asked the Minister of State for Administration and National Security:- (a) how many Kenyans have been displaced as a result of ethnic/land clashes within Kenya in the last 15 years; (b) whether he could indicate the number of such victims in Muhoroni Constituency; and, (d) whether he could specify the parcels of land from which the victims in Muhoroni were evicted and person(s) occupying the land now.
We had received communication from the Minister that they will not be available. So, I will defer this Question until tomorrow.
Next Question by the Member for Nakuru Town!
asked the Minister for Co-operative Development and Marketing:- (a) why Reli Sacco Society Limited failed to pay Mr. Moses K. Alukutsa his terminal benefits despite his having been acquitted by the Chief Magistrate's Court at Nakuru; and, (b) what action is being taken against the Society for failing to honour such an obligation.
Is the Minister for Co-operative 3330 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 22, 2007 Development and Marketing not here? We will skip the Question for the next call out! Next Question, Mr. Wambora!
Mr. Wambora is absent. Therefore, the Question is dropped!
Why can you not give him a second chance, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir?
Order, Mr. Angwenyi!
Next Question, Prof. Mango!
asked the Minister for Education:- (a) whether he could issue guidelines on the length of stay for principals and head teachers at schools to avoid complacency; and, (b) whether he could stop posting head teachers to schools in their home areas to prevent poor performance in those schools.
Minister for Education! He is not available. We shall skip the Question for the second call-up! Next Question by the Member for Kaiti!
NUMBER OF PROJECTS FUNDED BY WATER TRUST FUND The Member of Kaiti is absent! The Question is, therefore, dropped!
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I seek the Chair's indulgence in this matter. When Ministers come late, or they are absent, the Questions they are supposed to answer are deferred. However, when a Question is called out once and the Questioner is absent, the Question is dropped. Could we get clarification from the Chair?
Capt. Nakitare, you have been here long enough to know our traditions. This is your fifth year in this House. So, we do not want to reinvent August 22, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3331 the wheel. This is the tradition and it will go on like that. So, I will go for the second call- up. Prof. Mango, you may ask your Question for the second time!
asked the Minister for Education:- (a) whether he could issue guidelines on the length of stay for principals and head teachers at schools to avoid complacency; and, (b) whether he could stop posting head teachers to schools in their home areas to prevent poor performance in those schools.
Is the Minister for Education still not here? Can we have some clarification from the Government side? Any Minister?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is not the mistake of the Ministers that they are not here. As you know, there is a heavy traffic jam. I think they should be excused for this.
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. You have just dropped two Questions because the hon. Members who are supposed to ask them are not here. Now that the Ministers are not there, I am asking the Chair to take some disciplinary measures against the Ministers who come late, more particularly now that the Government is tired.
Do you want to answer the Question by the Member for Butula, Dr. Kulundu?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to ask for more time---
In fact, the Assistant Minister for Education is here!
I will allow the Assistant Minister to answer the Question.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) The Ministry is currently reviewing the policy on identification and deployment of institutional administrators, with a view to addressing the length of stay and other issues. Through regular school inspections, the Ministry is able to detect cases of complacency and other administrative flaws. Where such cases have been detected, the Ministry has always taken appropriate action against the concerned principals and head teachers. (b) It has been the practice of the Ministry to post head teachers in primary schools to their home areas. However, when such head teachers leave the service through natural attrition, the Teachers Service Commission replaces them on the basis of competence. Principals and head teachers in post-primary institutions are mostly posted to schools in any part of the country, where their services are required. 3332 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 22, 2007 Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I, again, apologise for coming late.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I wish to thank the Assistant Minister for his answer. But the principals tend to overstay in the same place. They get involved in businesses using proxies. In the end, they concentrate on their own businesses rather than run the schools. Could the Ministry have a clear policy about the principals overstaying in one station and running their businesses?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, yes, there have been cases where principals have stayed in one station for many years. We realise that can be a problem. Part of the review on posting of head teachers is going to look into issues related to duration of stay, especially when you stay in a station for sometime and results continue to be poor. I think action, in any case, is taken. But we are considering issues of time of stay as well as other considerations, including whether or not principals should serve in their home areas as a way of ensuring that they are more professional and spend much more time on school matters as opposed to business and other issues.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Assistant Minister has answered this Question, notwithstanding the fact that, even transferring of head teachers, sometimes, involves transferring problems from one school to another. Whereas head teachers may be from one domain or one location; what plans does the Assistant Minister have to streamline corruption when head teachers are involved?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if a head teacher has been found with a problem related to mismanagement, he or she is usually not posted to another school. That is because that would be punishing students and communities in the areas that they are posted to. Usually, they are demoted. If there are cases of corruption and there is evidence, disciplinary action is taken, including interdicting them first and, secondly, expelling them if necessary. So, we do relevant investigations and take appropriate action depending on the nature of the problem.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Ministry of Education treats teaching as a different Civil Service job. That is because all other civil servants move from Coast Province to Nyanza Province. They move from Nyanza Province to North Eastern Province without complaining. But teachers want to teach in the same sub-location where they were born. Then, they have farms and goats. They never go to school. Since they come from there and have clans, those clans protect them against other clans. They bring a lot of problems and they do not teach. Why do you not treat teachers like any other civil servant, and move them to other places to work? It is work which has brought them there. You make them look like they are giving us a charity. We pay them to do their work. We pay them house allowances so that they could teach anywhere as they used to teach in those days.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I agree with the hon. Member. I think it is important to deeply de-localise the management of schools. But let me also say that, sometimes, we are to blame for the fact that, teachers teach in our local schools. That is because, often, politicians and communities would insist that they want a certain person to head schools. One example is the current recruitment of teachers. In many local schools, most Board of Governors where Members of Parliament also sit, insist on recruiting their local teachers and yet, there are others from other parts of Kenya who are qualified. So, one of the policies that we want to implement is to de-localise management of secondary schools to ensure that--- It will be like the old days where missionaries came from England to run schools many miles away from their homes. They really spent time on their professional duty, which was teaching. That is one of the areas that we are considering very seriously. We hope to get the support of all us, including Members of Parliament, to ensure that teachers--- If you are principal of a school, you are not held by other responsibilities outside teaching, just because you are teaching in your local home area.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, why can the Assistant Minister not August 22, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3333 consider recruiting all teachers centrally at the Teachers Service Commission (TSC)? Is the Assistant Minister confirming that the length of stay of a head teacher impairs his work when, in fact, we know that some of the longest serving head teachers in schools like Carrey Francis and the late Griffin at Starehe performed extremely well, than those who were being transferred from time to time?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, there are teachers who stay in a place and the institution does well. But there are experiences to show that many who overstay have problems associated with performance. So, you cannot generalise. Of course, there are cases like those. But I think if we have to have it as a policy, it needs to be across the board. So, unfortunately, we would have to affect even those who stay in some places for long periods of time and still show good results. But I think it is generally a good policy. It will divorce educational institutions from politics of local communities.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Ministry should give us guidelines on how long a teacher should stay in a school. You have heard that the questions being asked here are contradictory, given the fact that, the longer the teacher stays in a school, the better. Experience has shown that a teacher would learn the environment and know how to run the school. Now, it is coming out clearly that this Ministry is recruiting teachers locally. At the same time, we are asking teachers to be posted elsewhere. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, is it going to work? Could a teacher be transferred to head a school where he was rejected? Would he have the motisha to work? For example, if I am supposed to be employed in Kakamega---
Order! Mr. Bifwoli, this is Question Time! We are not debating. You have already asked your question. Let the Assistant Minister answer it.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, my question is: If teachers are being denied employment in certain areas because they do not come from there, how would they be accepted to head schools where they were denied employment?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, first of all, they will not qualify to be head teachers of schools since they will not have been recruited in the first place. Secondly, it is not the policy of the Ministry for teachers to be recruited locally. It is the policy of the local communities that leads to that recruitment. I said that the problem is not really the Ministry---
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Order! Order, Mr. Bifwoli. Why do you not let the Assistant Minister finish? If you have got any other matters to raise, then you can do it afterwards. So, Mr. Assistant Minister, can you complete what you are saying?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I think hon. Angwenyi raised the issue of whether or not we can consider centralising the recruitment of teachers. Yes, I would like to confirm that, even though I did not remember to respond to that directly, we are also considering that policy. The idea of just leaving BOGs to be recruiting teachers--- Sometimes, we have found out that it is not necessarily the merit that they go for. A local person is preferred to another one, even when that person is more qualified. So, yes, it is true. This is a major issue. As we review that whole policy, it is another area that we need to consider. But let us also not forget, especially for primary schools that, it is the communities themselves and Members of Parliament who insist they must recruit their own local teachers. That is because teachers from outside the environment tend to ask for transfers, giving many reasons. I agree that there are problems. This policy, with regard to recruitment of ordinary or head of institutions, must focus on the importance of realising that a teacher can serve anywhere in this country. After all, that is why we are called a country so that, 3334 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 22, 2007 when you come from Turkana, you can head a school in Meru.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, you realise that recruitment of teachers is no longer based on any criteria. For example, a teacher who graduated from college last year can easily get a job even before staying out for less than a year and yet we have some teachers who are 44 years old, that is, approaching the dangerous age of 45 years, which makes it difficult for them to be employed. Does the TSC consider the number of years a teacher has remained unemployed before he or she is employed?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the criteria that we have currently gives preference to teachers who graduated several years before. So, the year of graduation is important and preference is given to teachers who graduated in, say, 1999 or 2000, to those who graduated in 2003 or 2004. So, this is part of the policy for both primary and secondary school teachers. You get more marks if you graduated earlier.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in answering part (b) of the Question, the Assistant Minister said that it has been the practice of the Ministry to post head teachers in primary schools to their home areas. However, such head teachers leave the service through natural attrition. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if a teacher is in his home area and the school continuously performs poorly, can such a head teacher be transferred instead of being left until natural attrition takes toll on him? Could the Assistant Minister change the policy so that a teacher who is non-performing, whether he is in his home area or not, is transferred if the school does not perform well?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I indicated that, yes, teachers will retire through natural attrition, but we do inspection and sometimes there are complaints from parents and committees. When there are those complaints and when there is inspection, action is taken against a teacher who is seen to be a non-performer. So, we do not wait until they retire if they are not good. We also do not transfer them to other schools because that is transferring a problem. We, normally, ask that they get demoted. However, there are local communities which have taken their own initiative. For example, in our district, if a teacher has not been performing for five years, we have agreed that they resign voluntarily as headteachers. If they do not, then we find a way of forcing them out. So, it is up to us to also take the initiative and take action. We do not have to always wait until somebody comes to do it for us even when a teacher continues to mess up a school for many years.
Very well! I think we have only dealt with one Question this morning. I want to be a little generous today. I will allow three hon. Members who have just come in to ask their Questions. I will start with Mr. Mirugi, Member for Nakuru Town Constituency.
asked the Minister for Co-operative Development and Marketing:- (a) why Reli Sacco Society Limited failed to pay Mr. Moses K. Alukutsa his terminal benefits despite his having been acquitted by the Chief Magistrate's Court at Nakuru; and, (b) what action is being taken against the society for failing to honour such August 22, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3335 an obligation.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply---
Order, Mr. Mwenje! First of all, Mr. Mirugi, you must apologise! You do not just stand there and begin asking your Question and yet you came late!
He was here!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I was here.
You were here? So, it is Mr. Mwenje!
Mr. Mwenje, the Floor is yours!
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I do apologise. I had been told otherwise. I seek the indulgence of the House because with regard to this Question, which, actually, reached me quite late, I am not satisfied with the answer that I have here, which has been done by my officers. So, I seek the indulgence of the House that I answer this Question on Tuesday, next week.
What have you to say, Mr. Mirugi?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have the written answer and I have discussed with the Assistant Minister. The answer is not satisfactory and I would request that we go by his idea.
Very well! Next Question, Mr. Wambora!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would, first of all, like to apologise for coming late. I was held up in the traffic jam. I am very sorry.
asked the Minister for Health:- (a) if she is aware that Gitare, Kigaa and Mukuuri dispensaries whose construction and equipment were fully funded by Runyejes Constituencies Development Fund (CDF) Committee have been operational since 2005, but are yet to be gazetted; and, (b) if the answer to (a) above is in the affirmative, when the Ministry will gazette the dispensaries.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) Yes, I am aware that the three dispensaries are yet to be gazetted. (b) My Ministry has already included Gitare, Kigaa and Mukuuri dispensaries in a Gazette 3336 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 22, 2007 Notice that is yet to be published before the end of August, 2007.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am very satisfied with the answer by the Assistant Minister. I am looking forward to seeing the gazettement next week. Members of Parliament, including myself, have put up more dispensaries this year and we would encourage the Assistant Minister to consider a third lot of gazettement so that even those additional dispensaries are gazetted before September, 2007.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, since the Assistant Minister has said that he is going to gazette the dispensaries by the end of August, 2007, and since most of the Members of Parliament have not been involved in this process, could he consider calling a meeting or tabling the list of names of dispensaries before they are gazetted? This is because it will be late for some of us to include names of dispensaries in our areas if he went ahead to gazette the dispensaries mentioned by hon. Wambora without considering other areas. Could he be generous enough to give us a list of names of dispensaries in all the constituencies that will be gazetted?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, that is possible, but in view of the way the Question was framed, I think I would suggest that the hon. Member sees me and I will be able to show him all the names of the gazetted dispensaries in his area. It is possible to table that, if the House so wishes.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this Ministry has done a very good job, at least, in my constituency in terms of gazettement of dispensaries. However, it is not adequate just to put dispensaries in a gazette notice. There must be provision of nurses and the required medical kit. When will the Assistant Minister begin to deploy or post nurses and supply the required medical kits to the registered dispensaries? Some of them have not been attended to for one year now.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the information I have is that all gazetted dispensaries have, at least, one nurse posted to them. Once a dispensary is gazetted, it is automatically entered in the list of supply of medicines every three months from Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA). If that is not being done for the dispensary in the hon. Member's constituency, let me have that information so that I can take action.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, what is the policy of the Government on gazettement of institutions like these ones? We do not have to come to Parliament to ask Questions for the Government to do it for us. If a community has put up a dispensary, do they need their Member of Parliament to ask a Question in the House for them to be included in the Gazette Notice, or is there a policy that once an institution has been established and the MOH has been notified--- In fact, he knows about it because he helped in putting it up. What is the Government supposed to do so that we just know that it will follow? We do not have to go to the Assistant Minister's office every time.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if you look at my answer to hon. Wambora's Question, I had even put the process of gazettement of the dispensaries in his constituency even before he asked his question. So, it is not that hon. Members must ask Questions in the House for those institutions to be gazetted. The normal procedure and the policy of the Ministry is that the institution must be approved by the District Development Committee (DDC). Once it is put up, a letter of notification is given to the MOH in charge of the district to examine and approve that, that institution is built to specification. Once that is done, the rest is automatic because the report will go to the Ministry and gazettement is done as a procedure.
Very well, Mr. Wambora said he is okay. Therefore, I will give Mr. Ndambuki a chance to ask his Question.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I sincerely apologise for coming late. August 22, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3337
asked the Minister for Water and Irrigation:- (a) whether he could inform the House how many water projects have been financed through the Water Trust Fund; and, (b) how much each project cost.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) A total of 107 water supply and sanitation projects have been financed through the Water Services Trust Fund since its establishment in 2004. Forty two of these projects have been completed while the rest are at various stages of completion. (b) The total funding for the projects was Kshs828 million and, therefore, the average cost of each project is Kshs7.7 million. In the current Financial Year 2007/2008, a sum of Kshs500 million has been set aside for projects targeting the poor and marginalized communities in all the seven Water Services Boards. For the cost of each project, I wish to table a list showing amounts allocated.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do not have that list and I would like---
You did not ask for it!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I did.
Anyway, I thank the Assistant Minister for giving us the list, but I would like to have a look at it. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in the last financial year, we only allocated Kshs80 million to the Water Services Trust Fund. Now, we can see you have used Kshs828 million. Where did the other money come from?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, as for the list, if the hon. Member has any specific project he wants me to bring a specific answer on, he can peruse through and bring the relevant Question about the project or projects. I will then be able to bring a specific answer detailing their status. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the amount of money given in this answer is what has been used since 2000. It also includes the amount since the inception of the Fund. Funds come from donors and Appropriations-in-Aid (A-in-A).
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, through the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF), a number of us implement projects after the communities identify their requirements. Could the Assistant Minister consider allocating some of these funds collected through harambees to various CDF committees? Some of us have very little information with regard to where this money comes from.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, whether the CDF is there or not, each Ministry has the responsibility to continue serving communities. Therefore, the Water Services 3338 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 22, 2007 Trust Fund is a grassroots fund for the communities. Communities can initiate proposals to the Fund for funding on the basis of cost sharing. Therefore, it is independent of the CDF. Regardless of whether the CDF is doing something in that particular sector or not, communities have access to this Fund.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, during the inception of the Water Services Trust Fund, the public was made to believe that there was a lot of money and so many projects would be undertaken. However, if you look at what the Fund has done so far, it is nil. For example, in Teso, we presented so many projects. Could the Assistant Minister indicate if in the list there is any project done in Teso? We presented quite a number of projects. Today, we do not even have a borehole.
Surely, Mr. Ojaamong, you do not expect the Assistant Minister to give you all the names of the projects that were done in Teso when you, yourself have never asked that Question. You are being unfair. I do not think the Assistant Minister should be taken to task to enlist all the projects in Teso.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in any case, I have just asked if there is any project in that list that has been done in Teso.
That looks reasonable!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have just tabled a list showing the projects that have been undertaken since 2004. The hon. Member can refer to the list. If there is any specific issue he wants to raise with regard to those projects, he can bring a Question.
That list you have tabled contains all the 107 projects? Mr. Ojaamong, you can take time, look at it and refer to the Assistant Minister!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I think the policy on the Fund is a bit cumbersome and it is not transparent. It leaves our communities in very vulnerable situations. Why do you not put money in the districts? The District Water Officer (DWO) would identify whatever projects they can carry out with the communities around per year, instead of asking Community Based Organisations (CBOs), men and women groups to write proposals to some Trust Fund they do not even know. They then hope that they will be answered and wait for years without an answer. Why do you not bring this money down to the grassroots level? The DWO is a grassroots level officer!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this Fund and programme has been in place since 2004. Policies are always there to be revised in order to serve a purpose better. However, right now, it is the Water Boards that form the grassroots links to the communities. The communities pass their proposals through the Water Boards. It is the Boards that forward them to the Trust Fund. Most of the money in the Trust Fund comes from donors and that is why it is centred at the headquarters.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, more often than not, we find flooding in places like Budalang'i, Mwea and River Tana. This is caused by excessive rainfall in catchment regions leading to soil erosion and flooding. Could the same Trust Fund not be used to construct reservoirs or dams upstream, so that it can harness the excessive water?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, that is a very good suggestion. However, the Fund is only meant to support communities at the grassroots level. It is a micro- project not a multi-million project as such. The maximum amount is, probably about Kshs10 million. To put up the projects the hon. Member is envisaging requires a lot of money. However, some of the money supports communities in conservation of catchments at the local level.
Bw. Naibu Spika wa Muda, jana nilisema ya kwamba siku hizi kuna taasisi nyingi ambazo zinasimamia maji hadi hatuelewi kazi ya Wizara ya Maji na Unyunyizaji ni August 22, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3339 nini. Je, kulingana na huu mchanganyiko wa taasisi nyingi, Wizara ya Maji na Unyunyizaji inafanya kazi gani au inarushwa hapa na pale na wafadhili?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I think every hon. Member or community leader appreciates or can comprehend what has been put in place. These boards have been created to serve the communities since this service is very vital at the grassroots level. So far, we are satisfied with the service they are providing.
Jambo la nidhamu, Bw. Naibu Spika wa Muda. Swali langu lilikuwa linamuuliza Waziri Msaidizi: Kulingana na vile sasa kuna taasisi nyingi ambazo zinasimamia maji, je ni kazi gani hasa imebaki kwa Wizara ya Maji na Unyunyizaji?
Kazi ya Wizara ya Maji na Unyunyizaji ni kusimamia hizo taasisi na kuzipatia mwelekeo ili zipeane huduma kwa jamii kote nchini Kenya.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Assistant Minister has said that he is satisfied with the services that are provided by those boards. But we have one board in Kisumu which only serves rural Nyanza. It never serves Kericho and Kisii districts! Could the Assistant Minister tell us when we are going to be served by that board or, when he is going to establish a board for Kisii and Kericho regions?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the boards were not formed on the basis of regions. They were formed on the basis of where water is derived for that particular region. However, if the hon. Member is not satisfied with the services being provided by a particular board, I will appreciate if he brings those specific problems that he is facing from those boards. Those institutions are only a few years old and they have teething problems. I very much understand the fact that, probably, we are not measuring up to the expectations. But I urge hon. Members to bring those problems to the Ministry, so that we can tackle them. Thank you.
Last question, Mr. Ndambuki!
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. The Water Trust Fund dug a borehole in Kaiti Constituency at a place called Watema, but it was left unfinished. They never brought the water pump and it is just lying there. They ended up putting a hand pump, and the people have never used that water. Could the Assistant Minister do something to ensure that a generator is brought to that borehole, so that the residents could start using that water?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, that is a specific question that has been asked by the hon. Member. He can bring the matter to us. We will find out what happened. I will then resolve the issue he is raising.
Very well. Next Order!
This is a Motion by hon. Angwenyi. It is resumption of debate. Who was on the Floor then?
Yes, proceed, hon. Wetangula!
Thank you very much, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me the opportunity to support this Motion. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to congratulate Mr. Angwenyi for bringing an important Motion that forms a basis of what many of us have been saying over and over. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the free primary education that we are giving to Kenyans is something that everybody lauds. It is something that everybody is happy about. It is something that Kenyans are benefitting from. I think there has been some policy lapse somewhere, because primary education does not start at Standard One. We should go to Early Childhood Development (ECD) level, so that children are given a proper foundation. When you go to rural areas, you find that most of the nursery schools were left to be run by the local authorities; county councils and municipal councils. But because of either inadequate funding or sheer mismanagement, most of them have collapsed. Even where they exist, they have no teachers. Even where they have teachers, they are not trained! Where they are trained, they are inadequately prepared to prepare children for Standard One. Some of the institutions have employed teachers who are paid by the community. The communities never raise enough money to pay those teachers. There are no instruction materials. There are no teaching aids. There is no capacity or ability to give those little kids even a glass of milk like other better run private institutions which are only accessed by children from rich families. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I fully support that, whether we bring a Bill or not, the Ministry of Education should evolve a policy on how to manage pre-primary institutions. Ideally, each and every primary school should have a pre-primary unit. That unit must be fully equipped as part of the system of free primary education. That unit must be given enough teachers, not just one or two teachers. Because of the delicate nature of the children, those teachers should be properly trained. They should be trained in ways and means of handling kids, and even in terms of health care and so on and so forth. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we should provide those pre-primary institutions with basic needs for looking after kids like nappies, fresh water, milk and so on. In fact, we also need to provide, in those pre-primary units, resting facilities! There are some kids who cannot sustain sitting in a class for up to three or four hours. The schools should, therefore, be equipped with some nursery somewhere where, a child who is incapable of going for three or four hours can rest. You do not expect parents to come and pick up the kids from school at will! They go to school, maybe, at seven o'clock, and go back at mid-day. In between, they should have an opportunity to August 22, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3341 have a rest. Those are very, very little kids that have not developed the capacity to sustain a rigorous learning exercise for three or four hours! Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, that is the only way we can give a proper foundation to our children. That is the only way we can give full meaning to free primary education. Research has shown that children who have missed that critical ECD program are incapable of effectively competing with those who have gone through the whole system of ECD and Standard I. As it already is, you will find that schools in urban centres; private schools where all these hon. Members send their children, have got facilities that make it impossible to compete with schools in rural areas. The problem is magnified by the lack of ECD availability in those areas. It is only that way that we will give full meaning to the only Millennium Development Goal (MDG) that we have achieved - universal primary education - by giving a proper foundation. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we, as hon. Members, have in many cases, provided funds for construction of classrooms to accommodate ECD! All we need to do now is to agree with the Government to partner so that, where we build classrooms, the Government should provide teachers. I know there is a problem of funding and recruitment of enough teachers even for the existing schools. But we must try to give a foundation to those children. Secondly, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I think it is also desirable to re-look into the operations of the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF) kitty. That is because, you know, the CDF Act does not allow us to use the fund for recurrent expenditure. For example, we are not allowed to pay salaries, recruit teachers and so on. But for purposes of effecting the development of children, I think we need to re-look at that Act and see whether the CDF can, in some way, be used to recruit teachers who are properly trained, so that they can run those nursery schools to enable our children get a proper foundation. This will go a long way in helping develop our education system. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, once again, I want to congratulate Mr. Angwenyi for such a far-sighted Motion and I fully support the spirit and the letter of the Motion. Thank you.
Thank you very much, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this chance again to, first, congratulate the Mover of the Motion. Also in support of it, I say that Early Childhood Development (ECD) is a very important component of education in our system. There is no way we are going to run away from it, because it is the background to what we call sound educational development of a child. If we are going to talk about child development, starting from birth, this is the most critical stage of our education system, where the kids are exposed to education facilities early in their life, hence the ECD introduction in our country. You will also note that even when the Nyayo Milk Programme was introduced, this was not considered to the extent that primary school pupils, even Standard Seven and Standard Eight pupils took milk but our ECD children were not treated in the same way. So, this area has been neglected for a long time, and I believe this is the first time we are going to consider re-introducing and re- affirming the child's development at a very early stage. The ECD level is the most relevant stage. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, you will note that in many primary schools where we have this ECD taking place, the facilities which are there are wanting. The classrooms sometimes have no windows, and even doors, and they are left like there is nobody who stays in them. There are no chairs, and these kids have to sit on the floor in most of the rural classrooms. This Motion, therefore, seeks to establish a system where children, before they proceed to Standard One, are properly trained to continue appreciating ECD and early education before they embark on serious work in Standard One. We appreciate the work done by these teachers. If there are teachers who should be really motivated, they are teachers who handle the ECD system, because they handle kids like they are their mothers. It is like they work in kindergartens and they act as babysitters. In many cases they 3342 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 22, 2007 are not supported, particularly with facilities. So, this Motion, once passed and implemented, is going to see to it that our children are, at the early stages of growth, taken care of as opposed to what is happening. These kids are left free to mingle with adults or mature pupils in Standards Three and Four. You may be surprised to note that they use the same toilet facilities with the older pupils, and this makes them not to know how the facilities are used. They are never exposed to facilities relevant to their age. So, you will find that a very young girl is exposed to a toilet where the hole is bigger than the length of her legs. You will, therefore, find that they are not able to use the facilities provided for other older pupils in the school. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we are asking the Ministry that once this Act is amended to enable primary schools to have their facilities separate from those of the ECD, where they have a class is where they will have their facilities. If this happens, we are going to make sure that before those kids get to Standard One they will have been exposed so much to what is relevant to their age. The moment that does not happen, we are going to disrupt the growth of that kid and it will not appreciate the education being provided in that environment. You will realise that the pathetic conditions that these kids face can also distract their attention, or make them lose interest in school. The more you have kids losing interest in education, the more they engage in truancy. That is the reason why you find that in most cases once these kids join Standard One, they find it very difficult to continue up to Standard Eight. This is one of the reasons for high drop-out rates in our primary schools. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, those parents who can afford to take their kids to good pre-primary schools are the same ones who will take them to Standards One, Two, Three and Four. They are the same parents who will even get these kids up to Standard Eight for them to pass and go to Form One and onwards to the university. This is the trend! If it is not checked, the haves will continue having while the have-nots will continue being poorer, because they cannot even afford to take kids to schools where they can be taught efficiently for lack of facilities and money that is required for the standard of the kid. We also note that due to lack of money, care and attention from the Government, these kids cannot even walk to schools. We would like the Government to provide some kind of transport, particularly in Nairobi. Kids can be given a certain vehicle to pick them from a particular area and take them to a particular ECD school, so that they can continue learning. If this happens, we are going to have the ECD teachers and kids relating well with one another. I am sure that they are going to produce better results than they do now. The Government does not care to know where the ECD teachers, in most cases, come from. They are never trained and are not given any tuition. They are never even given instructions on how to handle some complicated cases regarding the children. The Government needs to produce teachers who are like nurses, because this is a very tender age for the child. Unless we have a teacher who has some knowledge that a child can contract pneumonia early in the morning as they travel the teacher might not have any basic knowledge of health facilities we, therefore, need to have this teacher getting some specialised training different from that given to ordinary teachers, so that they can handle well kids in this age bracket. These teachers are like the ones in specialised schools, those schools where we have special-needs cases. We have special needs in the kindergartens and the ECD institutions. This is the training we are asking for, so that those teachers who handle kids in early ages are trained to handle delicate human beings. These are kids who can get sick any time and might not know what is happening. We need to have specialised training of the teachers handling this cadre of pupils. So, this Motion should not, therefore, just get passed. It should be implemented immediately, because without doing that, we are going to have kids getting to Standard One without any interest in what goes on in class. This is something that should be supported. August 22, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3343 With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I have a lot of interest in this area because, originally, when the Ministry of Education was going round to collect views from Kenyans before putting together the Sessional Paper on our policy on education, one of our very senior politicians from southern Nyanza, who was one time the Chairman of Homa Bay County Council, when it was still a big county council--- He is not a person who went to school much. He was called Councillor Aketch Chieng'. He asked the professors who had gone to gather information: "You are talking about 8-4-4, but where is the nursery and early childhood education?" So, essentially, even the Ministry itself has never considered education to start before the eight years of primary school education. That is what the councillor was asking about. It embarrassed the professors because they had not thought education should start before the first year in primary school. When the policy was put together, they did not include Councillor Aketch Chieng's suggestion; that education actually starts earlier than Standard One. Even if they referred to it, they did not provide the infrastructure which would instruct kids before they join Standard One. They did not also allocate any funds to support that education. Essentially, the Ministry of Education does not consider - although they talk about it and even have officers at the district level - it as an integral part of our education system. This is because unless we put any budgetary allocation on anything, we are not considering it serious. Originally, when the county councils were well-managed, they collected taxes and provided for early childhood and primary education. But when the county councils were robbed of funding and became monuments, this early childhood education collapsed. At the moment, maybe city and town councils can do it, because they have some resources. But county councils do not have the capacity to support early childhood education. They are now left in the hands of communities. If you go to any primary school and you are taken to the nursery class, most times, it does not have a cemented floor or wall. Also, it does not have a regular trained teacher who is paid. So, essentially, the Ministry does not care about early childhood education, yet I know - and I think the Ministry knows - that any kid who goes through proper early childhood education, ends up doing very well in high school, because of the foundation that he or she gets at that level. They get to like and appreciate school. Essentially, they do very well in future. Because of that voice, early childhood education has been taken over by Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), which are voluntary. There are areas which benefit from NGOs participation in early childhood education, but there are other areas which do not. In my own constituency, there is Lambwe Division in Suba District which seems to benefit from a church-based organisation, which has helped, first of all, to construct nursery classrooms. They call them Nursery "A" and "B". It has also helped to train teachers, which is a big contribution to the community. Through this Motion, I think hon. Angwenyi is asking: "Why can this project not be taken over by the Government, so that it trains and pays teachers, and even construct classrooms?" Since NGOs and CBOs are not found everywhere, we cannot say that they are part of our policy. We can talk of communities, but if they cannot put up or maintain eight classrooms, for example--- I have inspected the primary schools in my constituency and I know how badly off they are. They even employ teachers who are paid Kshs1,000 by the Parents and Teachers Association (PTA). So, you cannot attract any good staff with that kind of salary. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this early childhood education has also been taken over by academies, so that those who can afford take their kids to those academies which perform very well. The same children are taken to good primary schools also in academies and they perform very well. Later they join schools like Alliance High School, because they qualify for very good schools. Eventually, they study Medicine, Law and Engineering. If we are not careful, our poor 3344 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 22, 2007 people will never study professional courses. Consequently, we will constantly be poor. We build district schools with the little money that we get for the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF). Of course, staffing and teaching materials are sometimes poor. So, eventually, they do not get the required grades to join universities. They also do not get the money to undertake parallel courses at the university or join technical institutes. We are deliberately building a country which has two classes. I am not saying that a country should not have two classes, but we should not encourage it deliberately. I think a social system should try to reduce that gap. We must do something consciously to bring the poor into the system of the economy so that, eventually, we will also narrow the gap between the rich and poor. Right now, there are Early Childhood Development (ECD) training schools. In fact, a widow from my constituency came to see me recently and told me that she has finished training but she now has to do examinations on early childhood development, which is self-sponsored. She has to pay Kshs10,700 to sit for those examinations. She wanted the money from me but, of course, I do not have it. Why do we make it so expensive; that somebody has to train privately for ECD? Why do we not make our teacher-training colleges teach ECD as part of their training, so that when the trainees come out, we can employ them both in primary schools or in the ECD department? Why do we leave ECD to be a privately-run institution as if it is outside the education system? I think the Assistant Minister is listening and they will try to integrate ECD as part of our education system, so that we do not separate it as something very different, and leave it to churches, NGOs, CBOs and academies. Of course, those NGOs, churches and academies will still provide early childhood education, but the Government must have a policy on this; that is supported by our budget. If we do not do so, as I have said already, our children in the rural areas have no chance of ever joining the universities. I notice that the universities have reduced the minimum grade of joining universities to "B". This is very encouraging. I want to thank Dr. Mwiria for that, because he has been making some very relevant noises, because I think he also suffers from the same problem that we suffer from. Our children from day schools and rural areas never actually get those "A" and "A-minus" grades which we want. But have said that they have put a caution---
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. The hon. Member who was on the Floor talked about hon. Dr. Mwiria "making noises." Is he in order to say so? Does an hon. Member make noise?
I thought he said that he was making necessary noises, and Dr. Mwiria does not have a problem with that!
In fact, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I think he wanted me to emphasise, so that Dr. Mwiria can get the support he needs to get in his constituency. Actually, he has made a very relevant point on this. If we are not careful, we are isolating our rural areas. We are not integrating them into the system. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, let me use this little opportunity to mention that there are some schools in the slum areas, which are also self-driven. Those kids cannot go to the city schools because the city schools are also very few. The slums have organised themselves and kids even pass examinations in those schools. But we have realised that the Ministry has not recognised them as examination centres. We want to urge the Ministry to integrate early childhood education in our education system. That Sessional Paper should be revived. Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity to also add my voice in support of this Motion. First, I want to congratulate the Mover, Mr. Angwenyi, for bringing a very well thought- out-Motion. We have free primary education in our country. But a very big segment of our August 22, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3345 population is not able to access that free education. That is because, instead of starting it from level one, we started it from a higher level. The free primary education should have started at the level of early childhood education. Children were not able to access free primary education because they could not proceed to Standard I, where the free primary education starts without, first of all, going through the early childhood classes. I mean nursery schools or kindergartens for that matter. Therefore, for free primary education to benefit all, it is good to start from early childhood education. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, secondly, teachers who handle those kids at early childhood level should actually be given specialised training. That specialised training is even more expensive in terms of cost than the training of teachers who teach in normal primary schools. When we award bursaries through the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF) and other sources, those teachers who are pursuing early childhood education course are actually paying more than their colleagues at lower and upper levels of primary school education. They are supposed to have special skills. Handling children at their tender age requires some special training. The colleges that offer early childhood education are not as many of those that offer training for normal primary school teachers. As a result of the scarcity of resources, the cost of their courses is more expensive. Therefore, it is good that we absorb those teachers in the normal Public Service where they are paid by the Government, in order to get the returns of their money. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in terms of workload, the teachers offering early childhood education work very hard. They work in a very difficult environment. You can imagine handling kids aged three to four years. Actually, some of the kids at that early childhood education level are physically disabled. So, you can see the environment which those teachers really work in. You will agree with me that it is a hardship environment. Therefore, those teachers need to be absorbed by the Government. With that hardship environment, that cost is transferred to the parents. Parents pay a lot of money for their kids at the early childhood education level. It will be good if this Government makes that education free by giving the facilities that are required and paying the teachers who teach at that level. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, some of those teachers study up to diploma level. They are very resourceful people in the education system. It is good for the Government, this time round, to take the initiative of allowing them to join the Public Service. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I know my colleagues have mentioned that early childhood education was being provided by local authorities. That is the county councils. But of late, they are no longer viable to them. I propose that the Government should actually facilitate the county councils so that they can provide all that is required in terms of education at that level, or incorporate it in the normal curriculum of education at the Ministry level, and make it free for all. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the issue of curriculum is very important. I would suggest that the Government comes up with a curriculum that is universal for the whole country, including the early childhood education level. Early childhood institutions in every corner of this country should use the same curriculum that is used all over. If we do that, we will have gone a notch higher in our education system. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do not have much to say. I wish to support this Motion and say: It is time that the Government provided free early childhood education.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this very important Motion. First of all, I would like to commend the Mover of this Motion. I think he has a very important vision for the young people of Kenya. I would like to begin by saying that, if we are to succeed in this, we need to have a strategic policy, encompassing all education structures in the country, beginning with early childhood education, primary education, secondary education and 3346 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 22, 2007 university education. It is very important that we have a policy strategy that will highlight how our education system will be carried out in this country. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, early childhood education should start at the village level. It is important that the responsibility of early childhood education should start with the local communities, supported by the local authorities. The local authorities should be empowered, through Local Authorities Transfer Fund (LATF) or other finances, to enable early childhood education to be effective. The only way we can have an effective early childhood education is, first and foremost, to employ teachers who are paid by the Government through the local authorities. Secondly, we need to put up very important facilities for children at the village level. We should congregate that at the village level, so that those young children do not have to move or travel for long distances. That can only come about if we have prudent, visionary and future-focused leadership. We do not need to keep on talking issues that we do not put into practice. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to commend the Ministry of Education and the Government for introducing the Free Primary Education (FPE) Programme. This undertaking has given the children of Kenya a future. However, I want to emphasise that for the FPE programme to provide quality education, the Government must employ teachers. The Government must achieve the correct teacher to pupil ratio. We cannot have the FPE Programme and, yet the teachers are not there. That way, we would not get quality education. I would also like to commend the Government for its proposal to offer free secondary education programme, if it will ever implement it. That is a commendable move. I want to suggest that if there will be any "left-overs" to be returned to the Treasury in this financial year, which will mean inefficiency in some Government Ministries, then that money should not be returned to the Treasury. It should be re-allocated to the Ministry of Education to enable needy children of the Republic of Kenya to access education. That is very important. We can also use the "left-overs" to employ more teachers. The Ministry of Education was given money to employ 11,000 teachers when the shortage of teachers is above 50,000. We cannot provide quality education unless we pass this Motion. That is why when I started talking, I said that we need a strategic policy encompassing education from early childhood to the primary level, secondary level and to college. That is the only way we can access quality education. I would like to suggest that centres of excellence be created in all constituencies, as a way of improving quality education. That is important. If we implement it, we will help our people to access quality education. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the issue of scholarships at the college and university levels should be encouraged. The Ministry should introduce an effective and a cheaper way of making payments. I suggest that we give scholarships but we also avail loans with low interest rates for those who cannot access full scholarships, so that majority of our children can access quality education. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also like to suggest that the CDF allocation be increased to 7.5 per cent of our revenue so that it can take care of early childhood education at the constituencies level. If we do that, we will get out of the problem of lack of teachers at the early education institutions. That is critical. I will come back again to the issue of strategic policy. That policy can also propose that if we increase the CDF allocation to 7.5 or 10 per cent, each constituency should be able to take care of its early childhood education in terms of payment of salaries and building early child's education institutions. That is very important. It would enable our country to move forward and attain very high standards of education, if not the best in the region. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker August 22, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3347 Sir, I stand to support this important Motion, which is long overdue. I will start by congratulating the Mover of the Motion for this noble idea. The Chinese say that if you give them a child who is below five years and you take back that child after five years, then they would have given that child his or her entire personality for the rest of his or her life. They recognise how important it is to take care of children and develop their personality at that critical age. It is, therefore, extremely important for us, as a country, to realise the need to develop the personalities and the whole being of those children at this critical age. I, therefore, think that, the issue of early childhood education is critical in shaping up the personality of the whole being of these children at that tender age. Looking at the infrastructure of early childhood education, you will realise that the classrooms are in a very poor state, the ventilation is wanting, the children do not have toilets that have been built specifically to suit their age, and they do not have adequate warmth when it is cold. They do not get clean air when it is warm. For that reason, those children get very sick during cold weather or hot season. This becomes a burden to the parents when they have to keep on taking them to hospital every single day.
As such, it is important for the Government to look, critically, into how they can ensure that there is proper infrastructure at that level. The Government should also ensure that children can access education and live well in a healthy state and be able to learn. I, therefore, hope that this Motion will look into ways of ensuring that early childhood education is mainstreamed into the FPE Programme so that it can benefit by ensuring that there is money for the infrastructure. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is also important that apart from the infrastructure, we should also take care of the special needs at that level. We know that young children cannot stay a whole day without taking something at break time. I remember when I was in nursery school, we used to take porridge at 10.00 a.m and milk in the afternoon. I hope that can also be taken on board under the FPE programme. I also hope that there can be a curriculum for training teachers for early childhood education. It should be streamlined between the teacher training colleges so that those teachers who want to specialise in early childhood education can be trained at that level in colleges that charge cheaper rates. Right now, early childhood education is only offered by private colleges. I believe that this is a very specialised education and that the teachers need to have the basic knowledge of health tips on childcare so that they can take care of children who may fall ill while in school. They should also learn child psychology in order to know how to handle these children. I hope that we can also look into ways of ensuring that these same teachers get proper pay and are pensionable at the time of their retirement. These would boost their morale to work better. Currently, it is the parents who pay these teachers. At times, these teachers go for many months without pay. They are also paid very poorly. I hope that this same Motion, when it becomes a Bill, will look into ways of meeting the special needs of children with disabilities. These children are disadvantaged and do not have the proper infrastructure for their learning activities. Usually, you will find that children with disabilities are denied proper access to early childhood education because of their special needs. I hope that, that too can be part of the curriculum and the policy that the Ministry of Education will 3348 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 22, 2007 develop. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, early childhood education is very important for working mothers. In this case, I am not just talking about mothers who are in white-collar jobs but also the self-employed mothers. You find that many times, mama mboga is unable to sell her wares properly because she has to take care of her children. But if she can get a proper baby class or play school that is cheap or is within the free primary education programme, then we will have many mothers being able to work and provide for their children. I, therefore, hope that this can be done within free primary education programme, so that not only the well-paid mothers take their children to baby class but even mothers who earn minimally and, therefore, do not have to pay. I hope that we realise that education is supposed to continue being an equalizer. It is only education that is able to move people from poverty. We must ensure that as we provide free primary education, we have proper facilities that enable children get what they require and get fair opportunities to get proper grades at all levels. This will ensure that children from poor backgrounds are able to move out of that poverty cycle through education as was the case in the past. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Hon. Members, there are four minutes left and I have to ask the Government Responder to respond, then I will come back to Mr. Lesrima and Dr. Manduku.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to donate two or three of my minutes to Mr. Muchiri.
You know that is not regular because it is the time for the Government. But given that they will contribute before your time, I will give three minutes to Mr. Muchiri.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, thank you for giving me the three minutes. I want to add my voice that this is a Motion that ought to have come earlier. The issue of early childhood education cannot be under- estimated because it is the foundation of education in this country. We know that for anything to succeed, you have to start from zero then move on to the higher level. I just want to ask the Government, which I am part of, to do a bit of work on pre- primary education because this is one area which is bothering our people in the countryside. Due to poverty levels, many Kenyans cannot afford early childhood education to the extent that the children receive half-baked education. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I also feel that it is necessary for the Government to plan how to take over payment of early childhood education teachers so that the education cycle can be complete. We are thankful to the Government because it has given us free primary education and we are hoping that by 2008, secondary education will also be free, particularly the tuition aspect of it. So, it will be completing the cycle of education that we are asking that early childhood education be part and parcel of the education system. Therefore, the amendment to the Act will go along way to achieving that end.
Order! Your time is up!
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I beg to support.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak in support of this very noble idea. This is basically in support of what, we in the Ministry, have been saying in the last four years; that we see great value in early childhood education for development of the child and the nation. We are interested and very keen to support programmes for early childhood education for a number of reasons. Some of these reasons relate to the overall development of the child that a number of hon. August 22, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3349 Members have spoken about. Frankly, the environmental experiences at these early stages of the child are very key in determining how they grow to be human beings. Secondly, this is the fastest period of growth and development in all aspects of the human being. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the development of the brain is most rapid at this stage. We have also been told that by the second year of life, 70 per cent of the person is already developed. So, basically when you are two years old, you are 70 per cent of an adult human being. By six years, 90 per cent of the adult weight and size are determined. So, this is a very critical time in terms of the overall development of the brain, the physical development of the person and in terms of the fact that a lot of environmental influences at this stage influence the way you grow. There is also a time that one needs to take advantage of the many windows of opportunity in terms of the knowledge, skills and attitudes that will influence what one will do in life by way of career and other developments. It is also the case that, at this stage, the brain is most malleable and impressionable. If you want a young person to pick anything that would be of value to them, this is the time at which they should begin to be socialized to those kinds of resources so that they take advantage of that as they grow. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is also easy to influence young people at this stage, in terms of the many values we would like to see as a nation; for example, being national in outlook and positive in all the values that we consider useful like morality and unity. They should also be positive in terms of confidence and being able to accommodate others. These kinds of values would best be developed at this stage when one is more or less innocent and not contaminated by terrible ideas from politicians and other individuals that are self-seeking. So, this is a good time that you can determine how one grows up. It is also a time to ensure the proper physical growth. So, it is really very important to invest at this stage. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, there are other reasons apart from the focus on the individual child. The other reasons why the Government, through the Ministry of Education, supports early childhood education. First, as hon. Members have said, you promote access. We know that if you had the advantage of experiencing early childhood education, you are better prepared to take advantage of other opportunities in primary education, not only because you get better prepared but because there are many schools that will admit you if you had early childhood education. Early childhood education promotes quality education. There are basics that you pick at that stage. Those basics will support the overall education development of the person. It is a foundation stage that many hon. Members have alluded to. It is a good time for early identification in terms of what we consider to be the unique talents of the child. If you want to begin to understand the child in terms of what the child is likely to be and the opportunities that he could exploit career-wise, this is a good time to begin to make that early identification. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, with regard to those children that may have certain shortcomings or physical disabilities, it is a good time to identify the problem and begin to address it. Early childhood education would also promote productivity in the long-run. You will begin to impart relevant skills to the child in terms of the fact that you leave time for other responsibilities for parents, like Ms. Mbarire said. It gives the mothers an opportunity to focus on other things of productivity instead of just spending time to take care of the child. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in this regard, there is also the aspect of gender equity in that mothers have the opportunity, not only to do other things, but also to even support their own educational careers. They do not have to be bogged down by just taking care of their children. A lot of their responsibilities make it very difficult for our women to take advantage of opportunities that are available. If we create a window for them not to have to always take care of children, they can also take advantage of the educational opportunities that are available now at evening and during 3350 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 22, 2007 weekends. They can enrol themselves to pursue parallel degree programmes in our universities. It is also mainly for young girls that if you prepare them early in terms of gender equity, they are likely to take advantage the same way as the boys. This is because they would have had earlier exposure with regard to educational opportunities. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this investment also leads to some kind of cost savings on the part of the Government, family and individual investors. If we spend in the foundation years then we need to spend much less than we would have spent at the primary and secondary school levels because much of the basics already would have been imparted at that stage. So, it is a saving to the Government in that we have to invest much less in books and teachers because the children are already prepared to appreciate certain key concepts in education by the time they get to primary school. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, poverty reduction is another of the consequences of this investment in that, if you have been to early childhood education as Members have told us, you are likely to have better success in life. It is those that go to early childhood centres that go to the best primary schools. Therefore, they take advantage of the best secondary school opportunities. As hon. Kajwang said, the majority of those who are pursuing the professional degree courses in our universities happen to have had this earlier advantage. So, in terms of promoting that equity that we talk about, it is important that we subject as many Kenyan children as possible to early childhood education because that determines their success in life. We do not want to limit it to only those that are privileged; that can afford it, which has been the case. So, again, being interested in solving the problem of inequality or who proceeds in terms of social backgrounds, other disadvantages like physical disabilities, region of the country that a child comes from and religion, all these disadvantages would be pretty well addressed in terms of equating all of us, if we give our children an equal chance to benefit from early childhood education. Of course, this would in the long-run also translate into employment opportunities for those that take advantage of it. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, as I said, the Government has taken this matter very seriously. Issues of early childhood are very well highlighted in Sessional Paper No.10 on Policy Framework for Education and Training. They are also highlighted in Sessional Paper No.1 of 2005. We do indicate why we value it as well as the ways to go around it to ensure that is implemented. To translate this theory into practice, we have again in the Kenya Education Sector Support Programme 2005-2010 explained the stages that we need to follow to be able to implement those lofty goals that are suggested in Sessional Paper No.1 of 2005. Beyond that, we have developed a policy on early childhood education and it is this policy that is summarised in this document entitled "National Early Childhood Development Policy Framework." This is because we realise that it is not enough to just say that we believe in it if we do not chart a way forward from the point of view of what is it that we would like to do or we intend to do it and by what period of time. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in addition, we also have guidelines and standards to ensure that whatever is offered by way of early childhood education, we standardise across all the centres. In this regard, we also have a policy document on that entitled "Early Childhood Development Survey Standard Guidelines for Kenya" to ensure that, again, we are not talking different things in different parts of the country. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, our policy is comprehensive. However, we would like to do much more, but resources are limited and if we have not given as much attention as we would like---
Order! I would like to appeal to the hon. August 22, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3351 Members, particularly those on my right side, to please, give us a chance to listen to the Assistant Minister responding. Mr. Angwenyi, this is your Motion! You should be more interested in listening to the Assistant Minister. Proceed, Mr. Assistant Minister!
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. So, I was saying that the serious hinderance for us is limitation of resources, but a great deal is already being done. We hope this policy will target four to five-year-old children because this is a very critical stage. It is going to be comprehensive in that we would like to incorporate early childhood education within the mainstream education system such that it is not seen as separate and heading towards what hon. Members were suggesting namely having an early childhood education centre in every primary school. I have already spoken about the policy that has been formulated. I have spoken about the guidelines that we have put in place to ensure that there are standards. I would also like to indicate that we have spent quite a bit of resources on the supervision and curriculum design for early childhood education. We have established the National Centre for Early Childhood Education at Kenya Institute of Education (KIE) that has been supported by a number of partners outside the Ministry of Education. Many of these partners are also joining us to ensure that we give prominence to that aspect of education. We have a programme for in-service teachers who teach in early childhood education centres. We do appreciate that we have not been able to pay them as well we would like. However, every effort is being made again to ensure that these teachers get the professional and other support that they need to have the commitment to early childhood education centres. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in this connection, realising that it is quite an expensive enterprise and in view of the fact that the Ministry is spending in other subsectors of education, we are trying our best to mobilise resources from other partners outside the World Bank that are supporting the early childhood education centre and other development partners. We also hope that we will get the support of Members of Parliament. Some of them have already been supporting this idea by starting early childhood centres in their respective constituencies and so on. However, it is essentially a mobilisation of all the resources that are available that will make the biggest difference because we have always said the Ministry of Education and the resources that are available are very much in demand for the primary and secondary education as well as university. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we also have a two-year in-service programme for early childhood education teachers. They are called from time to time during their holidays to take advantage of this training. There is also a nine-month training programme for trainers of early childhood education teachers. So, we first begin by training those who train the teachers for nine months and then we train the teachers that are already registered to teach in those institutions. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in terms of syllabus, it is not just the early childhood education syllabus that has been developed, but we are also incorporating this in teacher-training colleges, so that our teachers that come out of them are able to address issues of early childhood education just as they are able to deal with issues of the six-year-olds to 14-years-old. We would like to have a teacher who is complete, especially in view of the fact that early childhood education teacher will teach within a context of a primary school that is comprehensive and does not separate early childhood education from the primary education system. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we are doing much to enhance the capacity of supervisors. They, as well as other personnel who are involved in early childhood education, are also receiving regular training. We are also equipping the National Centre for Early Childhood Education as well as the districts, where we have units. In every district, we have a District Early 3352 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 22, 2007 Childhood Education Centre that is being supported by way of officers. We have programme officers in the districts. We provide transportation facilities, so that they can visit the schools. We also give them an opportunity to upgrade their skills from time to time, so that they are better supervisors and implementors of the policies relating to early childhood education. The issue of teachers is a sensitive one. It is a serious issue because we do not only have enough teachers for those institutions but also because it seems like those teachers are treated like second-class teachers, compared to the other teachers. So, we hope that, as we resolve the overall problem of teacher shortage in this country, we will also be able to employ teachers whose brief will not just be work in primary schools but will also be able to teach in early childhood education institutions, because they will have received training. We are getting there. There still remains a shortage but we are making improvement in terms of reducing that gap, given that this year already, we are going to employ 11,000 teachers, compared to previous years when we have employed 7,000. So, depending on how our economy performs, we hope that we able, next year, to recruit even more teachers, probably, in the range of 20,000 teachers. As we get there, we will also have teachers who will be used to support early childhood education, along with other levels of education. As we support this programme, we need to be careful that parents do not completely shun the responsibility of taking care of their children. We need to continue supporting the programme and encouraging parents to be part and parcel of the programme, because education is not just about school; it is also about at home. We need to co-ordinate the various efforts. We need to have serious early childhood education centres, which are comprehensive in terms of the facilities they offer. We need to have proper day care centres, so that when children go to those institutions, they feel interested and motivated. They should be in an environment that is supportive not just of learning academic subjects but also in terms of any other values that we would like young people---
Your time is up, Dr. Mwiria!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this Motion. I want to congratulate the Assistant Minister for his presentation, which basically reduces the points I was going to raise. Since I have got the opportunity to speak, I just want to highlight two issues in support of this Motion. I agree with the Assistant Minister that this is a colossal job. We have about 3 million children missing out in early childhood education. I agree with him that foundation is very important.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, could you protect me from "Prof. Wanjala" and Prof. Oniang'o?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in fact, to deny children the opportunity to obtain early childhood education and miss out on foundation is almost a violation of their rights. Children deserve education, but we need to be a bit innovative in the way we provide education. If we are going to institutionalise everything and provide early childhood education in the manner we provide primary school education, in terms of provision of buildings and standard teaching, it will be very expensive. We need to understand that children live in the villages. August 22, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3353 Let me talk about two marginalised groups. Let us take the Kibera slum, for example. The way you deliver early childhood education to children in Kibera would be completely different from the way you deliver it to children in non-marginalised areas. We may, probably, want to copy what the Colombians do, and identify certain homes within the slums and improve those homes. There was a World Bank-funded project which facilitated that initiative - so that children are taught within a home. So, we may wish to have a new definition of a child care centre or a nursery school. We could give incentives, improve that home, provide some allowance for that volunteer- cum-teacher in the initial stages, because I do not think we can be in a position to employ all the teachers. That way, children can be dropped at various centres in the slums. Similarly, we have experiences in pastoral areas. In Samburu, for example, we had the Christian Children Fund, providing education.
Order, Mr. Lesrima! I am sorry, I did not tell you that you had only about three minutes!
Thank you very much. So, flexibility is the point I wanted to emphasise in providing early childhood education. With that one point, I beg to support.
Hon. Members, at this stage, I am obliged to call upon the Mover to reply. Mr. Angwenyi, if you wish, you may donate part of your time to Dr. Manduku.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to give two minutes to Mr. Kombe and two minutes to Dr. Manduku.
Ahsante, Bw. Naibu Spika wa Muda. Ningetaka kuchukua nafasi hii kumpongeza Bw. Angwenyi kwa kuileta Hoja hii Bungeni. Hii ni Hoja ambayo, kwa hakika, imechelewa kufika Bungeni. Hata hivyo, ni heri Hoja kuchelewa na hatimaye kufika kuliko kukosa kufika Bungeni kabisa. Ni muhimu kuwakumbuka waalimu wa malezi na wale wa shule za msingi ili waweze kupata mafunzo ya kisawasawa, kwa sababu wao ndio wanaojenga msingi wa elimu katika nchi hii.
Pia kuna "janga" linalowakumba wazazi wa watoto wanahudhuria shule za malezi. Mara nyingi wazazi huwa wanahangaika wanapotafuta namna ya kuwalipia karo watoto wao. Wakati mwingine, akina mama wanaofanya biashara ndogo ndogo, kama vile kuuza ndizi, wanahitajika kulipa Kshs300 kwa mwezi kwa kila mtoto. Katika muhula mmoja, mzazi hulipa Kshs900, jambo ambalo huwa linamtatiza. Licha ya hayo, waalimu hunyanyaswa kupita kiasi. Mshahara wanaolipwa na wazazi mwalimu wa shule hizo haupiti Kshs5,000 kwa mwezi. Wengi wa waalimu hao hulipwa mshahara wa Kshs3000 kwa mwezi. Miongoni mwa hao wanaolipwa Kshs3,000 kwa mwezi, hufanya kazi kwa zaidi ya miezi sita bila kulipwa cho chote. Kwa hivyo, Serikali inapaswa kuchukua jukumu la kuwalipa waalimu hao. Tumeifanya elimu ya msingi kuwa ya bure, lakini inafaa tufahamu kwamba tumejenga "nyumba" ambayo haina msingi bora. Sasa, tunafikiria kuweka msingi utakaokuwa bora kwa elimu humu nchini.
Time up, Mr. Kombe! 3354 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 22, 2007
Kwa hayo machache, ninaiunga mkono Hoja hii.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. Let me also say that I support this Motion and thank Mr. Angwenyi for bringing it here. I should also compliment the Assistant Minister for Education for putting it plainly here that they already have got a programme for early childhood education. What is important is the issue of implementation. Mr. Angwenyi brought this Motion to Parliament because nothing is happening on the ground. We need to implement this programme and make sure that as our children grow, we prepare them for the future, because the future of this country depends on our own children. If you do not prepare them well, they will not be of use to this country.
So, it is very important that we should prepare our children. We should, particularly, prepare the teachers. Teacher-training colleges should be there to train early childhood education teachers, so that they can prepare the children well. I should also add that in the curriculum of these teachers, there should be included what we call "public health education" to be taught by these teachers, because as children grow, they have what we call "early childhood chronic infections or chronic conditions". If the teachers are properly prepared, they can always detect these conditions and the children can be dealt with before the condition becomes chronic. Therefore, it is important that early childhood education teachers are properly prepared. They should also be properly paid. They need to be supported and encouraged to continue teaching those small kids, because they are very vulnerable and very difficult to teach. They can also specialise, so that we can have specialists in early childhood education. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I would like to thank all Members of Parliament who have responded to this noble policy issue. I would also like to thank the Minister for Education for supporting this Motion. By the way, this Motion was necessitated because we passed in this Parliament Sessional Paper No.1 of 2005, on Policy Framework for Education, Training and Research, in which we had clearly given the Government the authority to go and provide proper foundation for our kids in schools. But, as the Minister said, the Ministry seems to be overwhelmed by the demand to provide various levels of education. Therefore they, some how, neglected or forgot to address the issue of laying a foundation. What we are seeking here is to build an education house in this country. But we have not laid a proper foundation; a foundation in which we know that a child would have developed the necessary skills and needs for educational development. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, although we devote a lot of resources to education--- Approximately 25 per cent of our Budget goes to education. If we were to include early childhood education, we will need, according to my estimates, an extra Kshs6 billion. We can get Kshs6 billion by plugging off the siphoning holes of revenue from Government and spend that money. It is only Kshs6 billion a year for a start! As we expand that education, then we can devote more resources to it. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, currently, proper early childhood education is a August 22, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3355 preserve of the rich. The rich who can afford that education in this country only comprise of less than 10 per cent of the population of Kenya. So, we are condemning 90 per cent of our children to a situation of no foundation in education, before they take up their primary education. I am glad that the Ministry had developed this policy, and it is here. This country has been assessed to be developing very nice policies and strategy papers, which it never implements. They always collect dust in our shelves. I would urge the Minister, since he has supported this Motion, to move with his experts and look for resources from whatever part. I hope hon. Members who have contributed to this Motion will be returned at the end of this year to give directions. That way, we will make sure that early next year, when we come back, the Minister will have looked for resources to give early childhood education throughout the country. That way, our kids will have a good foundation. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we should not take that as a joke. Every time I pray to God, he normally grants. I am going to pray to God that all those Members who have contributed to this Motion are returned. He will also make sure that the Minister who has supported is also returned, so that we can challenge him to account whether he has implemented it or not. With those few remarks, I beg to reply.
Mr. Angwenyi, you have conveniently forgotten the Chair!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to move:- THAT, in view of the steady rise in the number of children orphaned as a result of the HIV/AIDS scourge; aware that such children are subjected to untold suffering owing to lack of family support with most of them dropping out of school thus increasing their vulnerability and exposure to early pregnancies, child labour and further HIV infection; bearing in mind that the children lack shelter, food, clothing, medical facilities and the much needed psychosocial support; this House grants leave for the introduction of a Bill entitled "the Orphaned and Vulnerable Children's Fund Bill" to provide for educational and psychosocial support, shelter, food and clothing for the affected children so as to tap their enormous potential of becoming resourceful and responsible citizens and for matters incidental thereto and connected therewith. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the HIV/AIDS pandemic is the worst health challenge that humanity faces. Today, especially in Africa, it is the worst challenge to the continent. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has no cure and causes high mortality among the adult population.
That adult population is mostly the productive people in the population as well as others. The HIV/AIDS pandemic leads to ill health and leaves many children orphaned. The pandemic has interfered with the development of the country as well as the Millennium Development Goals, 3356 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 22, 2007 wealth creation and so on. That has reversed the economic gains in the country. It has also deprived the households of bread-earners. It has deprived the community of able people. It has deprived the nation of the most productive people. It has also deprived the country of skilled manpower and productive youth. At the end, it has killed parents leaving children orphaned and vulnerable. Therefore, that renders those children very helpless. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, as a result, we have very many orphaned and vulnerable children. An orphaned child is defined as a child who has lost both parents or one parent. This child may become a street child. He may be a beggar in the streets. This child may be living with the sick parents and, therefore, drops out of school to take care of the parents. The child may be overloaded with domestic work such that even if he goes to school, he may not perform well. The child may be subjected to other negative cultural practices. If it is a girl-child, she may be asked to get married so that the dowry could be used to support the parent. The child may also be involved in child labour and other negative practices like prostitution. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in 2005, at a meeting in Cape Town discussing orphans and vulnerable children, statistics were given that, worldwide, there are 18 million orphans. Of this 18 million, 14 million are on the African Continent. Out of those 18 million orphans, Kenya was supposed to have two million orphans by 2002. In my own constituency, Butula, there are 18,000 orphans and of all the school going age children, one-third of the children are orphans having lost either both parents or one parent. Therefore, as a country, we need an update of the orphans and vulnerable children. The nation must plan for this highly potential resource and not just ignore them. The statistics I am talking about were carried out by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and not the Kenya Government. I, therefore, would like to urge the Government to put money into the exercise of carrying out statistics of the orphaned and vulnerable children in order to plan properly for them. When children are orphaned, the situation gets worse for the girl-child who may be exploited sexually to earn a living. The same girl-child may be overworked and drop out of school to engage in child labour. In so doing, the girl-child may stay at home to look after the sick parents thus the girl-child is even disadvantaged. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, with this HIV/AIDS pandemic, when a husband dies, the widow may be disinherited of whatever the husband has left. When both parents die, the children may be deprived of their inheritance. This could be the money left behind by the parents, the land and other properties. I have seen orphaned children being kicked out of their homes by relatives. Therefore, children become highly vulnerable when they are orphaned. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in the African society there has been a lot of care of children by the family whenever it is faced with death. However, with the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the family support is overly stretched so that it can no longer be relied on to take care of the orphans and the vulnerable children. Therefore, the Government has to come up with proper plans to take care of the orphans and vulnerable children. For the time being, in Kenya, we have depended on the civil society, development partners and external aid, but that is not sustainable. It is bound to come to an end. We, therefore, need to have proper plans to take care of these members of our society who are really needy and whom we cannot ignore. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, these orphaned and vulnerable children need definite support. They need food, shelter, medical care, clothing and education. These children may suffer from stigma and get marginalised. Therefore, they also need psychosocial support to enable them to get on. In many societies, they would be looked upon as children who are also infected. There are cases when they are really stigmatised and that affects them even in school. If a child is stigmatised, he can hardly perform well in school. These children, therefore, need our support in many ways. August 22, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3357 Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, to address this situation, I am proposing that we have a Bill that will urge the Government to set up the Orphaned and Vulnerable Children's Fund to take care of all these needs. Although we had a Motion on free education for orphans, that is not enough. These children need more than that. Therefore, a fund is needed, which will take care of all their needs and not education alone. If a child is hungry, he will not learn. If a child cannot afford to buy uniform, the school establishment will chase him away for not having the uniform. If the child is an orphan, he may not afford that uniform. This Fund will take care of these children. The stigmatisation of these children is very negative towards their mind. Once a person is stigmatised, he will have a low opinion of himself, particularly a child. If a child goes to school and other children taunt him or her, the child may drop out of school. Therefore, these children need to feel as natural as possible as part of the society. They should not feel that since their parents died, they are lesser human beings than the other children. The way to empower these children is by ensuring that they have their education. That must be done in the natural way. They should not be put in places called children homes, which should be the last resort. These children should be supported to remain within the family setup. Kenya has had several conventions or laws that deal with children. Although they are many, they do not address the socio-economic needs of the children. Therefore, they need to be implemented and consolidated into a basket Fund that would address all these issues. Some other African countries like Botswana and Zambia have come up with specific funds to address the issues of children. Therefore, Kenya should follow suit and set up a fund to address issues of orphans and vulnerable children. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we also need legal framework to protect the children's inheritance. Left to family members, they may mean well. However, they have their own interests and priorities. They may not take care of the children's interest. We, as a Parliament, need to have a definite legal framework which protects the children's inheritance and make sure that land, property and funds belonging to the orphan's parents are protected. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this Motion will protect and mainstream the orphans and vulnerable children's interest. There would be a policy framework to take care of their situation. This should have come into being a little earlier, but it is never too late. Therefore, I urge this House and colleagues to support this Motion, so that we can come up with a Bill to take care of almost one-third or half the population of Kenya. Right now, if we do not put legal framework in position, we may end up with very many street children, school drop-outs and truants. Eventually, they will become criminals and disrupt the social structure of this country. A stitch in time will save the situation. If we wait for too long, the situation will get worse. This country will be sitting on a time bomb of young energetic people who will be bitter against it. They will not be seeing anything good in human beings. However, we can arrest the situation now and nurture these children. We can tap their potential, so that they grow up to be useful citizens who will take part in nation building and economic growth and wealth creation of this nation. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this country needs to develop human resource. All young people in this nation are potential human resource which must be developed. Their energy should be channelled to the good of this nation, empowerment, wealth creation and industrialisation. We will only achieve this, if we take care of every one and make sure that every Kenyan child grows up empowered and ready to take part in development and serve this nation. A nation depends on its human resource. Children of this country are the resource of this nation. With those few remarks, I beg to move. May I call upon Mr. Mbau to second.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, first, I want to express my gratitude and appreciation and thank the hon. Member of Parliament for Butula; Prof. Christine Mango, for bringing to this House this very important Motion. The Motion focuses on the bottom of our population. When I say "the bottom", I mean the very under-privileged of our population in terms 3358 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 22, 2007 of welfare, support and ability. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, on seconding this Motion, I wish to add a few things on what the professor has said. Indeed, in early 2003, hon. Members of this House constituted themselves into a sub-committee with a view to getting this House to recognise the creation of a novice departmental committee. The Chair, Hon. Speaker, officially launched it with a view to eventually bring in that agenda to the House. It was intended to have a substantive committee of the House that addresses the issues of orphans and vulnerable children. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, however, three years down the line, we still have issues about neglect and desperate children dotted in every constituency. The numbers continue to rise everyday. It is a high time that this House resoundingly agreed to support this Motion. I urge the Minister in charge to take this opportunity, so that we come up with this Bill. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have a national body called National Aids Control Council (NACC). This is supposed to mobilise resources and funding for committees based in the constituencies. The NACC does not appear to be doing its part. Many Questions have been asked in this House seeking to know how many of such children are there and the funding received. I am sorry to note that it appears that this national body that was supposed to mobilise and fund these committees does not do its job to the expectations of hon. Members and the public. If we can pass this Motion, it will go a long way in ensuring our children stop suffering, being misused, marginalised and abused. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I call upon the Minister to very kindly agree to support this very noble Motion. With those few remarks, I beg to second.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. This is a very important Motion and, personally, I am really disappointed that the Minister in charge of Home Affairs is not here this morning to listen to the ideas that are being put forward in support of this Motion. But, nevertheless, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to support this noble Motion. May I use this opportunity to register my compliments to the mover of the Motion---
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. Is it in order for Dr. Khalwale, who is an Assistant Minister in the Government, to stand up and criticize his own colleagues, whom he serves with in the Government? Is he in order?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I was not actually criticizing. All I was doing was to distance myself from the bad behaviour of my colleagues!
Well, you are making it worse, Dr. Khalwale! You have even introduced something you did not talk about called "bad behaviour". Where did that come from?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the words, notwithstanding, if I am going to be vilified by some hon. Members in this House for pointing out that it is wrong for an hon. Minister to refuse to listen to a Motion as important as this, then that vilification has no basis in justice.
Order, now! In real practice, you are a Member of the Front Bench and if you are here, we actually assume that you are listening for the Government! Anyway, proceed! August 22, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3359
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. In that case, may I take on the burden of not only supporting, but also listening?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like---
Order! Order, Dr. Khalwale! The Chair is very much concerned that the whole of the Front Bench on this side is actually empty, notwithstanding that the other side is also empty, as you can see! These Motions are very important because hon. Members take time to bring them here. They feel that they must be listened to by somebody, who should actually be taking keen interest in them. So, I do support your sentiments. I think that somebody should be here listening. Dr. Khalwale seems to be speaking as an hon. Member for Ikolomani Constituency and, maybe, therefore, somebody should listen to his contribution as well!
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. May I---
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. Bw. Naibu Spika wa Muda, nataka kumhakikishia Dkt. Khalwale na Bunge kwamba ingawaje wengine wetu hawako, wengine tupo na tutachukua notes na tutapitisha information hii kwa wale wenzetu wanaohusika.
Okay. Proceed, Dr. Khalwale!
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. May I beg that you allow me an extra two minutes. I have lost a lot of time on procedural issues. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, may I pay my personal tribute, during this Motion time, to Prof. Miriam Were, who is chairing the National Aids Control Council (NACC). That is because from the time she was appointed four years ago, she has made tremendous achievements in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Prof. Miriam Were deserves a recognition for her role. I hope that one of these days, she will have an opportunity of serving in this House as a nominated Member of Parliament, instead of some of the kind of people whom I see pushing that we adopt affirmative action, when there is very little they would add even if they are given the opportunity to serve here. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the kind of work NACC is doing is so commendable that, I am afraid if it had not been there, this country would almost have come to a standstill. I remember five years ago, whenever I could do a ward round in a hospital, almost 60 per cent of the patients used to have HIV/AIDS related complaints. But that has gone down to the extent that, while four years ago, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS was as high as 14.9 per cent in Kenya, now the national average is only 5.1 per cent. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, may I use this opportunity to assure hon. Members that the history of epidemics and pandemics the world over is such that, every pandemic or epidemic tends to find its own level. If we put in a lot of effort in the fight against HIV/AIDS, I am quite confident that by the time HIV/AIDS finds its own level - a situation where people will be able to co-exist with it - we will do so at a time when we will not have lost the kind of lives we are losing. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, having complimented NACC, I believe we must be brave and accept that there is still more that could be done to attain bigger achievements on the way forward in the fight against the HIV/AIDS. One of those include learning from the experience in Coast Province. Today, Coast Province, which five years ago used to have some of the highest 3360 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 22, 2007 figures of prevalence of HIV/AIDS, is number six today, when you put it on the order of the provinces. Our experts should go and find out what has happened in Coast Province. It has improved from being the most affected to where it is now, with a mere 93,000 cases. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the same applies to Western Province. I do not understand why, for instance, Western Province, which is in the same geographical set up with Nyanza Province, and have almost the same cultural practices, has such a low figure of prevalence, unlike Nyanza, with has such high figures of prevalence! Behaviour changes must be actually---
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. Is the learned gentleman, who is a medical doctor, in order to imply that the prevalence rate in Nyanza Province is much higher when, in fact, he knows that many cases go un-reported?
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I appreciate the hon. Member, but he is a layman. These are matters of medicine where pretence does not help you!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the truth is that, if you run away from reality, you cannot combat HIV/AIDS. Today, Western Province reports 112,000 cases of prevalence. Nyanza Province reports 183,000 cases. It is important to compare what it is that is going on that makes those differences, when we come from the same geographical region! Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is the area of intervention. If we want to cut off the number of orphans who have HIV/AIDS, we must decide: When do we want to intervene? We have an opportunity, if we can emphasize the prevention of maternal to child transmission of HIV/AIDS. That way, we can reduce the number of orphans. By that, I mean that the Government, the Provincial Administration, health workers and everybody should do everything possible to ensure that all ante-natal mothers receive vaccinations against HIV/AIDS, before they give birth. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in view of the fact that, majority of mothers deliver at home, this is the time for the Government to support traditional birth attendants. It should ensure that traditional birth attendants are given an opportunity to administer that vaccine. It is also time that the Government gave a salary to traditional birth attendants, because they actually midwife majority of deliveries in this country. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, having said this, there is the issue of research on the HIV/AIDS vaccine. I do not believe that we are supporting the National AIDS Research Initiative (NARI) sufficiently. If we give more money to this group of scientists, then we are going to make progress, and I believe, we will be moving in the right direction. There is also the question of the anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs). We have to move quickly and make these drugs more available, because not many people have access to this very important group of drugs.
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. Are you convinced that the hon. Member on the Floor is actually following the Motion? This is a Motion asking for the permission of this House to have a Bill entitled "Orphaned and Vulnerable Children Fund Bill". He is on the medical aspect, but we want to focus on the orphans, their problems and their plight. That is what the Motion is---
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the hon. Member will have an opportunity---
Order, hon. Members! Dr. Khalwale, the hon. Member has not even sat down and you are already on your feet.
I am rushing August 22, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3361 because of my time, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Order, Dr. Khalwale! You do not have to do that! It is part of discussions here. There is no need to hurry. Just let him finish. I know he has raised this issue and you have to wait until someone asks you to continue! Proceed!
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. As I was saying, the hon. Member will have time to contribute. Orphans come from somewhere. They come from mismanagement of HIV/AIDS control. Once we manage it using the points I am raising, then we will have dealt with the real source of the orphans. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is also the issue of stigma in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We want to fight stigma by talking---
May I ask that you add me two minutes? I can see that my time is up. So much was used in- --
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. We have to fight stigma. One way of helping HIV/AIDS orphans is to promote traditional family values. There is a stigma in this country against something called "wife inheritance". I beg to submit that when you stigmatise wife inheritance in this country, you open up the gates for the children, who have been orphaned when their father die to go to the streets. But if we could stop stigmatising wife inheritance, the brothers of the late would inherit the sister-in-law, so that they continue supporting their nephews and nieces.
Dr. Khalwale, you can finish by saying whether you wanted to support or not.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, with those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. Although the speaker who has just been on the Floor is my good friend, I think one thing that he has missed is the fact of the importance of this Motion.
Order, Mr. Sungu! It is your time to contribute to the Motion!
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I just want to support this, and say that this is one of the most important Motions that have come to the Floor of this House. I want to take the opportunity to congratulate Prof. Mango for bringing this Motion to the Floor of the House. Orphans can be created by any cause, including accidents and other diseases like cancer. But we must also submit that, in fact, the cause of the vast majority of orphans is HIV/AIDS, and this is because it tends to affect both parents. Therefore, it is right to focus on it. Now, let me just say this, orphans are the most under-privileged. They suffer discrimination, are exposed to hardships and are vulnerable. Let us begin from where we are. Let me begin from myself. Let us just assume that I was to die today and my wife tomorrow. Who is going to look after my child? Just imagine without me or both parents, what chance does the child 3362 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 22, 2007 have in life? Who will take care of them? Who will educate, feed, clothe and give them security that parents offer their children? Who will offer them housing? Who will offer them equal opportunities that we so much crave in this society? We take our children to the most expensive schools because we are alive. Since we are parents and hon. Members in this is honourable House, we need to focus on how to help those children who were unfortunate enough as to lose their parents, because they are never going to have the same opportunities as those with parents, even if they are poor. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, everyone craves upward social mobility. Everyone craves a chance to inherit their parents' property, including land! Even in business investments, we know for sure that orphans are actually very vulnerable, because the society has become different. In the past, we used to have family values and systems, whereby if one died the brothers and members of the immediate family would take care. These days, more often than not, you will hear that if one dies, the spouse is left exposed to marauding-in-laws, who want to take over even sofa sets. Immediately they go to court about land, forgetting that the first people who have a right to inherit their parent's property are the children, who are disadvantaged, who are often young and not able to speak for themselves, so that they can also have a chance. Let us look at the question of HIV/AIDS. Who is most affected? The pandemic most affects people who are in the most economically active group. They are usually the younger ages. These are often the most useful people in society. It also goes without saying that often they are very bright people, able and educated. A look at the newspapers columns on the obituaries will show you the engineers, the professors, the journalists, educators, people from all walks of life, doctors and even hon. Members who have died, and often their wives follow. These are also the most upwardly mobile people and they are hard working. The most important thing is that you will find that, usually, they are the sole bread winners of their families, including the extended families. We know from biology that children inherit genes from their parents and, therefore, without saying anything else, we know for sure that some of these children would be the most capable, brightest and hard working but they are disadvantaged. They are disadvantaged because they do not have their parents. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the social insurance that we used to have as traditional African groups, communities and as the so-called tribes - I do not like the word "tribe" because we are communities and nationalities - has fallen to pieces, because of modern economic pressures brought upon us from outside our societies by the West. Protecting these children is the duty, and responsibility, of hon. Members. We should create a law that will ensure that if one dies, their child will be protected. There can never be a greater honour than to protect the right of the under-privileged, as hon. Members of this august House, because that is why we are here. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, indeed, most orphans suffer tremendously. Many of them are denied their genuine inheritance in land and other things. There are also other social issues like forced labour; children are forced to work as maids in the houses of those who have money, because they do not have parents. There is the international problem of human trafficking. Many orphans are now open to abuse, and this is a major international issue. You will find a child trafficked even from Kenya to another country where they are forced to be a prostitute, work in inhuman conditions and they do not have any protection whatsoever. Therefore, we need to give these children our protection. The creation of a Fund, as suggested by this Motion, is one of the most important things, in my own humble opinion, that this august House could do to help our children. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, to enhance the protection of these disadvantaged and vulnerable orphaned children, we need to offer them educational support. I dare say that if we were August 22, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3363 human beings who are serious and mindful of others for the welfare of society and just Government of men, as per our motto, we would give all orphans in this country free education right from primary, secondary and university without doubt, so long as there is proof that they are orphans. The social problem that we have in this country is lack of equality of opportunity. Some groups of people have got more advantage over others, because of the fact that they have more opportunities. Let us give our children a fighting chance to survive. Let us also give them hope and support, by supporting this Motion and making sure that there are legal structures that would help to make sure that the orphaned child is protected. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in the book entitled Oliver Twist there is a statement saying "Oliver asked for more." He was punished because of lack of social equilibrium and proper care in orphanages. We know that there are many orphanages, some of which are well-run. But we also know that there are some of them which are run by Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), which are not really serious about helping these orphans. In my constituency there is an organisation called Mothers of St. Theresa. I also have the honour of being the Chairman of Bunge Football Club. We have worked with this organisation of Mothers of St. Theresa. They even got the Nobel Peace prize in recognition of their support for the orphaned child using home-based care. In families, you will find, at least, one or two people who will care about some of these children. Home-based family care is very important because these people go and provide just one meal per day. They also provide uniforms and, occasionally, school fees, if they are able to get it. I know of a number of senior people who have come through this system and are now holders of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees, yet, they were orphans. But because they were given an opportunity to progress in the social strata, through the educational system, they were able to have a chance, because many of them were very bright. Without that kind of support, I dare say that we are going to lose a whole generation. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, Europe lost almost a third of its population to the scourge or plague called the black something. That was during the medieval time. In the Second World War---
What was it called?
The "black scourge". It was plague, in fact. It killed about a third of the population Europe sometime back during the medieval age. Even during the Second World War, Europe lost a lot of its population. We are having a lost generation amongst us which does not have support, because they are orphans. This is not their fault! Therefore, I want to plead with the Ninth Parliament to support this Motion and ensure that, that Prof. Mango brings a Bill, so that we can support our children. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, with those few remarks, I beg to support.
Asante sana, Bw. Naibu Spika wa Muda, kwa kunipa nafasi hii ili niweze kutoa mchango wangu kwa Hoja hii. Hoja hii ni muhimu sana, kwa sababu inahusu watoto ambao wameachwa na wazazi na sasa ni yatima. Bw. Naibu Spika wa Muda, ningependa kumpongeza mhe. Prof. Mango kwa kuleta Hoja hii Bungeni. Hoja kama hizi ambazo ni muhimu zinahitaji kuungwa mkono na weheshimiwa Wabunge wote. Nashangaa kwamba wengi wetu hawako Bungeni kana kwamba hili jambo ni la mzaha, na hali ni jambo ambalo linahitaji kupewa uzito sana. Bw. Naibu Spika wa Muda, kila mahali katika Taifa hili utakapoenda, utapata vijana wengi ambao ni yatima na hawana msimamizi maalum. Wana matatizo mengi kuanzia ukosefu wa chakula hadi ukosefu wa karo na mahali pema pa kulala. Kwa ufupi, hawa ni watoto ambao wanaishi kwa matatizo makubwa sana. Ingawaje yako mashirika mengi katika nchi hii ambayo yamejitolea kuwasaidia watoto hawa, ukosefu wa kushirikisha kazi za mashirika haya 3364 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 22, 2007 umesababisha watoto hawa kuendelea kupata shida kila wakati. Bw. Naibu Spika wa Muda, ni wazi basi kwamba kuunda au kutenga rasilimali kutoka kwa mfuko wa Serikali, ambao labda utawekwa chini ya usimamizi wa sehemu za uwakilishi Bungeni, litakuwa jambo bora sana. Sehemu hizi za uwakilishi Bungeni kila siku zinakuwa sehemu imara kwa sababu matatizo mengi sasa yanaangaliwa kutoka sehemu zetu za uwakilishi Bungeni. Tutakapokuwa na rasilimali itakayowekwa chini ya usimamizi wa sehemu za uwakilishi Bungeni, itakuwa rahisi kuweka rasilimali hii chini ya kamati inayojumuisha sehemu zote za uwakilishi Bungeni. Kwa hivyo, itakuwa rahisi kupata au kuwatambua watoto hawa ambao ni yatima ili tuweze kuwasaidia. Tutaweza kuwatafutia shule bora, mahali pa kulala, mavazi na hata matibabu wakati wanapougua. Kwa jumla, tutaweza kuwasimamia na kuhakikisha kwamba wao pia wanaishi maisha bora kama watoto wengine. Bw. Naibu Spika wa Muda, kwa hivyo, mimi ninaunga mkono Hoja hii. Naamini kwamba itakapopita, Wizara inayohusika na swala hili italishughulikia vilivyo ili tuhakikishe kwamba watoto wetu wanaendelea kupata maisha mazuri. Kama walivyosema wenzangu, watoto wetu ndio taifa letu la kesho. Kwa hivyo, tunahitaji kuweka msingi bora ili tuweze kupata viongozi na wafanyakazi watakaoweza kusaidia taifa letu. Wakati tunapofanya hivyo, ni lazima tuhakikishe kwamba chanzo au sababu ambazo zinaweza kufanya jamii zikapotea ndipo watoto wetu waweze kuwa yatima, zinapunguzwa iwezekanavyo. Hii ni kwa sababu hatutaki taifa litakalojaa watoto yatima kutokana na tabia ambazo tunaweza kuziepuka. Leo hii tunakubaliana kwamba chanzo kimoja ambacho kinasababisha watoto wengi kuwa yatima ni ugonjwa wa UKIMWI. Kwa hivyo, ni muhimu kuhakikisha kwamba katika kazi zetu na shughuli zetu za kila siku, tunaangazia aina ya tabia ambazo zinaweza kusabisha magonjwa kutapakaa. Kuna tabia moja ambayo watoto wengi wemejiingiza ndani. Tabia hiyo ni ya kunywa pombe haramu na kutumia madawa ya kulevya. Mara nyingi, tabia kama hizi zinaweza kuelekeza jamii yetu kupata magonjwa kama UKIMWI. Baadaye, hata wazazi pia wanaweza kupoteza maisha yao. Kwa hivyo, ni lazima tuelekeze nguvu zetu na uwezo wetu kuhakikisha kwamba tunaondoa mambo kama haya katika taifa letu ili watoto na wazazi wetu waweze kuishi maisha mema bila matatizo. Katika shule zetu, ni lazima tuhakikishe kwamba tabia ambazo zinaweza kusababisha magonjwa mengi kama haya, zinaondolewa ili watoto wasome vizuri. Bw. Naibu Spika wa Muda, tuna vyombo vingi vya habari katika taifa letu. Tuna magazeti, stesheni za televisheni, redio na kadhalika. Tungeomba vyombo hivyo vya habari vitusaidie katika taifa hili, kwa kueneza hatari za magonjwa kama UKIMWI. Pia vieneze hatari za ulevi kwa sababu mambo kama haya mara nyingi husababisha ajali na kufanya watoto wetu kuachwa bila wazazi, na hivyo kuwafanya mayatima. Wakiwa hivyo, wanaweza kujiingiza katika mambo ambayo si mazuri katika maisha yao. Bw. Naibu Spika wa Muda, tukiwatunza watoto wetu vizuri, wanaweza kuwa wachezaji wazuri wa taifa hili. Wanaweza kuwa wanasanaa na waimbaji wazuri. Wanaweza kufanya shughuli nyingi ambazo zitawaletea fedha na waishi maisha mazuri. Kwa hivyo, ni juhudi yetu, kama taifa, kuhakikisha kwamba tunawalinda watoto yatima kwa kutenga rasilmali za kitaifa kutatua matatizo yao, ili waweze kuendelea na maisha kama watoto wenzao. Bw. Naibu Spika wa Muda, kwa hayo machache, naunga Hoja hii mkono, na kumpogeza tena, Profesa Mango, kwa kuileta mbele ya Bunge.
August 22, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3365
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me an opportunity to contribute to this very important Motion. I want to, straight-away, congratulate the Mover of this Motion for the conception of this Motion. This Motion touches on the very being of humanity. Governments must respond and attach importance to the very being of humanity. Human beings must, in their very nature, provide for the needy members of the society. Any individuals who form part of a Government who do not have consideration deep in their hearts for weak and vulnerable members of society, do not actually deserve the mercy of the Almighty, be they Muslims, Christians or people belonging to other faiths. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, Kenya is abound with large numbers of vulnerable children who are orphaned, and children who do not have well endowed parents. There are vulnerable children who have been thrown out of their homes. There are children whose parents have been displaced by acts of negligence, violence or omissions by parts of the society. Kenya is, perhaps, among the very few countries whose policy is lopsided. In the United States of America (USA) and United Kingdom (UK), children belong to the State. That is why there are certain laws that have been put in place to protect children against any violations, including violations by their own parents or relatives. In largely Europe and USA, you will find that parents are by law enjoined not to physically abuse their children. The State can take away the children from abusive parents and take care of them. It is only in Kenya where we talk about the rights of children, but we do not make it a direct obligation of the State to look into the welfare of those children. What the hon. Member has done is to move a step towards the direction of making the State or the Government responsible for the well-being of children in this country. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is not enough to talk about free and compulsory primary education. In as much as it is said it is free, if a child does not have a parent or a guardian who is able to provide certain needs to allow that child enjoy free and compulsory education, then the free and compulsory aspect of the education remains a remote mirage in the life of that particular child. There are many children in this country who do not have food. Recently, when we were together with you, the Chair, you had occasion to take us, as Bunge FC, to part of your constituency called Pand Pieri, to visit a childrens' home. We were able to see how needy those children were---
Order, Mr. Ochilo-Ayacko! It is called Pand Pier! And when I am in the Chair, I am not the hon. Member for Kisumu Town East Constituency!
You are the Chair because you are the hon. Member for Kisumu Town East Constituency!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I was talking about my visit to Pand Pier, in the company of Mr. Gor Sungu, who is the Member of Parliament for Kisumu Town East Constituency! This is a true story. We visited that part of Kisumu Town East Constituency with Mr. Gor Sungu. We really saw children in need. Those children did not know where their next meal or clothing would come from. Their welfare and well-being is left to the magnanimity of well wishers. I believe that the welfare of children in this country--- Children are also enjoined to follow the law in this country. The entire resources of the Government should be put in place to look into the welfare of children. The Government should come in and identify the children who are in need, and provide for their education, shelter, food and also protect them from people who abuse them. If that is not taken into consideration, then the growth that we are talking about will be growth that will only be available to people who are lucky to have parents who are alive, well to do and who can take care of them in their hours and moments of need. 3366 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 22, 2007 Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this Motion is seeking to establish a Fund. It is a very good Motion. If this Motion is supported by the good side of the Government, it will give this Government a good perception in the eyes of God. Somewhere in the Bible - and I believe that even the Government, being a being, must also respect the will of God - it is written that: "If you did not feed me when I was hungry, you were asking for the wrath of God." I believe that all hon. Members of goodwill, who are sitting on the Government benches, and who have the privilege of making decisions to look into the welfare of society and just government of men and women, must support this Motion and provide for a Fund that is going to look into the welfare of orphans and vulnerable children. Once we do that, we should also extend it to people who are generally poor. A Government that does not look into the welfare of the poor is a Government for the rich. I want to quote a saying by the former President of America, the late Richard Nixon. In his book Six Crises, he said: "God loved the poor so much! That is why he created them many." That basically means that the rich are countable and the poor are so many. It means that it is the duty of the rich to look after the poor and make sure that the poor, who were generally created many, are provided for. They are not led to extinction by our self aggrandizement. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in my constituency, there are very many orphans. There are many orphanages. Those orphans do not just require what we give them there - food and shelter. They also require love and attention. They do not require it from individuals. They require it officially from the Government. In fact, it is their right to get the support from the Government. With that kind of Fund, I am sure that those orphans will be able to lead normal lives and contribute meaningfully to wealth creation in the society. They may not get into wayward ways and end up in jails or other places that people who are generally badly behaved are destined for. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, you know very well that this country desires to have productive citizens. If all citizens are to be productive, then they must be accorded the same opportunities in education, protection of the law and in all areas. If this does not happen, we will have a society that has a few rich people and many poor people who are vulnerable and desperate. These people may not let the few rich people live in peace. I want to conclude by, once more, congratulating the hon. Member for her good and noble intention. May God bless her and return her to this House so that this Bill can see the light of the day.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir for giving me an opportunity to contribute to this very important Motion. Right from the outset, I would like to thank and commend the hon. Member for bringing this important Motion. I wish she had brought it earlier. I hope that her constituents will recognise and appreciate the Motions she has been bringing to this House so that they can give her another chance to come back to this House and see that the Motions are implemented. In the old days, before the Western culture uprooted the African culture, orphans used to be taken care of by their extended families. If you lost your brother, you took care of his children. If you lost a sister, you took care of her children. If you lost a cousin, you took care of his or her children. However, the Western culture set in and brought in two very devastating issues of culture in this country. One is the culture of materialism, where you want to have only two children so that you can buy each one of them a computer, a slim television set and tonnes of clothing, such that you cannot spare anything for your neighbour's child, who is an orphan. The Western culture also brought a culture of neglect. This is a culture where you are not concerned about the society around you. With the advent of the HIV/AIDS, which has devastated this country, especially in the province where I come from--- Every week, in my constituency, we lose more than 100 people who die from HIV/AIDS related diseases. These are young people who are between the ages of 20 and August 22, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3367 mid-40s. These people have children who are, in most cases, below ten years old. Since the society does not want to take care of these children, they have to take care of themselves. Just imagine a child of ten years taking care of his or her siblings who are below ten years old, maybe four or six year old children. How does he fend for that family? It is the responsibility of any Government to provide and take care of its citizens, especially the young citizens.
We now have the Free Primary Education (FPE) programme in place. However, this is of no benefit to the orphans of this country. First, they cannot afford to buy uniforms. Secondly, they cannot get food. You cannot study if you have not eaten. We do not provide free health care. Therefore, those children have to provide that for themselves. In fact, maybe as the Bible says, orphans belong to God. He is the one who provides for their good health such that they do not fall ill very often. However, they are very vulnerable to persuasion by social misfits in the society. These are people who want to take advantage over them, and presumably provide them with the luxuries of this world. They end up using these children as labourers, as if it is slavery labour. So, the FPE programme does not benefit these children. The religious culture where churches and mosques used to take interest in this vulnerable group does not exist any more. We have all gone Western and become materialistic. There is conspicuous consumption. That is where we are today. We buy 100 suits like Mrs. Marcos of Philippines who bought 5,000 pairs of shoes in her lifetime and, yet she could not wear them in her lifetime. That is what we do, and yet we have people in our country who walk literally naked. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, as you know, food, shelter and health are essential needs of a human being. Who provides those essential needs to those children? I believe that this Motion, just like other Motions which have been passed in this House, will be passed to enable the Mover to bring the Bill to this House. This will force the Government to provide for these children. I also want to make an appeal to the media. Let them sensitise Kenyans about these vulnerable groups instead of harping day in, day out what NARC(K) and ODM have done. Can they not, for a change, focus on these vulnerable groups? Just imagine if you died today and your small children are orphaned because your wife is not also there. Just imagine what your children would go through. I wish the media would have feature stories to address such issues. The media can come up with 100 feature stories from my constituency alone. If they did that throughout the country, they would get 21,000 stories of cases of vulnerable children, who are orphans. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I also want to know why the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) has never addressed itself to this vulnerable group. We pay the Director over Kshs500,000 a month, but he has never addressed the rights of these vulnerable group; the orphans. He only talks when Ngilu or Angwenyi are arrested. Angwenyi and Ngilu can defend themselves! Can he focus on changing this country and use his resources to help the orphans of this country? Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, to allow other hon. Members to contribute, I would like to support and commend the hon. Member who moved this Motion. I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me an opportunity to contribute to this Motion. I want to also congratulate and thank Prof. Mango for 3368 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 22, 2007 bringing this very important Motion, which we hope will become law at one time to take care of orphans and vulnerable children. Throughout the world, it is men who are in charge of much of the resources that any country has. Most of the time, children and women depend on the men to make the necessary and right decisions so that women and children can be taken care of. It is often the children who suffer most when the State or those who are in charge do not make the right decisions to take care of the vulnerable members of the society. Therefore, it is right that we should have a law to protect children, especially these vulnerable children. The state of children and women in any country is actually a reflection of the kind of leadership and commitment the menfolk have towards those they hold dear, because most women are either daughters, mothers or wives of some men. Since it is the men who make most of those decisions, it is extremely important that we raise the consciousness of our men to the level that they feel that they are responsible especially for the children. While it is important for parents to be held responsible for raising their children, it is completely unacceptable, in a country like ours, where resources are controlled by men, to allow our children to be sleeping out in the cold and eating in dump-sites as if there are no parents in this country. It is amazing that we can afford to kill those who we think are causing insecurity and yet we are not prepared to hold parents responsible to take care of their children. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is completely unacceptable that children should be raising themselves in the streets. Some of the children, who in the previous years grew up in the streets and dump-sites, are today the Mungiki and the organized youth groups who are causing havoc in this country. We allowed that phenomenon to happen and now with HIV/AIDS pandemic, a new phenomenon is actually developing where thousands of our children are growing up in deplorable situations because they cannot attend school and do not have food and care because their parents died due to HIV/AIDS. Therefore, it is extremely important for us to support this Motion so that we can have a law that ensures that a certain amount of money is set aside to make sure that these children go to school. Many children are left to their grandparents. I support the idea of supporting these children within the households of their relatives. So, many people start children's homes. It is sometimes out of good will and compassion but we also know that there are some people who actually start children's homes and use those children as a conduit to collect money which is not spent on the children. So, I think it is very important that the State sets aside funds so that children can be supported within the households of their loved ones. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we say that blood is thicker than water. Sometimes, relatives are under a lot of pressure, either because of their own children or they cannot support their own children or do not have the energy. Nevertheless, I am sure that the love and compassion that those children get from their relatives is far much greater than what they would get from children's homes. I am not saying that every children's home exploits children, there are some children's homes that are established out of compassion, especially those run by religious organizations. But far too many homes, unfortunately, are set up by greedy people who then exploit children or sometimes even use them, molest them and put them under conditions that are completely unacceptable. As a State, we cannot allow children to live under such situations. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I think there should be a mechanism where such children are identified and supported within the home. This would also help to remove one of the greatest handicap that these children will have. That is the stigma of having their parents die of HIV/AIDS scourge. In my own area, I am told sometimes that children do not want to go to school because they are teased by their colleagues that their parents died of HIV/AIDS scourge. Many of them avoid schools. However, when a child is living with relatives, it is possible for them to give such a child moral and psychological support, love and compassion, so that they do not suffer from August 22, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3369 that stigma. The stigma can actually hamper, not only their willingness to go to school and participate in social activities, but also make them never fully exploit themselves. They will never be allowed to grow up with confidence and self-respect like other children. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we all know that this country is very rich. However, it is only a small number of people who are extremely rich and the majority are poor. I think the rich have a moral responsibility to pay taxes and support these children through such a fund. I know that it is always very popular to go and give alms or goodies and be photographed with these children in the newspapers. Sometimes it is very discouraging to see that some of these pictures used by aid agencies to seek help contain scenes of emaciated children that look awful. To me, instead of exploiting this situation, let these people pay taxes or even give a certain amount of their money to the state. In fact, I wish our country would start that philanthropic culture where people are encouraged to give their wealth and then they are exempt from paying a certain amount of tax. By so doing, a lot of money would be given to the State to take care of such children. The rich can part with their money in an honourable way, without exploiting the vulnerability of our children through pictures. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is very important to couple this effort with education. We need to educate our young people, especially the vulnerable age group that it is very important to take care of themselves. They should not allow themselves to die early and leave their children in such vulnerable situations. We know that many people accept that they have HIV/AIDS scourge. Recently we saw how the age group of 15 to 30 years or so, is still extremely vulnerable to HIV/AIDS pandemic. Many of them are dying young and leaving very small children. We need to raise the awareness, especially in our high schools, to make our children become really responsible young adults. They should wait until they are ready for marriage, so that they can really raise their children and not leave them in such vulnerable situations. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in conclusion, I want again to say how important this Motion is and to strongly thank the hon. Member. With those remarks, I support.
Order, hon. Members! It is time for interruption of business. The House is, therefore, adjourned until this afternoon at 2.30 p.m. The House rose at 12.30 p.m.