Hon. Members, let us move to the first Question by Private Notice. It is by Mr. Gachagua. MEASURES TO ASSIST DISPLACED FAMILIES IN MATHIRA CONSTITUENCY
to ask the Minister of State for Special Programmes:- (a) Is the Minister aware that there are over 2,000 displaced families, including children and elderly people, who are starving and likely to die of hunger in Kieni Forest of Gatundu North, Thika District and Hombe Ragati and Cheche forests in Mathira Constituency? (b) What urgent measures will the Minister take to save them from disease and imminent death as a result of starvation and cold weather?
Hon. Members, Mr. Gachagua has sent a message to the Clerk that he is not going to be there. This Question is deferred until tomorrow. Being a Question by Private Notice, we cannot defer it further.
The next Question is by the hon. Member for Emuhaya, Mr. Marende. IMPLEMENTATION OF IPPG RESOLUTION ON CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Attorney-General the following Question by Private Notice:- (a) What progress has been made towards publishing a Constitutional Amendment Bill as resolved by the Inter-Parties Parliamentary Group on 19th June, 2007? (b) Could the Attorney-General state when the Bill will be published?
Hon. Members, this Question has been redirected to the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs. I understand that it happened on Friday. Therefore, the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs is the one who is supposed to answer this Question. Is the 3470 Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs ready to answer?
No, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. May I request that this Question be deferred until next week, when the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs will be back? She is out of the country at the moment. The Assistant Minister is on official business at the Coast Province with His Excellency the President. Thank you.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I understand what the Leader of Government Business, His Excellency the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs, is saying. But I thought that the provisions of the Constitution vest the powers to deal with constitutional matters on the Office of the Attorney-General inter alia, including matters pertaining to the interpretation of the Constitution such as this! What is the basis---
Order now! You are destroying that Bench!
Yes, Mr. Marende! Continue!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am wondering and, indeed, all hon. Members of the House will be wondering why this matter has been referred to the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, when it is common knowledge that she has been the obstacle to the progress on this issue?
Order, Mr. Marende!
He is here!
Order! The Attorney-General will have nothing to do with this because---
Order! The Question is no longer in the Attorney-General's office. It is in the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs' office and---
Order, Mr. Marende! You argument--- Really, it is not the Chair to direct where business should be taken, or how Ministers perform their duties. But I believe in the wisdom of the honourable Attorney-General! He thought that this Question would be better placed in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. Therefore, the Question was directed to that Ministry and the Office of the Clerk was notified accordingly. Therefore, my duty here is to call upon the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs to respond to the Question as redirected from the Office of the Attorney-General. There is nothing else I can do apart from that.
On a point of Order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. August 28, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3471
On a point of Order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Order! Order! Order! Just a minute! Let me finish what I was saying! You will get all the time you want. This is not the time to argue. The honourable Attorney- General is here to help me, just in case. That is because he is the one who redirected the Question. The duty of the Chair is to call upon the Minister to answer the Question. But, in this case, although the Order Paper states that it is the Attorney-General, I have said that the Question has been redirected to the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs! I do not think it is misplaced because it is a matter of the Constitution! Let me hear Mr. Cheboi!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we wish to ask you---
Order! I am hearing Mr. Cheboi!
On a point of Order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. There was a Select Committee that was formed on this specific issue and the Chair was His Excellency, the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs. The Committee directed the Attorney-General to publish that Bill. Actually, we have a copy of that Bill. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, is it, therefore, to say that His Excellency the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs and the Select Committee are changing their minds on who is supposed to bring that Bill when it is ready?
Mr. Attorney-General, do you have anything to say about that?
He will smile!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the hon. Questioner is a Member of the Multisectoral Constitutional Forum, which is chaired by His Excellency the Vice- President and Minister for Home Affairs. The Constitutional Amendment Bill which was forwarded to my office, was considered and returned to the forum together with a number of comments on where we felt it fell short and some of the difficulties of the provisions of that Bill, apart from refining it. It was sent back through the Clerk of the National Assembly. In the letter that forwarded the Bill, we also pointed out that the Attorney-General is not the one to sign the Bill. According to the organisation of Government, it is the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs who is supposed to do that. First, the Constitutional Amendment Bill is yet to be finalised by this Committee, taking into account the various comments that I made on it. Secondly, the Committee is well aware, because I wrote to it through the Clerk, that according to the organisation of Government, this Bill is to be brought to this House by the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
Order, hon. Members! It is like we are debating the Question, which is not before the House in the first place. The Question is not before the House! I do not want to agree with the Leader of Government Business to defer this Question to next week because it is a Question by Private Notice. To do justice to this Question, I will defer it to Thursday, so that the Assistant Minister can come and respond to it. We cannot defer it to next week because it is a Question by Private Notice, Your Excellency the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs. Therefore, I want to defer the Question to Thursday, then it can be argued when it is already before the House. Right now, it is not before the House.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have information that the Assistant Minister, in fact, will still be in Mombasa on official business on Thursday. This Ministry has only one Assistant Minister. So, I regret there will be nobody to answer this Question. 3472 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 28, 2007
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. The Attorney-General has actually attempted to answer the Question. But now that the Leader of Government Business and the Chairman of the County Hall talks, His Excellency the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs, is aware of the matter and has also informed the House that the Assistant Minister will not be there, could he perhaps go a little bit further and tell the House when he will reconvene the County Hall talks? The Attorney-General is trying to answer the Question. He is aware that the concerns he expressed have been taken into account and the Bill is ready for publication. The decision of the Committee was that the Attorney-General was the one to gazette it. This House should not be taken round in circles. We want to know when progress can be made. Perhaps, the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs can very kindly inform the House and the country at large, when he will reconvene the talks which are co-chaired by the Leader of the Official Opposition.
Mr. Muite, that is not the Question on the Order Paper! I want to believe that the House has properly been notified by the office of the Attorney-General that this Question has been redirected to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. Unless the Minister is here to respond to that Question, the Chair cannot direct that the Question be answered. I agree that the Attorney-General has attempted to answer the Question and I wonder why he has, in the first place, redirected it when he already knows the answer. But be that as it may, I am not asking the Attorney-General to proceed further. Therefore, the Question will be deferred until Tuesday next week.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. Let me table these documents.
Order, Mr. Cheboi! This is not even your Question in the first place!
There are some documents that I want to table.
But wait! Keep your papers until the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs is here. When she answers the Question and your documents are necessary, then you will lay them on the Table. So it is ordered!
The good Professor has again written to say that she is away. The Question is deferred until Thursday.
asked the Minister for Co-operative Development and August 28, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3473 Marketing:- (a) why the Reli SACCO Society Limited has 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.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) This matter had not earlier been brought to my attention. However, on inquiry, I have established that Mr. Moses Opole Alukutsa was an employee of Reli SACCO Society and was interdicted on 20th August, 2004, on grounds of misappropriation of the Society's funds. Upon acquittal by the court, the management made a decision to retire Mr. Alukutsa on grounds of public interest. Consequently, the society prepared his terminal dues amounting to Kshs588,589.25 out of which Kshs290,000 has so far been paid to him. (b) Due to financial constraints caused by delayed remittances by the Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC), the society is unable to pay him the whole amount at once, but will clear the balance as funds are released by the KRC to the society. In view of the foregoing, I contemplate no further action since the process of paying his dues is ongoing.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to thank the Assistant Minister for that answer. However, why did it take over two years for this employee to be paid the first tranche of his terminal benefits? Are there any mechanisms in place to compensate for the delay the Ministry has caused to this employee? The family was suffering all this time as the Ministry dragged on with the officer's terminal benefits.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I thought that the hon. Member should be grateful because there are very many officers who have not been paid their dues. We gave this particular case a priority. The KRC had been having a lot of problems that it even changed hands to the Rift Valley Railways Corporation. We have organised to have this money paid gradually. The money must come from the KRC because it was the employer of this officer. The KRC must remit money to the society, so that the members can be paid. As the KRC continues remitting employees' deductions, then this officer will be paid his dues. He is not the only one who has not been paid. We have other employees whose deductions have not been remitted. When the money is remitted, we will pay Mr. Alukutsa his dues.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it appears that Reli SACCO is a savings and credit society. These remittances which were supposed to be made by the KRC are deductions from employees. It appears from the Assistant Minister's answer that it is not even clear when this particular person will be paid his dues. The Assistant Minister has actually conceded that he does not know when the Reli SACCO Society will pay the other employees. What happens when employees' money is deducted by the employer and not remitted to the SACCO? Is this not an offence? The Assistant Minister should be contemplating taking action against an employer who is deducting money from the employees and is not remitting it to the employees' savings and credit society. What action will he take?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is true that it is not right for an employer to deduct money from employees and fail to remit it to their SACCO. The KRC had been having a lot of problems and we are taking action. We have taken action against a number of societies including some local authorities, who we have forced to start remitting the funds even as much as Kshs1 million per day. The KRC did not have the money although it deducted it from the employees' salaries. My Ministry is taking action against employers who fail to remit employees' deductions. In the 3474 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 28, 2007 meantime, we have to do with the money received by the SACCO. The SACCO can only pay Mr. Alukutsa from the money it receives from the KRC.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. Is the Assistant Minister in order to mislead this House that the KRC does not have money when it has disposed thousands of acres of land and other properties in this country? How did the corporation spend the amount of money it raised through those transactions that it cannot pay the retirees their dues?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, land is not money. If the KRC has huge chunks of land, it would have to liquidate the land to realise money. We are talking about actual liquid money which can be sent to the SACCO for it to pay the retirees. The Reli SACCO cannot force the KRC to sell its land to remit the deductions, unless it goes to court, but we have not reached that level.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. I have said that the KRC has disposed of thousands of acres of land. This means that they have sold land. So, where is the money that they raised from the sale?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, you cannot order an institution to dispose of or liquidate its land to pay its retirees. The KRC has so many other responsibilities. I have said that the KRC is continuing to pay its retirees. As you can see, we have already paid Kshs290,000 from the money that has been remitted. As soon as the money is remitted, we will pay Mr. Moses Alukutsa and the other retirees who are waiting to be paid their dues.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am confused here. It is my understanding that KRC does not exist any more. We have the Rift Valley Railways Corporation which took over the KRC. So, which of the two is the Assistant Minister referring to when he says that it will address this particular case? Is it the KRC, which is already wound up, or the new owners of the Rift Valley Railways Corporation?
Mr. Salat, I thought the Assistant Minister has been very specific on the Kenya Railways Corporation.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am talking about the Kenya Railways Corporation. The fact that it was handed over to another owner does not mean that it will run away from its responsibilities.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to request the Assistant Minister to give a time-frame within which the next tranche of Mr. Alukutsa's dues will be paid because it might take the next three years for Reli SACCO to release his terminal benefits. I would like the Assistant Minister to try and speed up that process.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I will try to hasten the KRC to pay, but we must appreciate that there are many other retirees who have not been paid their dues. We have given this case priority. If more money is remitted to Reli SACCO, it will definitely clear these arrears.
asked the Minister of State, Office of the President:- (a) whether he is aware that Peace Committees in the North Rift are informal and perform voluntary work; and, (b) when he will facilitate the committees by providing vehicles and allowances.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I August 28, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3475 beg to reply. (a) Yes, I am aware that Peace Committees in the North Rift of the Rift Valley Province are informal and perform voluntary work. (b) There are no provisions of motor vehicles or budgetary allocations for allowances for the Peace Committees. However, respective District Commissioners in the North Rift districts are under clear instructions to always avail motor vehicles whenever the committees intend to go out for peace building and conflict resolution meetings. Other stakeholders such as Oxfam and Arid Lands Resource Management Projects have also been assisting in paying allowances to the committees in their operations.
These Committees perform very important functions in that they are the bridge between the---
Order, hon. Members! The Chair cannot hear Mr. Lesrima. I also understand the Assistant Minister cannot hear him. Could the hon. Member repeat the Question? Please, consult in low tones, so that the hon. Member can be heard.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, these committees serve as a bridge between communities. They travel a lot around the country preaching peace. There was a time the Assistant Minister was intending to institutionalise them. What plans does he have to institutionalise them, so that their budget is reflected in the Vote of the Office of the President?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the peace committees have not been institutionalised due to budgetary constraints. Once we get enough money to do the other work, we will allocate funds to these committees. Right now, we hardly have enough money for vehicles and other budgetary needs. That is why we have left this initiative at a voluntary level. We rely mainly on donors to support these initiatives.
Bw. Naibu Spika, Waziri Msaidizi amesema ya kwamba Serikali haina pesa za kutumiwa na kamati hizi za amani. Lakini Serikali inatekeleza mipango ambayo inahatarisha amani hapa nchini. Wanabuni wilaya bila kuweka mipaka maalum. Ninasikia kuna mpango wa kubuni wilaya mpya kutoka Wilaya ya Taita Taveta ambapo mipaka haijulikani itakuwa wapi. Jambo hili linaleta migogoro na migongano. Bw. Naibu Spika, je, Serikali itapata wapi pesa za kupambana na migogoro inayozusha kwa kubuni wilaya bila kuwa na mipaka maalum?
Bw. Naibu Spika, Serikali haijabuni wilaya yoyote bila mpango. Wilaya zote zimebuniwa kwa sababu wananchi walizihitaji. Serikali ilifanya utafiti na kuona ya kwamba kuna watu wa kutosha na tukazibuni wilaya hizi. Hakuna wilaya ambayo imebuniwa kiholela.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, this Assistant Minister is not serious when addressing the issue of peace in Rift Valley. Amani Forum is a voluntary organisation. It is a pity that the Minister in charge of Administration and National Security cannot support these voluntary groups. How can he rely on the communities to get information, if he does not support these groups? What steps is he taking to make sure that these groups are funded?
First of all, I do not think Mr. Lesrima had Amani Forum in mind. Amani Forum is a completely different thing. I think Mr. Lesrima was referring to the peace committees in the community. They have nothing to do with the Amani Forum which is an informal body of Members of this House. Mr. Assistant Minister, you may wish to respond.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, you have already said it. The Amani Forum is a parliamentary initiative. I said that these peace committees are supported by the Government. We provide logistics, venues for meetings, manpower for people to make notes when they are meeting 3476 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 28, 2007 and vehicles. The only issue we have not been able to handle due to financial constraints is allowances. All the other logistical support that these committees require is given by the Government.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is very clear that the Government has now dropped the initiative they had in 2003. They even established an institution in the Office of the President to strengthen these peace committees in those areas where pastoralists fight over grazing grounds, water and boundaries. The Government has come out very clearly that it believes in community policing in urban areas, but not in strengthening peace committees among the pastoralist communities. Could the Assistant Minister consider at least availing a vehicle specifically dedicated to this function in every district. At the moment, some District Commissioners do not even have vehicles for their normal operations, leave alone for this voluntary and necessary activity.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to correct the impression that there is a difference between community policing and peace committees. In fact, peace committees are part of the community policing initiative. Community policing initiative is also voluntary just like the peace committees. There is no single District Commissioner who does not have a vehicle. When a District Commissioner is appointed, he is given transport immediately. Whenever these committees meet, because they do not meet on a daily basis, we mobilise transport, meeting venues and other logistical support that they require. When funds are available we will consider providing allowances for them. The institutions that have supported conflicts and peace initiatives have so far spent Kshs3.5 million. We have got money from Oxfam and Kshs2.2 million from the Arid Lands Resource Management Project. So far, all the money given from these organisations is Kshs3.5 million. We welcome support from any group that may be willing to chip in to make these peace committees more effective.
Order, Mr. Keter! I have not asked your Question! Is that Mr. Keter? I beg your pardon, Mr. Cheboi! How come you took the order and it was not meant for you? Is Mr. Keter not here? The Question is dropped!
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. We all use that road! There is heavy traffic jam!
Order, Mr. Angwenyi! I do not have to tell you that you are out of order. You know it. Hon. Members, that is the end of Question Time. The Minister for Roads and Public Works, Mr. Nyachae, has a Ministerial Statement.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, last week, Mr. Khamisi inquired about the construction of Mariakani-Kilifi Road. He was right to have stated that the tender had been cancelled. The position is as follows: The tender for the construction of the above road was advertised in 2006/2007 Financial Year. The evaluation of tenders was completed in 2006/2007 Financial Year. However, the project could not be awarded because we had come to the closure of the financial year. Unfortunately, the project was erroneously re- advertised along with other roads this financial year. This amounted to double-tendering. I wish, therefore, to inform this House and confirm that the procurement based on the earlier advertised tender shall be concluded shortly and the contract will be awarded. Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, you have heard from the Minister that the tender was cancelled. I know this road between Mariakani, Ribe and Kaloleni because I went to Ribe High School in the early 1960s. It is a major road in that area. In the absence of the contractors, could the Minister make an effort to grade it to be passable because the soil there is loose? During heavy rains the road gets damaged and no vehicles pass through that particular section. It is a big area.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, with all due respect to the hon. Member, I do not think he listened to my Statement. He is assuming that the tender is not going ahead. I said that the tender was advertised in the last financial year. However, we could not award it because it was the close of the financial year. What came out recently in advertising would be tantamount to re-advertising. So, we had to cancel this re- advertisement and continue with the earlier one. I have stated that we will award the tender. So, the hon. Member is talking of something else which I never said here.
Bw. Naibu Spika, ujenzi wa barabara hiyo unatarajiwa kuanza lini hasa? Tarehe gani?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the reply to the question being raised depends entirely on the consultant and the contractor. Once the two agree and the contract is signed, the construction begins. It is not for the Minister to set the date. There must be negotiations and an agreement between the consultants of our Ministry and the contractor. The commencement date will then be issued by the Accounting Officer.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair. It is my pleasant duty and honour to present to this honourable House the Recurrent and Development Estimates of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Financial Year 2007/2008. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, may I start by noting that in my remarks, I do not have the districts Estimates, as normally circulated to hon. Members, because as a Ministry, we do not allocate money on a district basis as hon. Members may have been used to receiving from other Ministries. The Estimates, therefore, are as presented in the Votes. For the Recurrent Expenditure, the amount requested is Kshs6,088,759,420 and for the Development Expenditure, the amount requested is Kshs1.1 billion. I am deeply appreciative of the fact that over the years, hon. Members have been very supportive of my Ministry's efforts to broaden and deepen Kenya's relation with the international community for the benefit of Kenyans. I know that I can count on your continued support as we strive to continue to accelerate and consolidate our economic diplomacy at bi-lateral and regional level for the much needed rapid economic growth. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I note that the theme for this year's national Budget is "Vision 2030 - working together on the path to prosperity". The vision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, therefore, is to be an effective tool for achieving the national Vision 2030 and transforming national development, which builds on the immensely successful Economic Recovery Programme. The Ministry will continue to spearhead Kenya's engagements with the rest of the world in the implementation of this Vision. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, my Ministry is Kenya's face to the rest of the world. Since its establishment 40 years ago, it has co-ordinated, led and managed Kenya's foreign relations in pursuit of our national interest. Earlier this year, at the direction of His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki, I announced a paradigm shift in Kenya's foreign policy from pure political to a stronger and sharper focus on economic diplomacy. With the visionary leadership of His Excellency the President, as Kenya's top diplomat, the Ministry will build on past successes and enhance Kenya's diplomatic and political profile in the region and among the wider community of nations. As we embark with renewed vigour on economic diplomacy at all levels of our foreign and international engagements, we shall continue to systematically review the diplomatic activities to focus on priority areas of national development. In this regard, Kenya is forging closer co-operation with emerging markets in Asia, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean. Further, the Government recognises the need to maintain links with our traditional bi-lateral and multi-lateral partners. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I acknowledge that in the current global dispensation, we no longer have the monopoly of shaping the country's foreign policy alone. The media, Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs), academics, civil society and public relations firms among others, are really playing an important role in shaping and articulating the country's interests abroad. To this end, Vision 2030 will provide the basis for the Ministry's articulation and enhancement of the national economic policy globally. To achieve this goal, the Ministry requires substantial financial resources. About 70 per cent of the Ministry's expenditure goes to financing missions abroad. This means that missions are key to articulating and implementing Government policies, both at the domestic and international level. The expenditure incurred is mainly Recurrent, with the bulk of it incurred on payment of foreign service allowances, rent expenditure and maintenance cost of Government-owned property abroad. Following the Cabinet's directive that the Ministry should take measures to achieve efficiency in the utilization of allocated funds, a taskforce to rationalise the Ministry and streamline August 28, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3479 the operations of missions abroad, was set up and it has completed that task. The recommendations of the taskforce will be implemented in this financial year, to ensure prudent management of public resources. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, allocations on the Ministry's Development Vote has, over the years, been inadequate for the Ministry to implement its planned activities more effectively. In the past, funding of Development Expenditure was mostly financed by sale of idle assets. However, with the shift in policy from renting property to acquisition, substantial savings will be realised in the long-run, which will enable the Ministry to effectively articulate its core mandate. The recommendations by the taskforce on management of properties and other assets owned by the Government abroad, will be implemented as part of the on-going restructuring of the Ministry's operations at the headquarters and missions abroad. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, Kenya's Foreign Policy is a tool that our country employs to attain, protect, advance and promote its national values and interests at the regional, continental and international arenas. Primarily, Kenya's foreign policy seeks to align the country's diplomacy with its domestic policy. Economic diplomacy has taken centre stage in Kenya's foreign policy, which stresses the establishment of diplomatic presence abroad on the basis of their strategic and economic viability. Kenya has also strengthened its relations with China. The volume of our bi- lateral trade with China has reached a record high of US$480 million in the year 2005. There are now over 20 Chinese companies doing business in the country. Simultaneously, Kenya has explored new networks with emerging economic hubs in Western and Eastern Europe. For instance, the Republic of Ireland is now one of the fastest growing economies in Europe, while Spain has emerged as a leading source of tourist inflows into Kenya. In the last Financial Year 2006/2007, new missions were opened in Bangkok, Brasilia, Seoul, Dublin, Madrid and Kuwait because of the emerging strategic interests in these regions. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the mandate of my Ministry has been expanded to include the international jobs and diaspora office, in line with the emphasis and focus on economic diplomacy. The objective is to ensure that Kenyans secure jobs in international organizations and agencies, as well as other multinational and private organizations. We have developed a database of curriculum vitaes and available jobs, and we are now encouraging Kenyans to apply. By focusing on the diaspora, our aim is to facilitate improvement in the delivery of consular services, developing re- integration programmes, encouraging investment in Kenya as well as the development of diaspora's specific products and increase in remittances. The Ministry, thus, requires resources to tap into the diaspora in order to create more wealth for the nation. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for issues relating to all international organizations and co-ordination of multi-lateral issues. It deals with a multitude of Kenya's national interests and priorities articulated at international fora. This is particularly in the case of the United Nations systems, its organs, the General Assembly, the Economic, Social and Security Councils. It is the responsibility of the Ministry to ensure that Kenya maximises on opportunities offered by different international organizations in economic and social fields. It, therefore, acts as the main liaison between the international organisations and functional Ministries and departments. There are a number of international organizations, most of them specialised agencies of the United Nations, for example, the World Health Organization (WHO), for which we liaise with the Ministry of Health; the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), for which we liaise with the Ministry of Agriculture; the World Meteorological Organization, for which we liaise with the Ministry of Transport and the Department of Meteorology. Others are United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in Paris, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), International Education Exchange Association (IEEA) in Vienna, United 3480 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 28, 2007 Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Intellectual Property Owners (IPO) and Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva. Our role, as a Ministry, is to seek to strengthen Kenya's bargaining position in all these organizations and other international bodies, by working closely with other developing countries, especially within the African group, Non-aligned Movement (NAM), G77 and China. Our mandate also involves liaison with NGOs, mostly international ones like the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which undertakes a lot of projects in the region and, indeed, in this country. The location of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and UN-Habitat in Nairobi is probably the single most important achievement in Kenya's multi-lateral engagement. It is the only United Nations office in developing countries. Another achievement has been the upgrading of the office to a fully-fledge United Nations Office in Nairobi, fourth in line after the UN offices in New York, Geneva and Vienna. We, therefore, work closely with what is referred to as the multi-lateral missions. Those are permanent missions in New York, Geneva, Vienna, Rome and two UN offices in Nairobi, UN-Habitat and UNEP. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, Kenya continues to play a key role in conflict resolution and peace initiatives in the region. Kenya played a key role towards the establishment of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia in 2004, and the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in the Sudan on 9th January, 2005, marking the end of the longest running conflict in Africa. This was aimed at stemming the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, influx of refugees and the spread of Islamic fundamentalism. A stable Somalia will eventually open trade and investment opportunities to both countries in the long run. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, during the last Financial Year, 2006/2007, the Ministry was able to facilitate State visits abroad, which led to the signing of bilateral agreements between the Government and some friendly countries such as China and Saudi Arabia. As a result of those agreements, for example, the Government of the Republic of China is financing the rehabilitation of Nairobi roads on a design and build arrangement at a cost of Kshs2 billion. Five roundabouts on Uhuru Highway will be replaced with over-passes and extra lanes from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to UNEP Headquarters through the Museum Hill roundabout. The Government also secured funding from the Saudi Arabian Government for the establishment of a university at the Coast, the construction of a 20 kilometre Garissa-Nuno- Madogashe-Wajir Road at a cost of Kshs750 million, rehabilitation of the Wajir District Hospital, the construction and rehabilitation of the Burns Unit and Paediatric Emergency Unit at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and Ongata Rongai Water and Sanitation Project. All those projects are valued at an estimated cost of Kshs6 billion. Those development projects are as a result of the diplomatic efforts by my Ministry towards the realisation of goals stipulated in Vision 2030. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is now my honour and privilege to present the Recurrent and Development Estimates of my Ministry for the Financial Year 2007/2008. I now wish to elaborate the activities for which I seek an approval from the House to spend a sum of Kshs6,088,759,420 for the Recurrent Vote and Kshs1,100,000,000 for the Development Vote. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, funds under the Recurrent Estimates are categorised under three Sub-Votes as follows:- (i) Sub-Vote 040 - General Administration and Planning. The net expenditure is Kshs1,675,333,201. The Ministry requires the Kshs1,675,333,201 to cater for personnel emoluments, expenses incurred on official State visits abroad, computerization and networking of the Ministry Headquarters and missions abroad, establishment of a Foreign Service Institute and other operational and maintenance expenses at the Ministry Headquarters. August 28, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3481 (ii) Sub-Vote 041 - Diplomatic Representation. The net expenditure is Kshs4,077,926,219. The Ministry's core activity is articulation and projection of Kenya's image abroad. In that respect, a substantial portion of the budget goes to financing our missions abroad. In the recent past, there has been a modest expansion in pursuit of this noble national objective. The paradigm shift now focuses on economic diplomacy, with clear emphasis to emerging markets in Asia, Middle East and Latin America. Those are currently some of the fastest growing economies in the world and, therefore, it is imperative for our country to share the benefits of the new global phenomenon by establishing economic and trade ties with them. It is for this reason that we recently opened new missions in those regions. The Ministry opened new missions in Seoul, Bangkok, Brasilia, Madrid, Dublin and Kuwait, to take care of Kenya's interests in those countries. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Ministry requires resources to pay foreign service officers working in those missions, and for the running of the missions. Maintenance of Government properties in missions abroad has always been inadequate. Therefore, resources have to be put into refurbishment and maintenance of Government owned properties, which is a costly affair because of the vagaries of the weather, especially in winter-prone countries. Unfortunately, for many years, those properties have not been attended to. Therefore, that has resulted in higher costs of maintenance and refurbishment. The Ministry, thus, requires an amount of Kshs4,077,926,219 under this Sub-Vote. (iii) Sub-Vote 042 - International Organizations. The gross expenditure for this Sub-Vote is Kshs335,500,000. Economic recovery is the main objective of the Government and this influences the Ministry's activities. The phenomenon of globalisation and increased inter-dependence of nations has led to the emergence of regional economic blocs. The size of our economies has made it imperative for our countries to integrate as a way of attracting foreign direct investments and enhancing our competitiveness. Kenya has seized the opportunity to integrate, through existing economic blocs. This has enhanced the opportunity of new and increased share of existing markets. Kenya is a member of various economic bodies such as the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation (IORARC), Common Markets for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), East Africa Community (EAC), New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the Commonwealth. As a member, payment of contributions to those organizations remains paramount to us, as a nation. The Ministry, thus, needs Kshs335,500,000 under this Sub-Vote for payment of membership fees, dues and subscriptions to those international organisations, especially the AU, UN, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Foundation. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, on the Development Budget - Vote D04 - the gross development estimates for expenditure is Kshs1,100,000,000. Under this, there is Sub-Vote 040 - General Administration and Planning, with a net estimated expenditure of Kshs20 million. The Ministry requires Kshs20 million for Development Expenditure at the headquarters. That money will be used for refurbishment and partitioning of offices to accommodate the new staff recently recruited, re-carpeting and redesigning of the parking area and the completion of the installation of new lifts. Under the Development Expenditure, there is Sub-Vote 041 which is on Diplomatic Representation. Its expenditure is estimated at Kshs1,080,000,000. Allocations on our Development Vote have, over the years, been inadequate for the Ministry to implement its activities more effectively. Missions abroad spend substantial amounts of the allocations on rent and leases. The Ministry has, thus, began implementing a policy of property ownership with the objective of realising savings on leases and rentals in the long run. The Ministry plans to acquire additional properties in the following countries on priority basis. In Brussels, the Ministry plans to acquire a chancery at a total cost of Kshs450 million. This is in line with the Ministry's policy shift from renting property to acquisition. Last year, the 3482 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 28, 2007 Ministry acquired a chancery and an ambassador's residence in China for Kshs515 million, saving the Government an annual rent of Kshs12.6 million. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, let me turn to Kampala. Uganda is Kenya's largest trading partner in the whole world, with an export volume amounting to Kshs43 billion, per year. In the spirit of fast-tracking the integration process, it is, therefore, necessary to strengthen our presence with our biggest trading partner country by owning our own properties in Kampala. The Ministry, therefore, requires Kshs50 million to purchase the High Commissioner's residence. This will save the Government Kshs3 million in annual rent paid for the High Commissioner's residence. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, ongoing and new construction projects that the Ministry intends to implement in the current financial year include Dar-es-Salaam. The Ministry is currently constructing a chancery and a High Commissioner's residence in Tanzania. The project is estimated to cost Kshs275 million upon completion. The Ministry was provided with Kshs190 million in the last financial year. However, the Ministry requires an additional Kshs85 million to complete the project. The Ministry intends to construct a chancery and an Ambassador's residence in Abuja, the new capital city of Nigeria, after relocating from Lagos. The Ministry, therefore, requires Kshs200 million in the current financial year and the balance of Kshs200 million in the next financial year. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in Islamabad, the Ministry intends to construct a chancery and a High Commissioner's residence at a cost of Kshs421 million. The Ministry, therefore, requires Kshs150 million in the current financial year with a remainder in the next two financial years, 2008/2009 and 2009/2010. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I may add here that in a lot of these areas where we have to construct chanceries and so forth, some of those countries, in some cases, allocated the land for construction of those chanceries some 10 or 15 years ago. If we do not take advantage of those lands, we stand to lose the property. As the Ministry expands its presence globally, and at the same time ensures to maintain the good image of our country, it is imperative that the Government owned properties abroad are well maintained. To this end, the Ministry is requesting for Kshs145 million to refurbish Government owned properties in the following missions: New York, Kshs10 million; Washington, Kshs10 million; Kinshasa, Kshs10 million; Lusaka, Kshs10 million; Paris, Kshs5 million; Stockholm Kshs10 million; Riyadh Kshs10 million; Brussels, Kshs5 million; and, Rome Kshs5 million. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, with regard to Rome, I remember recently, the house was almost being condemned because it was a fire risk and we had to move our Ambassador from the residence for some emergency work to be done. The Hague, Kshs10 million; Pretoria, Kshs10 million; and, Windhoek, 50 million. The total is Ksh145 million. In conclusion, for the Fiscal Year 2007/2008, I am requesting the House to approve the Ministerial expenditure of Kshs7,188,759,420 comprising of Kshs6,088,759,420 for the Recurrent Expenditure Vote and Kshs1,100,000,000 for the Development Vote. In addition, the House is also being requested to approve collection and utilisation of Appropriations-in-Aid amounting to Kshs1,109,750,000 under the Recurrent Vote. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I now beg to move. I kindly request hon. Munya to second the Vote. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. I would like to take this opportunity to second this Vote of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is a very key Ministry because it is the one that provides the link between our country and the other nations of the world. In the modern world, countries are all interlinked. Barriers are being broken everyday and we acknowledge the coming of what has been called a "global village". August 28, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3483 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, therefore, becomes very critical in assisting a country to occupy its space in that global village. That is why this Ministry is very important. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we are also living in a changing world. We used to live in a world where we had two blocs. This was during the Cold War. Those barriers have now been completely broken down. During those years, most Ministries of Foreign Affairs, in the world, used to focus on the relations between those two blocs. You were either aligned or non-aligned to one of the blocs. Without those blocs, most countries are now focusing on economic diplomacy instead of political diplomacy that was based on the way the world was divided. I would like to laud our Ministry for shifting its focus from diplomacy of politics to diplomacy of development. We are continuing to reap the benefits of that shift. If you look at what the Ministry has been doing, especially at the regional level, you will see that it has been making sure that there is peace around our country. It has also been taking part in ensuring that our neighbours like the Sudan, Somalia, and Uganda are peaceful. This has not happened just because we are interested in peace for the sake of it. It is because we know that once our neighbours are peaceful, our country will be stable. We will also reap benefits through trade links with those countries by exporting our products to those countries. We always focus on our key interest as a nation. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, diplomacy is about a country assessing its own interests and pushing for them. Of course, when you are pushing for your interests you have to make sure that the interests of your friends and neighbours are also taken care of so that there is no conflict between your interests and those of your neighbours. We have been focusing on those key interests of our country. The most important interest is expanding our trade ties and being able to sell our goods everywhere. Our business people should be able to travel to other countries and carry out commerce. This also makes our economy grow. We can argue that the 6.1 per cent economic growth was also largely contributed by the work that this key Ministry has been doing. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, If you look at Southern Sudan, for instance, I am told that we have more than 35,000 Kenyans living and working there. They are doing business there. That is because of the work that this Ministry has been doing; to bring peace there. Infrastructure is being put in place. For example, construction of roads is going on so that we can connect ourselves with this country. This will enable us to expand and make Kenya the regional power. We should continue to make Kenya the economic power in this region. This cannot happen without our contribution to regional peace. In fact, we have been invited to Uganda, to go and participate as observers. The people involved in the Ugandan conflict recognise that without Kenya not much would be achieved. I am happy that our Minister has accepted to sent our team to participate. Uganda being our key and foremost trading partner, it would be in order for us to be involved in bringing that conflict in Uganda to an end. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also like to laud the Ministry for the role that it has been playing in strengthening our links with the East Asian countries that have been doing very well. They include the newly industrialised countries that we can learn from. Some of those countries were at the same level in economic development with Kenya when Kenya was doing extremely well in the 1970s. Not only are we going to do a lot of trade, which is already thriving in this country, but we are also going to learn what they did to transform their countries. That is why we have our missions in Bangkok, Japan, Malaysia and even in countries where we may not open our missions, the Ministry continues to open consulates there to make sure that our commercial interests are taken care of. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also like to laud our Ministry, especially our contribution in strengthening the regional economic blocs because regional integration is the in-thing today. There is nowhere in the world where we do not have neighbouring countries coming together to 3484 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 28, 2007 form economic blocs so that we can break down trade barriers that are a hinderance to trade. That is why Kenya is a key member in the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) and we continue to commit ourselves to COMESA and make it a success. If you look at our share in terms of trade, we control 43 per cent of all the trade that is done within the COMESA bloc. If you control 43 per cent of trade in one bloc, you can see how successful Kenya has become in terms of trade in the region. That is why our commitment to this regional blocs continues to be very important to us and to our economy. There is the East African bloc which is already growing faster than COMESA in terms of economic integration and even in terms of political integration because the vision is slowly coming up with an East African federation. If you look at the communities in East Africa, the people share one language and one culture. Many years ago, the Mzungu came and created nations. But before he came, long distance trade was thriving in the East African region from the Eastern Coast all the way to Congo, it is a natural region not just for economic integration but also for political federation. That is why our Government has been committed to making this political integration a success. I can remember that our own Attorney-General was involved in drafting the documents that were intended to fast-track the integration. The citizens have also been involved in giving ideas on how that can be done so that it does not flop like the previous initiative. With those few remarks, I beg to second.
Hon. Members, I do understand that Ms. Abdalla will be speaking on behalf of the official Opposition. So, Madam, take the Floor!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is indeed the first time that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is giving its estimates. Due to that, there was a little hiccup when we were looking for the details of what the Minister was presenting. In the past when the Ministry's budget was being guillotined, there were many things that we wanted to question but we did not get the opportunity to. I hope that this would be the beginning of this Ministry being substantively analyzed and reviewed in future. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, when the Minister was moving his Vote, one of the clear things that he repeated many times, was that Kenyan foreign policy has moved to economic diplomacy. The question, we in the Opposition ask is, where is this policy? When was it ever passed and where is it written? Or is it like the British Constitution that is not written? Without a written foreign policy, we are not able to measure whether the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is performing as to the objectives of the Ministry or whether they are under-performing. We cannot work on an imaginary foreign policy that we keep mentioning in speeches and yet we do not have it in written form. So, the Opposition would like to emphasize that the Minister should tell us that the current mood of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in this particular foreign agenda, is x,y and z. But to use the word "policy" is misleading the country. So, the Opposition would like the Ministry to first bring its foreign policy before mentioning about policy when it does not exist. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in seconding the Minister, Mr. Munya said that Kenya's foreign policy is to push Kenya's agenda either in economic or diplomatic terms and those of our friends. I would like to dwell on the issue of pushing the agenda of our friends because this Ministry seems to think that the agenda of our friends should supersede the agenda of our country. I say so because the Minister mentioned the threat of terrorism as being one of the factors influencing our foreign policy. I have said this before and I am saying it now. Kenya is not a target of terrorism but a mere collateral damage. We only get attacked because we make the agenda of our friends to supersede our own agenda. August 28, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3485 So, we are attacked because we over-support foreign masters. We are not the target of terrorism, we are merely collateral damage. We tone down on issues that make terrorists want to attack us. We have no interest fighting terrorists who are not affecting our economy and are not targeting us. Let us have an agenda that supports our national interests rather than those of our foreign masters, friends or whatever you want to call them. Mr. Munya used the word "friend" very lightly. I would not want to call them friends. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I mention the issue of terrorism because as Kenyans, our first responsibility is to protect our nationals. When the war between Ethiopia and Islamic Courts was going on, Kenyans were arrested and taken to Ethiopia without due process of law. We allowed foreigners to deport Kenyans to Ethiopia. Currently, there are over 40 Kenyans languishing in Ethiopian courts and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is doing nothing because they do not want their friends to be seen to have helped in deporting Kenyans who should not have been deported. I would like the Minister, when responding, to tell us who is supposed to be protected first; Kenyans who have identity cards, passports and have relatives here or foreign interests who claim that there is Al Qaeda in Somalia and that the Islamic Courts are supporting terrorists. I would like the Minister to give us their rank of priorities. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like the Minister, when responding, to give us their rank of priority. When we were getting Independence we were told that Mwafrika was number four. So, maybe this Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still thinking that "number four" has been taken over by Kenyans of Somali origin or Muslims. So, I want him to clarify that. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, on the issue of peace, it is true that Kenya has done a commendable job in bringing peace to the region. However, we need to also appreciate that when foreigners or our neighbours have their forces coming into our areas, Kenya should be in the forefront to, first, protect her citizenry, without questioning why those foreigners have come in. Those of us from upper Eastern Province know that Ethiopian forces get into our territory, at will. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, in fact, the entire Front Bench, never appreciates the fact that Kenyans in upper Eastern Province are Kenyans. It is the responsibility of the Government to protect Kenyan nationals and not interfere with those nationals who have come in to the country. It is not the business of Ethiopian Government to interfere too. It is the business of Kenya to arrest those guerillas and not for Ethiopia to come in and arrest our people. It is the same situation in West Pokot. We should not allow the Uganda Defence Force to get into our territory, without our permission and if we do not protect our citizenry, this situation will only escalate further. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I wish to also commend the Government's effort in creating better relationships with the East. It is good for our economy and for us to have more economic partners as opposed to what happened during the Cold War period when we were confined to who we should deal with. However, I wish to note that a lot of justification for us creating better relationship with the East is because of the purported scrutiny or bad business relationship with the West. We should not be substituting relationships. We should be increasing our relationships, so that we are able to have more business partners rather than substituting one with the other. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, when I was working in the international arena and one of the Ministries in this country that I was very proud of was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was very efficient in dealing with issues affecting international staff or Kenyan staff working for multilateral agencies. I am glad that questions that have been brought to this House about non-Kenyans masquerading as Kenyans in order to get jobs in the United Nations (UN) and other international bodies is being dealt with. However, one area that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs needs to be very careful about, so that we are able to benefit maximumly in the area of international recruitment, is for them to employ internationally acceptable strategies of ensuring that the Kenyan whose name we present, meets those criteria that people are fighting for. I do not need to elaborate the point any 3486 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 28, 2007 further. Just look at the senior Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials lined out there, there is no single woman seated there because this Ministry does not appreciate the need for gender balance in their recruitment process.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the truth of the matter is that there is no woman senior enough to be able to sit there. We miss out on international postings because Kenyans tend to propose mainly men. In fact, in some cases, it is men who have already retired and spent a lot of time in the foreign service. Some of the countries where we have very serious economic interests are led by people who were ambassadors in the 1960s before some of us were even born. When will people of my generation be given the chance to represent Kenya in those major economic interest countries? If we do not move into that area, we will not have that age where our ambassadors will really perform what we need them to do in those Ministries. We do not want to see friends being pushed into positions that they do not deliver back to us, as a country. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we also have been saying that we are strengthening Kenya's foreign missions relationships with the diaspora. One of the areas that I have noticed the existence of this relationship is that we always have this agenda of them supporting the Government and investments back home. One of the problems that a lot of Kenyans or people from this region experience is that of coming back. When non-Kenyans are leaving, for example, the West, let us say Somalis and Ethiopians and they want to come back home and pass through Kenya and some of them do not have proper travel documents---- One of the things I have noticed is that we, as a country, are losing a lot of visa-related money from non-Kenyans who are from our region who travel on what the West call travel documents. For example, if you are a Somali refugee and you have been living in England and you get a travel document, the Kenyan embassy in the UK will not give you a visa, but lo behold the Ugandan Embassy would give you the same. So what you will need to do is to walk past the Busia border, get back to Kenya and pay no visa fees to get into this country. So, when we are looking for tourists all over the place, be they having travel documents or proper documents, no person with a travel document from the UK would want to languish in Kenya where he will not get an identification card, especially if he looks like me. This is because he will not ever get citizenship. So, I want the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to review that ban about giving visas to people holding travel documents because we are losing a lot of money to Uganda. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as you are aware, our Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs is not around. So, I will be urging the Minister to try and make sure that he lets us know that his Ministry is not being guillotined, so that we are more prepared. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. Let me thank the Minister for his information as he was moving his Vote. This Parliament has not debated the budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for over 20 years. Yet, this Ministry consumes a large amount of taxpayers' money. It is normally the sixth or seventh biggest Ministry in terms of budget. This has led to questions and accusations about patronage and corruption, within this particular Ministry. I congratulate the Minister for making sure it has come before this House. This is a sign of transparency on behalf of the Ministry. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as a member of the Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations we are aware that there is a draft foreign policy which should be tabled by the Ministry. However, other Members outside of the Committee, do not know about it. I would like to urge the Minister, as soon as possible, to be able to table it, so that Members of Parliament are able August 28, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3487 to understand the shift the Ministry has now made to economic diplomacy and what their priorities are under that policy. I think it is a good thing that Parliament must support the issue of expenditure for development. For many years, our embassies and missions have been renting premises instead of buying a small little "Kenya" in whichever country they are in. I think that this Kshs6 billion will be wisely spent. I would be encouraging the Minister to ensure that every year we do continue to purchase our own buildings, so that we are not embarrassed as Kenyans, when we go abroad, that we do not have our own little "Kenya" in those countries where we are. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, right now, we have so many Kenyans living in the diaspora. Some of them are even criminals, languishing in jails. It is time that we started focusing on them. The first thing that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should do is to tell us how they are taking care of Kenyans living abroad. We can take care of those people in so many ways. First of all, instead of using that money to employ foreigners in those countries, we need to ensure that we employ Kenyans who are living in those countries. That would be a good way of trying to reduce the Ministry's budget. I know that we proposed that this should be done, particularly, when we are saying that we should not be paying cooks and drivers as much money as we have done in the past. It is true that the Committee visited many missions abroad. We are saying that there have to be cooks in certain embassies, because being able to show our local foods is part of the things that we do in diplomacy. However, again, the locals who are employed at that level should be employed on local terms. I am glad to see that the Ministry is starting to do that and reducing the sort of costs that we used to incur on this kind of personnel. I am happy that some of the money that we are going to vote for this Ministry is also going to be used, yet again, in terms of Kenyans living in the diaspora by ensuring that we have a database and registers of Kenyans living abroad. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, this is very important for many reasons, one being the fact that we are soon going to approve the issue of dual citizenship in the minimum package on the constitutional reforms. Even if that does not happen this year, it will happen next year. Therefore, in terms of getting ready for Kenyans abroad to vote in 2012, the Ministry needs to set aside some money to ensure that they have a register and database, telling us who are the Kenyans living abroad. In the past, many Kenyans who live abroad have always been ignored by our missions out there. When I was a student in England in 1993, I attempted to reach our Embassy in London, to find out what celebrations, or occasions, were being staged for our national Independence Day. I was brushed aside in such a manner that it shocked me. It was as if the people who worked in those embassies were not there for us, or that Kenyans were not paying for them to be there. I have been to other missions in the recent past. I have seen that the situation is changing. Kenyans are actually saying that the Ministry is now changing its policy. They are feeling more welcome, and ambassadors in the various embassies are calling them for special occasions or letting them know when Government delegations would be visiting. That is a good trend. Let us keep it up. However, in order for the Ministry to be able to do so, we need to also put aside some money to re-train some of our officers, who still belong to the old school, as the nominated Member of Parliament, Ms. Abdalla, said. They still belong to the very old school. They have not moved into economic diplomacy. They still sort of imagine that there is a cold war out there. So, this needs to be done. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to talk about the need for information dissemination by our missions abroad to the country. The Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations visited the Democratic Republic of Congo. Much to our shock, we found that they import milk and vegetables from Belgium, yet Kenya Airways planes fly there every day. Do local 3488 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 28, 2007 businessmen know that? That information is with our Mission in Kinshasa but our businessmen in Kenya do not know that. There needs to be a way for that information to reach the local businessmen. Perhaps, we can do this by having joint missions. I am aware that some joint missions exist in Southern Sudan, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must also reach out to Parliament. The Executive cannot do this on its own. Those of us who are Members of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) have complained often that we have no linkage to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when we sit in Midrand, South Africa, during PAP Sessions. Therefore, when we make resolutions and come back with them, who is supposed to inform the Head of State, when he goes to the next Head of States Summit, that this is what the PAP had determined or decided? The Ministry needs to make sure that it has a Member of Parliament from the PAP on its missions, or when the President goes for such meetings. After all, Parliament has its own budget. We are not begging the Ministry to pay for us. We just need to show that we are connected, and that the Executive and Parliament are working together. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to talk about the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in terms of investment of taxpayers' money by giving it back to us through international jobs and candidatures. I am sorry to say that we have had a very poor history in the last Government's tenure, and even at the beginning of this Government's tenure, of losing good international posts. We need to be firm about this. Right now, the new UN Secretary-Generally is picking up his team. He managed to pick his deputy from Tanzania. Where were we? At the beginning of our relationship with the United Nations in Nairobi (UNON), part of our hosting agreement was that the number two of that institution would always be a Kenyan. Right now, there is no such a thing. So, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must take it upon itself to make that request. In fact, the Ministry should insist on it. Let the UN not go back on their hosting agreement. That position is rightfully ours. We need to get it. Right now, we are in the process of filing candidatures for the Commission of the African Union. I want to plead with the Minister that if we do not see a Kenyan among the Commissioners in January, we will have to come back to this House and discuss it, because the Ministry needs to be able to produce that candidature or secure that position for Kenya. I would like to say that although the responsibility of international agreements lies with the Attorney-General, I have worked at the African Union and, many times, I would see officers from the Embassy in Addis-Ababa come sit, spend a lot of their time in the preliminary meetings negotiating these international instruments. So, we are spending a lot of time with our officers going to work on international instruments, which we subsequently sign and fail to ratify. We do not domesticate them. It is a shame! We need to hold the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as responsible as the Office of the Attorney-General for why we are spending so much money, going to sign documents which Parliament, or Kenya, does not ratify. A case in point is the Protocol on Women's Rights. It is a shame that the President in Maputo, in 2003, was among the Heads of State who agreed to that protocol, which up to now, has not been ratified. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, let me also agree with my colleague in the Opposition, Ms. Abdalla, about the need for the Ministry to go the global trend, which is that positions have been grabbed by women. Any country that is strategic nowadays, and which wants a top-ranking position, puts forward the name of a qualified woman. This is not something that we are doing. So, I would like to encourage the Ministry to also do the same. I have heard the Minister say that they are, really, working on resumes, Curriculum Vitae and vacancies, but still I know that in the PAP, we got no help at all for us to lobby for the seat of the Clerk of the PAP. Thankfully, that job now belongs to a Kenyan. However, there was a gap. The Ministry did not identify a Kenyan to fill that position but we, in Parliament, did. August 28, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3489 With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me the opportunity to support the debate on the Vote of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was very ably moved by the Minister. There was a time when this country's foreign policy was "wait-and-see". We would wait until other nations acted and then we would respond. I am glad to note that the Minister is now being proactive. I am glad to hear that, indeed, there is foreign policy in draft form. As Ms. Ndung'u mentioned - I am not privy to that document since I am not a Member of that Committee - I hope that the Minister will table that document here, so that we can have a chance to debate it, elaborate the issues contained therein and, hopefully, improve on it. We are glad to note that the main thrust of that foreign policy will be economic diplomacy. The days when our foreign policy was mainly to support our friends, particularly those from the West, are gone. I am glad to note that we are now emphasising on contacts with countries where our economic interests are best served. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am glad that following His Excellency the President's visit to China, a number of protocols were signed. As a result of that, we were able to get some benefits, including repair of roads and other facilities which the Minister referred to. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, a country like India is also an emerging power house. I do not think it is a country we can ignore. We ought to give due emphasis to India and to ensure that our relationship with that country is good, not only because of our traditional and historical interests with them, but also because it is an emerging power that we must reckon with. The emphasis on Kenyans in the diaspora is important. This is not only because there are Kenyans working out there and we need to have a database like the one my colleagues said, but also because some of us have our own children out there. They have been married there and are now working in those countries. The Minister should be the first one to fast-track this idea of dual citizenship. These are Kenyans who, in fact, every year remit substantial sums of money to our country. They send the money to their relatives, friends and so on and so forth. More importantly, we must take care of their interests wherever they may be. There may be a few who are criminals and you cannot disown them, but the majority are doing an honest job wherever they live. So, we need to take care of their interests. We should pass the Bill on dual citizenship. I hope that will also be included in the minimum reforms package that we have been talking about. In fact, a Question was raised, earlier on, in this House, to that effect. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I know that we have a Ministry of East African Community, but I was surprised that in his remarks, the Minister did not refer to the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). These are of immediate interest to us in this country. Most of our trading relations are within the COMESA countries and the EAC area. We should fast-track the political federation of the now five countries, that is the original three plus Rwanda and Burundi. We should be spreading out to try and venture into Southern Sudan and Eastern Congo, because those are areas that we do a lot of trade with. We should fast-track our relationship with that block, and certainly our trading relations within the COMESA, which is where we do most of our business, should be of particular interest to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in terms of international organisations and international jobs, we actually do poorly. I, in particular, was in Stockholm when we discussed the possibility of the United Nations coming to Nairobi. I am glad that eventually it came to Nairobi, which is now the headquarters of the UN-Habitat and also the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Now, we have a fully-fledged United Nations Organisation (UNO) office in Nairobi. The Ministry should evaluate and see beyond those people who do small businesses with that office. What are we, as a country, benefiting in terms of personnel relationships? Are we getting adequate 3490 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 28, 2007 representation within the UN Office in Nairobi? Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, there was this time when there was a possibility of withdrawing--- In fact, it was a real threat two years ago. There was a possibility that the UN Office could close for whatever reason. I think it was mainly because of security and infrastructural shortcomings in this country. We should guard that office with all our might. We should ensure that, as a country, we get maximum value out of the UN Office in Nairobi. Our own staff should be fast-tracked in terms of employment. Kenya has played a major role in peace resolution in this region. Although one of my colleagues referred to a number of Kenyans who may doing business in the Southern Sudan, countries like South Africa and others maybe doing even better. The large number of Kenyans who are there are really small-time businessmen. However, in terms of the larger contracts that are being awarded, are we really getting enough from the Southern Sudan given the role we played in bringing about that peace which was a result of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)? I think we should evaluate and ensure that we get the best out of that relationship. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do not think that we can be too proud of our peace efforts in Somalia. Although we played a major role in it, when trouble came in that country, and when the Islamic Courts were about to take over, we kind of hesitated! It was Ethiopia which was in the forefront in ensuring that peace - whatever you want to call it - was restored, yet we are the ones who played an important role, and even have a longer border with Somalia than Ethiopia. We should be playing a greater role in ensuring that the peace that we helped achieve in Somalia is actually maintained. This is because small arms are still finding their way into this country through our porous borders. Some of the problems we have had in this country, for example in the streets of Nairobi and other cities, are because of the too many small arms which have been brought into Kenya from Somalia. We should be able to play a greater role in ensuring that the peace that was achieved in Somalia is actually maintained. We have a lot more at stake than some of the countries have in that area. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am glad to note that the Minister now wants to purchase property for our Missions abroad. This business of paying rent on a yearly basis, when, in fact, some of those countries have been so generous--- They gave us land a long time ago, but we were not able to construct our own chanceries and residences for our ambassadors abroad. The Minister should be commended for now changing that policy to ensure that, in the future, we shall have properties for our own chanceries and residences for our embassies abroad. I think it is a worthwhile endeavour and we should encourage the Minister. If it becomes necessary, this august House should vote more funds to ensure that the Minister purchases and constructs, wherever possible, properties for all our embassies abroad. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the role of our armed forces in conflict resolution did not feature in the Minister's remarks. I know that we have Department of Defence, which should take care of the day to day needs of our armed forces, which have played an important role and actually made us proud. However, in terms of policy and what they have been able to achieve, I thought that, that was a matter the Minister for Foreign Affairs ought to have highlighted and flagged. This is because we have played an important role in that area. Sometimes when our armed forces are exposed to a lot of danger, say in terms of chemical weapons that are used where they are serving, we should be in the forefront in ensuring that our soldiers are safe and sound. Whatever part they play in those areas of conflict, we should ensure that they are safeguarded for the sake of their families. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, with those remarks, I beg to support.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in supporting this Motion, I would like to touch on three issues. The first one is that--- August 28, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3491
Hon. Members, I will be gambling on my right side, considering the number of hon. Members present. Continue, Mr. Muite!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, if you can recollect, when the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Tuju, was moving the Motion, he took a bit of his time to focus on Kenyans in the diaspora. This is an issue that was also revisited by hon. Ligale in his contribution. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Minister said that as a country, the Kenyans in the diaspora are contributing a lot of money towards our Domestic Gross Product (GDP). This is true. However, I would like to take this opportunity to invite the Minister to walk the talk. It is not platitudes that Kenyans in the diaspora are interested in. It is concrete action. The Minister is aware that one of the planks in the Bill that we were mentioning earlier; the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2007, which was as a result of the consensus in County Hall talks, is granting of dual-citizenship to Kenyans in the diaspora. That is what we want to do. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, my challenge to the Minister, through the Chair, is that he should now lead in persuading his Cabinet colleagues and the Government of Kenya to ensure that this Bill is brought to the House before we adjourn, so that we grant dual-citizenship to Kenyans in the diaspora. They should not be disadvantaged in any way. Look at how our runners, who are the pride of all of us, are treated. In the name of wanting to earn money to look after themselves and families back in Kenya, they are told they must become citizens of Quatar and other Middle East countries. Here we kick them out. We deny them what is rightfully theirs. We cannot continue telling them that because they have taken up citizenship of those other countries, they have lost their right to be Kenyan citizens. Nothing is more urgent than granting dual-citizenship to Kenyans in the diaspora. Therefore, if the Minister truly wants to focus on Kenyans in the diaspora, let him join hands with those of us who are saying this Bill should come here for debate and enactment. That is when he will be able to match his good statement, so that they cease to be platitudes and become a platform for action. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the second issue I would like to comment on is that; if I were asked today, I would say that we rename the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the Ministry of International Trade and Foreign Affairs. Why do I say so? What is important is not our ambassadors attending the cocktail parties they attend all the time and I am not saying that they should not attend them. It is not just about being present in a particular country. You heard the Minister say that there are some other countries in which we have opened embassies. To run an embassy in a particular country is an expensive affair. What do we get in return? It is not just to show that Kenya has her presence in a particular country. In my submission, it is to promote trade between Kenya and the country in which we have established an embassy. In fact, when talking about the most important nations; the United Kingdom (UK), the ambassador to Washington DC, in terms of the international standing, I would do away with all that. What is important is the trade between Kenya and that other country. Therefore, the country with maximum trade, where we export most and get most should be the most important country. The most senior ambassador should be posted there. In fact, promotion of the ambassadors should be dependent on the graph of the level of trade. It should show, "when you were appointed as Kenyan ambassador to a particular country, this was the level of trade, how you have improved the balance of trade to be in favour of Kenya against the countries where you were appointed as an ambassador". That should be the criteria and that is why even the name should give recognition to this. It should communicate that our emphasis is on trade and not mere opening of embassies and the ambassadors spend all their time in cocktail parties. That is what other countries are doing. It is not enough to have a trade attachee who is not empowered. We are not adopting the aggressive pro-active policy of saying that, "your number one priority Mister or Mrs. Ambassador, 3492 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 28, 2007 is to promote trade between Kenya and the country where you have been posted". Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to comment about the moulding of foreign policy. At the moment, these issues are left entirely to the exclusive discretion of the Executive and yet, the foreign policy affects what happens to you and I. It affects what happens to Kenya. When we pursue foreign policies that, for example, make Kenya vulnerable to terrorist attacks--- If our foreign policy is not sensitive to our interest as a nation and we become vulnerable, it is the ordinary Kenyans who become collateral damaged.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, one notices that as far as our foreign policy is concerned, particularly on the issue of terrorism, Kenya appears to go co-toying on the interest of the Bush administration. We do whatever the Bush administration wants done! It is true that nobody supports terrorism. No Kenyan supports terrorism. If there is any Kenyan arrested participating in, or supporting terrorism, let him or her go for the high jump. No one is supporting terrorism. However, I am attacking the ingredients of our policy as far as terrorism is concerned which impacts negatively on us, as a country. It makes us vulnerable to attacks. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if you were to carry out a test in this country, you do not need rocket science, to know that our priority as a country is insecurity; carjackings mugging, robberies and house breaking. That is our priority number one. It is not terrorism! The priority number one for the Bush administration is terrorism. Why do we tailor our foreign policy as if terrorism was our priority number one? Why are we adopting the priority of other countries and nations and making them ours when, indeed, they are not? Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, another example, look at the Horn of Africa; Somalia, Somaliland and Djibouti, has the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sat down and developed a position for the Kenya Government to adopt that puts the interest in our priorities as Kenya first? I was in Hageizer and you will find that you are not going to unlock peace in the Horn of Africa unless you address the issue of Somaliland. Somaliland is the former British Somaliland. That country got its independence before the former Italian Somaliland got her independence. It got her independence even before the former French Somaliland, which is now Djibouti, got her independence. So, it was Somaliland that requested to join the former Italian Somaliland. It was an independent country with internationally accepted boundaries. That country, at one time during the colonial times, used to be administered jointly with Kenya. In fact, the Kenya shilling was the currency in the former British Somaliland. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, they have been on their own for a long time. They have been crying--- Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity to say one or two words about the Vote of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From the outset, I would like to appreciate the sentiments expressed by other speakers regarding what we are calling "Kenya's Foreign Policy". We have seen several policy documents and blueprints brought to this House, debated and adopted. We have seen one on education and another one on the youth. We have also seen another one on Jua Kali or something like that. One would have expected that in January, 2003, when the new Government took over, they were now going to come up with, at least, a new a document August 28, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3493 defining Kenya's foreign policy. We are just being told that--- We are lucky that I insisted that this Ministry's Vote be debated, because it has never been debated for as long as the memory of man runs to the the contrary. It has never been debated. It has always been guillotined. It is important and I want to congratulate hon. Members of the Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations, chaired by Mr. G.G. Kariuki, because of their insistence and request that we debate this Ministry's Vote, so that hon. Members may be able to say what they have to say. However, when we do not have any document to which one can refer as the document containing Kenya's foreign policy that has been debated and adopted by this House, which represents the body politic of the entire country, then when the Minister stands here to say that there has been a shift in Kenya's foreign policy, I can just but imagine some English saying, which I believe Messrs. Wetangula and Kembi-Gitura are quite familiar with, that in a similar fashion, we say justice is as long as the judge's foot.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, you replace "chancellor" with "judge". "Justice is as long as the judge's foot", means that it is a matter of discretion. I am saying this because very recently I watched the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Tuju, at some function in some North African country, I think Morocco or Algeria. When I watched him speaking, I looked at his facial expressions and I was very convinced that they were like the justice that we are saying is as long as the judge's foot, because this discretion can be very detrimental. You just need to deal with some judge who is disturbed, who has had difficulties in his home, perhaps with his wife the previous night, and he is presiding over some dangerous marital dispute.
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. Is the learned young man right and in order to draw an analogy and equate the illustrious Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a troubled marriage?
He did not say that, honestly!
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I believe Mr. Wetangula just wants to remind me about those things which we learnt together. I am saying that watching the Minister in that forum and realising that we had never, in this House, discussed or debated what could be a blueprint describing Kenya's foreign policy, which we are now being told has shifted from mere politics to economic interest, I knew that, that analogy would work and apply fairly and squarely to the Minister. Be that as it may, we want to assume that what the Minister calls Kenya's foreign policy are flashes of the imaginations or intentions of the Minister or the various technocrats who work with him or guide him. I want to point out this issue, that when the Minister says that they are going to give greater attention to the Kenyans in the diaspora, I think it is something that we would want to develop into a policy, because maybe some other Minister will come and that will not be his priority. The Government is just waking up to the reality that there are far too many Kenyans out there, the majority of whom the Government was never involved in their going to work outside there. The Government is merely now beginning to realise that there is so much in the form of remittances coming from out there from Kenyans, that it is saying: "Gosh! Now there is need for us to develop a policy!" You can see why I was saying that it is as long as the judge's foot. It is whimsical! It is not something for which a policy exists. So, the Minister today will come out and say: "Yeah, we have noticed that there are Kenyans making remittances". Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, there are two very important issues that I want the Ministry to address. One, if, indeed, we are shifting to Kenya's economic interests, I want to agree with Mr. Muite's suggestion, that even the rating of ambassadors be on the basis of their performance on the economic front: How much have they improved Kenya's economic interests between the country of their accreditation and Kenya? That will only happen if at the recruitment 3494 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 28, 2007 level, we just do not pick fellows who have been district, agricultural or co-operative officers and then we post them to some mission and tell them: "You are now a trade attache". That is not going to help! We need to actually make it a policy that we advertise those jobs, because if we continue picking traditional civil servants, even when you visit those countries, they hide and do not want to disclose what exactly they do, because they are still steeped in the old Civil Service mentality that there is top secret. They do not know that there is nothing secret any longer; we discuss everything here in the open. I want to see greater involvement of this Ministry, having recruited qualified and appropriate staff in various missions, involved in the negotiations which are taking place in the various Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) that this country is entering into with various blocks. We need involvement of this Ministry and this House. We want what comes out of negotiations, where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife are involved--- We want those issues brought here to this House, so that we can debate them. We want to know what it is we expect when we open a mission in Seoul. Until recently, we just had some consular office there. If you visit that city, the Korean there will not even bother with you, or know where you are from, because we did not take it seriously. I want to congratulate the Ministry because they have now seen it fit to have fully-fledged missions in some of those countries. It is important! Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, but as my colleagues said earlier on, if, indeed, Kenya wants to reap maximum benefits, what we would call "peace dividends", particularly within this region, we need to see proactive development. If you look at the Printed Estimates, for instance, what does this Ministry propose to do in a place like Juba in Southern Sudan? This financial year, they have allocated nothing for construction of buildings. So, we are going to say that we are going to encourage Kenyans to invest there. The kind of Kenyans who will go there will just be groundnut and njugu karanga sellers, because we are not being serious. It is proposed that the year after, there will be some allocation of about Kshs40 million to build a house in Juba. By that time, the more serious countries will have already established themselves. For what will you be building a house? We need to see the Ministry making appropriate provisions now. It is important that we reap the peace dividends because we have suffered as a country. We want to encourage the Ministry because they are doing a good job. But we want them to do better. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, on the issue of women being employed in international organisations, I want to leave that to the women brigade. It is not my business. They can do what they want. They can apply for those jobs. It is just like what we said the other day. We do not want to give them free seats here. Even out there, they must not assume that anybody is going to give them free jobs. They must compete with young men like hon. Wetangula. They should not hope that, even at the Ministry level, merely because they are women, they should be appointed to positions. I totally oppose that kind of proposition. That, we must just appoint women because we want to be seen as being in the league of nations that are pro-women. We are pro- people and not pro-women. All people must be appointed according to their proven ability. It is not just because they come and say that they are women. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like the Minister to talk about the property in Hague, when he is making his reply. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I think I need to speak differently from my colleagues!
We do not hear you!
It is the machine. I cannot operate the machine. Now, they are operating! August 28, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3495
I cannot hear what Mr. G.G. Kariuki is saying.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is because the operator of the machine was not looking at this side. So, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to say the following: In the current corrupt world, I think it is very important for us to have a written foreign policy. That way, when a new Minister comes in with his staff, there is something to guide him or her as Kenya's foreign policy. That would be very important and very beneficial to Kenya. That is because any incoming Government would know there is a policy to be followed. But now, it is just the Minister and the Government who decide which way to go on a day to day basis, when they are dealing with foreign affairs. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, having said that, I want to add that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working very hard to make sure that, that document is published and, perhaps, presented to this House. But that is not to say that time has not been wasted. We have been dealing with this matter for the last four years. We wanted to have this policy document laid on the Table of the House and also published as an accepted document to guide this country on foreign matters. It is important that a system must created. The only way you can create a system, which would be stronger than a personality who comes in, is to have a document that is accepted by the House. That is what I think the Minister and his officers are trying to do. But it has taken a long time. I am sorry I have to repeat that. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have heard from the Minister about the countries that we do business with. One of them is Uganda. Uganda is the biggest country that trades with Kenya. The biggest question that I want to ask here is: If Uganda is so important, what benefit do the people who work in our foreign mission in Uganda have over the others? There must be an attraction. If a country is so important, even the people who work there should be given special treatment. That way, other staff working in other missions will try to emulate those who are working in Uganda. Tanzania is also close to us. There is also Sudan and other countries which are around here. We must ask ourselves: Why Uganda? Is it because we have worked so hard to get Uganda to trade with Kenya? Is it because Uganda is a land-locked country? Therefore, we cannot praise ourselves as having done much in selling Kenya to Uganda. It is because we are their heart- line and, therefore, nothing can happen in Uganda unless it goes through Kenya. Their economic development depends on Kenya. Therefore, we are praising ourselves when we are dealing with a weak partner. Why have we failed to do the same in Tanzania? Our foreign Ministry was established during the Cold War, many years back in the 1960s. That is when many foreign Ministries were created, especially in Kenya and East Africa. The whole idea was: Where did Kenya belong? Which iron curtain? Was it western or eastern world? The foreign policy and philosophy was guided because of what existed at that time. That has taken too long - over 40 years to change. The collapse of communism happened in 1986. Kenya as a country needed to have taken the advantage. We had to get out of the Cold War into the new world. Now, if you look at Kenya, some of us are still carrying that problem. They think we are not free. Of late, my observation is that the Ministry, with some of the officials - the Minister himself and the Permanent Secretary whom I respect a lot - are now trying to get out of that quagmire. They want us to be free from those old days when worked as servants of the Minister. Now, you can see that they are trying to come out of that quagmire to become Kenyans. That is where we want all of them to feel they belong. There is no reason why any expert in any foreign office should have any fear in expressing his or her ideas. We have done quite a lot. We have visited several countries. We have talked to our ambassadors. We have told them to come out of 3496 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 28, 2007 that problem that they used to have. We want them to reform. The tradition here - and it has almost become a norm - is that when a civil servant is employed, he or she becomes so loyal to that system to the point that, even if the system is drowning in the sea, he will agree to drown with it! Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, that really bothers me a lot. Civil servants are qualified people. They are responsible people. They need to know that they belong to Kenya. Therefore, they have to articulate policies and new ideas which can assist this country. They should not just rely on old international policies. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Ministry requires about Kshs6 billion for Recurrent Expenditure. The question is: How do you decide how much needs to be spent? Is it based on performance? Is it based on tribalisation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs? That is because nowadays, there are some areas where the face of Kenya cannot be seen, if some tribes are not represented. Are we sent to those missions because of the expertise that we have? Are we spending Kshs6 billion because we are able to earn the same amount of money from our ambassadors or embassies? Do we just want to be seen as if we are like Uganda and other countries? Wherever Uganda has a consular or an embassy, we want to have ours there! Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, wherever we have an ambassador or a High Commissioner, we need to understand whether he is going to represent the interests of Kenya. What are those interests? It is not international politics. It is how much we can benefit from those countries. I think it is important for the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to start thinking along those lines. There is no point of having an ambassador in Japan just for the sake of it! Some years ago, when an ambassador was posted to New York or London for that matter, he or she was taken as a very important person. But I think the person who represents Kenya in Uganda, in my view, should be promoted to a higher level if he or she returns. He should come back to the Ministry and head a certain department which is very important in performing our trade. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I think the Ministry has tried so hard to produce the document that I am talking about. I cannot understand the problem, although I know it is not very easy to write a foreign policy. That is because foreign policies change as the world changes. They are not static! You always change with your interests. When the interest changes internationally, you also change the foreign policy immediately. That is because you cannot live in your own world. What we are asking here is just a guiding paper for incoming Ministers and Government of what we regard as our foreign policy. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, our most strategic interest internationally, according to the Minister, is commercial. It should not just be the commercial interest. We have a problem here! When you have ambassadors accredited to this country behaving as if they are politicians--- You know! Working in Kenya and ill-speaking about Kenyans! Kenya has its own Parliament, you wonder what sort of a person that guy could be! You heard, very recently, the American Ambassador declaring that he is willing to support any dissident group which is ready to overthrow this Government. In fact, that matter was played down---
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I do not like interrupting my friend, but is it really in order to discuss an ambassador of a foreign country which is friendly to Kenya under our Standing Orders?
Order! Order! Mr. Sungu, there is no discussion of any individual. I thought hon. G.G. Kariuki was stating a fact that was stated in this country and everybody knew!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do not want to impute improper motives, but we have agents in this country who are working for those countries!
Are you one of them? August 28, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3497
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is important for us to understand that this country belongs to Kenyans. We need to be very particular about the area of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)! That is because those are the offices of foreign agencies. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I also wish to support the Vote for this very important Ministry. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in some countries of the world, especially the super powers, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is, in fact, probably the second most important after the Office of the President. But in this country, it is probably not in the top ten and, rightly so, when you look at the budget allocation to this Ministry. It is a reflection of the expectations that have been perceived to accrue from that particular Ministry. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I think we should re-look at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a very different direction. It is a Ministry which, if it is funded properly, this country would reap quite some benefits. We take it just as part of the other Ministries. It is time to re-focus on what we really want to achieve by having a Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, many hon. Members here will always talk about the Ministry of Agriculture or certain other Ministries that are within their localities. But they forget that, indeed, this Ministry--- When Members of Parliament travel all over the world, together with Kenyans who live outside, we are bound to reap quite a lot of benefits if we fund this Ministry, as it were, as perceived by other countries. Therefore, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is incumbent upon the Ministry itself to lobby for more funding. I do not know who the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is lumped up with. The Minister should move it a step further to join the Ministries that we perceive to be very important to us. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if we could have a functional East African Community, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania could reap a lot of benefits. We could all join hands and ensure that, instead of all of us opening embassies in various countries, for example, Germany, we could open only one embassy so that we could reduce expenditure on rent and personnel. That way, we will not compete for the same services for the same countries. That is, probably, an area that the Ministry could consider. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, one of the reasons why I would like the East African Community to be fast-tracked is for Ministries, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to operate at the same level in figure. I know that now, we are not yet there. But I think if we could all have one Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the three countries, probably with one ambassador and some employees serving the same country, I think we can save quite a lot of money. Can you imagine how much money this country pays to have a foreign embassy in a city like London? Uganda and Tanzania could benefit from the same services that are offered by the same employees. I think we could, as countries within this locality, focus on such serious ventures. We can make a lot of savings. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, many a time, when you meet many of those employees in our foreign embassies, their salaries are actually pegged to the dollar. It does not make a lot of sense to somebody who is in a Scandinavian country to peg his or her salary to the dollar. That should only apply to those employees that work in America! So, employees who work in each respective country should have their salaries calculated as per the currency of those 3498 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 28, 2007 countries. When the Euro is very strong and you are paying our employees in dollars, they are quite disadvantaged! They operate to the extent that they are unable to finance themselves in those countries. Therefore, we would like this Ministry to re-look at that issue. How do we remunerate our officers in various countries, including raising their salaries and allowances? We should peg their salaries to the currencies of their respective countries. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the other issue that I find very interesting is our inability to purchase the various buildings in those countries. We have a building in Namibia from which we get a lot of rent. I noticed when we travelled there, a country can benefit quite a lot by having its own buildings. We should not continue paying a lot of rent. In fact, Uganda, during the reign of Idi Amin, benefited a lot by ensuring that she purchased buildings in other countries, including our own country. Right now, those buildings are worth quite a lot of money. Instead of us paying rent continuously, which costs a lot of money, especially in foreign countries, we could budget continuously for the next few years, so that we can buy our own buildings and make some savings. Renovation has not been done for sometime on many of our buildings in foreign countries, although, now something is being done in embassies like the one in America. But we, as a country, must ensure that we allocate some money in our Budget for renovation of our buildings in foreign countries. I think we take it as a secondary issue, but it is very critical. The image of this country must be portrayed in the right way. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have seen officers from the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) working in our embassies abroad. I cannot quite remember how they are referred to. Why do we have intelligence officers in embassies like the ones in Zambia, Malawi, Ghana, and so on? What do we want to know in countries which are of little importance to us? They may be of value in other sectors, but what intelligence do we want to get from such countries? Some of these intelligence officers that we send to some countries do not even understand the language that is spoken there, yet, we expect some intelligence information from them. How can they get intelligence information when they do not even understand the language that is spoken there? If we really need to have intelligence officers in those embassies, first, we must know their job description; whether they have the capacity to get any intelligence information in those countries. Secondly, we must know what value we need from that intelligence that they have gathered. If they are unable to get intelligence information on the Mungiki sect in this country, why would we imagine that one intelligence officer can get intelligence information in a foreign country? First, they face language problem. Secondly, probably, they are under-funded. Thirdly, their intelligence information is of no use to us. Therefore, I want to suggest to this Ministry that some of the departments that they think are important to us are actually not of any value. Therefore, let us reduce those officers that are supposed to give us certain political intelligence information and, probably, increase those officers that are supposed to do business and gather information on trade. This is because the world now is a village. Therefore, there are very few things that, probably, the whole world does not desire others to know. If it is a military plane, for example, everybody knows its specifications. There are just small variations. Even the Navy ships that we talk about, they are no longer of any intelligence values. For us to reduce expenditure on this, I would want to request that we leave those officers to stay in Kenya and get intelligence on Mungiki and such other groups. I would like to request the Ministry to ensure that the people who are employed as ambassadors must have worked in that Ministry. They must be people who have progressively rose through the ranks in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is not good to just appoint somebody from the village as ambassador, just because when he was a District Commissioner (DC), he did a political job for you in a certain district. This is because the other officers in the Ministry feel very discouraged in the sense that a fellow who was just a mere DC, with very little experience and August 28, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3499 information on how to run embassies, has been appointed ambassador. There should be qualifications for ambassadorship. I would want, in future, to see specifications or qualifications of our ambassadors, so that people who do not qualify to be ambassadors, do not get the very good title of "ambassador", which stays with that person forever. Therefore, let us not misuse it. Let us appoint people who have risen through the ranks in the various Ministries, appointed to those positions. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, with those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you very much, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. In supporting this Ministry's Vote, I would like to make a few remarks. One of the greatest things that have happened in this country in as many years as we have been independent, is the introduction of performance contracting in the various Ministries and also in all the Government departments. The reason I say this is because what gets measured gets done. So, you can know where you are starting and are able to know, at the end of the day, whether or not you have achieved what it is that you wanted to achieve. The only issue that arises is whether or not we set goals that maybe are too low or too high for us, and whether we are able to achieve what it is that we have set to achieve in the performance contracting. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there is a foreign policy. This has been said continuously at great length by everybody who has stood up to speak. Even if the same has not been tabled in this House, the document is there and it is being worked on. We believe that we will be able to finalise with it in a very short time. If need be, table it in this House, so that hon. Members are able to discuss it and determine which is the best way forward. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, what has given me strength as I listened to the debate here, is that those hon. Members who have contributed to the debate are not saying that the Ministry has not done what it is supposed to be doing. Instead, they have talked about things that have happened in the past and those that we are continuously rectifying. In over 40 years of Independence, there has never been that document which can be referred to as a policy of the Government in matters of foreign affairs. But, currently, we are proud to say that this is a document that has been formulated. It is the document upon which we are basing most of the things that we are trying to achieve. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, some hon. Members have spoken about economic diplomacy. That is not a simple thing. I would agree with almost all the hon. Members who have spoken, including Ms. Abdalla, Mr. Muite, Mr. Muturi and all the others; that as we move towards economic diplomacy because there is nothing better that can be done, at the moment, if there is nothing else to look forward to, except the development of our country and our people. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have the issue of regional economic communities or blocs. These are quite obviously going to be - if they are not already - the building blocks upon which we shall be able to build a united Africa in the context of the African Union (AU). That is the only way we will be able to compete with the other regions of the world that have formed economic communities. In our diplomacy, we need to move more towards the regions that we think alike, if we are to release the Vision 2030. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the peace in the region that we are working so hard on and, which every speaker has touched on, in the Horn of Africa; including Somalia and other countries in that region, is not for the sake of it. Peace is very important and that cannot be gainsaid. Peace is good for the countries that are seeking it. It is also very important for those countries in the region. If there is no peace in the region that we are in, the Horn of Africa and, specifically, in Somalia, then there cannot be peace, security, stability and prosperity in Kenya. That is why this country has spent so much time, money and resources to see to it that there is 3500 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 28, 2007 peace in Somalia. We believe that this time round, for the first time in 17 years, we are going to find lasting peace in Somalia, pursuant to the efforts that this country and the people of Somalia have made, in the Peace and Reconciliation Commission that is currently going on in Mogadishu, and which will close on Thursday. We must all support that peace. We all know that part of the reason why we have so much insecurity and proliferation of small arms in this country is because of lack of peace in the region. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, Mr. Muite, in his contribution, talked about Somaliland. I would like to remind him and other colleagues who think about Somaliland to remember that the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) Charter was formulated in Kenya. I wish that hon. Members could look at it in greater detail and see its terms. We cannot be the people who formulated the peace document for Somalia and, at the same time talk, at this moment, about things that will not help us in attaining peace there. What we want to see immediately is peace in Somalia. If that happens, the people of Somalia - and that includes Somaliland, Puntland and the Somalia that is currently at war, will be able to patch up and, maybe, work out in terms of federations and confederations, so that they are able to have lasting peace in their country. What is most important to us, at the moment, is that there is peace in Somalia, Southern Sudan and other areas that are nearer, so that we can have peace in this economic region, that is the East Africa Community (EAC). The vision, of course, is the realisation that when we finally have peace in the whole of this region, the EAC could, maybe one day, extend all the way from Somalia, through Kenya to the current Burundi and Rwanda, and then out to the western coast of Africa. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, one hon. Member, while contributing to this Vote, asked whether or not we are getting enough, as a country, for all the pains that we have taken to broker peace in this region. Even as we argue about that particular question, we should realise that there are things that Kenya is able to do at the moment, and there are other things that Kenya is not able to do currently. Hon. Members have talked about the deployment of armed forces to Somalia. But we need to understand that Kenya, at the moment, is not in a position to send armed forces in Somalia. It is not the agreement in terms of IGAD and other interested bodies. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the issue of the rationalisation of embassies has been discussed. I do not need to talk too much about that. But suffice it to say, when the Minister for Foreign Affairs was moving this Vote, he indicated the work that the Ministry is doing in founding and setting up missions in areas like Brussels, China, Kampala, Dar-es-Salaam and Abuja. That shows you quite clearly that the policy of the Ministry is economic, rather than political diplomacy. Kampala is currently our most important mission in terms of the trade that is going on between our two countries. Dar-es-Salaam, which is our neighbouring capital, is also very important in terms of the trade that we are transacting between ourselves and Tanzania. I agree with hon. Members who have said that, maybe, the seniority of the missions that we have should be based more on the amount of trade and interaction that we are having with those countries, because that is the only measure. I would, again, challenge hon. Members to look at the performance contract of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to see exactly what it is that we are trying to achieve in terms of diplomacy and rationalisation of both missions. Finally, I want to talk about the issue of dual citizenship. Issues have been raised in this House in the past, about Kenyans in the diaspora and the amount of money that they remit to this country monthly and annually. We recognise the importance of the diaspora. We recognise the need for dual citizenship in this country. But that is not an area for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is upon this House to determine and decide whether we want minimum or major reforms, and whether or not we are going to allow dual citizenship in this country. We appreciate the importance of it. We know that, once that comes into force, we are going to deal more seriously and properly with the Kenyans in the diaspora. August 28, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3501 Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, with those few remarks, I beg to support.
I will give this opportunity to Mr. Sungu. After him it will be Mr. Lesrima!
What about us?
Order, hon. Members! Let us listen to Mr. Sungu!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I hope that I will have the one minute that I have lost! I now have a chance to say a few words. I support this Vote of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I want to congratulate the Minister because he is the first Minister to bring this Vote to the Floor of the House for discussions. The Minister said that our foreign policy is based on national interest. In addition to that, it is also based on domestic policies. While going through the internet I also noted that human rights issues are going to be at the forefront. I hope that this Ministry is going to advise the Government properly on human rights issues as they are existing in other countries, so that the same is applied here. Allow me to also say that, if national interest was the issue, then this Ministry would be liaising with various Ministries, for example, the Ministry of Roads and Public Works. It should advise the Ministry of Roads and Public Works to construct roads to, for example, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania, so that we can properly take advantage and achieve our national interests. We have sacrificed even in Somalia, to make the peace process work. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if you have had a chance to leave this country, the best sight you can see is that of another Kenyan, particularly if that Kenyan meets you at the airport. I want to congratulate the Ministry on the activities of the various embassies outside there, which have given us protocol services whenever we make official trips. But consular activities have never been the mainstay of our embassies. I want to encourage this Ministry. It is very important to note that there are many Kenyans living in the diaspora. There are many students out there. In Russia, they molest and do all kinds of things against foreigners, particularly black students. We expect our embassy to be at the fore-front. In this country, if anything happened to any Russian, the ambassador would be at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs delivering a protest note. We know that many Kenyans have died in the diaspora. Some of those families may need help. Some of them have been involved in accidents. For example, my own daughter! One would expect the embassy to come forward and try to help those poor Kenyans when they are out there. That is because their parents are not there and they may be helpless. But other embassies do help their own. I want to raise an issue over what I saw in the Press today. The United Kingdom (UK) Government snubbed the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs. What is happening there? We, as a Parliament, need to know. I hope that when the Minister responds, he will refer to that. Is it corruption? What is it? Floriculture and horticulture are very important to us. When we export them to those countries, we expect to earn something. It is just like when Britain exports its goods to this country. The question of balance of trade must be looked at equitable. When our own High Commissioner raises issues with that Government, he is not listened to. Our Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs goes there and, again, he is snubbed, Me, as a Kenyan, feel hurt. That is a very serious matter which should be of priority to this Government. We need to have equitable relationships. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, on the issue of trade, particularly the balance of trade, the nation of China really raises some concern. Right now, there are many goods coming from China. However, are our consumers protected? Do we have, in our Embassy, a Trade Attache? If we do, are there any inspection services in conjunction with the Central Bank of Kenya, the Ministry of Trade and Industry and with the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS)? We know of 3502 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 28, 2007 goods which are now being brought to this country, and are of substandard quality. These are also part of our national interests. If taking care of our national interests was our goal, then this Ministry would have advised the Government of the Republic of Kenya about people like the Artur brothers who came here. Their background information is well known all over the world. They have dubious backgrounds, and yet they were not screened enough. They were allowed to come into this country and go to the centre of power, to the extent that they embarrassed us at the airport. I want to differ with my colleague who talked about us not having intelligence officers in our embassies. As much as we do not want to admit that they exist, we know that each country must have its own intelligence service, so as to know what is going on and the trends in those countries. We also need to know if there are any criminals who are planning to come into our country. Those are some of our national interests. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, our most important national interest is security. Looking after our national interests means advising this Government on the current international trends. It also means advising this Government on what is going on out there, for example, about health issues. There are new communicable diseases out there like the bird flu which is resistant in other areas. We expect the Government to be informed about drug-trafficking, child-trafficking and women-trafficking. These are issues of transparency. This Ministry must be informed of people who have bad intentions against this Government. Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the issue of chanceries protection is very important. You will note that some countries have their own security services to protect their chanceries. I know that it is expensive. However, it is important that we get Kenyans to protect our own. Our interests are of importance to this country that we cannot dare leave the security of our embassies in the hands of foreigners. I want to refer to an incident that occurred in our Embassy in Iran. A Kenyan was sacked because he raised an issue regarding the Ambassador allowing a foreigner free access to the chancery day and night. This was despite the fact that there were sensitive communications equipment in that embassy. This is detrimental to our interests and it is not good. We should not allow it to happen again. Any foreigner who is going to work for us and who has unfettered access to any part of the embassy must be properly vetted so that we know for sure that our interests are taken care of. The issue of dual-citizenship has been talked about. I cannot say much more than what has been said. However, it is important to note that we, as a country, must protect the interests of our people. The interests of our people in the diaspora are paramount because as one of my colleagues has said, when these people come to this country, they are not treated as Kenyans. They are supposed to be seen as foreigners and must pay visa fees and yet they are Kenyans who help this country and hold this country dear. They also contribute to our economic wellbeing. I hope that the Minister will use the powers vested in him, alongside doubling as the Chairman of NARC(K), to make sure that this Government brings the Minimum Reforms Bill to this House so that we can pass it and entrench dual citizenship in our Constitution and protect our people. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I want to support the budget of this Ministry and congratulate them for getting an opportunity to present their Vote, after a number of years. This is an important Ministry which has been given very little money; the equivalent of what has been allocated to the Special Branch Department. You know my problems with that Department. They deserve more money because of the new focus on economic diplomacy. Let me also congratulate the Ministry for being very gender-sensitive. There were discussions earlier on about the Ministry not being gender-sensitive. I think the Minister should just August 28, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3503 ignore that. There were times when we had female Permanent Secretaries in that Ministry. However, all they did was to destroy the careers of their female colleagues and other male ambassadors. Therefore, I must congratulate the Minister because if those women are not here, they are out there flying flags as ambassadors. I am sure that the men sitting here are envying the women who are out there as ambassadors. We must congratulate the Ministry and the Government for being gender-sensitive. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we need to employ trade attaches who are familiar with trade issues. If possible, we need to employ people who have been involved in trade. When we sent a very young trade attache to Washington, we should know that he cannot have access to the multinationals or to the high echelons of the American Government. We should get very highly-qualified personnel to the extent that, perhaps, the trade attache should be at the same level, if not slightly lower, than the ambassador. He should be facilitated to move around to promote trade issues for Kenya. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am glad that the Government is providing housing for our ambassadors in critical stations such as Brussels. The Kenyan Ambassador in Brussels has performed an excellent job in terms of promoting the European Union/Kenya Trade activities. This also applies to the Kenyan Ambassador in the Hague. It is commendable to realise that the Government is going to provide housing there. I want to support the idea that we should recognise those countries that give us high economic returns. Our exports to Uganda amount to Kshs43 billion. Uganda is a very important station, and so is Tanzania. We need to reciprocate. Our people are dominating employment positions in Uganda and Tanzania, particularly in the hotel industry. Our people are chief executives in industry or sectors and even in banking. It is natural for human beings to feel a little jealous sometimes because Kenyans are dominating all sectors in those countries. We need to be a little bit sensitive to the needs of Tanzanians and Ugandans. When they are here, we should facilitate them to access work permits easily. We should also be generous in facilitating whatever Ugandans require. They give Kenyans not only trade opportunities but many Kenyans are also holding key positions in those countries. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to congratulate this Minister for focusing on the East. We do not owe an explanation to anybody as to why we are going to the East. We should also focus on our immediate neighbours like the Republic of Congo. I visited Congo Brazaville three years ago as a Member of Parliament/ACP-EU and we were rather disturbed to learn that the chicken and milk consumed there are imported from France. When we went to Congo Kinshasa, we were told that there is a Kenyan Trade Attache there but we were not able to locate him. We think that those opportunities should be exploited, especially now that Kenya Airways has expanded routes to that region. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, lack of funds cannot be attributed to the Ministry. It is not the Ministry's fault that they are not adequately catered for. Treasury should recognise this as a very important Ministry. More so, it is the manner of disbursing the funds once the Budget has been passed. There has been occasion when there are delays in sending money to the relevant embassies, to the extent that the staff are not able to pay school fees for their children abroad. Sometimes the staff stay for three to four months without getting salaries and this is very embarrassing. I want to be excused if the situation has been corrected but it is very bad to have our staff out there starving or their children not being able to go to school due to delays in disbursements. They should get first priority. Finally, I want to, again, congratulate the Ministry for the new policy of acquiring assets all over the world. I recall that in one Embassy in Geneva in 1993, they were paying at Kshs750,000 per month. That is a colossal sum! It is also a shame that 22 years after re-opening our Embassy in 3504 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 28, 2007 Dar es-Salaam, funds have not been provided for to put facilities for the Embassy. I think it is commendable to see that, that is being taken into account. I would like to say that as we open an Embassy in Abuja, we should not forget that we will always require presence in Lagos. There are so many of our people who transit through Lagos and Abuja is a little out of the way and it is not open during weekends. With those few remarks, I beg to support this Vote.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, thank you for giving me a chance to contribute to this important Vote. Right from the outset, I would like to congratulate the Minister, his Assistant Ministers and his staff for the way they have managed this Ministry. As you may realise, Members of Parliament in various Committees make trips abroad. We have been very well taken care of by our missions abroad. We should thank the Minister and his staff for making sure that we are welcome and well hosted whenever we are abroad. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the current trend is that foreign missions are set up mainly to manage trade relations with those foreign lands. These days, unlike the old days, we do not manage wars or movement of people in slavery but concentrate on trade. Trade is what will make this country develop. I urge the Minister to ensure that the people who are appointed to our missions abroad are people who can promote trade between our country and the country to which they have been credited. Sometime, late last year, we went to Poland and we found out that, that country would like to buy our tea and coffee but we do not have a mission there. The mission which takes care of Poland hardly makes any visit to that country because they have not been given adequate resources to make visits to Poland, Estonia, Thessalonia, Ukraine and so on. Those are countries that would want to buy our tea and coffee. We do have a mission in China but unless we are careful, China can destroy our industries by exporting into this country sub-standard goods at very cheap prices and at un-competitive prices so that our production cannot compete with the imports from China. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to give an example of the textile industry. We want to revive it and take advantage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) but we cannot do that unless we are capable of stopping cheap imports from China. We cannot take advantage of that agreement and we cannot industrialise unless we are capable of stopping cheap imports, especially from China. Those imports are subsidized by the Chinese Government, such that the prices are low. That is why I am saying that the people we deploy to those missions must be people who have the know-how to determine and find out that actually the goods which are being exported to our country are not sub-standard or have been subsidized and can raise a query. That will assist us develop our own industries. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we do know that the world is now a village, especially in trade. Trade is being organized and managed from Geneva. To negotiate in World Trade Organization (WTO), we need people who are experienced and have knowledge about national trade. It takes time to know, pick and apply. What I have seen in the recent years is that, we post an officer to Geneva and he or she takes two or three years to learn. When they have learnt, we recall them back to Kenya and we post a new officer to go and learn. Due to that, we cannot effectively negotiate for the right of Kenyans. For example, our coffee and tea would have been considered under trips and geographical indicators. But we have not been able to do it because the negotiators that we have sent there do not have the knowledge or the capacity to negotiate. Those who have learnt and have the capacity to negotiate have been recalled. So, I urge the Minister to liaise with his counterpart in the Ministry of Trade and Industry to make sure that the people we sent to the missions such as Brussels and Geneva have the knowledge and capacity to negotiate on our behalf on trade matters. We sent abroad what they call Intelligence and military attaches. I do not understand why we do that. We August 28, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3505 should sent military attaches to Somalia so that they can stop the entry of small arms into Kenya. Why do we have to send a military attache to Russia and the United Kingdom (UK), for example? Our biggest problem is the entry of small arms into this country. So, we should send our military intelligence attachees to those countries that are likely to be used in smuggling small arms into our country. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I visited the United States of America (USA). I was surprised and actually shocked to find out that our mission in the USA, in Washington, does not know the number of Kenyans who are in America. The few that they knew that were there, they did not know what they were doing. As we know, America is trying to repatriate people who have lived in that country for 20 to 30 years. Since we do not have the power to argue with it, our missions should have the names of all Kenyans in America such that if they get into a problem and they have to be repatriated unfairly, the mission can come to their assistance. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if you bring a person who has been working in America to a country where there is no work--- The same way we have done with the Mungiki adherents where we have removed them from matatu terminuses and sent them home, then that will be a recipe for chaos. They have begun slaughtering people and the same will happen to such people from America. To bring somebody who has lived and worked in America for 30 years to Kenya where he does not have work, then he will become a butcher and will be butchering people. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we should encourage this Ministry to liaise with the Ministry of Gender, Sports, Culture and Social Services, so that our children and sportsmen can actually promote the image of this country like the young lady who won a gold for Kenya this afternoon in Japan. That is good image for the country. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, finally, there should be a close relationship between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Parliament because we make these trips. We should be ambassadors of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs whenever we go abroad, so that we promote the image of this country. This Ministry should not allow foreign diplomats like the British High Commissioner and American Ambassador to lecture us about our rights and development when our own diplomats cannot lecture them in their own countries. We should have responsible reciprocity people. If our missions are not allowed to lecture Americans about America, no American should lecture us about our country and human rights. What human rights are there in America when people are taken to Iraq to die without question or when people are repatriated without being questioned on how long they have stayed there and whether they have got a home where they can subject them to? That country has no human rights! So, they should not lecture us about human rights. They should not even observe our elections because we do not observe theirs. So, this Ministry should be strong and know that this country is the gateway to the East African countries. It is developing quite fast. Therefore, we should stand on our feet and project our image the way we should. With those few remarks, I would like to support.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me a chance to contribute to this Vote. Let me state from the outset that I support the Vote. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, first of all, I would like to appreciate the good work that has been done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I am privileged to have been travelling abroad for the last 20 years. I can confirm to this House that the attitude of our staff at our embassies has dramatically changed in the last four years. You go there and you will find that our facilities in our embassies are those to be proud of and the attitude of the staff is, generally speaking, acceptable as far as I am concerned. There are areas of improvement, but I am sure the Ministry is working on that. 3506 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 28, 2007
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, like my other colleagues have said, I am in the forefront of those who are saying that this Ministry, indeed, should be renamed "the Ministry of International Trade and Foreign Affairs". There was a time when we needed these gentlemen who are always smiling and versed in good manners. However, times have generally changed because, as a country, we are able to fund our Budget to the tune of about 95 per cent. Therefore, our embassy staff have been saved the indignity to having to trot from office to office begging for support from the countries where they are accredited. I, therefore, support the sentiments of my colleagues who have said that what we need to do is to staff our embassies with people that are versed and competent in matters of trade and commerce. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would suggest, for example, that the Ministry does take an audit, as we speak, in all our foreign embassies to see who do we have in these offices, what are their qualifications and competencies. Therefore, how do they contribute to their targets and aims in overall and that is increasing trade between those countries and our country? We should have a situation where the Ministry has a set criteria for nominating or appointing those people to represent us in foreign countries. We have seen, like my colleagues have said, situations where people have been picked from almost nowhere and have been made ambassadors and to work in those stations. Some of them have been appointed, perhaps because they know somebody who is closely connected to the Ministry. We must have a set criteria where an individual or an officer joins the Ministry and knows that "this is what I will have to do to advance in my career" and not spend too much of their time worshipping individuals in the Ministry in order to get a posting. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I said that the attitude of our staff in the embassies has generally improved, but there is one anomaly. You find there are some very competent and committed and such like staff who want to go there and work, but unfortunately, they have not been adequately funded. You have a situation where somebody has to go and attend a seminar or some function that is happening, that would be of benefit to this country. You will find that they do not have simple things like an air ticket or transport to travel to that venue to attend that seminar. So, it is very expensive to have officers posted abroad who are not adequately funded to function because, as a country, that is very expensive. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the other thing that I found out is that some of the officers who are posted to these embassies do not have adequate information from this country. I want to believe that everybody, beginning with the ambassador, has to have competence and experience in matters of trade. It is not a question of how much he can smile, but how much he knows about trade. Everybody else down the ladder, including secretaries and drivers, should have a bias towards trade and commerce. In this way, we will have them giving us the traders who are visiting those countries and be able to get the necessary information to create the contacts in those countries or for sourcing materials that may be required from our countries. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, my colleagues have alluded to something about these appointments. I want to subscribe to the idea that we should do an audit right now as to how much trade we are doing with each individual country. Having established what level of trade we are at, we should then set benchmarks where we say that in year "X", the amount of trade was so many August 28, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3507 millions of dollars. Your promotion will depend on what kind of improvement you have made on whatever you found when you were posted to a particular station. In addition, I would recommend that we set up some kind of a reward mechanism for an ambassador and his staff of an embassy, which has increased the volume of trade by a certain percentage, to be rewarded in a given manner. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, at policy level, my colleagues have said that we have improved from a stage where we used to be a "wait-and-see" country to being a little more proactive. I am yet to see that myself, because it is not very clear, in many cases, what our position, as a country, is on many international issues. For example, if you were to ask me what Kenya's position is on the invasion of Iraq, I do not know it because we have not come out, as a Government, to state our position. Closer to home, we do not know what Kenya's position is on what is happening to our neighbours to the north in Darfur. So, we need to come out more clearly. I have been told that the policy is in the process of being formulated. We would like to know, for example, what our foreign policy, generally, is for us to be able to find out, or determine, whether we are conforming to it or not. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also like the Ministry to be a little more assertive. As I have said, we are becoming more and more independent. However, it is very annoying when you see representatives of various countries in Kenya, appearing to tell us what we should do. There is no way an ambassador in Washington DC can dare decide which political party Kenya, or anybody, is going to fund and get away with it. He will, immediately, be summoned and, possibly, deported to Kenya. So, as a country, we should be a little more assertive and tell foreign diplomats that they should not cross certain lines. There are certain issues they are allowed to comment on, but they should steer clear of our internal affairs. There is not very much we are getting from them and, therefore, we can afford to be a little more assertive. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, on the issue of allocations, I would like to see some semblance, or some kind of rationale, in how, for example, the Ministry allocates money to the various embassies. I happen to know that, as a trading partner, Uganda happens to the number one country, but I challenge the Ministry to look at the amount of money spent on the staffing level. How many members of staff does the Ministry have in Kampala as opposed to those they have in Washington DC? To me, this disproportionate allocation of resources does not make sense. We must look at each individual country in terms of how much the embassy staff are contributing to our trade with each country, and see if we can allocate our resources based on what benefits are accruing for the country. I am, therefore, saying that the Ministry should look at the importance of those stations and allocate resources that are commensurate with the volume of trade emanating from those countries. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I happen to know that, for example, in Vision 2030, tourism has been identified as one of the flagship sectors. In my recent visit to Germany, for example, I was dismayed. The Embassy informed me that the Tourism Office in Germany had been closed down. We know the number of German tourists this country receives annually. So, the Ministry should, in terms of exploiting the economies of scale, set up a small office and, at least, host an officer from the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife to co-ordinate and promote tourism. The Government has identified tourism as a flagship sector in Vision 2030, but I do not see this reflected in the manner in which the staff have been posted to our foreign embassies. So, generally speaking, as I said, there has been a general upward trend - an improvement in the manner in which staff in our foreign embassies are handling Kenyans. There was a time when, if you made a phone call, or visited an embassy abroad, the staff there would look at you as 3508 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 28, 2007 if to say: "What does he want in this place"? We can improve on that, because our foreign embassies should be accessible at all times. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me the opportunity to also contribute to the debate on this very important Ministry's Vote. I believe that the hon. Members who spoke before me have very well articulated the main issues of concern to us all. So, I do not want to repeat many of them. I want to also say that Members of Parliament travel widely. They visit many countries on parliamentary work, educational tours, et cetera . Such visits bring hon. Members into contact with Members of the Parliaments they visit. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is, sometimes, very difficult for Members of Parliament to discuss the foreign policy of this country when questions on matters relating to foreign policy are put to them. So, I want to join my colleagues in emphasising the fact that it is important for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to enhance its relationship with the National Assembly, and ensure that this country's foreign policy is made very clear and availed to all Members of Parliament, so that in the event that they travel abroad, they remain good ambassadors of this country. I have not seen any Sessional Paper in the House about the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. So, I am not sure whether anything to do with foreign policy has been brought to the House for hon. Members' attention. If any such a policy Paper has, indeed, been brought to the House, I have not had the opportunity of seeing it. It is important that such a move is made to ensure that the information on this country's foreign policy is made available to Members of Parliament. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, you will agree that you and I visited a certain country, during one of our foreign trips, and we were asked about this country's foreign policy on certain issues, but none of us was ready with facts to explain anything! So, it is very embarrassing that we can sometimes have Members of Parliament travelling abroad and not being very well versed with our foreign policy. It is also important because we also look at the interests of our country when we go out. When you do not have the facts clear, you cannot work towards protecting this country's interests. So, I join my colleagues in appealing to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get this foreign policy very clear and availed to Members of Parliament and, generally, to other leadership levels in the country. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the manner in which our missions abroad are opened is also very important. I am sure that if one understands Kenya's foreign policy, one would understand why we have missions in certain countries, and not in others. There are also certain moves which are made, particularly in terms of expenditure, at our missions abroad. For example, when we last visited India, we were told that the Kenyan High Commission was allocated some plot in the 1960s, but it was later repossessed by the local authorities when the Kenyan Government failed to develop that plot. So, our High Commission in New Delhi continues to occupy premises which are rented at very high rates because the Government of Kenya failed to develop that plot. These are some of the issues which concern us. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spends so much money paying for office and residences for the High Commissioner and the Commission's staff in New Delhi, when the Ministry had property there, but it failed to develop it. The Government lost that property because it failed to develop it for a certain number of years. This is the case in many other missions. Kenya has missions in several countries, but I think efforts should be made to ensure that a country like India, with which we have had a good relationship for a long time, and where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs got land, which was allocated by the Indian Government, and it failed to develop the same--- That is why I think that the Ministry needs to re-look at its August 28, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3509 foreign policies and what our interests really are when we open up missions in various countries. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, there are many countries where there are many Kenyans and a lot of trade activities take place there. However, there are no missions in those countries. So, it is important that this policy also stipulates clearly which areas should be emphasised, and what the compelling factors are in opening up missions in some countries. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, Parliament should also be informed not only about the opening of missions in other countries, but also about cases where the property of the Government of Kenya, for example like it happened in the Hague or somewhere, where the property of Government of Kenya was being threatened with attachment. We have not, ever since, heard more about it. We do not know what happened to the property. Parliament has not been informed about it. The Kenyan public does not know. Did we lose the property at the Hague? Was it attached? What happened? Why is the Ministry mean with information?
Order, Mr. Wamunyinyi! You are saying something which is very important and I hope the Minister is listening! Proceed!
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for drawing his attention to this very important issue. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is important that this Ministry makes available information to Parliament. A case in point is the one we had in the Hague, where we were threatened with loss of property which was to be attached. What happened to that property? Nobody knows! Whatever the Ministry did, whether the matter is in court somewhere or not, it is important that we know what is happening. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if you look at our neighbours in the East African Community (EAC), you will realise that we have been fighting--- I come from around the border with Uganda. We have been having a bit of a problem at the Lake Victoria, where the residents of the newly-formed Bunyala District have persistently and consistently been harassed by our neighbours in Uganda. This also has something to do with policy. What are we doing with our neighbours with regard to those resources? This must be made very clear. What are we doing about those issues? Recently, we were told that there was a border crossfire at our border with Uganda. It was reported that Ugandans crossed over into Kenya and killed several Pokots. I have relatives who live in Kapenguria, which borders Pokot, and some of them lost their lives. What are we doing to ensure that the lives of our people and their interests are protected? Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we are also aware of what is going on in Tanzania. We know that Tanzania is a member State of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and also a member of the East African Community (EAC). We know that one of their feet is here--- I know that we have the Ministry of East African Community, but this is also an issue for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; that Tanzania remains in SADC. I happened to be in Zambia recently when there was this conference, and saw that Tanzania are listed and are fighting in that block. They are also fighting in our block. Their loyalty is divided between these blocks. They have been dragging the progress of the EAC. Why is this Ministry silent about this matter? These are issues that must be brought out clearly. Our brothers' attitude towards us is very negative. Recently I visited Tanzania and I was shocked at the manner in which we are regarded by our brothers there. This Ministry should be on the forefront in advising us. We need to ask them to choose to belong to either the EAC or SADC. We must come out openly. Let us not keep on pretending all the time. We cannot wish away the truth that our brothers in Tanzania have some other---
Order, Mr. Wamunyinyi! 3510 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 28, 2007
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, with those remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you. Mr. Shaaban, and then I will come to gender afterwards!
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. Do we have any Member of Parliament called "gender"?
Order, Mr. Wetangula! You are not allowed to challenge the Chair! Proceed, Mr. Shaaban!
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir.
What is your point of order, Mrs. Mugo?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would appreciate the opportunity to contribute not as "gender", but as an hon. Member of this House.
Your point is noted, Mrs. Mugo. Proceed, Mr. Shaaban!
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for, at last, recognising me. Kenya's foreign policy has contributed a lot to the stability of our nation and ensured peace with our neighbours. This foreign policy has fostered peace and stability within East Africa and Africa, in general. It has also earned Kenya respect from our neighbours, created peace within our territorial boundaries and good neighbourliness with the nations that border us. We live in peace in this country and with our neighbours. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I heard the previous speaker say that Kenya's foreign policy is said to be a-wait-and-see one. However, when it comes to critical issues that are happening in the international arena, Kenya, as a member of the United Nations (UN), and having an equal voice as other countries there, should be in a position to take a very firm stand on important issues that should, at the end of the day, affect it as a nation. Our foreign policy should not be taken to be that of wait-and-see. I would also like to join my colleagues who said that our foreign our missions should not housed in rented buildings.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, could I be heard?
Order, Members! Please, let us listen to Mr. Shaaban!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also like to join my colleagues who said that Kenyan missions abroad should have their own buildings, and should not be house in rented premises. As Members of Parliament, August 28, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3511 when we travel abroad, we realise that there are various Kenyan missions which are at the mercy of landlords. Sometimes they are even threatened with eviction, whenever rent is due and delayed. So, our missions abroad, which are the image of our country, should be accorded that due respect by being given a chance to have their own buildings. Kenya has contributed a lot to the UN, particularly with regard to peace-keeping. Our troops, which have been to many countries, have gained fame, thereby putting the name of Kenya in the international arena. Kenya is now an important country with regard to peace-keeping. We, as a country, will endeavour to bring peace in the world. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is no longer the time when ambassadors used to be posted abroad and their core business was being in geo-politics. The most they could do was to relate politics in the international arena to their country. These days the most important business of an ambassador of any country is trade. He or she should bring international trade between his or her country and countries abroad. Therefore, it is important that our ambassadors are versed in international trade, so as to enhance trade between Kenya and the foreign countries they serve. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also like to join my colleagues who said we need to diversify our foreign policy. We know that, many times, the Kenyan foreign policy has been leaning towards the West. We have also been dependent on foreign aid a lot and other relations with the West. I would like to say that we diversify our foreign policy and have more friends who can help and develop this country. The President's visit to China and the Middle East has been welcome. It will enhance trade between Kenya and countries in the Middle East, which we have been having very little relations with. That foreign policy is very important. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we, as a country, should also be guided by our national interests. We should also guard that national interest. Our foreign policy should not be inferior to foreign policies of other countries. We should not be subjected to foreign policies of other countries. Many times we find that we belittle Kenya's foreign policy. It surprises to see that we try to adopt foreign policies of other countries and leave ours. At the end of the day, we find that the name of this very important country is tarnished because sometimes we are subjected to foreign policies of other countries and we think that they are superior to our own foreign policy. In this way we lose our national interest. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me an opportunity to contribute to this debate.
Order, hon. Members! I want to appeal to you to listen to this debate. The Chair can hardly hear what the hon. Members is saying! Prof. Mango, please, proceed!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I need to add my voice to what had been said earlier. As hon. Members of Parliament, we need to be well acquainted with the foreign policies of our nation, so that as we travel abroad we articulate them. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the world has become a global village. With globalisation, our embassies abroad should have commercial attaches and ambassadors who are well versed in commercial laws and available business opportunities. This will enable them link up Kenyan business people with business people abroad. They should be able to spot all the business opportunities needed to help the Kenyan economy to grow. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, sometimes when we travel abroad there are even employment opportunities which our unemployed youngsters could make use of. Our foreign 3512 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 28, 2007 embassies abroad could also spot out such opportunities and help our unemployed youths to take advantage of them. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, some of our staff in foreign embassies are not well- paid. Their allowances are so little that they can hardly make ends meet when they move around. Therefore, I am appealing to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to look into that, so that our representatives abroad can feel that they are representing our country well. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, there are a lot of international conventions which our country signed, but they are never domesticated. May I appeal to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to organise workshops and seminars for Members of Parliament to understand these conventions before they even come to the Floor of the House? We need to be familiar with what our country commits itself to do. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, regarding the United Nations (UN) jobs, Kenya does not seem to have a fair share. If they are there, they are given out quietly. Many Kenyans do not get them, yet they are very well qualified in many fields. They are well regarded even in international organisations. However, when a Kenyan tries to apply for those jobs when advertised, they do not know how to get them. We should get Kenyans into these UN jobs, so that they can help access what is in the UN for our country. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is the question of shared resources like the Lake Victoria. Although Kenya has a very little share of the L. Victoria waters--- I grew up where people fish on the lake. However, there is a lot of harassment from our neighbours. I think as a shared resource, this is one area where the East African Community (EAC) should have one licensing body and license all the canoes on the lake and let everybody fish freely. As it is, fishermen do not know boundaries on the lake. They do not know the boundaries in the waters. They, therefore, end up being arrested, jailed and their fishing nets confiscated. This is something the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should take up with our neighbouring countries. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, foreign missions abroad need to be more concerned about Kenyan students abroad. If necessary, they should have the statistics. Many a time Kenyans die and nobody seems to be concerned. The families feel very stressed about it. They may have gone there privately, but they carry the Kenyan passports and there should be a way to link them up with the embassies. As nationals, whenever there is a problem, they should feel free to get to the Kenyan embassy and be taken care of. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Kenyan embassies abroad need to own their offices and residences. Recently, I was in Namibia and I felt very proud to see the Kenyan flag on a Kenyan house. We were told by the Ambassador there that, that embassy needs resources to refurbish the building. They have a big building in Namibia, which they bought during the days of President Sam Nujoma, and it needs resources to refurbish it. That is an asset and the Kenyan embassy leases it to other people and makes income out of it. The Ambassador was very concerned that it should be refurbished. So, it is a good idea for Kenyan embassies to own their own property and offices. That will save a lot of money that is spent on rents and will help the Kenyan embassy staff to be settled. The Kenyan embassies' staff abroad need to be well-informed, so that they can inform the host country about Kenya. We need people who are well-trained and have the information about our own nation at their finger-tips, so that when there are people visiting the embassies, they can inform them and give them all statistics about the country, so that they educate the foreign people who visit the country. Also, Kenyan embassies could utilise Kenyans who have stayed in those countries for many years and are familiar with the best practices in those countries, especially as regards tourism. There are Kenyans who have lived abroad, for example in Sweden or the US, for 20 years and they understand the thinking of those countries' people. Therefore, where possible, if August 28, 2007 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3513 you employ such people in, say, tourism, they will help a lot to link up the nationals of that country to the ones of Kenya. This is so because they know and understand the mentality of those people. They also understand the Kenyan mentality and, therefore, they are in quite a good position to link us up. Since tourism is our best foreign exchange earner, we need to put a lot of money in the foreign missions to educate and sell Kenya's good features to the people of those countries. Many people outside there do not know much about Kenya. You will find them asking you: "Is that a small village in Nigeria"? That means that the people are not informed and, therefore, where we have an embassy, we should put in a lot of effort to educate the particular country and foreigners about Kenya, so that we can increase the number of tourists coming to Kenya to increase the revenue of the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, with those few remarks, I beg to support.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I thank you for the opportunity, although it is only five minutes. Let me begin by congratulating the Minister and his very able team at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a job well-done. We are proud to see that the image of this country is steadily improving. We are getting more respect and the Ministry is the mirror of our country and; we definitely want to thank them. We know that in developed countries, ministries of foreign affairs are the number one ministries, and we would like to see our Ministry of Foreign Affairs attain that status. One way of doing that is that we should be able to vote more money to this Ministry for the services they are giving. I am greatly impressed that when we go to foreign countries for conferences and see that our embassies have very lean staff and, most of the time, very few vehicles. They really struggle to service those conferences, and do a very good job. So, I would like to plead with the Minister for Finance - and I am glad he is here - to make sure that, next time, this Ministry is given more money. It deserves more money. Mr. Temporary Deputy Sir, I would like to say that, even with trade being number one in diplomacy, there is still the traditional areas which must be paid attention to and which are very important in terms of giving any country dignity. Sometimes, we are amazed when we hear that the Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Kenya is negotiating with foreign diplomats or foreign missions for funding elections in Kenya. We would like to see that kind of thing going through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. That is a Government institution. In diplomacy, it is the practice that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the one that deals with all foreign matters. So, whether it is funding of whatever Government institution, I think the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the one which should be entrusted with such activity. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we are happy with the policies of the Ministry, especially with regard to opening new areas of co-operation. We are happy with the many visits that His Excellency the President, our foreign Minister and others have made to new areas such as the Peoples' Republic of China. That has opened new avenues of co-operation and development. It has fast-tracked development in this country. I think that is a major policy change for foreign affairs in our country. Let me also echo the need for our foreign Ministry to look out for international jobs, especially in the United Nations (UN). It is true that we are very lean on that area. We do not go out there to campaign for our candidates for such jobs. That is what happens in other countries, particularly our neighbours. I do not believe it is because they have better candidates. It is because they make it their business to go out there and scout for those jobs. They are important because they put the country on the international map. I would like to add that we have very many qualified people. I would like also to add that we appreciate now that gender is coming into play in the 3514 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES August 28, 2007 foreign service. We have quite a few women who are now being appointed. But they are not enough. We would like to see, Mr. Minister, more women appointed to those very important positions. In fact, it is the practice now, if you look at the UN. The Deputy Secretary-General now is a lady from Tanzania. We also had Madam Getrude Mongella from Tanzania who was also a Deputy Secretary-General at some time. We would like to see that happening in Kenya. I hope that, just because we do not have affirmative action in this country, as it was defeated by this very House--- That is degrading the women of this country. Maybe, in international fora, they think that there are no women in this country who are qualified to do those jobs. So, Mr. Minister for Foreign Affairs, I do hope that we will see more women coming into play in foreign affairs. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to see a situation where Kenyans are explained more about our foreign relations and policy. We have seen, especially the Muslim community, complaining bitterly about certain----
Order! Mrs. Mugo, you will still have another five minutes when we convene tomorrow. Hon. Members, it is now time for the interruption of business. The House is, therefore, adjourned until tomorrow, Wednesday, 29th August, 2007 at 9.00. a.m. The House rose at 6.30 p.m.