well, but they should not over do it. It is the Minister who should complain more because the attention of his officers is being diverted.
They should take notes!
I appreciate that hon. Members have a rare opportunity to meet the Permanent Secretary, but, please, go slow on that.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I just wanted to clarify that there is no problem with hon. Members consulting with our officers. There is a big number of them taking notes. He should not complain just because he saw two hon. Members consulting. We want to build public relations with the hon. Members, who are very difficult!
I think, Mr. Sungu, you got a suitable answer from the Minister. Look at what these gentlemen are doing.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, I was saying that this parliament should gave the Ministry the authority to organise itself in such a manner that it can be more effective in utilising the resources of the people of Kenya in infrastructure. We, therefore, hope that most of our roads will be done with expertise. As you have realised, today, if a road is earmarked for construction, the process of consultancy, design, awarding of the tender, mobilisation and actual implementation takes close to two years. That is two years of public resources being held when members of the public are suffering. I urge the Ministry to reduce the processes of implementation such that when this House allocates funds for a road in a certain financial year, that road or part of it, should be done in that fiscal year. If that was to be done, then there would be no need to return funds to the Treasury at the end of the fiscal year when people are suffering from lack of proper infrastructure. I am saying this because I know of a road in my constituency, which I come from, which was allocated funds last year and has also been allocated funds this year. It has taken more than one year and the construction work has not started. I do not know when work on the road will commence. This is the Daraja Mbili-Nyatieko-Miruka and the other roads connected to it. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, let me turn to the Maai-Mahiu-Narok Road which was awarded more than two years ago. The contractor has been busy constructing his camp for the last two years. The damage that the road has caused the public is enormous. It cannot be quantified. I wish that once a road contract is awarded, the contractor should come on site after two to three months and start to construct the road. We must have a clause in our implementation policy that requires immediate construction as soon as the contract is awarded. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have got funds, but I know they are not adequate. But it does not serve us well when you allocate funds which are inadequate, and those inadequate funds are not fully utilised in a fiscal year. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we also want to see capacity building in the Ministry. I believe local contractors have not been well trained. The work they are given is not done in time and it is not up to standard. Because of lack of local capacity, I believe the Ministry could import expatriate firms to construct roads. That is because the development of a country is determined by the development of its infrastructure. When our goods or products cannot reach the market, this country suffers. The poor farmer and industrialist suffer because he or she cannot get a return on his or her investments. July 24, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2705 Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have seen demolition of structures on road reserves. I can give one example of my friend, Mr. Chepkonga's building in Loresho. He had sunk all his savings from his working life to the tune of Kshs30 million in putting up that house. That building was demolished and yet, we cannot see a road on that site. Why do you demolish buildings when you have no intention or capacity to construct roads? When we demolish those buildings, we must be fair! Let us be human. If a person has constructed a building worth Kshs30 million, maybe, we could ask him to give us a certain amount of money, maybe Kshs2 million or Kshs5 million to buy a bypass, so that we do not have to demolish somebody's lifetime investment. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, there should be a change of policy in the Ministry, especially for areas which have a lot of rainfall in a year. For example, areas such as Gusiiland, the Kipsigis Highlands, Nandi Hills, Western Province--- Many parts of Central Province receive so much rain that if you grade a road today, it will be washed away within a week or month. It has to be graded again. We should change our policy and allocate adequate funds to do single-seal tarmacking. It is going to be expensive but, once you have done it, it can last for two, three, four, five or even ten years! We have seen that in the former tea roads, which had single-seal tarmacking. They lasted for years and years on end! Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we are running short of murram, especially where I come from. You cannot get murram because there is no land to excavate it from. So, the Ministry must change its policy to go for single or double-seal tarmacking in areas where rains wash away graded or gravelled roads. We should also change our policy so that we could have maintenance gangs at various places. We used to have them before. When a road was destroyed, those gangs could move in and maintain it. In so doing, we could also achieve another advantage for Kenyans - employment for our youth. If we had, say, five gangs in each constituency, and each gang has 100 people, that is employment for 500 people in a constituency. If you employ them throughout the country, 105,000 people will be employed to maintain our roads. They will get jobs to maintain themselves and, therefore, reduce crime in this country. That policy should be implemented by the Ministry. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is equipment which is being leased out to contractors. The Ministry should consider leasing that equipment to Constituencies Development Fund (CDF) projects at a subsidised rate. Recently, we hired a bulldozer and paid Kshs1 million. It stayed in my constituency for only 14 days, Kshs1 million was gone! It had not even done one and half kilometres of the road. It is too expensive for CDF! The Minister should consider leasing out that equipment to CDF at a subsidised rate. CDF is public funds. He should not lease them out to CDF at the same rates he is leasing them out to contractors. Finally, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, on specific roads like Naivasha-Kericho-Kisumu, Kericho-Kisii and Maai-Mahiu-Narok-Kisii, the Ministry should move steadfastly and make sure that those roads are re-carpeted, so that they could be useful to the people. That way, people will not have to spend a lot of money because of those roads. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, just to close off, we do have bumps. The Ministry should construct bumps where systems require those bumps. For example, one should be built between Parliament Buildings and County Hall. Another one should be built at Mosocho in my constituency. The Ministry should re-classify roads. The ones which were classified during the colonial days as class "B", "D" or "E" have never been re-classified, although there has been a change in traffic flow on those roads. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Mr. Ahenda! Where is Mr. Ahenda? Mr. Ahenda is not in. Proceed, Mr. ole Ntimama!
Thank you very much, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity to--- 2706 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 24, 2007
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I stood up before him!
Order, Mr. J. Nyagah!
That is the decision of the Deputy Speaker alone!
You are right! Proceed!
Thank you very much, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity to make a few comments on Vote 13 - Ministry of Roads and Public Works. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to support the Vote before I even say anything. But, just like all my other friends have said, let me say that a good road network is very important to the development of any country. Any region or area that does not have a proper road network cannot have any development. When the road network is not there, then you know that there is no economic development. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, let me talk about the area between Mt. Suswa to Keringet. That is a very high potential area. The area between Mt. Suswa to Keringet is approximately 300,000 hectares. This country could feed itself, feed the neighbours and export wheat, barley, maize, pyrethrum and everything else from that area! But there is no road network in that area! I want the Minister to mark the area between Mt. Suswa to Keringet. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, apart from the road passing in the periphery - like Nakuru and other areas - for example, the road to serve farmers and the country in that area is not there! Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, let me talk about Narok-Maai Maahiu Road. This road was started just a few years ago by Kuldan Sigh but he abandoned it, yet he was supposed to do 42 kilometres. However, he only did 12 and 30 kilometres were never done. I do not know who else went to try and complete the road but we know that the road has never been done. It is only those 12 kilometres that have been done and the road has been abandoned. This road passes vertically through this area that I am talking about. Even the Mau Narok-Narok Road was planned to be done as early as the Katende days, during the reign of the late hon. Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. In fact, it was put in the planning books that it was completed. We do not know who took the money but it is a mystery. It is another mystery! I want to appeal to the Minister, and he has been doing very well because, at least, we know that the Maai-Mahiu-Narok Road started in his time. Whether it was in the plan before or not, we know it has started during his time. I am appealing to him again to make sure that, that road is supervised properly, so that it is done properly, with the right surface. A lot of traffic now goes down to the Maasai Mara across into Tanzania, Tarime and all the way. If the layer is not good enough, like the one that was done just immediately after Independence, which has now worn off, then we will have a problem. The other thing about the Maai-Mahiu-Narok Road is that I wish to appeal to the Minister, and his good will, to make sure that people of Narok District, from Maai Mahiu to Narok, are employed. We might not have engineers as such. We might not have qualified surveyors, but, definitely, we have a surplus of clerks and drivers. We also have a surplus of watchmen and so we do not see any reason for importing them, just because an officer working for those companies is of a certain tribe.
I appeal to the Minister to look into it, because there is a lot of confusion right now as to who is going to be employed. I have said that we have no quarrel with the professionals but, definitely, when it comes to clerks, drivers and watchmen, we can provide them. I think we should be considered so that the money used on that road goes to our people that way. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to emphasise again on this region of Mt. Suswa to July 24, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2707 Keringet. Narok District is the first in the production of wheat in this country today. We have brought down Eldoret and it is now behind us. We are also the first, and probably the only ones who grow the best barley in this country. We think we have supported the Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) so well. I want to say that during the colonial times, we used to have things like "wheat roads" and "barley roads". We do not have them now! The money was allocated in this Budget for wheat roads, and some of the wheat roads are inside this region that I am talking about, the Mt. Suswa to Keringet. But now these roads are just not there and if they are there, then it is just a few roads that are being done here and there. Let me talk about the Mau Narok-Narok Road. We grow wheat there. The Minister and I are there growing wheat and barley. It is not only us, but we represent hundreds and hundreds of other people who are growing wheat there. It is not favouritism, but I would like the Minister to know that we look upon him as one of us to improve, at least, the Mau Narok-Narok Road, so that it is passable.
When I have functions in Mau but I cannot go there, because everybody who goes there has to have a tractor in front of him to pull his vehicle. Some of us are getting a little bit worried that you could hurt your back by using the tractors to pull the vehicles. Nobody passes through there with a lorry. The farmers there are being charged exorbitant transport costs of up to five times the normal amount, just because no lorry driver can go there and load the wheat. They will charge you five times, but we have no choice and so we pay the price. But when you sell your barley to the KBL, you get peanuts. We are getting very discouraged just because of this bad road. I would like to really ask the Minister to look into this road, on even the wheat roads, and repair it. He should have a few good murram roads so that, at least, the farmers can have access. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the mainstay of this economy is agriculture, and no agriculture can be developed without a good road network. There are high potential areas like the one I am talking about. It has been surveyed by experts and found that it can feed this country, the region and export most of its products. We can also develop--- The rural electrification is coming up there as well, kidogo kidogo . It is like a token kind of thing but even if it is token, we think that if we get the good road network and some electrification there, we can start the agro-industry, which is the beginning of industrialisation of any country. You cannot industrialise--- We keep talking here and saying that we will industrialise Kenya. If we go to these rich areas, develop electricity and road network, we will develop the agro-industry. Experts say that you cannot industrialise a nation unless you have an agro-industry. Of course, agriculture, I will repeat, is our mainstay. So, why do we not support the farmers in this area, who are producing wheat and barley? We can go ahead and make lots of animal feeds in some of these areas. It is not difficult; we can help our farmers. Right now I hear that we are short of animal feeds, just because we are not prepared to develop a little agro-industry using barley, maize and even vegetables. I wish to ask the Minister to improve the roads to the Maasai Mara. This is the first time I hear that the Government is serious about improving the Mara, yet this is another best for the economy. With those few remark, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. Allow me to join my colleagues to thank the Minister for having moved this Vote of the Ministry of Roads and Public Works so ably. I want to thank him for the time he has been in the Ministry. For the one year and a half years he has been in the Ministry, he has run it so ably that whenever we travel in this country, we see a lot of work being done. 2708 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 24, 2007 I want also to thank the Minister for having realised that Mt. Elgon District does not have any passable roads, and during this financial year, he and his officers have decided that some money goes to Mt. Elgon to construct Road D75. Though it was read out as Kamukuyua-Sirisia, this was wrong. I thought it was Kamukuyua-Kaptama-Kopsiro-Namwela Road. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, let me point out a few things that we have come across at our District Roads Boards (DRBs). Whereas the Ministry officers are working very hard at the Ministry headquarters to improve our road network, I want to say that at the district level, this is not happening. It is not happening because of under-staffing, especially in the department of building whereby we have a lot of work as a result of Constituencies Development Fund (CDF) projects. Even to get the Bill of Quantities (BQs) to be prepared is a nightmare. I want to say that even the constructions under CDF are not being supervised by the Ministry of Roads and Public Works. They have always said that they do not have enough staff. I hope that the Minister has factored in the issue of employing more staff, especially, in that building section. Most of the funds are now being devolved to the constituency and what we are doing as Kenyans, is to deal with the issue of infrastructure, especially the buildings. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, another issue that I want to raise, is the issue of viability of certain projects. I remember in 2003 when I was elected to this House, there was a road which was being constructed in my place. They spent Kshs1.8 million on it. To date, a road of about three kilometres is not yet complete and a total of Kshs1.8 million has been spent. Not even rats can pass on that road. I have been asking myself, who is supposed to identify a road? Who is supposed to carry out a feasibility study on a particular road before it is constructed? Why is the Government constructing roads that cannot be put into good use? We wrote to the Ministry in 2004 but something shocking is that up today, there has not been any response from the Ministry. What has only happened is that the officers who were there, were transferred. That brings in another question; is transfer a punishment? To me a transfer is something normal and as people of Mt. Elgon, we require an answer from the Ministry as to why that money was actually used after the advise from those officers and now it has gone to waste. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is an issue which has been raised by one of my colleagues and I want also to join him. That is the issue of demolition. As I speak today, several market centre buildings have been marked for demolition. Some of these buildings are as old as 70 years or 80 years. They were constructed by some of our grandfathers and today, we are being told that those buildings should be demolished to pave way because they are on road reserves. My question to the Ministry is, when did they become road reserves? It was actually private land donated by the community for purposes of building their small trading centres. A good example is Cheptais Town. A whole line of buildings belonging to over 30 people have been ear-marked for demolition. Who is going to compensate those people? Is the Ministry going to compensate them? I raised that issue in writing to the Ministry in 2004 but up to date, I have not received any communication. My constituents are asking me what is going to happen to their buildings. I want to request the Minister, together with his officers, to give due consideration to Cheptais. We can divert the road instead of demolishing the buildings because it is not a tarmac road. It is a road which is supposed to be gravelled. It can be diverted instead of Kenyans losing their property. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to come to the issue of murraming of roads. That is, maintenance. Most hon. Members here are members of their District Roads Boards. Our work is to decide which roads have to be maintained and at what rate. What happens is that the tendering process is normally done by the officers. But I want to inform the Minister that we have a lot of problems with tendering at the district level. We are not members of the tendering board. The members of the tendering board are Government officers. I do not know who supervises those officers because there seems to be a syndicate that most of the works are given to particular people July 24, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2709 at inflated costs. At the end of the day, most of them are not done. If the work is done, then it is sub-standard. We require some reforms in that area for purposes of ensuring that whatever money that is spent by the Government is spent on a worthy course. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the last issue is the issue of tendering and construction of roads. I am happy as a representative of the people of Mt. Elgon Constituency that one of the roads in my constituency is ear-marked for construction this Financial Year. But as my colleagues have said, the bureaucracy before the actual work takes place is enormous. I am requesting that the Minister, together with his officers, re-look into this issue so that it takes a short period before this construction is actually implemented. I am also a worried man that a contractor who has been given this work has been mentioned here for abandoning some work. If the Ministry is actually aware that there are certain contractors who are not ready to work, why should they be given work? Is there any proper explanation as to why this particular contractor, Kuldan Singh, abandoned a road in Narok and now he is being given another road in Mt. Elgon? That raises some eyebrows. The people of Mt. Elgon are eager and want to see the construction of the road fast-tracked. Let it be done as soon as yesterday. With those few remarks, I beg to support this Vote.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, thank you very much for giving me an opportunity to support this Vote of the Ministry of Roads and Public Works. I note that there is about Kshs62 billion that we are going to give, out of which Kshs20 billion is Recurrent Expenditure and the balance is Development Expenditure. I am also gratified to note that Mzee has managed to increase the Development Vote from Kshs26 billion to Kshs42 billion. This is because the roads in this country are in dire need of attention. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, from the outset there are some failures that we must address. There was a time, in the last Parliament when the former President visited Bondo. During that occasion, Dr. Oburu said:- "To repair a tarmac road with murram is like trying to repair a piece of cloth with
." The tendency in Nyanza Province, particularly, is that when any repair work is being done, instead of using tarmac to repair tarmac, they use murram. You know what happens when that is done. One day when it rains, the road is washed away. When there is sunshine, it turns to dust. It amounts to waste of public funds. I just want to ask the professionals in that industry that we need your help, gentlemen. We need their help. I am not a trained engineer but I can argue at any level. At the constituency level, when they allocate funds for these roads, you can never argue with an engineer when he talks about volumes in calculations. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, there was one time when a particular contractor was allocated a road construction project. A bulldozer was being paid for on an hourly basis. The engineer did not know that I had appointed somebody to check on how many hours this bulldozer was working. This bulldozer was old and it broke down many times. It so happened that the contractor made a claim of Kshs1.2 million, yet, my records showed that they were entitled to Kshs600,000. Recently, with regard to Chiga Road, the Ministry officials at the district level, approved a payment of Kshs400,000, for about 150 loads of murram, yet, my spy there told me that they had only used 15 lorry loads of murram. The money was eventually paid. We need the assistance of the Minister now, because we shall not be with him permanently. But God forbid; without you this country will never move. Without you being serious, we will never get anywhere. We will spent countless amounts of shillings, but we will never get anywhere. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to support the move to reconstruct the white elephant projects, for example, the Nyanza Provincial Headquarters. This project has gone on for a long time. I know that, that Ministry has spent a lot of money. But just imagine that the Ministry of Roads and 2710 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 24, 2007 Public Works offices are located on one other side of the town while those of the Ministry of Agriculture is on the other side. Likewise the Provincial police headquarters are on one side while the offices of the Statistics Department are on the other side of the town. They are all scattered all over town and they are paying rent. Can you imagine how much money we would save by having these offices situated at one place? It is logical that we spend as much money as possible and then spare no effort to make sure that this is done. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, my concern is with this so-called partnership with donor funding. I know that, as a country, we may not have enough money to fund all the road projects. But I am concerned that--- For example, certainly, I drive to Kisumu, almost, every weekend. I do not go by air. The reconstruction of the road from Naivasha to Nakuru is funded by the European Economic Union. However, the reconstruction of this road has taken too long. Do we not have capacity to supervise and implement? If the people who are funding this project have given us this money, why does it take so long to complete it? My dear father - because he is the father of my friend who is also my age mate - would know and agree with me, that the construction of the Mau Summit-Kericho-Kisumu Road is long overdue. But the worst part of it is that when these contracts are awarded - and the engineer who is in charge of construction told us that these things have been done - they ignore the fact that vehicles still have to pass through these roads. As a result, the potholes which were there, now become areas where you can, actually, bury someone in a coffin. In a small car, you would go down slowly and then climb up on the other side; on a road which is supposed to be an international carriage way. What happened to the logic of doing temporary repairs before the main contractors move in? I noted that there were some repairs which had been done on some of those areas before, but the work was shoddy. Come the rains, the roads revert back to their original state before the repairs. This is where we lose money as a nation. I must appeal to the Minister and technical people to, at least, fill in that hole. If we are going to spend even Kshs100 million on a project, let it serve the purpose for what it is meant. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, even the North Road which Mzee was talking about has taken too long to construct. It is difficult to understand why this is the case. I understand that the Timboroa- Webuye and Nakuru-Mau Summit roads are also being constructed. In fact, I understand that the by-pass is being constructed, so that motorists can go on with their activities. The one thing that really amuses me is this: Why do we have to wait for too long before carrying out some of these road repairs? Recently, when floods were experienced in Kisumu, we were marooned when the Nyamasaria Bridge broke down. The Awach Bridge on the Kisii Road was also destroyed. Likewise, the Miwani Road was also destroyed by the heavy rains. To go to Kisumu, one had to go via Busia. We were marooned like an island. This should never arise. I always recommend the use of local people, because I know that Kenya has got the human resources. I know that we have got qualified people. A Mzungu does not know the quantity of water that would pass under the Nyamasaria, Awach or Kuja rivers, because he was not born there. He will have to look at the statistics. But, sometimes, the Meterological Department does not have the equipment in that place. But the local people know the quantity of water that passes under those bridges. So, instead of using pipes, which are more expensive, to construct the bridges, we should construct a bridge at a place like Ahero. The water would pass and, as a result, there will be no flooding. Our people suffer constantly because of these kind of things. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, let me just mention something about the Nyanza Roads 2000 Project. We have waited for this project for a long time. We have even had people trained. This is going to be a useful project, because it can provide labour intensive method of constructing roads. Therefore, it is going to provide employment to our people. They will deal with their own roads July 24, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2711 which they can own. But this project is going on very slowly. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I support the Minister when it comes to reforms in the roads sectors. I would like to say that the Kenya Roads Board (KRB) has done well. This is the way that we should go. But when money is allocated for particular projects during a financial year, why do we have to wait until the financial year is half-way through before awarding the contracts. By the time the contract is awarded, it will be too late for the contractor to finish the projects. As a result, some of the money allocated for that particular project is returned to the Treasury. I have a case in point. The construction of the Awach Bridge was allocated funds under the KRB. I went there night and day to make sure that the project was completed, but we could not finish it by 30th June. That is a practical case, because the contract was awarded too late. I want to appeal to the Minister that, if money has been allocated for a particular project, the contract should be awarded early enough, so that the contractors can do their job earlier enough, so that they do not have to return money to the Treasury. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Minister admitted that the deterioration of our roads system is as a result of under-investment. That is true and I support him. I would like to say that this Parliament will support him, so that he can get more funds. This is because without roads we can never get anywhere. Also, without roads the economic lifeline of this country will be at stake. For example, Kenya was at the forefront of bringing peace to Sudan. But right now, Ugandans are taking advantage because Kenyans cannot reach there easily. This is because the road to Sudan from my friend's constituency, Kacheliba, is not existent. What kind of people are we if we cannot priorities our--- If we constructed the road to Ethiopia, we will need to construct another port to employ our people, so that the economic life of this country can be--- There is no way we are ever going to move forward if we do not prioritize the right projects at the right time. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this very critical Vote of a very critical sector; the infrastructure sector, specifically, the roads sector. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the development of infrastructure is a prerequisite to the development of the economy. We are aware that the most visible feature or mark of development is infrastructure. Backward economies have very poor or few roads, while developed countries have many, very good roads which are well-developed. So, we cannot understate the importance of this Ministry and, especially, the roads sector. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, having made general remarks, I want to look at the progress made since the current Minister for Roads and Public Works took charge. I think we have seen a steady growth of the roads budget. We have seen more roads being rehabilitated and maintained. I wish to congratulate the Minister and his officers. We have seen more roads being done all over the country. We have also seen a bit of equatability unlike previously. Having said that, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, let me now turn to the challenges facing this sector because the devil is in the details. One of them has been mentioned by the previous speakers. The most outstanding thing is the procurement procedures. We are aware of too much red tape in awarding tenders for road designs and construction. It is taking far too long between a decision to make a road and designing it. It is taking too long between the designing of a road and awarding of contracts. It is also taking too long between the awarding of contracts and actual construction. This is a disaster. Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, we must learn from countries like Tanzania. We do not need to go to South Africa. Let us learn from Tanzania, which is our neighbour here. From the time they established TAN Authority, which takes care of roads, we have seen the development of roads in that country. Their roads are good. I have driven at night from Dar es Salaam to Namanga. It was safe because the roads are wide and they have no potholes. I cannot understand why Tanzania must 2712 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 24, 2007 have better roads than Kenya and yet we are richer. That one beats me. The destruction of our roads by overloaded vehicles is another challenge. I have seen transport vehicles which, on reaching Namanga, offload their cargo to two other vehicles so that they can cross to the Tanzanian side. That means that our rules for overweight vehicles are a bit too lax and we need to pass other laws or implement the existing laws to ensure that we do not allow overloaded vehicles on our roads. There was a time when a company had to move a boat to Mwanza. Tanzanian authorities refused and so it had to be moved through the Mombasa-Kisumu Road and then cross over to Mwanza. That shows that we do not care about the destruction of our roads by overweight motor vehicles. The other challenge is limited funds. Granted that we have seen upward increase of the Budget since 2003--- Since the Kibaki administration took over, we have seen steady progress of better funding, but we are still very far from an optimal funding of this sector because it is the most important. We cannot expect any development in this country without good infrastructure. When you go to Johannesburg, South Africa, for example, you can see clearly why it is the economic super power of this continent. We, therefore, need more funding for our roads. We may not get all the funds from the Government or the taxpayer because we need the other sectors like health and education to be also developed. However, we have other sources of funding and we can copy from Britain. Britain's infrastructure began to improve tremendously from 2003 when they begun using Infrastructure Development Bonds (IDBs) not for recurrent expenditure, but for capital development. That is the way to go. Indeed, Britain, is now geared to take over the third position from Germany in the world in 2012 because of that policy. The country began to grow in 2003. Last year, the Minister for Finance talked about the Infrastructure Development Bonds, but we have not seen them. We have met fund managers in the Departmental Committee on Finance, Planning and Trade and they told us that they can raise the billions of shillings that we need, in fact, as much as Kshs60 billion to construct a dual carriageway from Mombasa to Busia, for instance. We have funds, if only we can use the right methods to raise those funds. We should not over-rely on the taxpayers. I would like to talk about the other ways of acquiring more funds for developing our infrastructure. We have been told about concessioning even by the Minister himself. I am talking about concessioning of major highways and bypasses. We have big economies like China, Kuwait and Korea. They are ready and capable to participate in concessioning of roads in Kenya. Why can we not approach them so that they can do the three ways? They can do the express way, the bypasses and the flyovers. We should not just rely on the poor taxpayers because we have other sources. By doing that, we shall raise a lot of funds for both rural and urban roads. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, let me now look at the critical roads, which require special attention; the highways, the tourist roads, for example, in Maasai Mara Game Reserve, the Mombasa-Malindi Road and so on. We need very good roads in highland agricultural areas, like Runyenjes, where we grow tea and coffee. I want to thank the Minister and his Ministry because we can now see some activities in that region. We can assure him that we are going to maximise on those tarmacked roads once they are completed because we grow a lot of tea, coffee and macadamia. With regard to the roads to our airports, I cannot understand why we cannot have a smooth road from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to the city centre. It is only in Kenya where you find roads leading to the airports, which are meant to be our marketing zones, very bumpy. It is really not understandable because the roads to airports are supposed to be the best and very wide. In fact, they should be dual carriageways. So, all roads to the international airport should be very good. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, finally, I would like to talk about the District Roads Committees July 24, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2713 (DRCs). I am the chairman of the Embu one. I can assure you that, even as a chairman, I have no influence over the district officials. They do what they want and they do not care about that. We are tired of this! Why can these funds not be moved to the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF) Committees where they can be better utilised? We are not happy with the way the funds are being utilised by the DRCs, especially by the secretariat. It is high time we transferred these funds to the CDF committees, through the Miscellaneous Amendments Bill. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, with those remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. First of all I want to thank the Ministry under the leadership of hon. Nyachae. You know, for the very first time, a road is being constructed in Mfangano Island, Suba District. You must have noticed that when the media highlighted the first car going to the island, there was much talk and laughter. However, what people do not know is that Mfangano Island is the same size as Mahe Island of Seychelles and that the economy of Suba District is almost the same size as the total economy of the Seychelles Republic.
That is a fact. So, the initiative which the Ministry has taken to open up that part of Kenya for investment is most commendable, and I want to thank him. However, the Minister has a major problem. My view would be that until the new legal framework is in place, that is, creating the three authorities, no money should be transferred from the KRB for purposes of being used by the DRCs during this financial year. This is because that money is being misused by the technical teams of the DRCs. I would like to illustrate this matter. During the last financial year, Gwassi Constituency Development Committee used just Kshs4.5 million to hire machinery from the Ministry's MTF and it opened over 52 kilometres of road and it is first class. That same year, the KRB transferred to the DRC over Kshs11 million. There is no road, at all, to be seen as a result of that Kshs11 million. Subsequently, all that was done was that the District Roads Engineer, the District Roads Officer and the District Works Officer were transferred to do damage to their new districts of posting. So, I would have hoped that, that new legal framework was put in place before we pass this particular Vote, so that this money can, at least, be put in a safer, although new, institutional framework for it to be utilised properly. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to commend the Kenya Roads Board and the Ministry, headed by the Permanent Secretary. They are doing a first class job. This team is good! They are sensitive. They listen. However, unless they sort out the problem within the districts, there will continue to be a problem. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to give a second illustration. The Ministry, in its wisdom, set up the MTA(?) Fund and, recently, it was restructured. So, in Nyanza Province, for instance, we now have two regional offices, with one based in Kisii and another one in Kisumu. There is equipment comprising of graders, bulldozers, tippers, stone breakers, excavators, et cetera . However, the District Roads Engineer and the District Works Officer refused to use those facilities. Why? When they use them, they do so through third party contractors, who go to hire them. They double the rates. A D8 bulldozer costs me only Kshs5,400 per hour, a dry rate. I am glad that Engineer Kilimo is here. When those machines are hired out to third parties, the third parties charge us Kshs10,000 per hour. Why is the Ministry not forcing these people to use those machines, which have been purchased using public funds, to make it cheaper for us to open up and maintain our roads? I see no reason whatsoever as to why we should go to third party contractors who, simply, hire those machines and then rent them to us at double the standard rate. That beautiful dream is going to be defeated. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, another issue on which I would like to make an appeal to the 2714 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 24, 2007 Ministry is that of standardisation: setting standards and changing the whole idea of who controls the money. The Authority to Incur Expenditure (AIE) is in the hands of the same engineers, who are supposed to set the standards, oversee the procurement process, monitor, evaluate and approve payments. How can that work? It cannot work! When the Britons and the Canadians were teaching me accounts and financial management, they said: "For purposes of proper internal control, there must be separation of responsibilities". The man holding the key to the funds must not be the one who approves payment. Also, he must not be the one who monitors expenditure. Let us make a drastic amendment to the procedure. I said earlier on that the team that the Ministry has is very good, but I do not understand the criteria by which funds are allocated to the districts. I want to appreciate that this year, for the first time, the whole of Suba District was given Kshs12 million. Last year, it was given Kshs1 million. We do not know what that money was used for. I wanted to appeal to the Minister, since he is like an uncle to me. Hata angetoa pesa kidogo from Kisii Central---
Speak in English!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I apologise. I would have appealed to him, as an uncle, to remove only Kshs20 million from Kisii District, which has been allocated Kshs570 million, to help their "cousins" in Suba District. Even if you go to Suba District, you will find many people from Kisii Central, who are settled there and living with us peacefully. Suba District accounts for nearly 80 per cent of this country's total fish products that is exported, and which brings in Kshs16 billion. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, if you watched the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television news this morning and last night, you must have learnt that the Lake Victoria Region has now been targeted worldwide as the next frontier for expanding the tourism industry in our region. It was very well covered by the BBC television this morning and last night. That region is the most potential in terms of agriculture. Even now, it is more productive than any other part in the region. Our security along the lake depends on the roads in that area. Only recently, on 4th June, 2007, His Excellency the President inaugurated the Lake Victoria Commission in Kisumu. I notice that the Minister has allocated Kshs10 million to Road D210, which links that region to Tanzania, and goes all the way to Jinja. I know that the spirit is willing. I want to appeal to the Minister, through the Chair, that the body be strong. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, allocating Kshs10 million to that road is a good starting point in terms of expressing the willingness of the spirit. However, what will Kshs10 million do for a road starting from Mbita and covering the distance all the way to Tanzania and to Narok, as a loop? It is not possible. So, I do not know whether the wonderful people I trust in the technical side are the ones who did not see it, or that there is an oversight, but I would like to appeal for a re-look at the allocation to this particular road. Finally, may I suggest, once again, that until the new legal framework is in place, let us apply the brakes, because whatever money the Kenya Roads Board and the Ministry will transfer to the District Road Boards (DRCs) under the current arrangement, it will be as well as giving a Christmas gift to the District Works Officers, District Roads Engineers and all those who are involved in the procurement process for the roads sector. With those remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, let me also take this opportunity to support this Vote. First, I want to thank the Minister in charge of this Ministry, Mr. Nyachae, for the good work he is doing. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as you are aware, we have placed all our employees on performance contracts. Under this programme, work is programmed in such a way that each person has to achieve certain targets. I want to state in this House that employees in the Ministry of Roads and Public Works are doing a good job. In, at least, every district countrywide, there are certain July 24, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2715 road works being undertaken. I know that the Ministry is constrained because of the few contractors that we have in the country, especially local ones. Therefore, we may continue blaming the Ministry but let me assure this House that the problem is that, as a country, we have few contractors in the roads sector. So, if our people could come up and show some interest in road construction, the Ministry is prepared to allocate funds for road works.The Ministry does not have enough engineers. That is something that I have discussed with my colleague, so that he could send a proposal to my Ministry. I will approve that proposal so that we could have enough engineers to supervise the works that are being done in this country. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in every market, we must have a mad man. Members have complained about certain engineers in various districts. I agree that some of them are not up to standard. But we are trying to phase them out. When we employ some people, some of those engineers who are not working or performing will definitely be phased out. Recently, I had a meeting with the Permanent Secretaries in Mombasa. I told them that this time, when we release the results of the performance contracts in October, those ones who will not have achieved--- We might part ways. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, real work on our roads started when my mentor, Mr. Nyachae, assumed the powers in that Ministry. The road which goes to Kisumu, the one which my colleagues are complaining about from time to time, would have been completed a long time ago. But because of certain bureaucracies, which started many years ago, there were certain delays. But you can see that something is being done. I know that, perhaps, before the end of next year, that road will have been finished. It will be good news because most hon. Members from the other side of the country fly to Kisumu. They do not use that road. That road is in bad shape. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I thank the Ministry because it has set aside funds for a road in my constituency the Kisa-Khumusalaba Road. The construction of that road will start soon. I am happy because His Excellency the President is visiting our district next month. In his own wisdom, he has agreed to launch that road on 12th August, 2007. I would also like to request the Ministry to also consider the roads from Majengo to Luanda and Chavakali to Kaimosi. I have a Land Cruiser. But when I drove it the other day on the Majengo-Luanda Road, it had two punctures. There are so many potholes on that road. I request my colleague to allocate some funds to do something on that road. After all, it is a very short stretch. That is not a big problem. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, you will agree with me that the economy of any country depends on a good road network. Most of the feeder roads are not murramed. We need to do something so that we could gravel most of those feeder roads. They are going to help our farmers and our people. Kenya will never be the same again! Most of our roads are being messed up by heavy commercial vehicles. I do not know what we are going to do with those heavy commercial vehicles. We repair our roads and just after two months, there are potholes just because of overloading the heavy commercial vehicles. Something has to be done to ensure that there is restriction on the usage of those roads by heavy commercial vehicles. Lastly, we might blame the Ministry, but the procurement procedures in this country are terrible. These procurement processes were approved by this House. We debate on things, approve them in this House, but, at the end of the day, we continue complaining about the same things. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, recently when I met the Permanent Secretaries in Mombasa, I directed them to look into our procurement procedures. If you look at the bureaucracy in the procurement process, it is terrible. It takes almost three to six months just to procure one item. How will work continue if it takes that long? We want to challenge the procedures. I want to assure this House, as the Minister in charge of Public Service, we will do something. I urge this House to support us when we bring amendments to procurement processes so that we help Kenyans. We hope to do so very soon. 2716 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 24, 2007 Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, with those few remarks, I beg to support.
Mr. Kipchumba, you have four minutes to contribute, please, proceed!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to support this very important Vote for the Ministry of Roads and Public Works. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, unlike many hon. Members who have complained about their District Roads Committees (DRCs), mine works very well. Honestly, I do not have any problem with my engineer. He is a very good engineer and I hope that he stays there for a very long time. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do not know whether we need the position of the Provincial Roads Engineer (PRE) any more. I wish the Government could realise that we no longer need these provincial aides in most Government departments. Things can be coordinated very easily from Nairobi. With advanced technology and communication that exists all over the world, I do not understand the justification of the Government policy of holding on to a province, especially in terms of managing resources. That creates unnecessary bureaucracy. I know that there are roads that have been assigned for PREs. However, I wish that all the money for any road in my district be channelled to the District Roads Engineer (DRE). The minute that the money is given through the PRE, I have never seen what job they do. When it comes to patching up potholes, they do it so badly. I think, probably, they should do a better job. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in Rift Valley Province we even have two PREs; one in Nakuru and another, unfortunately, in my own district. The Minister should consider recalling him to Nairobi, so that he can be posted to some of the new districts where he can be of assistance. He is doing nothing there. I do not know what he does. Probably, he is earning some very fat allowance and pretending to be a boss to certain people in this country. That is unwarranted. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to request that, in terms of tarmacking roads, there should be a criteria of prioritising them. We have class C-Roads in this country, I do not know why we would want to tarmac a class E- Road or an unclassified road, when there are Class C-Roads which are so critical. I have class C- Roads in my constituency, these are very critical roads, but they have never been tarmacked since Independence. The best that has been done is to murram them. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I wish that there was a criteria that when we construct Class A- Roads, then go to B-Roads and then to C-Roads and so on. If there is a problem with classification, and there are certain roads that do not merit the class in which they have been placed, they should be down-graded! We should be told that a class A-Road is more important than a Class B-Road. I wish that, that understanding can be narrated here. I would want the Minister to explain to us which road is more important; is it a class A-Road, B-Road, C-Road, E-Road or an unclassified road? I come from a very rich---
Order, Mr. Kipchumba! You will continue tomorrow for six minutes. Hon. Members, it is now time for the interruption of business. The House is, therefore, adjourned until tomorrow, Wednesday, 25th July, 2007, at 9.00 a.m. The House rose at 6.30 p.m.