Order, Dr. Khalwale! Hon. Members, with regard to the Order on Petition, I have the following communication to make by way of a ruling of the Chair. Hon. Members, you will recall that on Thursday, 4th December, 2008, the hon. Member for Ikolomani, Dr. Khalwale, purported to petition the House on the fate of money frozen by the Central Bank of Kenya. The hon. Member had not given prior notice of the petition. You will recall, hon. Members, that I deferred the matter to today, Tuesday 9th, December, 2008 at 2.30 p.m. The issue for determination is this: Should hon. Members give prior written notice of intended Petition to the Speaker? Otherwise put: Is notice to the Speaker a condition precedent to presentation of a petition to the House? The Question of presentment and procedure relating to public petitions is not new to this House. Considered rulings on related matters were delivered in this House on 11th June, 1965, and 4th November, 1993. The Standing Orders, at Part XX, provide for public petitions. Standing Order No.164 is of relevance to this matter. It reads as follows:- "Every such petition shall be brought to the Table of the House, by the direction of Mr. Speaker who shall not allow debate, or any hon. Member to speak upon or in relation to such petition; but it may be read by the Clerk if required." The words "by the direction of Mr. Speaker" are significant. These words, in themselves, make prior notification of the Speaker a requirement. This is a logical position. The Speaker as Chair of the House, cannot be subjected to ambush by Members seeking to make this or that petition. And neither should Members of the House be subjected to such ambush. Prior notification of a petition will surely be necessary. This is the rationale behind the preparation of the Order Paper. In this regard, Standing Order No.30 requires that: "The Order Paper shall be prepared by the Clerk, showing the business to be placed before or taken by the House in the order in which it is to be taken, together with such other information as Mr. Speaker from time to time may direct to be shown 3918 therein; such Order Paper shall be circulated as early as possible before the House meets." Prior presentment also occasions the Speaker an opportunity to ensure that a petition by an hon. Member conforms to the requirements contemplated by the Standing Orders. On this, Standing Order No.165 provides as follows: "Every Member presenting a petition shall take care that the same is in conformity with the usual practice of the House of Commons of Great Britain and Northern Ireland." What then is the current law and practice on public petitions prevailing in the House of Commons? On this, Erskine May in the text Parliamentary Practice (20th Edition, on pages 811 to 822) sets out some guidelines and the style and contents of a petition. These guidelines are, by virtue of Standing Order No.165, applicable in Kenya mutatis mutandis as they apply in the House of Commons. The guidelines provide as follows: (i) A petition should be specifically and respectfully addressed to the House and should indicate clearly the origin and its author(s). (ii) A petition should contain one or more paragraphs setting out the reasons why the petitioner or petitioners is or are petitioning the House. (iii) A petition should contain a clear request to the House which is within its power to grant. (iv) A petition should conclude with a prayer. (v) Every petition must be respectful, decorous and temperate in its language. (vi) A petition must be written by hand, not printed, photocopied, lithographed or typewritten. Hon. Members, it is clear, from the above, that the petition by the hon. Member for Ikolomani fell short of the requirement of the Standing Orders, including the practice and procedure as set out above. That was the position as last week. In particular, the petition did not meet the requirements of the Standing Orders with respect to prior notification of the Speaker. Thus, in accordance with the Standing Orders, the petition should be presented to the Clerk of the National Assembly to certify that it meets the requirements of the Standing Orders as I have set out in extenso above. The Clerk shall then notify Mr. Speaker that the petition is either in order or needs further scrutiny. The hon. Member would then be advised on its admissibility or otherwise. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, for that guidance that you have given to the House. I have since been able to see the Clerk this Morning. It is my humble request that you allow me to inform the House that, yes, I have met those conditions. At this juncture, I request that you allow me to petition the Government through this House.
Order, Dr. Khalwale! You may resume your seat! Hon. Members, the Chair is aware that hon. Dr. Khalwale, Member for Ikolomani, has in his custody, a petition which complies with the Standing Orders in terms that I have elucidated this afternoon. You may, therefore, proceed!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is a petition by an initiative of a group of Kenyans who call themselves the Pyramid Scheme victims initiative through this House, to the Government of Kenya. The petition to the Government of Kenya---
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I do not wish to interrupt my brother, hon. Dr. Khalwale. However, looking at the Order Paper, we are on Order No.2, Communication from the Chair, which you just did, Mr. Speaker. I think hon. Dr. Khalwale should have waited for Order No.3, Petitions, for him to stand up and raise his petition.
Order, hon. Member for Hamisi. We are, indeed, on Order No.3. Order No.3 was read out. If you were present, you would have noticed that Dr. Khalwale approached the microphone to deal with his petition.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Order No.3 was not read out. I was looking at her.
I thought that hon. Dr. Khalwale was standing on a matter of clarification following your ruling. I sat and watched her as she tried to rise up, but before she could say anything, both you and hon. Dr. Khalwale put the show on the road. However, I think it is important that the Clerk-at-the- Table is given her piece of the show.
Very well, Mr. Orengo. What is your point of order, Mr. Imanyara?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I was sitting here and was also listening to you. I heard the word "petitions" read out. That is the point at which Dr. Khalwale stood up.
Order, hon. Members! You will have to allow the Chair to verify the factual position from the Clerks-at-the Table. The record of the House is among other things, kept by the Clerks-at-the-Table. The Clerk of the National Assembly has confirmed to the Chair that indeed, that Order was read out but that consultations were at a very high level. Could we keep our consultations low enough so that we are able to follow the proceedings? Proceed, Dr. Khalwale!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, once, again, your ruling has brought out the scholar in you. The people who have petitioned hon. Members over this issue, have given us 287 signatures. I am sorry to note that there is one prominent signature which is missing. This is the signature of Eng. Chege who invested Kshs1.2 million from Gatundu and who committed suicide because he could not get his money. It also includes a watchman from Ikolomani called Mutamba Ingotsi who lost his only cow. This is how serious it is. These people are petitioning the Government on the fate of the money frozen by the Central Bank of Kenya and lost through pyramid schemes, clandestinely registered as Saccos on the following grounds:- 1. They are petitioning that the freeze be lifted to afford the victims access to whatever can be salvaged. 2. The Government of Kenya to commit itself to bring to book the companies, Saccos, investment concerns, their directors, committee members, commercial banks, Government agencies and all other accomplices with a view to punishing them and recovering all the monies they collected from innocent Kenyans pretending to invest for them so that Kenyans in future shall never be conned again.
Order, Dr. Khalwale! Note that you must live within the parameters of 3920 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008 Standing Order No.163. So, restrict yourself to presenting to the House the parties to the petition, the number of persons who have signed the petition and material allegations contained in the petition. You should not attempt to read through the petition.
Most obliged, Mr. Speaker, Sir. The petitioners would like the Government, which has been victimising this volunteer group when they have been trying to access the victims, to allow them free access to all corners of the country so that they can connect with their colleagues in the suffering. Thirdly, the Government of Kenya should address the plight of these victims and their dependants by creating a soft landing for them to access education, medical facilities and other necessities. They are petitioning that the Government of Kenya should temporarily suspend any efforts to auction properties of these victims on account of loans incurred in the course of investing in those schemes. Finally, the victims note with concern, that a task force promised to be formed by the Minister for Co-operative Development and Marketing has taken too long and no consultations have been made. The victims, therefore, demand that this task force be formed with immediate effect. The prayer of these petitioners is as follows: That this House notes the contents of the petition and that the House calls upon the Government to take urgent remedial action, so as to address the plight of the petitioners and other Kenyans who lost their money in the pyramid schemes. Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I, in conclusion, inform the House that at the appropriate moment, I will in accordance with Standing Order No.166, give notice of the Motion that this petition be printed. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Very well. You may lay the Petition the Table.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I just want to remind the House that when the next Order was called, it was loud and clear, despite the fact that there are very intensive consultations. So, could the Chair ask the Clerks-at-the-Table to be as loud as they were when calling the present Order?
Indeed, I will ask the Clerks-at-the-Table to be as loud as they have now been. Mr. Orengo, note that when the preponderance of evidence is against you, you must accept that position.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to give notice of the following Motion:- THAT, this House adopts the Report of the Joint Visit to Mt. Elgon region by the Committees on Defence and Foreign Relations and Administration, National Security and Local Authorities which took place between 17th and 20th August, 2008.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Minister for Medical Services the following Question by Private Notice. (a) Could the Minister provide statistics of infections and deaths from rabies in Taita District in the last one year? (b) What steps has the Government taken to provide drugs for treatment of the disease and to control it from spreading further?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg your pardon and the indulgence of the House. This Question was re-directed to the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation. We were requesting if it could come tomorrow afternoon.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, this Question is directed to the Ministry of Medical Services because I believe that the Ministry of Medical Services should deal with issues of treatment while the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation should deal with issues of prevention. So, I expected an answer from the Ministry of Medical Services and not from the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation.
Mr. Mungatana, do you have any response to that?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, regarding this particular Question, the hon. Member has been advised by the relevant Permanent Secretary that it should go to the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation. It will come tomorrow in the afternoon.
Very well. The Question is, therefore, deferred to tomorrow afternoon.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security the following Question by Private Notice. (a) Under what circumstances did Mr. Jacob Onsare Onyoni, a key state witness in a corruption case against Mr. Stanley Kibet (a Ruiru CID officer) disappear on 11th April, 2008 while on his way to testify in the case? (b) Could the Minister explain the steps he has taken to ascertain the whereabouts of Mr. Onyoni and also clarify whether any persons have been arrested and charged in connection with the disappearance? 3922 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008 (c) What mechanisms has the Government put in place to protect witnesses and whistle blowers?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) Mr. Jacob Onsare Onyoni was a complainant in a corruption case No. KACC CR141/132/2008 where a police constable No.63426, Stanley Kibet was the accused. The case was set for hearing on 11th April, 2008 at Nairobi Anti-Corruption Court. The said complainant never appeared in court on the first hearing date, which was 11th April, 2008. He never appeared again on subsequent hearing dates which were set by the court. This prompted the prosecutor, after several adjournments, to withdraw the case under Section 87(a) of Criminal Procedure Code on 6th August, 2008. (b) The said Jacob Onsare Onyoni, after having been reported missing, the police opened an Inquiry File No.4 of 2008 but so far, his whereabouts are yet to be established. The police are still investigating the matter and the inquiry is still open for anybody with information to assist in the case. (c) Witnesses and whistle blowers are protected by an Act of Parliament No.16 of 2008 whose commencement date was 1st September, 2008.
The Anti-Corruption police officer who had the case, got information on the same day the case was due for hearing that Mr. Onsare had gone missing and his whereabouts could not be established, by calling his father. What is the relationship between the case and the disappearance of Mr. Onsare?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is a sad case but I want to give a chronology of events before I answer that one. On March, 2008, Mr. Onyoni was driving a matatu within the city centre when he caused an obstruction. This angered the police officer who was also a driver residing at Ruiru. He was driving a Government vehicle and he responded by confiscating Mr. Onsare's driving licence. He went with the licence and the victim did not know how to get the keys and the licence back. Later Mr. Kibet called the subject and told him to go to Ruiru Police Station in order to collect his driving licence. He also corruptly solicited for Kshs2,000 as an inducement so that he could return the licence to him. This same driver felt that it was unfair and reported the matter to the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission for investigations. The matter was investigated by Sergeant Juma Musi and the conversation between the driver and the police officer was recorded on 14th March. On 28th March, the Anti-Corruption officers also recorded another conversation between the driver and the police officer. They were satisfied that an offence under the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act No.3 of 2003 had been established. They proceeded to lay a trap with a view to arresting the CID officer, which was done. We have some leads. As to whether the driver is dead or alive, we have put an inquiry and I think that we will know the position of this driver within a short period because he did not turn up for the court proceedings. I would like the Questioner to bear with us because there is some information which I would not want to divulge to the House because of the sensitivity of this matter in order for us to get hold of this driver whether alive or dead.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, Mr. Onyoni disappeared on 11th April, 2008. It is approximately eight months since then. The suspect was released one week before this case came up for hearing in court. So far, the Assistant Minister has not told us what he has done with the suspect in relation to this disappearance. This is my previous question. What evidence is there that Mr. Onsase is protected by the Witness Protection Act? In eight months, we are unable to establish his whereabouts alive or dead. Is the Government giving service to the people?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, so far, the police officer who was involved in this case has December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3923 been interdicted. He will be dismissed. As I speak, he is not in the payroll, according to the police standing call. I would like my friend to assist us. We have even called the parents of the suspect to assist us to identify the hideout of Mr. Onsase, if he is alive. If he is dead, we will definitely know.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. The Government has mechanisms and systems in place. It has experts to conduct investigations. The Assistant Minister has asked me to assist to conduct the investigations while I am asking him to tell us the whereabouts of Mr. Onsase. Is he in order?
Order, Dr. Monda! In what you have said, what is it that the Assistant Minister has said or done that is out of order or is not in accordance with the rules? That is not a valid point of order, and Mr. Assistant Minister, you need not respond. Just re-read your Standing Orders pertaining to what a point of order is, Dr. Monda! SHARING OF WARD BY MALE/ FEMALE PATIENTS AT KITISE HEALTH CENTRE
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Minister for Public Health and Sanitation the following Question by Private Notice. (a) Could the Minister explain why male and female patients share a ward at Kitise Health Centre? (b) what urgent steps is the Minister taking to address the anomaly?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) I am not aware that male and female patients share a ward at Kitise Health Centre, but I am aware that the male and female wards are partitioned. It is one block that has been partitioned to separate males from females. (b) My Ministry is in the process of sourcing for funds from the Treasury to put up an additional ward facility at Kitise Health Centre.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to thank the Assistant Minister for that answer. Kitise Health Centre is in my constituency. I am the man on the ground. I was at this health facility yesterday. It has only one ward. Male and female patients share that same ward. It is very difficult for female patients to sleep. I fail to understand why the Assistant Minister is not grasping the gravity of this Question. When was this ward partitioned? What kind of partitioning is there?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am a physician and I want to assure the House that we normally do not allow female and male patients to share wards, except children under the age of nine years and in the mortuary. Adults and children above 12 years are put in separate wards. The ward in Kitise Health Centre is quite big. It has been partitioned to separate female and male patients. I do not know what kind of partitioning has been done, but I know that the health centre has requested for money from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to do proper partitioning of the ward.
Order, Mr. Assistant Minister! I want to urge all other Ministers and Assistant Ministers to hear this: Please, endeavour as much as possible, to respond to a question as asked. You have been asked a very simple question. You have said very many things that do not answer the question. When was that ward partitioned? Simple! Give a date!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, this partitioning has been there for the last one year. But I am told that the partition---
When was it partitioned, Mr. Assistant Minister! What is the date? 3924 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am told that it has been there for one year. I cannot give you the exact date.
Order, Mr. Assistant Minister! We will defer this Question to Tuesday, next week for you to come with the correct answer.
asked the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Local Government whether he could explain how Kshs47 million granted to Nyansiongo Town Council in 2004/2005 Financial Year for the construction of the market at Nyansiongo Town was appropriated.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. The Ministry of Local Government undertook to construct the Nyansiongo Market on behalf of the Nyansiongo Town Council. In this regard, the Ministry awarded a tender for the construction of this market to M/s. Triplex Builders on 19th May, 2005. M/s. Triplex Builders commenced work on 19th May, 2005. The contract period was 78 months. The project was expected to be completed on 19th November, 2006. This project, however, stalled along the way when the contractor failed to meet his obligations. The contract was terminated on 25th September, 2007. By the time the contract was terminated, excavation works for the foundation and the laying of the foundation stones had been completed. Overall, works were 12 per cent complete. A total of Kshs7,056,252 was paid to the contractor as advance payment, leaving a balance of Kshs39,943,748. This is one of the projects funded on the on-line Budget of which was used to finance other ongoing works. The Ministry, however, is in the process of re-packaging the contract, with a view to inviting bids to complete the outstanding works.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, there seems to be a difference between the answer that has been read by the Assistant Minister and the one that I have. The answer that I have here does not contain any figures. It contains explanations only. However, I have taken into account the figures. Why did it take a long period of time to terminate the contract? The work that has been done in the market is not substantial. It has taken almost two years to terminate the contract.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is one of the very sad cases that we have in the Ministry, where a contractor has been awarded a contract and he has been unable to complete it. The reason for the delay in terminating the contract is because of the pleadings that the contractor was making. Every time he was given notice of termination, he would come to the Ministry and plead one reason or another, until the Ministry got fed up and gave him a final notice. When he was not able to complete the project, the contract was terminated. This was a way of trying to assist our fellow African contractors, but even if we want to assist them, there is a limit within which this can be done. It is the pleadings of the contractor that delayed the termination of the contract.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to ask two more questions, so that I can get substantive information on this Question. Could the Assistant Minister tell the House how much December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3925 money has been set aside for same project, taking into account that the cost of construction materials has gone up? He should also specify when this work will start.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, we intend to invite tenders very soon. As I have said, this is one of the most embarrassing contracts that we have, where only 12 per cent of the work was done. We are looking for funds, but I would like to promise the hon. Member that we will do it very soon. We are trying to see whether we can do it during this financial year. However, even if we do not do it during this financial year, it will be done in the next financial year. In fact, I would like to apologise to the hon. Member for the way the contractor misbehaved in this contract.
Prof. Kamar, the circumstances surrounding this Question are that it was deferred from last week to today. The Chair has information from the Ministry concerned that it requires more time to gather the necessary information. Given, therefore, that this Question was deferred last week, we need to extend a little more indulgence to the Member than
is normal. The Question has been deferred twice. The Member was dutifully here, but the Minister was not. So, hon. Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs, maybe, you want to indicate how long you require to come up with an answer to Question 509?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have already detailed officers to go after this contractor and come up with something substantive that I can report before the House. Therefore, considering that the House is likely to go on recess soon, although I should not anticipate debate, I thought that in the next Session, a lot of work will have been accomplished and I will report progress. I hope the Member for Eldoret East will bear with us.
Very well! The Question is deferred until such time that the Chair has notice that the requisite information is in hand.
Hon. K. Kilonzo! With regard to this Question, the Speaker's office has notice that hon. K. Kilonzo is held up in his constituency on what is considered as parliamentary business. So, hon. Minister for Lands, you will have to bear with the House. Please, come with the answer to the Question on Tuesday, next week, if the House will be sitting.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have no problem, so long as I will not also be involved in parliamentary business in the constituency.
3926 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008 RESETTLEMENT OF ABAHUYI COMMUNITY IN MUMIAS
asked the Minister for Lands:- (a) what plans he has to resettle the Abahuyi Community in Mumias Constituency who were evicted from their ancestral land in the 1970s to pave way for the construction of Mumias Sugar Company; and, (b) when compensation will be made to the community given the long time it has taken and the subsequent suffering by the affected families.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) I have no plans to resettle the Abahuyi Community as they were not evicted following the compulsory acquisition of land to pave way for the construction of Mumias Sugar Company. (b) The Ministry of Agriculture paid compensation to the community through the Provincial Administration, that is, the District Commissioner, Kakamega.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, while I appreciate the answer given by the Minister, it is demeaning for him to say that the Abahuyi were paid money through the Provincial Administration. This is because all they were paid was Kshs150 per acre. I do not know if the Minister is aware of what he is saying. That was not the purchase price per acre at that time.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the entire transaction with the community or individuals who sold their land was on the basis of a private treaty between the concerned community and the Ministry of Agriculture and Mumias Sugar Company. There was never a process under the Compulsory Acquisition Act which would have then enabled the community or persons affected to the appropriate tribunal. If not, they would have gone further and appealed to the High Court. However, they elected themselves and negotiated the sale of their land directly. I really have no role to play because they accepted the money and that was the end of the matter.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, according to the agreement which led to the farmers being paid Kshs150 per acre, the land was hired for 30 years. From 1971 to 2008, 30 years have elapsed. What is the Minister doing to make sure that the land reverts to the owners if, indeed, it was for hire and not for sale?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the information I have is that during the negotiations, the Government found leases to be cumbersome because they would depend on person to person. It was decided that it should be an outright purchase. That is what was negotiated and agreed. If the hon. Member has evidence that, in fact, these were leases, then I am ready to be shown those leases. This is because if they were leases for more than one year, for them to become enforceable in law, they should have been registered. I am waiting to see the evidence of that.
asked the Minister of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030:- (a) if he could state how much money was spent in conducting the 2005/2006 Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey (KIHBS); (b) if he could lay on the Table the report of the survey; and, (c) why the results of the survey were not used in distributing CDF to December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3927 various constituencies in the 2008/2009 financial year.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to thank the Assistant Minister for his answer. However, when this Report was produced, the Ministry laid on the Table, documents showing distribution of CDF money. That was later withdrawn after various Members of Parliament complained about the poverty indices associated with their constituencies. Why did you have to lay on the Table the report on the distribution of CDF money and then withdraw it?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not think we have withdrawn the Report on the distribution. Despite having a methodology using the KIHBS, we have continued to use the statistics of 1999 on population. This is the answer I gave last week when Mr. Ombui asked a similar question. Until we do the KIHBS together with the national census, we will not get the right index. I, therefore, urge hon. Members to wait until 24th and 25th August, 2009, when the two surveys will be done jointly and we will get the right statistics.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think hon. Members then raised issues regarding the methodology and getting the right results. The indications were that the figures that Ministry was giving were different from what was actually on the ground. Now, you have talked about the census which will be conducted in August, 2009. What guarantee is he going to give us that the results of the population census will be credible and not as skewed as the results of the KIHBS they conducted this year?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not think anything was skewed. The research data remains very clear on how to assess poverty indices. The problem that arose is that the KIHBS was done seven years after the national population census. This is what led to the variances. We are hoping that if we do them simultaneously next year, we will be in a better position to give almost exact statistics.
Hon. Members, the Chair will exercise its discretion and allow a further question by the Chairman of the CDF Committee. It might be important to ventilate this matter.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am grateful. It is really important that the Assistant Minister gets the facts right. Article 3 of the CDF Act talks about the fight against poverty at the constituency level. In Section 19, it gives a formula on that allocation. This formula has been used over time. Now that we have new poverty indices, why is the Assistant Minister not using the current indices that were used in determining the poverty level in the constituencies?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am not sure I got what Mr. Ethuro has asked. I, however, said that we are basing our statistics on the population census of 1999. What happened is that when the KIHBS was done, there were queries. When I answered a Question here last week, I said that for us to get the right statistics, we need to have the national population census and the KIHBS being done simultaneously. That way, we will have the right poverty index. 3928 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008
asked the Minister of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030:- (a) whether he is aware that the poverty level in Kenya is on an upward trend despite the improved economic growth rate of 7 per cent experienced in 2007; (b) if he is further aware that the Poverty Eradication Commission, one of the key organs charged with the responsibility of policy formulation on poverty eradication, has been unable to operate optimally due to inadequate funding; and, (c) what specific interventions he is putting in place to ensure that the Commission is adequately funded and plays its role as expected.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I thank the Assistant Minister for that answer, although the answer he has given me is much longer than what he has answered. But I support that because we want to save time. The Assistant Minister has said that the impact of economic growth normally takes a long time--- From 2003 to 2007, the economy has grown gradually every year. But the poverty level has not reduced commensurate with the economic growth. How long does it take normally for that kind of poverty reduction to be felt?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, if you look at the economic growth in the year 2002, you will realise that it was nearly negative. The economy started growing at a rate of 2 per cent, 3 per cent, 4 per cent and culminated with 7 per cent in 2007. That stability was disturbed by the post election violence and global prices in mid year, including the prices of oil that shot up. They had their own spiral effects. It is envisaged in Vision 2030 that, if Kenya's economy was to attain a 10 per cent growth for ten years, the impact would be felt. We would eradicate poverty in this country.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Assistant Minister has indicated that his Ministry has set up a task force to come up with recommendations on the evaluation of PEC and advise the Government on ways to re-engineer the Commission. How long will that task force take before it gives it recommendations? December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3929
Mr. Speaker, Sir, before we factor in the next financial year, which is seven months from now, we will have looked into all the details on PEC, so that we could empower it to advise the Government on better ways of eradicating poverty. Thank you.
asked the Minister for Agriculture what urgent measures he is taking to ensure that pyrethrum farmers in Lari Constituency are paid by the Pyrethrum Board of Kenya for produce delivered in November, 2007.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. I have instructed the Pyrethrum Board of Kenya to pay the old arrears, including for November in 2007 to farmers in Lari Constituency without any further delay.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish to ask the Assistant Minister why it has taken him almost one year to pay the farmers, while he is aware of the arrangement between the farmers and the Pyrethrum Board of Kenya to effect the payment within 45 days?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, there has been a big time lag and delay in paying the farmers, but we have made all the necessary efforts to clear all the outstanding debts. As at now, the Pyrethrum Board of Kenya owes farmers to the tune of approximately Kshs70 million. We intend to clear that before the end of this year.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, by not paying our farmers is a sure way of killing the agricultural industry in this country. I am happy that the Assistant Minister has said that he is going to pay Lari farmers immediately. We have the same problem in Kisii where our farmers have not been paid over Kshs5 million since 2003. Could the Assistant Minister also assure this House that Kisii pyrethrum farmers will be paid with immediate effect?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the longest outstanding debt is from November, 2007. I hereby make commitments to the tune of Kshs70 million. We are going to clear the entire figure of Kshs70 million before the end of this year to all the farmers in the country.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I appreciate the response by the Assistant Minister. But I would like him to state when I am likely to get the cheque. I wish I could receive the cheque today and hand it over to the farmers. Finally, what measures he is taking to make sure that farmers are motivated in future to produce adequate produce for the international market?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Pyrethrum Board of Kenya owes Lari farmers, Kshs45,000. The hon. Member can see me after this session and I will make sure that he gets his payment. On long term measures, we have decided to increase the acreage under pyrethrum. We have decided to give 100 million seedlings of pyrethrum to ensure that we have adequate production. The other issue is spot payment of all the deliveries which are made. That is because the biggest problem has been the delay in payment. We want to ensure that, within one month, all the farmers are paid. Thank you.
RECONSTRUCTION OF LANET- NDONDORI ROAD 3930 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008
asked the Minister for Roads:- (a) whether he is aware that the road from Lanet to Ndondori was once a bitumen road but has now been reduced to an impassable earth road; and, (b) when he will reconstruct the road to bitumen standard.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) I am aware that the road from Lanet to Ndondori was once a bitumen road, but the surfacing has been worn out. However, the Ministry has been carrying out routine maintenance to ensure that the road is in motorable condition. (b) My Ministry has already awarded a contract to a consultant to carry out a preliminary and detailed design and tender documentation for Lanet-Ndondori section of Road C69. The design and tender documentation are expected to be completed by June, 2009. Once the design is completed, the road will be prioritized for reconstruction.
I thank the Assistant Minister for that answer. But as we talk right now, the road is not in any motorable state. Could he tell us when he will do the repair work before he upgrades it to bitumen standards?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the repair work is continuous. During the last financial year 2007/2008, I allocated Kshs3,660,000 for routine maintenance. In this financial year, I have allocated Kshs14,494,000 for the same purpose.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Assistant Minister has said that the design work will be completed in June, 2009. Could he assure this House that it is going to be factored in the 2009/2010 Budget?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will do my work. I will apply for the same. The decision to award the finances is for this House.
asked the Minister for Education:- (a) whether he could explain the unauthorized deductions from teachers' pay by Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to insurance companies and hire purchase firms; (b) whether he could explain why it takes inordinately long to forward retiree teachers' files to the Pensions Department for processing of terminal benefits; and, (c) whether a surcharge could be levied against all those responsible for the delays.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) The TSC effects deductions from teachers' pay to insurance companies and hire purchase firms on instructions in writing from individual teachers. Unauthorized deductions are not allowed. (b) Teachers' pension benefits involve two Ministries; the Ministry of Education, which processes pension claims and the Ministry of Finance which, issues the income tax clearance certificates and effects payments. The delays are caused by the following:- (i) slow processing of teachers' benefits is due to the involvement of various Government agencies, which my Ministry does not have control over. In view of this, I have requested the December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3931 relevant Government departments to assist in hastening this process. (ii) Some teachers take long to forward documents required for processing of pension claims. Some retirees who have tax liabilities fail to clear with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) in time. (c) My Ministry is in discussion with the Pensions Department of Treasury and the KRA to speed up the payment of teachers' retirement benefits. The TSC has also started to issue retirement notices to teachers two years before retirement to give them ample time to forward their documents. The TSC is also automating the pensions process, which is expected to be operational in the second half 2009. The automation will drastically reduce the period taken to process pension claims. There are many players involved in the pension process, and it would be difficult to pinpoint an individual for surcharge purposes.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I thank the Assistant Minister for the answer. I know that the Ministry is working very hard but the operative word here is "unauthorized", which means not authorized by the teacher. You have answered that "unauthorized deductions are not allowed." So, you have not told us what is exactly going on. This is a situation where a teacher's salary is deducted either to clear a bank loan or a hire purchase agreement balance. The teacher clears the hire purchase agreement amount, but the deductions continue. Those are not authorized. That is why I am asking what he is doing to stop those unauthorized deductions.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, all deductions that have been made by the TSC without the authority of the teacher must be refunded to the teacher. That is my instruction. The refund must be made to the teacher.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is a very serious issue, which is rampant in the TSC. Many teachers have suffered because of unauthorized deductions from the payslips without their knowledge and it looks like the Assistant Minister is not aware. I would like to know what measures he is going to put in place to stop that practice, which seems to be taking place due to collusion by TSC officers?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I agree with the hon. Member that it is a very serious matter to effect deductions from somebody's income without the express authority of that person. So, my Ministry is going to give instructions to the TSC to ensure that no deductions are made without a signature authorizing those deductions by the earner of income.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, as you can see, the issue has generated a lot of interest, because most of us are barraged by teachers trying to come to Nairobi to sort out their problems. He said that retirement notices are given two years before retirement. That is very good, but what can be done so that by the time of retirement, the teachers, either on the date of retirement or within three months, can go home with their cheques and, if possible, even have a ceremony to reward the hardworking members of the society who have toiled for more than 30 years and then they are discarded like used tissue paper with no pension?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, again, I concur with the hon. Member that after someone has given service for so many years, that person should get his final dues within reasonable time. I agree with the hon. Member that in this country, teachers retire and, in some cases, go for years before they are paid their dues. My Ministry, as I have indicated, is in discussions with the Pensions Department in Treasury and the KRA, as well as the TSC, to ensure that retiring teachers are paid within one month after retirement. I believe that with everybody doing what they ought to do, that should be possible. I would like to emphasize the fact that, as a former teacher, I would like teachers to be paid their retirement benefits immediately after they have retired.
Hon. Members, because of the magnitude of business before the House, the remaining two questions are deferred to tomorrow at 2.30 p.m. We will now take a Ministerial Statement from the Acting Minister for Finance, Mr. Michuki. 3932 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008
Mr. Speaker, Sir, last week on Tuesday, Ms. Shabesh requested a Ministerial Statement on the reasons why our delegation had been stopped from attending a climate change meeting in Poland. Mr. Speaker, Sir, first of all, I am in dilemma, because what I know is that the hon. Member ought to have notified this House---
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. When you called upon the Minister to make this Ministerial Statement, you referred to him as the Acting Minister for Finance, but he is talking about climate change. Is it in order? Is it the same thing?
Order, Mr. Chanzu! That point of order, at the very best, is vexatious and frivolous, if not trivial.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, he is not aware that there is not much time left before we discuss constitutional matters. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think it is difficult to handle this issue without, first of all, the Member in question, declaring her interest. From the evidence I now have, the seeking of the Ministerial Statement was not on public interest but personal interest. I have evidence to that effect. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am, therefore, wondering whether this issue should really be stated in full. The Member was seeking an attachment to the Kenyan delegation in order to acquire the opportunity to go and address, even so undiplomatically, women Ministers' of Finance in Europe. I want to warn here that any statement made in that meeting does not represent the views of the Kenyan Government. That is the end of my Statement.
Is there anybody seeking clarification? I know Mrs. Shabesh is not here! With nobody rising, that rests the matter!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, on Tuesday 2nd December, 2008, both the print and electronic media reported that some present and former Members of the Ninth Parliament had been taken to Milimani Commercial Courts by the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) seeking to recover monies allegedly received fraudulently by the Members who were serving as Parliamentary Service Commissioners. As hon. Members are aware, it was reported that I was accused of having "knowingly and fraudulently" received Kshs5.6 million while serving as the Deputy Speaker of the Ninth Parliament. It is in this connection that I make this Personal Statement under Standing Order No.69. Mr. Speaker, Sir, first and foremost, I want to declare that I did nothing wrong and obviously, this shall become very clear when the matter comes before court. However, I find it very strange that the KACC gave information on claims against hon. Members to the Press before the matter had been filed in court. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I speak here, this afternoon, no suit papers have been served on me, eight days since the matter appeared in the Press.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, this clearly shows that KACC's aim was not to recover any money but malign my good name and by extension, that of this august House. Mr. Speaker, Sir, if, indeed, KACC had any case against me and others, why was I not served before the matter was given to the media? Mr. Speaker, Sir, for the information of Members, I served as the Deputy Speaker of this House from the year 2003 to 2007 with loyalty, honesty and dedication and upheld the dignity of this House in whatever I did.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I was not a Member of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC). Hon. Members may be aware that prior to my election as Member for Mwingi South Constituency in 1997, I had served my country in various capacities, rising to the position of a senior Provincial Commissioner. During the over 35 years of my public service, I was held as a most honest, loyal and dedicated public officer. At no time, during those 35 years of my service, was I suspected, leave alone accused, of dishonestly misappropriating any public resource. Finally, Mr. Speaker, Sir, hon. Members may further be aware that whatever allowances that were paid to me as the Deputy Speaker, including the Kshs5.6 million, were so paid with the authority of the PSC, which body I believe is mandated by the Constitution of Kenya to do so.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Last Tuesday, I sought a Ministerial Statement. Is it in order for the Assistant Minister, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Ministry of Local Government to continue sitting comfortably there when he said he would bring the Statement today?
Mr. Assistant Minister, can you give an indication as to when the Ministerial Statement will be ready for delivery?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Ministry is always ready. Even now!
As things stand now, we are out of time! Mr. Mbau, are you okay with tomorrow morning?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will be burying my father-in-law tomorrow. I would seek your indulgence to let the Assistant Minister do it now that he says he is ready---
Order, Mr. Mbau! I have already indicated that we are out of time because of the magnitude of business before the House this afternoon. That means, we do not have the time for that Ministerial Statement. Not as at now! Is Thursday afternoon okey with you?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Assistant Minister may issue the Statement without me being there. I will not be available on Thursday.
Can you delegate your authority to some other able Member?
I shall, Mr. Speaker, Sir. DELAYED REPLY TO QUESTION
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Last week, you directed that a Question on the damming of River Omo be answered this Tuesday.
The Question on the damming of River Omo, Mr. Speaker, Sir. This river feeds into L. Turkana.
Is the Minister here?
Order! Mr. M.Y. Haji, I thought you were going to give a response on behalf of the Government!
Leader of Government Business, can you give any indication on when this Statement will be issued?--
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am sorry there was a bit of loud consultation on this side of the Front Bench. Could Mr. Ethuro kindly repeat his request?
Mr. Ethuro, can you indicate which Question you are talking about, so that the Leader of Government Business can convey that information to the Minister? December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3935
Mr. Speaker, Sir, if the Leader of Government Business cares to read the HANSARD, he would have known which Question. I was just following the ruling of the Chair. There is a Question on the damming of River Omo that feeds into L. Turkana and the Chair directed that it be answered on Tuesday afternoon, which is today. It has not been answered. The Question is not even on the Order Paper and the Minister is away. Mr. Speaker, Sir, that was the second time the Question was deferred.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, while apologising to the hon. Member for Turkana Central, I am sure he knows I really care looking at everything. I undertake to expeditiously bring this matter to the attention of the Minister for Water and Irrigation.
I order that the Question be answered on Thursday afternoon!
Let them place it on the Order Paper!
It will be on the Order Paper because the Chair has said so! Hon. Members, please, note that there is a Supplementary Order Paper which was issued this afternoon. That is the Paper that will now guide our business henceforth!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to propose that Order Nos.7, 8 and 9 appearing in the Supplementary Order Paper be moved to tomorrow for the simple reason that we are carrying out extensive consultations. We do hope that we will have a Kamukunji immediately after the rise of the House after the morning session tomorrow. Then, it makes sense, thereafter, for me to be able to move those Procedural Motions. That is because moving them today may not really achieve much in view of the fact that Order Nos.7 and 8--- I thought the Minister for Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs might want to agree that even the First Reading of the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill could also be read for the First Time tomorrow, after full consultations. I beg to move, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Order, hon. Members! In view of the presentation by the Leader of Government Business, I order that Order Nos.7, 8 and 9 be deferred until such time that the Government is ready to transact business thereat.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I beg to move:- THAT, Clause 6 of the Bill be amended - (c) in Subclause (1) - (i) in paragraph (k), by inserting the words "at least two shall be of either gender and" immediately after the words "of whom"; (ii) in paragraph (l), by inserting the words "who shall be the Secretary of the Board" immediately after the words "appointed under Section 12"; (d) in Subclause (2), by deleting the words "under Subsection (1)(b)(j)" and substituting therefor the words "appointed under paragraphs (b) to (j) of Subsection (1)"; (e) in Subclause (3), by deleting the words "subsection (1)(k)" and substituting therefor the words "paragraphs (k) and (l) of Subsection (1)";
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I beg to move:- THAT, Clause 7 of the Bill be amended - (a) in Subclause (1), in paragraph (a), by inserting the words "and animal" immediately after the words "safety of human"; (b) in Subclause (2), by inserting a new paragraph immediately (g) establish and maintain a biosafety clearing house to serve as a means through which information is made available and facilitate the exchange of scientific, technical, environmental and legal information on, and experience with, living modified organisms. (c) by re-numbering paragraph (g) as paragraph (h) Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, these amendments were agreed upon at the Departmental Committee stage. December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3937
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I beg to move:- THAT, Clause 12 of the Bill be amended in Subclause (4), by deleting the words "be the Secretary to the Board and shall" immediately after the words "the Chief Executive Officer".
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I beg to move:- THAT, Clause 30 of the Bill be amended in Subclause (1), by deleting the full stop at the end and inserting the words "but no earlier than ninety days."
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, this may seem to be a small correction. You can see that the amendment sought is by deleting the full stop and inserting the words "but no earlier than ninety days". Then, there is a full stop at the end. So, the insertion is not just of the words but with a full stop at the end. I think that is important, having deleted the full stop.
Mr. Orengo, it is set out in the Order Paper.
Yes, Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, that is what I am looking at. I think, Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, you, probably, did not understand my point. 3938 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008 Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I am saying that the amendment calls for the deletion of the full stop. Then at the end, there is the insertion of the words and no insertion of the full stop. The full stop should be there. I just want to make the whole position clear. Having deleted the full stop, let the full stop stay at the end. Then we will be doing a complete work!
Waziri, we are moving the full stop to the end of the word "ninety days".
I accept, Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir.
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir. Are we on the Supplementary Order Paper? It is also carrying some of those---
We are, indeed, on the Supplementary Order Paper!
On which page?
On page 535. You may pick it from the staff at the corner. We have it at the front here.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I beg to move:- THAT, Clause 52 be amended in the closing paragraph appearing after paragraph (g), by deleting the words "two million shillings" and substituting therefor the words "twenty million shillings".
December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3939
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I beg to move that the Committee doth report to the House its consideration of The Biosafety Bill and its approval thereof with amendments.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to report that a Committee of the Whole House has considered The Biosafety Bill and approved the same with amendments.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the House doth agree with the Committee in the said Report.
(Mr. Orengo) seconded.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that The Biosafety Bill be now read the Third Time.
(Ms. Karua) seconded.
3940 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008
Mr. Speaker, Sir, at this stage, I just want to note the able manner in which the Minister has piloted this Bill through the three stages, and the mode of consensus that has been achieved during the debate in the House. I believe that if some of us can follow her footsteps, business in the House will be undertaken very expeditiously. I want to congratulate my sister for such a wonderful job.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to thank hon. Members for supporting this Bill, which has been in and out of this House several times. I am grateful for the support that you gave. I am also grateful to those who took issues with the Bill because it helped us improve it. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I was astonished two nights ago that we were still facing a barrage of criticisms from sections of the media, who did not even understand what we were doing, neither did they have the courtesy to ask us to go there and give our comments. Nevertheless, the House has stood its ground and I am very grateful.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would also like to join hands with my colleagues to sincerely thank the Minister, and in particular the hon. Members of my Committee and the hon. Members of the Departmental Committees on Agriculture, Lands and Natural Resources and Health, Housing, Labour and Social Welfare because we were able to have several joint Committee meetings. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would also like to thank the experts whom we invited and they shared their views with us. Lastly, I thank the entire House that this Bill is now out of the hands of my Committee. Thank you.
Order, hon. Members, before we proceed with Order No.11, I have the following Communication to make.
I would like to guide the House on the procedure which we shall apply to the consideration of the proposed Standing Orders. We will consider the Sessional Paper in three stages. First, when the Order for Motion is read out, as it has been, I will call upon the Leader of Government Business to move the Motion, That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair. The Motion will be seconded before I propose the Question. The purpose of this Motion is to initiate debate on the policy and principles implied in the Sessional Paper. In debating this Motion, hon. Members may make general comments on the content of the December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3941 Sessional Paper. At the end, I will put the Question, That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair. If agreed to, the House will dissolve itself into a Committee. This will conclude the first stage of the consideration of the Sessional Paper. On the Supplementary Order Paper, you will notice that Order No.11 is to be dealt with in the Committee, in a similar manner as Committee Stage on a Bill. This is in keeping with established practice. The aim of moving into Committee is to enable hon. Members to examine each of the proposed Standing Orders and Schedules, one by one, as in a Committee Stage of a Bill. Hon. Members will also notice that in keeping with the said practice, when we eventually dissolve into Committee, I will take the Chair as the Chairman, so as to facilitate deliberations since I am also the Chairman of the Standing Orders Committee. In Committee of the whole House, I will call upon the Chair of the Standing Orders Sub-Committee to move the Motion:- "THAT, Sessional Paper No.3 of 2008 on the Report of the Standing Orders Committee laid on the Table of the House on Tuesday 2nd December, 2008, be adopted and further that the new Standing Orders as contained in the Second Schedule of the Sessional Paper shall come into operation in the manner provided for in Part XXV of that Schedule." This is essentially the Motion of adoption of the proposed Standing Orders. The Chair will propose the Motion. The Clerk will then read each Standing Order and the Schedules, one after the other as contained in the Second Schedule of the Sessional Paper, and we will dispose of them in that order, like in the case of a Bill. After all the proposed Standing Orders and Schedules have been disposed of, I will put the Question for the Motion of adoption of the proposed Standing Orders. I will, thereafter, call upon the Chairman of the Sub-Committee to move the Motion, which is:- "That the Committee doth report to the House its consideration of Sessional Paper No.3 of 2008 on the Report of the Standing Orders Committee and its approval thereof with or without amendments." I will thereupon put the Question. If agreed to, the House will resume. This will herald the third and last phase of the consideration of the Sessional Paper. When the House resumes, the Speaker, as Chair of the Committee of the Whole House, will report: - "That the Committee has considered Sessional Paper No.3 of 2008 on the Report of the Standing Orders Committee and approved the same with or without amendments." Finally, I will call upon the Chair of the Sub-Committee to move the Motion:- "That the House doth agree with the Committee in the said Report." After this Motion is seconded, I will propose and later put the Question for the decision of the House on the Motion, indicating the conclusion of the matter. Hon. Members, I trust that all of you have understood this procedure. Indeed, the procedure has been applied by previous parliaments in consideration of proposals for amendment of Standing Orders. As conveyed, I will now invite the Leader of Government Business to move the Motion: "That, Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," for the purpose of initiating debate on the policy and principles implied in the Sessional Paper. But, before doing so, I will give this opportunity to Members to seek clarifications, if any, on the procedure that I have described above. Thank you.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, just a very small matter, indeed, because this will be historic. If I heard your Communication well, 3942 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008 it is that you will sit in the Committee and Chair the proceedings. Thereafter, you will actually report to the Chair. Has it occurred to you that you will be reporting, possibly, to the Deputy Speaker?
I will report to the House.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. The House and whoever will be in the Chair! That is why I am saying that it is fairly historic and I want to applaud you for that ruling.
Very well! Thank you. Dr. Khalwale!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is also true that this is very historical. In my experience in this House, I have not seen this kind of thing. Could you clarify to us; who have never seen it before, how come it is going to be possible for you to be in this House, and sit on this Chair? As you sit on that Chair, when you will be reporting to the House, how can you then report to your junior who will then be forced to be sitting where you are?
Order, Dr. Khalwale! I have said, in response to the concern by the Leader of Government Business, that I will report to the House and not the Deputy Speaker. Yes, Ms. Odhiambo!
On a point of clarification, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Given, especially my experience in the last Parliament, which is nil, I would just like to know; now that the procedure seems even a little different from the way we conduct business when we are dealing with Bills - because we are going to have something like a Second Reading and then we move into Committee Stage immediately - if we need to bring amendments, where do we bring them, or have we been overtaken by events?
Very well! That is a legitimate concern and, indeed, a very useful clarification sought. Like what we do during the enactment of Bills, it is expected that those Members who want to move amendments will have given notice to that effect. Indeed, the Chair has received some notices of amendments. If you have not forwarded your amendment, you may have room to do so, provided that your proposed amendments are reduced to writing. Very well! Leader of Government Business!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move:- THAT, Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair. In moving this Motion, I want to record my own appreciation for the wonderful work done by the Standing Orders Committee. It has taken time for us to come this far. If I can quote you, as the Chair of that Committee, at Page 6 of the Report, you say:- December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3943 "Indeed, the Standing Orders proposed in this Sessional Paper have been described by Members of the Committee as the Standing Orders for the 21st Century." This is commendable. We all know that, really, nothing is written on stone. We want to applaud the fact that these Standing Orders have also taken into account the concerns of the Serena Team which was able to do this country proud at the time when we were at our lowest as a nation, in the months of January and February. In Serena, they actually said that in order to strengthen the democratic practice of our country, it was important to amend the Standing Orders. I am sure that lady Members of Parliament will now be very happy with these Standing Orders, because I think that they are given certain rights of passage. They will not any more be required to deposit their handbags with the Serjeant-at-Arms as they enter the Chamber. But I am sure that this is not a licence for anybody to carry offensive instruments into the august House. Most important is the introduction of the Prime Minister's Question Time, when the Government will be actually held to account. I know that Kenyans have been looking forward to this development. This is really commendable. So, when we go on recess for Christmas and return in the month of March or thereabout, the country will expect that on every Wednesday afternoon, the Prime Minister will take Questions from Members of Parliament and be able to issue policy in the matter of co- ordination and supervision of Government Business. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have also noted that on every Thursday afternoon, the Leader of Government Business will be supposed to, within 15 minutes, be able to issue a Statement regarding Business for the following week. However, I am a little disappointed because, on page 42 of the Draft Standing Orders, under Standing Order No.34(5), it is like the Statement that the Leader of Government Business will issue, will actually go undebated. I think that is rigidity, at a time when we are introducing televised debate, and given that the people having been following what goes on in Parliament with a lot of curiosity. So, as we open the democratic space and upgrade our traditions, we should avoid situations where we are seen to be retrogressive. A situation where the Leader of Government Business stands up, issues a Statement and sits down, without even inviting comments from Members of Parliament, in my view, is retrogressive. I think everybody should be held to account on whatever one says. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I remember that even when there is a Communication from the Chair, just like you have done now, on the procedure to be followed this afternoon, you have been gracious and magnanimous to allow ventilation of your Communication from the Chair by Members of Parliament. Therefore, that particular Standing Order No.34(5), as proposed, is a little bit retrogressive. I know that there will, probably, be hon. Members wishing to move amendment or propose the deletion of that particular aspect. We, as the Tenth Parliament, have the opportunity to start on a new democratic journey for our country. I hope that we will all be able to rise to the occasion. Therefore, I want to commend the work of the Committee, which was very ably led by you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, in your capacity as the Chairman. I also want to commend the work that was started by hon. Musila, the Deputy Speaker in the Ninth Parliament, who also worked tirelessly, along with the other Committee Members, to make sure that they started on this very important work, which now finds its completion this afternoon. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I, therefore, urge the House to adopt this document, because it is a long awaited document, so that our history of parliamentary democracy will put this House in very good standing. With those remarks, I beg to move and beg Mr. Orengo, my learned friend, even without having consulted with him, to second this Motion.
Thank you very much, your Excellency the Vice- 3944 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008 President and Leader of Government Business. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I stand to support the Motion that Mr. Speaker do now Leave the Chair. I do not know whether the word "doth" would have been more appropriate. Maybe, we should have had an amendment in the Standing Order to the effect that, that type of English should go away from our vocabulary. That notwithstanding, and without taking a lot of time, I also want to join the Vice- President and Minister for Home Affairs in commending the work of the Standing Orders Committee. Indeed, it is not by accident that you piloted this process. I am sure that even if you had not been elected Speaker, you would have vigorously been part of this process, knowing that in the previous Parliament, you stood firmly for institutional reforms, which included, not only the Constitution-making process, but also the way we conduct business in the House. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am glad that the preface of your Report states out clearly why it was necessary to review the Standing Orders. It would be sheer repetition to go into it. The 14 reasons found on paragraph eight on page five of the preface are very comprehensive. More significantly, again, on page six, you point out the new constitutional arrangement that there is in the country, by virtue of the National Accord, which became part of the principal law of this country. Therefore, what these Standing Orders seek to do is very important. It is important to note that even without these proposed Standing Orders being part of the Standing Orders of the House, this Tenth Parliament has, really, from day one, taken its role as an important institution in our democracy. We have pushed to every limit that is necessary for the Legislature to play its part in governance. Let it not be said that our duty is just to make laws. Mr. Speaker, Sir, already, the oversight roles of Parliament are quite evident. Hon. Members on the Opposite side of the House, like Dr. Khalwale, have taken full measures in trying to ensure that, that oversight role of Parliament is, indeed, fully institutionalised, if not constitutionalised - that is, if we get along with the business of constitution-making. So, I really appreciate the fact that you have pointed out in the Objectives of the Review, that one of the things that the Standing Orders are seeking to do is to enhance the oversight role of Parliament. In any modern democracy, if the oversight role of Parliament is not institutionalised, then it is very difficult for a Government to behave responsibly and accountably. Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is also what the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs has been talking about - that he should get an opportunity to spell out the business of the House at certain designated times and, of course, the Prime-Minister's Time. These are issues we need to look into, to make our democracy more dynamic and more accountable. What we are trying to achieve at the end of the day is to bring the Executive to Parliament, and not take Parliament to the Executive. That is what I am seeing in these Standing Orders. From previous experience, I know that Parliament was just an off-shoot of the Executive. In fact, the theory goes that if you are not very careful, you may have an Executive dictatorship in Parliament, if we go by the Westminster model, where the party with the majority is the party in Government. That would ensure that the party in Government can more or less have its way in Parliament at all times. Mr. Speaker, Sir, however, if we institutionalise the kind of thing that I see in these Standing Orders, it will not matter which party will be in control. Parliament, as an institution, will always be able to play its oversight role. That is critical for a modern country, which is trying to grow into a middle-income country, in the next 30 years or so. I hope we will be there to ensure that, that happens. However, to ensure that it happens, we need that oversight role of Parliament to be institutionalised. With those few remarks, I beg to second and urge the House to get you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, out of the Chair as quickly as possible. December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3945
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity. First, I want to pay tribute to you personally for having ensured that finally the new Standing Orders come to the House for approval. This is because we have worked on this document for a long time and I was looking forward to a day when the new Standing Orders would be brought to the House for approval. Let me also thank my successor, the Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Standing Orders for the role he and his committee has played. Indeed, I was happy to be invited by the Sub- Committee to share with them our experiences. I am glad to say that the work we are seeing today is as a result of full consultation between the present Sub-Committee and the previous one of the Ninth Parliament. This is a good example of how we should provide continuity. Having said that, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to highlight a few areas that are contained in the new Standing Orders that I think are very important. First, it is proposed that we increase the number of sitting hours of the House. Previously, we had thought of adding a Thursday morning session in addition to what we do. It is, however, a good idea that we increase the number of sitting hours. I would like to take this opportunity to also inform members of the Press that hon. Members do not only work when they are in the Chamber. They continue to make this erroneous assertion every now and then in the various articles that they write that Members of Parliament are paid for very few hours that they work in the plenary. Members of Parliament work in the Committees, the plenary, their offices and in their constituencies. You will recall that during the last Parliament when we were going on recess, I challenged members of the Press to accompany any Member of Parliament to the constituency and see the work that we do. I, for one, did not see any member of the Press accompanying me. So, they did not take up that challenge. I still want to lay that challenge to members of the Press to accompany Members of Parliament when they are not in the Chamber. They will realise that we do more work out there than even when we are in the Chamber. Mr. Speaker, Sir, one very important addition to our new Standing Orders, as the Vice- President and Minister for Home Affairs has alluded to, is the provision allowing the Prime Minister time to answer Questions. This will go a long way in making the proceedings of this House more vibrant. In addition to that, there is need for the Leader of Government Business, as the Chairperson of the House Business Committee (HBC), to take an opportunity every Thursday afternoon to inform hon. Members what business they should expect the following week. It is important that this be followed with some clarifications. Hon. Members have complained many times that their business never sees its way in the Order Paper. This may be the opportunity for hon. Members to complain or ask the Leader of Government Business questions as to the contents of the Order Paper of the following week. It is very appropriate that we allow the Leader of Government Business to give further explanations. In this connection, in the Committee Stage, I will be moving more amendments with regard to this matter. With regard to the issue of ladies' handbags, it has been proposed that lady hon. Members will no longer leave their handbags at the entrance of the Chamber. However, I want to underline one important thing that goes in this House. The issue of security checks has not been put in place even now. It is not only ladies who can carry offensive weapons. More often than not, I have had reason to suspect that some of our colleagues carry offensive weapons in the House. The absence 3946 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008 of security equipment and gadgets to check hon. Members, both ladies and gentlemen, is an indication of a big security lapse. Let us not be taken unawares one day. I, therefore, want to urge you, that the security that has been worked on for very many years now is put into action so that the security of this House is enhanced. We need to put this allowance of ladies coming into the Chamber with their handbags on the understanding that they will be subjected to security checks at the entrance of the Parliament. We just do not want handbags to be brought into the Chamber or hon. Members to come into Chamber without being checked. We want to be subjected to security checks. In this age and day, it is very important that our security is enhanced. Mr. Speaker, Sir I also want to underline the issue of the decisions that we make in legislation, especially on the Second Reading and the Third Reading. Many a time, this House has passed very important legislations with very few hon. Members present. Sometimes, there are only five hon. Members present and they pass a piece of legislation which has serious implications to members of the public, including the Finance Bill. I would, therefore, like to suggest that before a Question is put after Second Reading and Third Reading, there be quorum. Since this is not specifically provided for in these Standing Orders, I would like to suggest, and I will be putting an amendment in the Committee Stage, that, at least, notice be given so that Members are aware when we are going to vote for a certain piece of legislation so that the whips of the various parties can make sure that their Members are present at that time. We have also allowed, and I have noted that the Sub-Committee has graciously allowed the provision that the House will be addressed by a visiting Head of State. In the past, this House has not had an opportunity to be addressed by visiting Heads of State. This is a very big improvement in the way we do things. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the other area I am glad has been touched on is the issue of sub judice . We have seen issues like the Goldenberg scandal lasting many years and this House being blocked from discussing it simply because it is in court. I have seen my colleagues, Ministers, refusing to answer Questions purely on the excuse that the matters are in court. This is a matter that we did a lot of research on. I think the Chair should be given a leeway to make a decision as to whether the matter at hand would influence the decision of a matter that is before the courts. Again, this is a very positive thing that the new rules are giving. We have wasted a lot of time. Hon. Members have been wanting to propose Bills for enactment into law. The procedure that we have been following is lengthy, cumbersome and wasteful. This is because an hon. Member has to seek leave from the House and it takes a very long time. I am glad that the new Standing Orders will get rid of these procedures so that hon. Members have an opportunity to propose legislation so that when it is passed by the House, it becomes law. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to underline the importance of Committees. I notice that the new Standing Orders have established six additional Committees; Local Authorities and Funds Accounts Committee, Budget Committee, Committee on Delegated Legislation, Implementation Committee, Committee on Equal Opportunities and House Broadcasting Committee. Those are very important Committees and I just want to say how important it is for us to put a lot of importance to those Committees, so that we can, at least, see what the Committees want to achieve. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in conclusion, this afternoon, I want to pay tribute to my colleagues who worked with me when we did the first part of the Standing Orders. They are hon. Paul Muite, who is not a Member of Parliament now but formerly, the hon. Member for Kabete, hon. Daniel Khamasi, former Member for Shinyalu, hon. Nominated Member Esther Keino, the current Minister of State for Immigration and Registration of Persons, hon. Otieno Kajwang, hon. Wambora, former Member for Runjenyes and hon. Mutula Kilonzo, Minister for Nairobi Metropolitan Development. Those honourable Members served in my Committee and I want to pay special tribute to them for their contribution to the new Standing Orders. Equally, I December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3947 want to mention the staff of the National Assembly; the current Clerk, Mr. Gichohi and other junior clerks, Messrs. Njoroge and Amollo who worked tirelessly to see that our work was fruitful. Also, SUNY Kenya, AWEPA and DFID helped us a lot during the time that we were considering this work. Therefore, I want to again add my voice to those who proposed and seconded and say that this is a milestone and, at long last, through your able leadership, Mr. Speaker, Sir, we are able to see light at the end of the tunnel that, by the approval of this House, we are finally going to have new Standing Orders. Mr. Speaker, Sir, you need to be applauded. The Sub-Committee needs to be applauded for bringing this work to its logical conclusion. I thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish to support this Motion. I would like to start by paying tribute to you, Mr. Speaker, for your very able leadership since you were sworn in as the Speaker of this House. I remember that the first thing you said in your speech was that you are going to ensure that reforms come to this House and this country, particularly the issue of live coverage from the first day. Indeed, you indicated that by August of this year, we will have live coverage. For the first time in the history of this country, Kenyans are able to follow the proceedings of this House and see what their leaders are doing. This is a great development in our democracy. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the proposals that have been made, and what is contained in this report, must be applauded because these are changes that would actually enhance democracy in this country. There were other changes that were proposed but, during the deliberations of your Committee, they were not effected, particularly the proposal to change Part 2 of the Standing Orders about swearing in and election of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of this House. Indeed, we recall the day we first came to this House. It was not an easy day for the late Ndindiri. May God rest his soul in eternal peace. As the Clerk of the National Assembly, he discharged a very difficult task. He did so very ably. Indeed, he did his work in a very humble manner. He is one of the unsung heroes of this country when history is written. The day this House was convened will always be remembered. There was a proposal in the course of the deliberations on page 10 of this Report that, perhaps, we should embrace the practice in the UK and other jurisdictions in the Commonwealth where the Member who is most senior in age and rank would preside over the elections. That was overruled and your Committee decided that we should retain the practice that you already had, where the Clerk of the House will be there to conduct the swearing-in ceremony. Given our history and what transpired here, indeed, it was a very wise decision which we must applaud the Committee for. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the issue that I feel very strongly about and that, probably, we might need to bring an amendment at the Committee Stage is something that has happened in the course of the proceedings of this House. Indeed, your rulings have been very elaborate, well researched and respected by all. There has, however, been an issue that, perhaps, came up in the course of the proceedings of this House. It raised the issue that exists in the high
courts, lower courts and the courts of appeal in this country, where there is appellate jurisdiction. Perhaps, a Member is dissatisfied with the ruling of the Chair. Perhaps, the Chair is asked to make a ruling on a previous ruling and that happened once. I did fear that this House almost suffered a procedural meltdown. Perhaps, it is an issue that we need to apply our minds to because there will come a time when, perhaps, we have a Speaker who comes from one party and the Deputy Speaker from another party. Perhaps, issues will come where rulings might be made and some rulings could be overruled. I think it is very important that there should be a provision--- I was proposing Part 1 of the Standing Orders--- Where there are procedural matters Standing Orders do not provide for the 3948 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008 procedure, then the Speaker will have to make a ruling or a decision. There will be times when the Speaker is away and there will be times when there will be a Temporary Deputy Speaker and a ruling is made and, perhaps, a Member is dissatisfied. I think we need a provision whereby, like in the High Court, there can be appellate jurisdiction where when one is dissatisfied with the ruling of the High Court, he can appeal to the Court of Appeal. I think it is a matter that we might need to address as we go along. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we are very pleased with the new proposals, particularly on the creation of new Committees. Going by the performance of the previous House, particularly the Ninth Parliament, there were great Motions that went through. There were great ideas that came and were passed. I came across, while going through the proceedings of the Ninth Parliament, a Motion that was moved by Mr. Jimmy Angwenyi. It was about the creation of employment for the youth of this country. He called it "The New Deal". He addressed the plight of the youth of this country. That Motion received unanimous support and it went through. But nothing has been done about that Motion. There was also a Motion that went through about the Early Childhood Education Development (ECD). There were other great Motions that came and were passed. But there has been lack of follow up in terms of implementation. Therefore, when we have a Committee that will particularly look into the issue of implementation--- I would suggest that it should not only be monitoring and implementation. That Committee should also be called the Evaluation Committee. We should be able to evaluate our performance. It is a role that is very important. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the other issue is what Mr. Orengo has touched on about creating the Prime Minister's Question time, and creating time for the Leader of Government Business under the proposed Standing Order No.34. Indeed, this is a great development and we must support it. That is bringing the Executive to Parliament, just the way we have taken Parliament to the villages through live coverage. I think, as Members of the Back-Bench, we will be allowed more time to engage the Government directly on the Floor of the House, and that will make the Government more accountable. We want to support it, and I also support what Mr. Musyimi said about the proposed amendment to Standing Order No.34, about giving the Vice-President time to take the hon. Members through the agenda and the proposed business for the succeeding week. Indeed, that is a very important development, and we will also need enough time. After the Prime Minister's Question Time, we should also have time with the Vice-President to know exactly what is coming before the House, and also be able to question certain issues that we will want to. That will give us a great opportunity to engage the Executive. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have gone through the proposed Standing Orders, and there is the element of strengthening the oversight role of Parliament. It is very important with regard to the issue of the national Budget. If we are able to strengthen our Committees and their role in the Budget-making process and strengthen their oversight roles, it will be something of great value to this country. I do appreciate that we attended a workshop in Washington DC mid this year, and what we went through, in terms of sharing with colleagues from other Parliaments, surprised us, because of how strong the institution of Parliament is in terms of playing the oversight role, particularly, in the Budget-making process. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I believe that we are going to have these new Standing Orders in place. So, if we are empowered as Parliament and Departmental Committees, for example the Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations and other Committees, we will be able to effectively participate and not just be a rubber-stamp. In fact, there are great changes that are coming to this House, and we want to applaud the Committees for what they have done so far. We believe that it will be necessary to bring more reforms in future in terms of changing the Standing Orders of this House. I do believe in the words December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3949 of the late President of the United States of America (USA), Mr. J.F. Kennedy, who once said:- "Conformity is a jailer of freedom and development". There are things that we inherited from our colonial masters that probably when you go to other jurisdictions you will find that they have made far reaching changes, including changes in the judiciary and parliament, but we still retain what we inherited from the colonialists. Some of the changes that we have seen in other jurisdictions go as far as the dressing code. I am glad that this Parliament has made changes with regard to Lady Members of Parliament. We do hope that in future, we will be able to make further changes, especially in our High Court. I had the privilege of appearing in the Ugandan High Court, and I realised that the culture that was purely English, of wearing wigs and robes, has long been discarded in Uganda, a neighbouring country. Judges are no longer supposed to wear the old English robes. When you go to the Uganda Supreme Court, you will find Ugandan Judges neatly dressed in very beautiful Ugandan robes, with a crested crane, which is the emblem of the nation on the robe. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I believe that at some point we will need to consider that in bringing changes to our High Court and to this House, so that in very warm or hot afternoons, the Speaker or the Judges will not be sweating in the wig. There are changes that can come in future and we must consider them. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have also made advancement in the area of Information Communication and Technology (ICT). If you go to the Rwandan Parliament, you will find that they are ICT compliant, because they use it. You will find Members of Parliament with laptops and serious changes in ICT. They are far ahead of us in ICT. That is a challenge that we leave to the Standing Orders Committee, but we will need to bring changes to this House. Apart from live coverage we need to catch up with technology, which is quite advanced. We must embrace it in this 21st Century. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Order, hon. Members! I do not wish to curtail this debate, but I want to urge, and plead with, hon. Members to try and restrict your contributions only to the essential, the very necessary part. Otherwise, there is the Committee of the whole House and you will be allowed to make contributions and come up with amendments that you think are necessary to improve the quality of the Standing Orders. Hon. Members, also, bear in mind that we accorded Members of this honourable House two days of a workshop when they were allowed to input into the proposed Standing Orders. If you permit me, I will now exercise my discretion and allow just two more hon. Members from either side.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will be brief and to the point. I want to make three quick points. First, these are very good rules and I am not going to repeat what previous hon. Members have said. With a lot of respect to one previous speaker, I want to caution that we should not pass any rule here which will impede the making of legislation. In particular, I am worried about the proposal that has been debated here, that quorum must be achieved at the time of passing legislation. I have spent a lot of time in this House like other hon. Members, and we know that during the time of the second reading, if we were to call for quorum, a lot of our legislation will not pass. As a result, we will have a rule that will be impeding the productivity of this House. For example, the just concluded Biosafety Bill is a very technical Bill, and when we were debating it, very few hon. Members actually contributed. I want to put in a caution on that, so that we do not pass a rule that will make us lag behind in terms of passing legislation. Secondly, I would like to refer to the way we have arranged the proposed Standing Orders of the National Assembly. When I look at the way they have been set out, there are two things that we have missed out. Under Part I, we have the introduction and under Part II the election of the 3950 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008 Speaker and the swearing-in of Members. Part III talks about the Deputy Speaker. That is very good and it is a logical sequence. After that, I feel very strongly and wish to persuade this House that we have left out two very important components of the House. Parliament cannot exist and move without the Leader of Government Business. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we would need to create a part that, specifically addresses the Leader of Government Business, the Deputy Leader of Government Business. Just like the Speaker who has the Temporary Deputy Speaker, in the event that the Leader of Government Business and the Deputy Leader of Government Business are not there, we should have two members of the Government Panel who would be able to perform any duties that are allocated to the Leader of Government Business. Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is very serious now because whether the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs is there or not, his Office of Leader of Government Business, on Thursday, would be expected to give direction on what is going to happen. We will need that institutionalised. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am proposing that, that part must be included in these new Standing Orders. Finally, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Leader of the Official Opposition is not a person. It is an institution just, like the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, the Leader of Government Business and the Deputy Leader of Government Business. In the same manner, we have to create another part of the Standing Orders that clearly shows how the Leader of the Official Opposition should be appointed. I am proposing that we move this amendment at the Committee Stage. He should have the deputy and two other Members who will be the Temporary Leader of the Official Opposition in the event that the Leader of the Official Opposition or the Deputy Leader of Official Opposition are away. I intend to institutionalise these three important arms of this Parliament in order for it to function. I want to agree with all the previous speakers and also urge the House to institutionalise the two institutions that have somehow been missed out in the way we have organised Parliament. We should have the swearing-in of Members of Parliament, the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and chairpersons of committees. We should then have the Leader of Government Business and his team and the Leader of the Official Opposition and his team, so that it is an institution we are dealing with. It should be divided into three in order for it to balance and work efficiently.
Yes, Mrs. Odhiambo-Mabona!
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. However, for clarification, I am Mrs. Mabona. When you say "Mrs. Odhiambo-Mabona", you make me my father's wife!
I just forgot the apostrophe. I see the name as Mrs. Odhiambo-Mabona- Mabona. Therefore, I gave you half of your name!
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity. I wish not only to support but also laud Members for the noble amendments that have been made to the Standing Orders. Mr. Speaker, Sir, just to abide by your plea, I will shorten my contribution. I wanted to say a lot especially because I was only able to attend the seminar for one day. I am glad and happy to note that some of the suggestions that I had made for amendments are in the Paper. Mr. Speaker, Sir, first of all, I want to say that I am very happy that the proposed amendments, in effect, bring about shortening of time for debate. I think as much as we normally have a lot to say, the House would be better placed when Members contribute less and we bring more Bills and Motions. This would be in conformity with the mood of the House for reforms. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would also want to laud the amendments that enable us to have live broadcast in the House. I would want to suggest that we interpret live broadcast broadly to include December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3951 live broadcast of committee work. Members do a lot of work in committees which is not apparent to the public. I also suggest that it includes electronic airing of work that is going on. Currently, if you go to some offices in Parliament, you will hear the proceedings on radio. Recently, when we were on a visit to the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament in a house like our Continental House, you can sit in your office and be able to know what is going on. I would not want us not to amend but to broadly interpret that phrase to include that. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would also like to laud the amendments on Public Bills. This will also shorten time because in effect what we normally do is to debate a Motion and then debate again when it comes substantively before the House. This is double work. Further, I would like to commend the House for the additional committees, especially the Equal Opportunities Committee. As a person who is very committed to equal opportunities, especially for minorities including women, young persons and persons with disabilities, I am very happy that we are recognising these persons within our Parliament. Finally, I have been a little uncomfortable because I do not know how to deal--- I have been consulting and decided to put in an amendment subject to further consultations, if I have time. I am uncomfortable with parts (i), (ii), (b) and (c). These have to do with circumstances where we do not have a clear Official Opposition as provided in the current Standing Orders. We are proposing an amendment under (b) that where you have a coalition of Opposition parties, then they can form an Official Opposition if they have at least 30 Members. Again under (c), it says if that is not possible, but you have individuals who can form a caucus, then they can have an Official Opposition. I had actually intended to suggest amendments at the Committee Stage when the Bill comes. This is because the effect of this is this, currently, in the Back Bench, we are more than 60. If this part passes, then it means 30 Members can write to the Chair to form a caucus. The other 30 Members can also do the same. How then do we determine who the Official Opposition is? That is one area that is creating a lot of discomfort for me. I think it is going to create a lot of side shows for us. Secondly, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have substantive issues that I would want to address in the substantive Bill and I think this provision pre-empts that. Finally, when you look at (c), it talks about "the Leader in Parliament of his or her party". We have not defined what that means under these amendments. I would want us to either delete (b) and (c) or we have amendments that would define who the leader in Parliament of his or her party is. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Very well! Perhaps to help you, you are talking about pre-empting legislation which is not yet in place. But even if that legislation is in place, thinking as a lawyer, as indeed you are, these Standing Orders will amount to subsidiary legislation. What happens to them in the face of substantive statute? Think about that!
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
No! Not allowed. I said you think about it!
Proceed, Mr. Imanyara!
Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, I do now move that--- I have discussed this point with you previously, because hon. Members will notice that the wording of the Motion is slightly different from the one in respect to which I gave notice. But there is no substantive difference in the meaning. It has just been refined. The wording is not entirely as I gave in the notice of Motion, and I have your permission for that. Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, I beg to move:- THAT Sessional Paper No.3 of 2008 on the Report of the Standing Orders Committee laid on the Table of the House on Tuesday, 2nd December, 2008, be adopted and further that, the new Standing Orders contained in the Second Schedule of the Sessional Paper come into operation in the manner provided in Part XXV of that Schedule. Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, hon. Members of the Kenya National Assembly, today marks a momentous day in the history of reform-making agenda in Kenya. Parliament will today, if you approve this Sessional Paper, take the boldest step yet to free itself from Executive control and give meaning to the principle of separation of powers that is enshrined in Section 30 of our Constitution, which provides that:- "The Legislative Power of the Republic shall vest in the Parliament of Kenya, which shall consist of the President and the National Assembly." That legislative power is exercised in the manner set out in Section 56 of the Constitution, which is worded as follows:- "Subject to this Constitution, the National Assembly may make Standing Orders regulating the procedure of the Assembly including, in particular, orders for the orderly conduct of proceedings and subject to Standing Orders made under Paragraph (a), establish committees in such manner and for such general or special purposes as it thinks fit, and regulate the procedure of any committee so established." Mr. Depuy Chairman, Sir, other procedures used in this House are derived from considered rulings by the Speaker, and also from usages, forms, precedence, customs and traditions in our National Assembly, the United Kingdom House of Commons and other parliaments, particularly those in the Commonwealth, to the extent that they are applicable to Kenya. Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, it has been the practice of this National Assembly to review its Standing Orders at the end of every Parliament. Although the Eighth Parliament did not do so - the expectation then at the time being that there was to be a comprehensive review of the Constitution, which invariably would have had implications on the Standing Orders - that, unfortunately, did not happen. Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, the House will recall that when we elected you to the Head of this Legislative Arm of our Government on January, 15th, 2008, you set the pace for the work so far done by declaring as follows:- "It is my earnest belief that in my time and life of the Tenth Parliament, we shall witness progressive reforms and that this House will make it our priority to amend our Standing Orders so as to be in step and consonance with other modern December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3953 parliamentary jurisdictions. That, we shall move to electronic voting and quickly embrace live coverage of the proceedings of the House." Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, I dare say that we have not disappointed. It may be that, today, we face intense media scrutiny as Parliament. But as Winston Churchill, way back in April 22nd, 1926, said:- "We shall not be judged by the criticism of our opponents, but by the consequences of our acts." We took the next major step in the reform journey following the election of the Speaker on 26th April when you, hon. Members, constituted a Standing Orders Committee comprising of the following hon. Members: Hon. Kenneth Marende, Chairman, hon. Farah Maalim, hon. Gitobu Imanyara, Prof. Philip Kaloki, hon. Jeremiah Kioni, hon. David Were, hon. Boaz Kaino, hon. Nuh Nassir, hon. Franklin Bett, hon. Ababu Namwamba and hon. Mohammed Abdikadir. The Committee, at its first Session on 30th May, 2008, constituted a six-member Sub-committee to:- (a) Consider progress made by the Ninth Parliament towards the review of our Standing Orders. (b) Receive submissions from other parliamentary committees, individual hon. Members of Parliament, civil society and other interested groups and knowledgeable officers of the House. (c) To submit their report to the Standing Orders Committee. Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, the Sub-committee comprised of the following: Hon. Jeremiah Kioni, hon. David Were, hon. Mohammed Abdikadir, Prof. Philip Kaloki, hon. Amina Abdallah and Prof. Margaret Kamar, whom we co-opted, and I, as the Chair. Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, pursuant to its mandate, the Sub-committee held a two-day workshop between 3rd and 4th of July, 2008, and considered the work done under the chairmanship of the then Speaker of the National Assembly, hon. F.X. ole Kaparo, which had made comprehensive recommendations under the title "Draft Seven" which, unfortunately, had not been tabled before the House by the time the Ninth Parliament was dissolved. Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, at this moment, I wish to commend their efforts. I would like to join my friend, hon. David Musila, in paying tribute to the Sub-committee that worked under the Speakership of hon. F.X. ole Kaparo, for the work done.
I would, therefore, Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, at this juncture, wish to commend the work of your worthy predecessor and Members of the Standing Orders Committee of the Ninth Parliament, which had covered significant ground and which prepared a firm footing on which to commence our work. Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, I also wish the record to show that it is on your behalf, as the Chair of the Standing Orders Committee, that I move this Motion for the adoption of the Sessional Paper containing the proposed new Standing Orders. It is your resolute leadership that has enabled us to reach this far. Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, at our workshop, we adopted the Ninth Parliament's Draft Seven in its entirety and contextualised it to accommodate the very changed political environment under which the Tenth Parliament came into being. Our draft report at the end of the workshop was titled "Draft One of the Tenth Parliament" and it was the subject of a very lively debate by you, hon. Members, at a two-day retreat that we held at the Safari Park Hotel. Your comments, suggestions and recommendations at the Safari Park Workshop became the subject of our further scrutiny at yet another retreat, where we incorporated your input, comments and recommendations into the Draft One of the Tenth Parliament and, thereafter, crafted the proposed new Standing 3954 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008 Orders which form part of this Sessional Paper as Schedule 2. Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, hon. Members, having scrutinised the proposals presented by other hon. Members, Committees, organised groups, officers of the house and the civil society, the Committee felt sufficiently comfortable with seeing our task as that of:- (i) Enhancing parliamentary democracy. (ii) Enhancing the parliamentary committee system. (iii) Enhancing the oversight role of Parliament. (iv) Strengthening political party recognition in Parliament in terms of Section 1(A) of the Constitution, which declares that the Republic of Kenya shall be a multi-party democratic State. (v) Involving Parliament in national budgeting process. (vi) Opening parliamentary proceedings to the public. (vii) Expanding opportunity for Private Members business. (viii) Improving the public petitioning process. (ix) Incorporating the spirit of the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Act (2008) in the rules of procedure. (x). Removing procedural lacunas where they exist in the current Standing Orders. (xi). Engendering the rules of procedure so that they are not only for the just Government of men, but for all; men, women, youth, people with disabilities and, indeed, all Kenyans all the time. (xii) Incorporating some of the generally accepted practices and rulings of the Speaker in the rules of procedure. (xiii) Simplifying the language used in the Standing Orders into contemporary English. Mr. Chairman, Sir, we also had to address the institutional reforms that the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation Team recommended Parliament undertakes. These included recommendations for a comprehensive review of the Standing Orders and Procedures to enrich quality and output of Parliamentary debate and strengthen multiparty democracy, live coverage of Parliamentary debates, enhancement of the oversight role of Parliament over the national Budget, creation of a monitoring and implementation committee, introduction of timely deliberation of reports and opening Committees' work to the public. In undertaking our task as mandated by this House, we have not proposed any amendments to some of the existing Standing Orders that appeared to us to serve their intended purpose. Therefore, they appear as they are in the current Standing Orders, save for changes in numbering. However, several rules have been re-drafted to bring out their intended purpose more fully, while others have been written in simpler and contemporary English. Accordingly, the Standing Orders that we are proposing for your approval are written in a language that is user friendly and clear. We have endeavoured to respond to the request of all hon. Members in this Tenth Parliament and previous Parliaments while looking into the future and taking into consideration the demand for modernisation. Indeed, the Standing Orders proposed in this Sessional Paper have, as we have said in the Preface to the Report, been described by my hon. Members in the Committee as the Standing Orders of the 21st Century. I noted that the Leader of Government Business himself recognised that quote from the Preface in the Report. I will now go to parts, so that I can enable hon. Members to go into the Standing Orders, one by one. In Part I, the Introduction, the Committee proposes that meaning be assigned to the following words: Chief Whip, Leader of Government Business, Member, Paper and Party Whip. This is contained on pages 30 to 32 of the Sessional Paper. The Committee also proposes that meanings assigned to the following words be amended: Minister, Official Opposition Party, Parliamentary Party, Private Bill and Public Bill. This is on pages 30 to 32 of the Sessional Paper. Mr. Chairman, Sir, in Part II on the Section dealing with meetings of the House and swearing-in of hon. Members, it is proposed:- December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3955 (a) If the position of the Speaker falls vacant at any time during a Session, the election of the Speaker be presided over by the Deputy Speaker or a Member of the Speaker's panel, if the Deputy Speaker is a candidate. (b) In keeping with the practice in our Parliament and others in the Commonwealth, the election of the Speaker be by secret ballot. (c) Taking cognizance of the aims of the Persons With Disabilities Act, we require the Clerk to make arrangements to enable any hon. Member with disability to vote. (d) The Third Ballot be removed and replaced with a provision to expressly indicate that the person who garners the highest number of votes in the Second Ballot shall be declared Speaker. It is worth noting that in the procedure of the election of a Speaker in a new House following a general election, the Sub-Committee had proposed that the election be presided by that hon. Member present in the House and not being a Minister, who has served for the longest period continuously as an hon. Member and taking into consideration age, if more than one have served the longest time. This, indeed, is the practice in the House of Commons in the UK and Canada. However, the Committee debated this matter at length and resolved that the provision in the current Standing Orders be retained. In taking this position, the Committee was guided by the example of the election of the Speaker during the First Session of this Tenth Parliament on 15th January, 2008, when the position was closely contested between two major parties; hon. Members asserted that in such circumstances, it would have been difficult for any hon. Member to be seen to be impartial. Further, such indefinite parameters as the longest serving hon. Member and oldest in age, as proposed, may lead to acrimony, particularly in a new House. In this regard, it was observed that the practice of the Clerk presiding over the elections is popular in other Parliaments such as New Zealand, Ghana and Australia, amongst others. Other proposals in the Parts that are for noting include:- (a) That other than the Government, one third of the hon. Members be allowed to ask the Speaker to summon Parliament during Recess. This is a new provision. (b) That the Chairmen's Panel be re-named the Speaker's Panel and membership be increased to four. The hon. Members of the panel be elected by the House immediately following a general elections to serve for a period of two calender years and those elected thereafter to serve for the remainder of the term. Further, in electing the said hon. Members, it is proposed that the House shall have regard to relative party majorities in the House and ensure that, at least, one is from either gender. Mr. Chairman, Sir, in Part III, that is the Section dealing with the Deputy Speaker and Chairpersons of the Committees, the Committee has proposed the re-naming of the Chairmen's Panel to become the Speaker's Panel and to increase, as I have said, their number to four. In Part IV, the Section dealing with the President, the Committee proposes that the Standing Orders be reviewed:- (i) so as for the Speech of the President be laid on the Table of the House, unlike the current practice where it is not; (ii) so that the debate on the Speech of the President be limited to a maximum of four Sitting Days; and, (iii) so that there is a proviso to allow a visiting head of state to address the House. In such situations, the Leader of Government Business, the House Business Committee and the Leader of the Official Opposition will consult and allow a visiting head of state, or such other dignitaries, to address the House. They may also hear any representation by a member prior to making such a decision, just to make provision for hon. Members who may have serious reservations about a particular person intended to be invited to make representations. You will find these on pages 36 and 37 of the Sessional Paper. 3956 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008 If hon. Members agree with this proposal, this House will, no doubt, wish to have the honour and the privilege of inviting the President of the USA, he of Kenyan descent, and the one and only Mr. Obama, to be the first foreign head of state to address the National Assembly of Kenya.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, in Part V, the Section dealing with Sittings of the House, the Committee has proposed that a provision be inserted to allow the House to extend its sitting hours in a Sitting Day for purposes of more efficient transaction of business. This proposal is a considered improvement on a suggestion to extend the sitting days to Thursday mornings in addition to the current sitting days. This is found on page 37 of the Sessional Paper. In Part VI, the Section dealing with quorum of the House, the Constitution itself provides in Section 51 that the quorum shall be 30, and I have noted comments made in this regard that we must be mindful of the fact that we cannot legislate in Standing Orders, or include provisions in the Standing Orders that conflict with the Constitution, particularly in those instances where it is the Constitution itself that sets a majority in conducting business. In Part VII, the section dealing with the journals and records, the Committee has proposed that unless otherwise prohibited by the law, the Clerk allows access to journals and records of the House by the public, but the Speaker may make rules to regulate the access. The Committee also proposes that the current live broadcast of House Proceedings be provided for together with the rules for such broadcasts. We have, in fact, made rules and recommended the setting up of a broadcasting committee. In Part VIII, order of business, the Committee proposes that statements be added to the documents that the clerk reads before the Session begins every day to matters other than business for purposes of allowing hon. Members to ask or make statements. The Committee also proposes that a provision be made to require the Leader of Government Business to inform the House of the Government Business of the following week. This is to be done on every Thursday, or last sitting day of the week, and without debate. We had considerable debate on this issue; what informed the hon. Members of this was that the Vice-President and Leader of Government Business is the principal assistant to the President. The Committee felt that the principal assistant to the President should be accorded the same privileges when in the House and when he is addressing the National Assembly. That is why we inserted that clause that the address be without debate. But I have heard the Leader of Government Business on this issue, and together with the proposals, hon. Members will have to make up their minds on whether to retain the proposals as in the proposed Standing Orders or make amendments. Part IX is the section dealing with the Prime Minister's Time. Note that it is not the Prime Minister's Question Time, but the Prime Minister's Time. The Committee has introduced a new part to require the Prime Minister, exercising the constitutional prerogative of being in charge of supervision and co-ordination of Government functions, to answer Questions from Members and make Statements on Wednesdays from 3.00 p.m. to 3.45 p.m. You can see this on page 42 of the Sessional Paper. Provision is also made for him to designate one of his deputies to stand in for him, in his absence. Mr. Chairman, Sir, in Part X, dealing with Questions, the Committee has proposed that the Standing Orders be reviewed so that Questions by Private Notice be answered after 24 hours on dispatch by the Clerk, while Ordinary Questions be answered after five days, and that Answers to Questions for Written Reply be included in the HANSARD. Where a Member wishes to have a Written Response to a Question and that Question does not come to the House, that answer will be December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3957 included in the Official HANSARD Report. In Part XI, the Committee did not recommend any amendments and therefore, Motions and amendments remain as they are in the current Part X of the current Standing Orders. In Part XII dealing with Divisions, the Committee proposes that the Standing Orders be amended to include that, a Member who fails to record his or her abstention in a Division, be deemed to be disorderly and that, a Member who will be in the Chamber, but at the expiry of the voting has neither voted in a Division nor recorded abstention, be deemed to have forfeited his or her right to vote, and be deemed to have abstained. So, it will no longer be possible for Members to walk in and move from one Division of the House to the other without disclosing how they have voted. Mr. Chairman, Sir, on Part XIII which deals with the rules of debate, the Committee has proposed that the Standing Orders be amended so that the Speaker may require that the Member rising on a point of order, indicates the Standing Order upon which the point of order is based, so as to reduce the instances of frivolous points of order that cannot have a foundation in the Standing Orders. The Committee also has proposed that the application of the sub judice rule be clarified further by way of defining instances when a matter may be considered to be sub judice. You will find this on page 54 of the Sessional Paper. Mr. Chairman, Sir, in Part XIV, on limitation of debate, the Committee proposes to reduce the speaking time allocated to Members as shown in Standing Order 85 of the Report. It is envisaged that the time that would otherwise be used under this Part would be re-allocated to other matters. In Part XV; Order in the House and in Committee of the Whole House, the Committee proposes that the Standing Orders be amended so that the lady Members may be allowed into the Chamber with their handbags. However, it is made clear that all Members be subject to security check before entering the Chamber. You will find that on page 58 of the Sessional Paper. Mr. Chairman, Sir, in Part XVI; Public Bills, the Committee has proposed:- (i) Amendment of the Standing Orders to remove the requirement of seeking leave of the House prior to introduction of a Public Bill. From now on, if we do approve these Standing Orders, it will no longer be necessary to move a Motion in the House for leave to introduce a Bill. You will be able to introduce a Bill directly without seeking leave of the House, subject to following the procedures that are set out in Standing Order No.102. (ii) A Bill having been read a First Time, shall stand committed to the relevant Standing Committee without question being put. You will find that in the proposed Standing Order No.108 on page 63. (iii) The consideration of a Bill that was interrupted at the end of a Session resumes in the next Session of the same Parliament at the stage where it was last interrupted. If this rule is approved, a Motion debate will not lapse on Members seeking recess. We will be able to continue from where we left at the time of adjournment. On Part XVII, dealing with Private Bills, the Committee has proposed that the procedures relating to Public Bills shall apply. On Part XVIII, Committee of the Whole House; the Standing Orders put limits on consideration of matters by the Committee and provides that the same rules of order of debate as applies in the full House be followed in the Committee. Mr. Chairman, Sir, Part XIX dealing with the Committee of Supply and Ways and Means, is important because it introduces very fundamental new changes. Hon. Members may wish to note that the procedures relating to the reading and preparation of the Budget and Estimates is very fundamentally affected by what I will say now. This is because under the proposals that we have 3958 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008 made, it is proposed that this Part be amended - you will see this on pages 71 to 75 of the Sessional Paper - so that:- (i) the Minister lays before the House the Budget Policy Statement by 21st March; (ii) the contents of the Budget Policy Statement be specified in the Standing Orders; (iii) the Budget Committee be required to consider the Budget Policy Statement and lay its Report before the House by 15th April, for debate and adoption; (iv) allotted days in Ways and Means Committee be reduced to two days; (v) the Annual Estimates shall be laid on the Table of the House not later than 20th June and then be referred to the Departmental Committees thereafter; (vi) each Departmental Committee considers the Estimates for Ministries under them and submits a Report to the House within 21 days. So, every Government Ministry has a Departmental Committee to which it is responsible. So, when the Estimates are laid on the Table of the House, the relevant Departmental Committee will look at those Estimates and make a report back to the House within 21 days. (vii) At that stage, then the House Business Committee determines the order in which the House would consider the Report of the Departmental Committee on the Annual Estimates. When the Departmental Committees have gone through the Estimates, they will send them to the House Business Committee, which will determine on the order of debate of those reports. (viii) Then, each Minister moves the Votes under his or her Ministry, indicating his or her position on the recommendations of the House. So, where a Departmental Committee has looked at the Estimates relating to the Ministry of Education, for example, the Minister for Education in presenting the Estimates for his Ministry, must respond to specific points raised by the Departmental Committee. If, for example, the Departmental Committee has raised issues about marginalisation of particular districts or communities, or funds being directed to a particular area to the detriment of another area, or funds not being equitably distributed, the Minister will be required to answer those specific issues on the Floor of the House when moving his or her vote. (ix) allotted days of supply be reduced to 14; (x) time spent in consideration of each vote be reduced to three hours per vote, (from two days per vote); and (xi) We have retained the Guillotine procedure solely as a safeguard measure. This is because now, every single Ministry will be subject to scrutiny by a Departmental Committee. So, indeed, when the Minister has to present his or her Estimates or move his or her Votes in the House, the Committees will have had time to go through all those and there will not be scope for this House approving Ministries in the manner in which we have done ten or fifteen minutes at ago without giving the House time to consider and scrutinise Ministry per Ministry. Mr. Chairman, Sir, it is envisaged that this procedure will shorten the Budget cycle in the House and reduce the amount of time spent on the Budget debate as well as allow full scrutiny of the same before the Minister for Finance reads the Budget. Therefore, the reading of the Budget will be a mere formality, as ceremony, because each Item of the Budget will have gone through a Departmental Committee of this House. On the Select Committees, on Part XX, the Committee has proposed that the Standing Orders be amended---
Mr. Chairman, Sir, I am concerned that the hon. Members behind me are not letting me to continue. December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3959
Order, hon. Members! Please, lower the level of your consultations, so that we can hear the hon. Member who has the Floor.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Sir. In Part XX, we have recommended that the Standing Orders be amended, so that:- (i) The Membership of the House Business Committee can be expanded to not more than 22 Members, taking into consideration the relative party majority in the House, have 30 per cent being not Ministers or Assistant Ministers. So, unlike now, where the House Business Committee is heavily tilted in favour of the Government, we have reduced the threshold. (ii) We have also recommended that Committee rules that are common to all Committees be consolidated into one Part titled "General". So, we have put all of them under one Section of the proposed Standing Orders. You will see them on pages 77-81 of the Sessional Paper. Mr. Chairman, Sir, in nominating hon. Members to serve in any Select Committee, the House Business Committee shall ensure that:- (a) the Membership of each Committee reflects the relative majorities of the seats held by each of the Parliamentary parties in the National Assembly and Kenya's ethnic, geographical, cultural, political, social and economic diversity, and shall give consideration to the need for gender balance; (b) quorum in Committees be three Members, including Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and Public Investments Committee (PIC); (c) a Member who is adversely mentioned in a matter under deliberation by a Committee shall not be eligible to chair a Committee, and that such Member shall not be present at any meeting at which the Committee is deliberating on the matter that adversely mentions him or her; (d) unless quorum is achieved within 30 minutes of the appointed time, a meeting of any Committee of the House shall stand adjourned; (e) if a Member fails to attend four consecutive meetings of a Committee without leave of the Chair, such Member relinquishes its Membership to that Committee; (f) by resolution supported by a majority of its Members, a Committee may resolve that it has no confidence in the Chairperson or Vice-Chairperson; (g) all Committee proceedings shall be open to the public, except where the Committee otherwise decides or when the Committee is considering its recommendations for the purposes of its Report. So, the Committee System is now completely open to the public except where the Committee itself is of the considered view that it should hold its sessions in camera, or where it is considering its recommendations to the House, for the good reason that the recommendations ought to be made to the House, and not to the public. Mr. Chairman, Sir, the Committee recommends further that:- (h) a Minister who fails to submit a Report on implementation of Committee Report (once adopted by the House) be deemed to be disorderly and, therefore, attract the penal consequences set out in the Standing Orders; and, (i) a Committee may, with the approval of the Speaker, hire such experts as he may consider necessary in furtherance of its mandate. Those are fairly new and noble introductions to the Standing Orders. Mr. Chairman, Sir, we have then proposed the establishment of new Committees. One of these is the Local Authorities and Funds Accounts Committee. In making these recommendations, we were aware that the accounts of local authorities, for example, have not been audited, in some cases, for more than 15 years, and we felt that the PAC and PIC were overworked, and were not getting sufficient time to audit the accounts of this very important arm of the Government; namely, 3960 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008 the Local Government, and also the Funds Accounts, which comprise of the devolved funds, including the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF). The Committee has also recommended the establishment of the Budget Committee, the Committee on Equal Opportunity, the House Broadcasting Committee, Implementation Committee, and the Committee on Delegated Legislation. The terms of reference for each of these Committees are set out. Mr. Chairman, Sir, we have recommended that the Chair of the PAC be the Leader of the Official Opposition, and where there is no Official Opposition, a Member from a party not in Government, elected by the PAC. So, in the current situation, where we have a Grand Coalition Government, the Chair of the PAC would be deemed to be the Leader of the Official Opposition in Parliament. We have also recommended that the Chairs of the PIC, the Budget Committee, the Local Authorities and Funds Accounts Committee be Members of parties not in Government; that, the initial Membership of PAC and PIC be for three years, and that the subsequent ones serve for the remainder of the Parliamentary term; that, the Standing Orders Committee, which prepared this Sessional Paper, be re-named "Procedure and House Affairs Committee"; that, Departmental Committees be split from eight to 12 Committees as contained in the Schedule on page 96 of the Sessional Paper. Mr. Chairman, Sir, in the New Part XXI of the proposed Standing Orders, we have introduced Public Petitions. The Committee proposes a very comprehensive and elaborate procedure for Public Petitions, as contained in the Sessional Paper. We borrowed this procedure from the practice in the Lok Sabha, which is the Indian Parliament, and the House of Commons of Canada and modified it to apply to Kenya. In New Part XXII, the Committee has proposed that a new procedure be inserted for the purpose of presentation of Reports from the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) and the Pan African Parliament (PAP). Hon. Members know that they play a very critical role in appointing these Members, and it was said that it is only fair that they know what goes on in those institutions. Mr. Chairman, sir, in New Part XXIII, we have made provision for exclusion of strangers in certain places, and removal of strangers from the Chambers. We have also made provision for our relationship with media and how to deal with instances of misreporting or inaccurate reporting. In New Part XXIV, you will find general provisions for exemption of business from Standing Orders, sitting arrangements within the Chambers, foreign travel and payment of witness expenses to persons summoned to appear before the House Committee. Mr. Chairman, Sir, in the very last part XXV, and as I conclude, the Committee has proposed transitional provisions, namely:- (i) That, the proposed new Standing Orders come into force on the date of the commencement of the Third Session of the Tenth Parliament and the Standing Orders then in force shall stand repealed. (ii) That, the following provisions of the proposed new Standing Orders come into force on such date prior to the commencement of the Third Session of the Tenth Parliament as the Speaker may, after consultation with the Standing Orders Committee, appoint:- (a) Standing Order No.17, which relates to visiting dignitaries; (b) Standing Order No.34(4), which relates to the Statement by the Leader of Government Business; (c) the Standing Order relating to the Prime Minister's Time; (d) the Standing Order relating to the House Business Committee; and, (e) any other provision that hon. Members may feel need to be brought into operation December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3961 before the next Parliament. On the coming in to force of the proposed new Standing Orders, or any of them, any orders, directions, appointments and other acts lawfully made or done under provision of the current Standing Orders, may be deemed to have been made or done under the corresponding provision in the proposed new Standing Orders, and shall continue to have effect accordingly. Mr. Chairman, Sir, in conclusion, let me inform the House that the recommendations in this Sessional Paper have been made after taking into consideration practices and usages from the Parliament of the Republic of Germany, the United Kingdom House of Commons, the Canadian House of Commons and the national Parliaments of India, Australia, Zambia, Uganda and others in the Commonwealth. Very finally, Mr. Chairman, Sir, it is in recognition of the fact, as Winston Churchill said in 1947, that "No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." It is for that reason that we make rules. It is also for that reason that we propose these rules for debate and adoption. Mr. Chairman, Sir, on that note, I thank you and beg to move.
Hon. Members, we will now proceed to consider the proposed new Standing Orders one by one beginning with the prayer.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, I beg to move:- THAT, Standing Order No.1 be amended by inserting the words "and the decision shall be final" immediately after the word "Speaker" appearing in the third line. Mr. Chairman, Sir, the intention of the this proposed amendment is to avoid conflict between decisions that are likely to be made. Standing Order 1(b) states that reference to Mr. Speaker shall be deemed to include reference to the Deputy Speaker when presiding over the House and any Member of the House for the time being so presiding. Mr. Chairman, Sir, there is a possibility, and we have seen it in this House before, that a decision could be made by one other than the substantive Speaker. Perhaps, a Member might seek, in a while-you-are-away-note, the substantive Speaker to make a decision on a decision that has already been made. How do we deal with a situation like this one where there are conflicting decisions or rulings of the Chair? There was a time when there was a near procedural meltdown in this House. That time, it seemed that the Speaker was overruling an earlier ruling. In order to avoid this in future--- In the Judiciary, where the Judicature Act is very clear, for instance, Chapter 8, Section 8 provides for jurisdiction for the subordinate court, the High Court and the Appellate Court whose decision takes precedence over whom--- It also states the appellate procedure to follow in the case of a litigant being aggrieved by a decision of one court, either the magistrate or the High Court judge. An appeal is made to the High Court. To avoid this, because it might have the element of, perhaps, eroding the dignity of the House if it would seem that there will be cases where a Temporary Deputy Speaker makes a ruling and the Speaker overrules it. Mr. Chairman, Sir, the intention of that small amendment is to say that whoever is in the 3962 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008 Chair is the Speaker, and the decision he or she makes while in the Chair cannot be overruled or is not subject to appeal to one of higher jurisdiction. That is my proposal.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, as much as I appreciate the good intentions in hon. Wamalwa's intended amendment, it would be a dangerous amendment. First, the Speaker of the Assembly is the Constitutional head of a Legislative Arm of Government. That is the first point to make. To make the decisions of a Temporary or a Presiding Member sitting on the Chair to overrule the decisions of the person the House has elected as the head of the Legislative Arm of Government, will be very dangerous. We considered that position and felt that this Standing Order has been in place for as long as the Standing Orders have been in place and there has not been any problem. In fact, there is a lot of merit in referring matters by those who sit in the Chair to the Speaker for a final decision as the Speaker. That is because those sitting temporarily on the Chair of the Speaker are not the head of the Legislative Arm of the Government. As much as I think the intention is good, it is unnecessary. It does not, in any way, elevate or improve the quality of debate. It does not, in any way, interfere with the pronouncements that have been made over the years. Finally, if a situation such as that arose, the Speaker can always rule. There is always inherent power in the House itself to overrule any decision, including that of the Speaker. So, I oppose this amendment and urge that we retain the current rule as it is.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, I want to concur with hon. Imanyara that, indeed, what is being sought here is already fully covered in Section 2, which we shall shortly be coming to. It would be dangerous to assign a Temporary Deputy Speaker a prerogative which may have far reaching consequences and where a Temporary Deputy Speaker may not have had the benefit of a well researched decision while making that ruling. Therefore, if you insert a clause here that the Speaker's ruling shall be final, we would be inundated with rulings that may be ultra vires of what we are trying to do in this. So, I beg the indulgence of hon. Wamalwa that, really, the intention is good, but the catastrophies are much higher than the intention itself. So, I oppose that amendment.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, I fully support the position taken by Mr. Imanyara. Under Standing Order Nos.1 and No.2, where it says that the decisions made in paragraph one shall be based on the usages, forms, precedents, customs, procedures and so on, my understanding here is that the rulings that were made by the previous Speakers are actually binding on the current Speaker, unless and until other rulings are made substantively by that Speaker. I am saying this because we have had occasions where the Chair has ignored the rulings which were made previously by other Speaker, even when his attention has been drawn to those rulings. Now that I have the Floor, I want to suggest another procedure. I can see that we are trying to go Standing Order by Standing Order, but this document is divided into parts. There are 25 parts all together. I think we will make better use of time if we go part by part, so that if an hon. Member has issues to raise on any of the Standing Orders under that part then he or she can do that. Otherwise, we will be here until tomorrow. December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3963
Very well, we are alive to that proposal, except that after we make progress, which will be presently, you will note that we will move a lot faster because we are going to do these Standing Orders in clusters of ten. That will ensure that we are a lot faster.
Mrs. Mabona has an amendment.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, I can see that you are not the only one struggling with the name "Mabona". So, we will just do with Ms. Odhiambo. Before, I move my amendment, could I urge the Government side to be awake because we might be amending what they do not want, considering what has just happened before. I beg to move:- THAT, the Standing Orders be amended by inserting the following New Clause after the definition of the word "Clerk" and before the definition of "Leader of Government Business." The Clause that I seek to insert is:- Leader in Parliament of a party shall be the de facto party leader or a nominee of the said party leader. 2A(a) be amended to read 2A(1) for ease of reference. Mr. Chairman, Sir, my proposed amendment had been that we delete 2A, B and C, but after consulting with the aspiring leaders of the Grand Opposition, I have dropped the proposed amendment and I am suggesting the proposed amendments that I have given above.
Are you withdrawing the amendment?
No, Mr. Chairman. I am not withdrawing it. What I have withdrawn is my original amendment, which was a deletion of B and C. Instead what I am suggesting to amend---
Order, Ms. Odhiambo! What has been withdrawn is no longer in issue; so you cannot raise it because it is already withdrawn. It is, therefore, not featuring at all. You can only proceed on the amendment which you now propose. As I see it, there are two amendments. The first part deals with the definition of "leader of a party" in Parliament. I think that is what we need to address so that we deal with that part. We would then deal with the other part later.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, most obliged. My proposed amendment is:- "THAT, Part (i) clause 2(a) be amended by inserting the following New Clause after the definition of the word "clerk" and before the definition of the "Leader of Government Business". "Leader in Parliament of a party shall be the de facto party leader or a nominee of the said party leader".
Mr. Chairman, Sir, the tradition of the House, with respect to Ms. Odhiambo, is that the leader of a political party in the House would normally be the person that, the Members in their own congregation, choose and then 3964 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008 inform the Speaker. It cannot be a de facto leader or a nominee. It is something confusing. I think we should drop that and keep to the tradition of the House. I beg to oppose.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, perhaps, the hon. Member may want to look at the new Political Parties Act which has extensive provisions relating to the subject she is addressing. I do not believe that we are able to include that without amending the substantive provisions of an Act of Parliament.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, I also oppose the proposed amendment. When you come to the definition particularly of the "Leader of Government Business", it is important in the sense that when you read the Standing Orders, then you find that the Leader of Government Business has a role. So, you can connect that definition with some function within the Standing Orders. Now, the animal that is being introduced as such, I do not find that animal in the body of the Standing Orders. It may be my misunderstanding, but I think it is a dangerous precedence. Those who were in this Parliament in 1992, when we wanted to find out who the de facto leader of one party or the other is, it depended who sat on that Chair first. The Speaker found it really difficult. So, then the tradition is that you sit down and decide, as a party, who your leader is. This is then communicated to the Speaker.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, it was just a question of who was the Leader of Official Opposition. Within political parties, there were those wrangles. It became very difficult to prove who the defacto leader was. I think Mr. Imanyara is quite right that the Political Parties Act has dealt with that issue extensively. We do not need to bring that confusion into the Standing Orders.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, I just want to add my word and say that the use of the word " de facto " means that any usurper posing as the de facto party leader can bring the confusion to the House. It would mean that political parties' wars are going to start coming to the House instead of being managed by the Registrar of Political Parties.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, I wish to propose an amendment that 2(a)(a) be amended to read 2(a)(1) for ease of reference.
Hon. Members, as I concede it from the Chair, that is a matter that is largely editorial and it will be dealt with appropriately!
December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3965
We have a notice of an amendment from Dr. Eseli.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, I beg to move:- THAT, Standing Order No.8 be amended by deleting the full stop at the end and inserting the words "from among members of a party other than the one that sponsored the Speaker, so long as that party is not a coalition with the party that sponsored the Speaker." Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, the new Standing Order will read:- "As soon as practicable after the election of the Speaker following upon a dissolution of the National Assembly, a Deputy Speaker shall be elected from among members of a party, other than the one that sponsored the Speaker so long as that party is not in coalition with the party that sponsored the Speaker." Mr. Chairman, Sir, the reason why I am moving this amendment is very simple. When we first came to the House and elected the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, you could feel the acrimony - it was tangible. It did not necessarily die off as fast as we wanted. I think it would be good that even in victory, the vanquished or those who have lost should not feel as if they are vanquished. That is because when they feel they are vanquished and yet we are supposed to be hon. Members of the same House, I think it introduces a lot of mistrust. This might sound like a one-off problem, but we never anticipated what happened when we came to elect the Speaker this year. Nobody had anticipated that, but it happened! So, we need to put safeguards in place such that we never have that sort of thing again. It went to the extent where people even stopped voting on party lines. They voted on religious and tribal lines! I think that kind of situation is dangerous for a House such as ours. That is why I am proposing this amendment and I hope that I will get some support in this. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Sir.
Once again, Mr. Chairman, Sir, we, both in the Sub-Committee and in the Standing Orders Committee, had occasion to look at this and we came to the conclusion that to insert such a clause would be to pre-empt the will of the electorate of Kenyans. That is because they determine who will be elected to the National Assembly. We do not know and we cannot purport to tell them that we can limit--- They may decide to elect a party--- We have seen it in some countries where there is a whitewash! A political party that has been in office for so long is completely white washed so that the new House has essentially one political party or a political party of one person. Mr. Chairman, Sir, so, we should not really interfere with the mandate that is exercisable directly by the electorate. Let the hon. Members determine, when they come here, whether they want to elect a Deputy Speaker from another party. There will be nothing to stop them from consulting and proposing a Deputy Speaker from a party other than that in the Government. But where the electorate has given overwhelming support to one party, and it is controlling the membership of the House, why should we take away their right to elect the Speaker and Deputy Speaker? I beg to oppose.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, I want to support the amendment. It actually enhances democracy! The history 3966 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008 we have had in this House is that the party that controls a majority has consistently been refusing to share even the Parliamentary business and the Committees with the others. I think it is important that we embrace a participatory approach. Let the majority have their say by having the Speaker but let them give room to participation by ceding the post of the Deputy Speaker. I think that informed by our history we should support the amendment.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, I stand to oppose this amendment, because we already have a situation where the current Speaker comes from the same party as the Deputy Speaker, and for a whole year we have not experienced any problem. The second reason why I am opposing this is that, that amendment seems to impute the wrong motive on the person elected Speaker, that, that person will be coming to defend the interests of his former party, which is not the case.
Once we have come to this House, we have ended our battles as political parties and we want to elect a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker who will take care of all our interests. With those few remarks, I beg to oppose.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, I think the major reason why this must be opposed is that it is the Constitution which spells out who can be Deputy Speaker. You cannot, in Standing Orders, which is not even a Statute, impose sanctions which are not in the Constitution. The second reason is that, and I agree with Mr. Imanyara, there was a situation in Canada when the Liberal Party was voted out completely, and if you had a Standing Order like this one, then you would simply be inviting a situation where Parliament cannot work. It is known in all Parliaments that people horse-trade, and that has happened before. In any case, the Speaker himself does not need to support any party because this Parliament, like in the First Parliament--- Sir Humprey Slade was not really a member of any of the parties which were the majority in the National Assembly. It was a consensus in that Parliament that Sir Slade became the Speaker. So, to assume that at all times, everybody who is going to be a Speaker is going to be that person who is necessarily sponsored by the political party in power--- The last Speaker, Mr. Kaparo, was not really known as an hon. Member of NARC, but that party decided to sponsor an hon. Member of the party opposite, which party was in Opposition to become the Speaker of the House. So, I think this would be imposing conditions which need to be addressed in the Constitution. If it is in conflict with the Constitution, it cannot hold.
Order, hon. Members! I want to put the Question. But before I do so, the matter raised by hon. Orengo is absolutely important; that you must bear in mind that there is, in fact, a constitutional provision pertaining to the election of the Deputy Speaker. Section 38(1) provides as follows:- "There shall be a Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly who shall be elected by the Assembly in accordance with each Standing Order from among persons who are Members of the Assembly other than the President."
On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, Sir. I seek your guidance. From what you have read, it is clear that the Constitution is not an impediment. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would seek your clarification on that so that however we vote, it is clear that it is not the Constitution that is above; it is our thinking.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, what the Constitution is talking about is qualification; who can be Speaker and Deputy Speaker. It is any elected Member of the December 9, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 3967 National Assembly---
In accordance with the Standing Orders!
"In accordance with the Standing Orders" is the procedure for the election.
Order, hon. Members! Having drawn your attention to the provisions of the Constitution, I think it is in order that we now proceed to have the Question put and you bear in mind the provision of the Constitution, so that even as you vote, you will be doing so from a position of knowledge. Hon. Members, I will now put the Question.
Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, given the time, I do wish to move that the Committee of whole House do report progress and seek leave to sit again tomorrow.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to report that a Committee of whole House is considering Sessional Paper No.3 on the Report of the Standing Orders and seeks leave to sit again tomorrow.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the House doth agree with the Committee in the said Report.
(Mr. Orengo) seconded.
Hon. Members, it is now time for the interruption of business. The House is, therefore, adjourned until tomorrow, Wednesday, 10th December, 2008, at 9.00 a.m. 3968 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 9, 2008 The House rose at 6.30 p.m.