Mr. Ekwee Ethuro is not with us now. He will ask the Question later on. He has already communicated that to the Chair.
Let us move on to the next Question!
asked the Minister for Lands:- (a) whether he confirm that residents of Teldet and Kiboroa in Trans Nzoia West bought land but the same was subsequently reclaimed by the Government; and, (b) when the Government will return the land, provide alternative land or compensate t he residents.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.
(a) I confirm that the Government did not reclaim land bought by residents of Teldet and Kiboroa in Trans Nzoia District.
(b) The Government cannot provide alternative land or compensate the residents of Teldet and Kiboroa because the transaction was a private one.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg your indulgence. This Question had been postponed twice because the Minister wanted to go and delve into the matter in detail. After consulting me, he realised that the answer to the Question was completely inappropriate. Unfortunately, the answer before the House today is the same answer that came up the first time the Minister requested to be given time to go and verify the documents.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am surprised. The hon. Member must have discussed this with either Mr. Rai or Mr. Orengo. I am sure he has not discussed that matter with me. However, the facts I have are that Kiboroa Multipurpose Co-operative Society Limited which has 111 members was registered on 30th August, 1982. The society purchased land from an Indian in Kitale.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, is the Assistant Minister in order to mislead this House? The details I have tabled in the House and the answer he has given us do not agree. If the Assistant Minister has not consulted his colleagues in the Ministry, it is wrong for him to come here unprepared and purport to answer the Question.
Mr. Assistant Minister, this Question has been deferred a number of times and the Chair remembers this explicitly well. You seem to have come back with the same answer. You gave an undertaking that, and the HANSARD will bear me out on this, you would go to the ground, investigate this matter and come up with an appropriate answer.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. Is the Assistant Minister in order to claim that he has not consulted the Minister, Mr. Orengo, who is supposed to have signed the answer to this Question?
Mr. Assistant Minister, you are out of order! You have collective responsibility as the Ministry of Lands. You cannot come here and say that the hon. Member either talked to the Minister, Mr. Orengo or the Assistant Minister, Mr. Rai. We only know that there is the Ministry of Lands and you are all Ministers in that Ministry!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I think you have got me wrong. With regard to the facts that I have, I do not have to consult people. I just look at the files. If the hon. Member discussed this matter and the Question was deferred, I would rather we defer it again so that I can go and consult them. However, if the hon. Member is interested, I am ready to table the facts now.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, before I ask my supplementary question, I would like to agree with you. The Assistant Minister should take this House more seriously than he is doing now. Government Ministers, the Commissioner of Lands and the Permanent Secretary seem to have a private arrangement with regard to land issues in that when poor Kenyans like the ones whose names have been tabled here have been conned by rich people most of whom are the Assistant Ministerâs colleagues in the Cabinet and senior officers in the Government, they abandon them in the last minute and say that they were involved in private land dealings. This is the case and yet, they have formed a notion in this country that Kalenjins are land grabbers. This is not being fair to those poor people.
Is the Assistant Minister aware that whatever nature of land transaction whether by the Government or private parties, usually the last person to sign is the Commissioner of Lands?
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. Is Dr. Khalwale in order to intimate that Cabinet Ministers are conmen and conwomen? He said that people have been conned of their land by Cabinet Ministers. Is he really in order to intimate that Cabinet Ministers are conmen?
Order, Cabinet Minister! I am afraid that you have to do better than you are doing right now, as Government. Indeed, it does not make any sense for a Question to be deferred three times. Mr. Kapondi has been trying to share the information he has tabled with the Minister.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I did share the information that I have tabled here with Mr. Gonzi Rai. Twice, he requested, that he wanted to go to the bottom of the matter. That is why I accepted a request for the Question to be deferred. I find it very perturbing for the Assistant Minister to rush to the House with an answer in respect of which he says he never consulted.
Mr. Assistant Minister, this answer is not satisfactory. There is a lot of information that is very relevant that is in the possession of the hon. Member, which has just been tabled. The Chair directs that this Question appears on the Order Paper tomorrow as the final time. For Godâs sake, do your job right, as a Ministry.
Next Question by Mr. Hassan Joho!
AMPUTATION OF MWANAKHAMISI KOMBOâS ARM AT COAST GENERAL HOSPITAL
Is Mr. Joho out o f the country on Parliamentary business?
Next Question, Mr. Chachu Ganya!
asked the Minister for Water and Irrigation:- (a) when she will split up the Northern Water Services Board, which serves all districts in the three provinces, in tandem with her recent action of splitting up the large water companies for the purpose of enhancing service delivery ; and,
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) The Northern Water Services Board is among the seven water services boards covering various regions that were established in accordance with the Water Act, 2002. The Board covered nine districts at its inception, which constitutes 43 per cent of Kenyaâs land mass and 75 per cent of Kenyaâs ASAL regions. In undertaking its mandate, the Board and the water service providers, under its jurisdiction, have faced several challenges, which include, among others, large coverage areas that have poor communication networks, high cost of water production due to pumping water supply systems, lack of adequate portable ground water potential, high evaporation rates for surface water reservoirs, insecurity, inadequate technical and skilled manpower due to harsh environmental conditions and lack of infrastructure. My Ministry will split the Northern Water Services Board and assess the viability of splitting other water services boards with due consideration to their sustainability, service provision levels, investment, infrastructure and staffing requirements. (b) Curving out of new water services boards from the current boards will be undertaken upon completion of the assessment mentioned in (a) above.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to thank the Assistant Minister for, finally, coming to the help of the people of northern Kenya by making the decision to split the Northern Water Services Board. Water is life. The drought is so devastating to the people of northern Kenya today due to lack of water. My question to the Assistant Minister is: When will they undertake this initiative?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we shall have a co-ordinating committee to do this work. The membership of the committee will be drawn from the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and the existing Northern Water Services Board, so that we can map out the area and do the actual assessment to ensure that the new board will be properly facilitated for it to give services to the people. This should be done in the next one month.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while I appreciate the initiative being taken by the Ministry to split the Northern Water Services Board, could I also ask the Assistant Minister to ensure that, since this is the same water services board that serves the North Rift, he considers giving the North Rift its own water services board?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I was very categorical in my answer. I said that we are splitting the Northern Water Services Board. That is final! That is done! I have said that I will assess the viability of splitting other water services boards. I said that I am considering the following: sustainability, service provision levels, investment, infrastructure and serving requirements. Once I am satisfied that they can meet those requirements, I will split the Northern Water Services Board.
Mr. Chachu, are you satisfied or you want to ask the last question?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am satisfied. I thank the Assistant Minister. I hope that he will undertake the initiative as soon as possible.
Next Question by Mr. Yusuf Chanzu!
Is Mr. Chanzu not here? We will come back to this Question!
Next Question, Mr. Danson Mungatana!
asked the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports:- (a) whether she could provide status of implementation of the tarmacking of the Hola-Garsen Road; (b) whether she could account for the kshs900 million that had been set aside in the previous Budget for construction of the road; (c) whether she could explain why the contractor has taken so long to complete the road and when it will be completed; and, (d) whether she could consider replacing the National Youth Service and engage a more efficient contractor in the project.
Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports! We will come back to this Question.
Next Question by Ms. Millie Odhiambo!
asked the Minister for Education:- (a) whether he could explain the rationale behind the policy that the language of instruction in lower primary schools is the local language
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.
(a)The language policy for Kenyan public schools stipulates that the language of the catchment area â that is the mother tongue â should be used as the language of instruction from Standard One to Standard Three in rural areas, where the homogenous communities exist. On the other hand, in cosmopolitan areas, urban, administrative headquarters, commercial and new settlements, where multi-lingual first languages exist, the language of instruction is English and Kiswahili.
(b)The Ministry has no plan of developing two sets of examination for children in urban and rural areas. In fact, pupils from rural areas have continuously performed better or at par with their urban counterparts in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) national examination.
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, with due respect to the Assistant Minister, I do not know whether he was actually a beneficiary of this policy which is evident in the way he has responded to my Question. In part âaâ of the Question, I have asked him to explain the rationale behind the policy that the language of instruction in lower primary schools is the local language in rural areas and urban areas, and English in the city and town schools. What he has done is basically restate what I have told him in other words. That is why I am saying that he must be a beneficiary of this policy. Could he, please, explain the rationale of that policy? Children in rural schools speak, play and dream in their mother tongue. Why do they then go to school and learn in their mother tongue and yet, they do the same national examination? It beats logic.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is unfortunate that the hon. Member has to bring in my personality in the question. This Question is addressed to the Ministry of Education and not to Prof. Olweny.
Answer the question.
Now I shall answer you and I think she owes me an apology.
Order, hon. Assistant Minister. Proceed and answer the Question. Address the Chair.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the hon. Member said that children in homogenous communities speak, dream and do everything in their mother tongues from childhood until they are taken to school. We cannot give them a shock by teaching them everything in English. We have to teach them English while, at the same time, we teach them other subjects in the mother tongue until they are good in English, then we teach them everything in English. That starts from Class Four in this country.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the best vehicle to enhance our culture is the language. I would have expected the Assistant Minister to explain that the mother tongue in our rural setups would give the children an opportunity to understand the three
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, if the hon. Member is not aware, we have two official languages and national languages. We have English and Kiswahili languages.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. Is the hon. Member in order to mislead us regarding the language of instruction and the national language? My understanding is that English is the language of instruction and Kiswahili is the national language. Has the Ministry changed the policy? Is he in order?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am in order.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, trying to assess the age of the hon. Assistant Minister, he must be---
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. I am not the subject of debate in this House. If an hon. Member has a question, let him direct it to the Chair, then I shall respond to it accordingly. I beg for an apology.
Hon. Assistant Minister, you have made your point. Mr. Olago, the Assistant Minister is not the subject of discussion. His age and the system of education that he underwent are not under discussion. Could you, please, address the Question?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, what I was going to ask is this: The hon. Professorâs age and mine is about the same and we went to school around the same time. He must have read a book in lower primary school called Tiko gi Rosa . That was in vernacular. When we went to upper primary it became very difficult for many of us to translate all that into English to the extent that if one was asked to explain what had happened to something he would say:â My head forgot.â Is it fair for children in lower primary to be taught in vernacular and those in upper primary to be taught in English when they can hardly interchange?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do not understand the problem here. I have indicated to the hon. Members that we cannot teach kindergarten children all the subjects in a language they have never been exposed to. First of all, we have to expose them to English if they are from homogenous communities. Learning is a process and it is done stage by stage. For those who have been teachers, they know that, that is the way teaching is done. They have to learn English stage by stage before they are taught all other subjects in English language. All teachers know about it. I am sorry for those who have never worked as teachers. Maybe lawyers like my colleague there understand what I am trying to say.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, what we are hearing here is very interesting. When children go to Standard One, they know nothing. So, even if they are taught in French, they will speak French. If they are taught in Kiswahili language, they will speak Kiswahili language. So, this is a very simple thing. Why can we not start using English language as the language of instruction? Let them learn from Standard One in English whether they are in the village or in urban areas. It is as simple as that.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, let me remind hon. Members that the human brain is not a computer; you just punch things into it and then it responds. It takes
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. Is it in order for the hon. Assistant Minister who is my good former teacher to mislead this House that the brain of a child in rural Kenya is not a computer, but that of a child in urban Kenya is a computer? The question is: Why is he employing two different standards in urban Kenya and rural Kenya?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, could the hon. Member withdraw the remarks I did not say that he claims I said? I did not say that the brain of a child in the rural areas and urban areas are different.
Order, hon. Assistant Minister. You certainly made a comparison in the sense that you addressed the rural children and you want them to study in the vernacular. Your answer says that urban children will be instructed in other languages; English and Kiswahili, for that matter. The rationale is what the hon. Members are interested in. Could you address the question?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have said it and it is very clear that rural children live in homogenous communities where the language which they are exposed to in the first years of their life is their mother tongue. When children in urban communities start growing up, they mingle with children from other communities. They live in a multilingual society. They learn Kiswahili or English language before they even go to kindergarten. This is a very clear case. I do not understand why hon. Members cannot see it.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we are living in the East African Community. The other day, Rwanda which was a French speaking country made a very serious policy change towards speaking English, so that the entire East Africa can speak English and Kiswahili languages. Can the Ministry of Education consider changing this policy, so that it can keep in tandem with the rest of East Africa? This is to ensure that we train our children in the same way that everybody else is doing, whether they are in urban or rural areas?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have been listening to both sides of the House and it looks like we are missing something fundamental and very important, namely; language is the basis of culture. Secondly, it is a proven fact of science by us doctors, that a child who has been exposed to only one language in the first five years of life, when you teach him or her a second language, that child is usually a better student. So I just thought I would help the House by saying that, let us not be so excited about English to the extent that we forget the language which is the basis of our culture. Secondly, let us allow our children in the first five years of life to enjoy their mother tongue and then they go to school and learn better.
The hon. Assistant Minister answer and even the point of information by Dr. Khalwale is totally misleading. In our neighbouring country, from nursery, they use a national language; Kiswahili. They do not have a system where we use our vernacular; using Kamba to teach English, or using Luhya to teach English. What we are asking the Assistant Minister is very simple; why do we have two systems for urban areas and rural areas?
Who do you want to inform?
On a point of information Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir.
What is your point of order?
My point of order is that I had brought in
Your question has not been answered!
Yes, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Assistant Minister, could you answer the question by Mr. Mungatana?
On a point of order Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. I am the one who has raised this question and I am listening to all the information that we are receiving which is very good and healthy, but it is very irrelevant for this purpose. If you look at the gist of my Question, it is about discrimination and equalization of opportunities. If we are teaching children in the rural areas in their mother tongue; if you are teaching people in my rural Rusinga in Suba, why can we not teach the children in Nairobi in Suba, Kisii, Kiluhya or Kigiriama? It is unconstitutional and it is about equalization of opportunities. Could the Assistant Minister address himself to that? It is not about culture. I am also cultured, that is why I am a proud Suba.
Hon. Assistant Minister could you answer that? I think Mrs. Odhiambo-Mabona has asked her last question! Also answer Mr. Mungatanaâs question.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, Mr. Mungatana wanted to know why we cannot do what other countries do. This is Kenya and we shall do it the Kenyan way. We do not have to change our system to suit the Tanzanian system. After all, we are using both languages; English and Kiswahili.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Assistant Minister should take this issue very seriously. He cannot say that we do things the Kenyan way, when infact we have signed a pact for East African Community (EAC) integration. Let us be serious and address the issue!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do not think the issue of the EAC addresses the issues, ideas or practice of teaching kindergarten children. It does not come in. Those people know nothing about the EAC. Someone only knows one language as a kid. You cannot teach a two-year old kid mathematics in English and yet you have not exposed that kid to English. With regard to what Mrs. Odhiambo-Mabona has raised, if you teach all those languages in Nairobi, then you will be subdividing the City into all the tribes and sub tribes we have in this country which is not practical.
On a point of Order. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. Does the Assistant Minister really understand what we are trying to ask in this Question?
Yes I do!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, he does not! We are the consumers, hon. Assistant Minister! You can still teach the languages if you so wish. But why use another language as the official language of instruction, in one part of the country and use a different one in another part of the country? If part of the education policy is to get a united country, that is a commitment by this Government.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir---
Order hon. Assistant Minister! Just for the clarity of the Chair itself. Let us assume a standard three pupil wants to transfer from Garissa Primary School to Nairobi, how do you expect that child to study and adapt?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is very simple. First when a Garissa child was born, what was the first language of communication? It is the mother tongue! When you take this kid to school the first day, would you introduce this kid to Kiswahili or English? That is what should be clear to the hon.Members.
On a point of Order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. In reference to the Assistant Ministerâs answer, would I be in order to request him to Table before this House the results from Nyanza province and Nairobi Province?
Are you asking for the Question to be deferred?
Yes Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. Would it be in order to ask that the question be deferred until he gives a comprehensive answer because he has not answered appropriately?
On a point of order. I think we are discussing a very serious issue. In formulating policy on language of instruction in our primary schools, it is important that the Ministry compares the best practices in the world. For example in Sweden, there is an official language of instruction, but in any school where there are at least five foreign students, the Government is obligated to get a teacher for those five. Why can we not look at other practices in the whole world and come up with---
Is that a point of order!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, is it in order for the Ministry not to look at the best practices in the world?
Order hon. Members! Hon. Members, the Chair is satisfied that the passions and the context in this issue which has been raised is all very relevant. The result of the answer which was given by the Assistant Minister is not adequate. Consequently, the Chair defers this Question to next week on Tuesday afternoon. Hon. Assistant Minister, come with a comprehensive answer.
But it will be the same stuff!
Assistant Minister, you are grossly out of order! When the Chair gives a ruling and a direction on a matter like this, you have to do what has traditionally been done by Ministers. You go back to your Ministry and come back with
I apologise to the Chair.
asked the Minister for Roads:- (a) what steps he is taking to rehabilitate Kimende/Kagwe Road (D402), which is in a very deplorable condition, impeding transport of goods and causing insecurity in the area; and, (b) what budgetary allocation the Ministry has factored for the road during the 2009/10 Budget Estimates.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) My Ministry, through the District Roads Committee (DRC). is going to carry out routine maintenance of the Kimende/Kagwe Road this financial year, 2009/2010. (b) The road is a class D road and therefore, under the purview of the DRC. I want to inform this House that my Ministry is working out a new classification of roads. In one monthâs time, I will be releasing a report on the new classification of roads. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the DRC has set aside Kshs6, 045, 011 for routine maintenance of this road this year. This road is 23 kilometres. The current condition of the road is categorized as follows: 3.6 kilometres is fair, 18 kilometres is poor and 2 kilometres is very poor. The money we have set aside this year should be able to handle the very poor sections to the fair side.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Ministry for this very positive response. Secondly, I want to reckon that this is one of the Ministers who keeps official appointments when he invites Members of Parliament in his office. The other question I wish to raise is that, most of the grounds that I would have liked to venture on have been dealt with in the reply given by the Minister. Routine maintenance and the money allocated really gives the people of my constituency some confidence. The Minister has already expressed a strong desire to visit my constituency to review and inspect this road. With this critical observation and commitment, I would like to terminate further interrogation on this Question.
Are you satisfied?
I am satisfied, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the road in question is shared between Lari Constituency and Githunguri Constituency, could the Minister confirm whether this repair or maintenance is going to extend to Githunguri and not just to the junction between the two constituencies?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, Mr. Baiya has said the road is shared between his constituency and Lari Constituency. I have already indicated that we have set aside Kshs6 million for routine maintenance this year as confirmed by himself. We, definitely,
Mr. Mwathi, do you have a question on the same?
Yes, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Fair enough! Much as the Questioner is satisfied, you can ask your question.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in relation to this road and similar ones in the rural areas that have previously been tarmacked and currently it looks like the Ministry is downgrading them to earth roads, is it the policy of the Ministry to downgrade or is the Ministry going to maintain them as tarmacked?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to assure the House that it is not the policy of my Ministry to downgrade any road. However, I want to indicate very firmly that the availability of resources is the main impediment in undertaking those works. If there was little competition for resources from the Exchequer, I can assure the Member that, that road would quickly be re-carpeted, resealed or redone for smooth use by residents of rural areas.
Next Question by Mr. Olago Aluoch!
asked the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance:- (a) whether he is aware that the violent upheavals in early 2008 have resulted in serious shortage of food and other essential commodities in the country with a consequent steep rise in prices; (b) what short-term measures the Ministry has put in place to mitigate the harsh consequences of the same on the ordinary Kenyans; and, (c) whether the Government has considered initiating restricted legislation to control the prices of essential commodities, including fuel.
I am made to understand that the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance is out of the country. Is that so?
(Mr. Bett); Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance and the Minister for Agriculture are out of the country. They are on official duty in Rwanda.
Can we have this Question deferred to a time when the Minister will be back? Have you had a communication from the Minister himself on the same? Under the circumstances, the Question is deferred until the Minister comes back. The Chair has been made privy to a communication from the Minister on his absence today.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, under the circumstances could we have a definite day?
When will the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance be back in the country? Could this Question appear on the Order Paper on Tuesday next week!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I apologise to the House for coming late.
asked the Minister for Energy:- (a) whether he could explain the causes of the frequent power black-outs in Lodwar which have caused damage to electrical appliances in business premises, posing a health hazard to the mortuary; and, (b) what urgent steps he is taking to rectify the current situation and to ensure a reliable and steady supply of electricity to the residents.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to also apologise for not being here yesterday to answer this Question. I had some commitments elsewhere. I beg to reply. (a) The state of generators in Lodwar has been poor and could not meet the maximum demand of 600 kilowatts. The situation improved in February 2008 when a new diesel generator of 400 kilowatts capacity was commissioned and at the same time, the entire distribution board was replaced with a new one. Load shedding ceased as the total installed capacity was 941 kilowatts against a maximum demand of 563 kilowatts. To improve the generation capacity further, a second generator of 400 kilowatts was installed and commissioned on 8th June 2009. However, its starter broke down soon after. The damaged starter was repaired and put back into service on 27th July this year. This brings the total generation capacity in Lodwar to 1.3 megawatts against the current demand of about 600 kilowatts. Thus Lodwar and its environs have sufficient generation as we are talking now. Damage to business premises has been occasioned by faulty wiring on meter boxes that cause short circuits. Repair of the same is the sole responsibility of the client
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I wish to thank the good Assistant Minister for a good answer. You will appreciate that he had some difficulty in pronouncing the names. If we had a language policy where some languages are taught in urban areas, the Assistant Minister would understand some of the words. However, while genuinely thanking him for the capacity that has been installed of 1,341 kilowatts, the consumption in Lodwar Town is still small, not because we do not want to consume electricity, but because it has not been taken to all the suburbs of Lodwar Municipality. When will the Assistant Minister ensure that all the suburbs of this municipality are connected to the national grid?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I said that currently, the capacity is 1.341 megawatts against a demand of 600 kilowatts. So, there is an extra of about 700 kilowatts. I had mentioned some of the centers that we are working on. However, I want to assure the hon. Member that there are three centers which he had forwarded to our offices, and by next month they will be connected so that we can use the extra 700 kilowatts.
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. The Assistant Minister will appreciate that a big part of this country is made up of the rural areas. Therefore, it is not easy for the national grid to access those areas. What is he doing to ensure that those constituencies that are far from the town centers are catered for in terms of electricity?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as a Ministry, we will provide stand alone generators to constituencies which are off the grid. In terms of the schools, health centers and other public facilities, we are doing solar installation. We have done a lot in some of the constituencies. This financial year, as you may be aware, in our budget, we have Kshs600 million, which we will use to install solar panels in some of the areas.
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. I want to appreciate the Assistant Minister for being pro-active, because since the question was asked he has been talking about a second generator by June 2009. My final question seeks a clarification. One, will he compensate the business losses which came about as a result of the frequent power outages? When will he ensure that the urban centers in Turkana Central, particularly Lorgum, which is the new headquarters of the new district, Loima, Kerio and Kalapol, which have secondary schools, acquire power generating plants?
On the first part of the question, I said that we want those clients to lodge their complaints, so that we can ascertain where the problem is. At times, the problem can be on the customer side and, therefore, KPLC does not have responsibility.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, before my question I want to apologize for coming late.
Hon. Joho, you came late.
Yes, and I do apologize.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is that the real Joho or is it another one?
The Chair is satisfied that the Joho who is in the House is the real Joho.
AMPUTATION OF MWANAKHAMISI KOMBOâS ARM AT COAST GENERAL HOSPITAL
asked the Minister for Medical Services: (a) what circumstances led to the amputation of Mrs. Mwanakamisi Komboâs arm at the Coast Provincial General Hospital in early 2009; and, (b) whether negligence was a factor, and if so, what action has been taken against the doctors responsible.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, hon. Joho has taken a worthy step which most hon. Members, who are males should follow. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.
(a) Mwanakhamisi Kombo was brought to the casualty section of the Coast General Hospital on 17th January, 2009 at 11.00 pm. She looked very sickly and pale on arrival. She also had a severe chest pain, hence a diagnosis of pneumonia and anemia was made. The clinical officer on duty unsuccessfully attempted to remove a blood sample and thereafter sought the assistance of the doctor on duty where a rubber glove tonic kit was tied on the patientâs upper left limb. While the patient was admitted at the female ward, it was observed that the limb was slightly swollen and had change of colour due to blood circulation problems. The medical staff proceeded to treat the patient to improve the blood circulation. Unfortunately, the arm became gangrenous leading to amputation on 25th January, 2009 after getting consent from both the patient and her brother. This was regrettable but the medical officers managed the patient to the best of their ability under the circumstances.
(b) Following the incident, the Ministry, in conjunction with the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board, sent an investigative team of senior doctors in the hospital. The team interviewed all hospital staff involved in the management of the patient at the casualty and observed that the patient required specialized treatment and management. They directed the doctor to be retrained at the Kenyatta National Hospital
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to thank the Minister for a very candid answer. Could he, however, indicate how many such cases have been reported in the last two years, particularly from the Coast General Hospital and if there is any action that has been taken?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the hon. Member is right. I cannot remember the exact number of cases that have been reported from the Coast General Hospital. However, I am aware of two. I have raised this issue with the Director of Medical Services and his staff at the Coast, and they have taken steps to ensure that the doctors and the clinical officers do not repeat such incidents. That is why I said that in this particular case, the doctor was referred to the Kenyatta National Hospital for further training to ensure that the senior doctors supervise the clinical offices and the trainees properly in the casualty ward in particular, and in specific cases of taking blood samples from people, clinical officers, or nurses, do not leave the tonic kit in anybodyâs arm for longer than is necessary.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Minister has told us that the action that was taken after the negligence was the re-training of that doctor at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) by senior doctors. The problem is that when ordinary wananchi suffer because of negligence by doctors, there is no compensation. When will the Minister establish a compensation scheme for ordinary wananchi who are wronged by doctors and medical personnel, so that they can be paid? The kid lost her arm and there is nothing on the table for her. Instead, the doctor is being re-trained. When will the Minister set up that fund so that, in an obvious case like that, where a doctor has been found negligent, money can be paid to wananchi who have suffered?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the hon. Memberâs proposal is right. In that instance, in my own judgment, the hospital must be held responsible for the loss of limp of a patient. The Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board should cap upfront in their report, not only to recommend compensation, but future penalties in case negligence is proved. This is a case that I should take up with the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board and report to the House accordingly.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to find out from the Minister whether he is considering continuous training for medical practitioners to prevent such negligence from occurring from time to time.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, you will find out that doctors rarely take blood samples from patients, as Dr. Khalwale will confirm. That job is usually done by nurses, clinical officers and, in certain cases, even by trainee nurses. What is important is that the doctors in charge must make sure that those nurses and the trainees are properly instructed on what to do, especially when they are taking blood samples from patients. In that regard, the person who should be held responsible is the doctor in charge because the trainee may not have been properly trained. When we say that doctors are referred to KNH for further training after such incidents, it is only to train them in the manner in which they should manage a facility like a hospital to prevent such incidents from occurring. But the other thing which is very important is to ensure that clinical officers and nurses, be they trainees or not, who perform such functions, receive prior instruction by a senior doctor, before they are let loose on peopleâs arms, buttocks or legs.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I sincerely apologize for coming late. It was because of some difficulties with the traffic outside here.
asked the Minister for Forestry and Wildlife what plans he has to undertake re-afforestation at Maragoli Hills in Vihiga.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. My Ministry has already embarked on a reafforestation programme aimed at rehabilitating the degraded Maragoli Hills Forest Reserve in Vihiga District. Specifically, the Kenya Forest Service in partnership with other stakeholders is undertaking the following measures to ensure that the forest reserve is rehabilitated for environmental and biodiversity conservation:- (i) Rehabilitation of the hills by planting indigenous trees. During this yearâs tree planting season, a total of 187 hectares of land have been planted with trees. (ii) The process of preparing a participatory management plan for better management of the forest reserve with emphasis on conservation and rehabilitation of the water catchment areas is going on. (iii) The re-afforestation exercise will be scaled up during the next planting season through allocation of more resources and the involvement of other stakeholders.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I appreciate what the Ministry is doing and, particularly, the Minister, himself - Dr. Noah Wekesa. But the answer to part â(i)â of the Question is not right. It is not true. This year, we have not had a planting season. So, nothing has been done there. I would like the Assistant Minister to ascertain that, that is not true. If he says that, that is true, how much money has been spent on that? What modalities has he put in place to cover the 187 hectares?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, from the information that I have, the planting of tree seedlings in the 187 hectares is true. It has been done by four different stakeholders. They are Water Resource Management Authority, Green Zones Development Support Project that is funded by the African Development Bank, Kazikwa Vijana Programme and the National Resource Management Project, which is funded by the World Bank and the Kenya Commercial Bank. I do not have the actual estimates in terms of how much money that translates to, but I can supply that information to the hon. Member.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in this country, many forests have been destroyed and yet, they are gazetted. Does the Ministry have a policy on re-afforestation? If it does, what time-frame are we looking at to re-afforest all the destroyed forests?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Ministry has a plan for re-afforestation of all forests and water catchment areas. One of the things that we have to appreciate and, indeed, we pointed this one out when we were presenting the budget for this year, is the under-funding that the Ministry has experienced. That is going to limit the amount of work that we are going to do.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as we discuss the issue of Maragoli Hills, it is true that almost all the forests and hills have seriously been deforested. What policy does the Assistant Minister has in terms of educating wananchi to conserve forest cover, whether in grasslands, hills and gazetted forests? Could he consider supplying indigenous seedlings to arid areas, so that we can plant them during the coming planting season?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, indeed, the proposal from the hon. Member is a good one. I have taken note of it and we will look into it.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do not know whether the Assistant Minister is aware that there is a type of a tree that matures in three years. Could he consider importing such seedlings into this country, so that they can be planted in the dry areas? That way, we can re-afforest all our forests and mountains within three years?
What is the name of the tree?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is upon them to find out because that is their line.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, following what hon. Ochiengâ has raised, there is the issue of the eucalyptus tree. We have seen the Minister for Environment and Mineral Resources asking people to uproot that particular tree in certain areas. I would like to know whether that is an official Government policy. We are made to understand that, that tree consumes a lot of water. Could we know from the Assistant Minister today, whether it is an official Government policy that Kenyans should uproot all eucalyptus trees? If that is so, what is the reason?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I appreciate that question. Indeed, the issue of the eucalyptus trees has been debated. The Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources and the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife have said that it depends on where you plant the eucalyptus trees and the amount of rainfall in those areas. No eucalyptus tree should be planted in water catchment areas. The advice we have got from the experts is that there are specific species that could be planted in other areas. I would like to inform the hon. Members that we are now finalizing the Forest Policy where we will make a number of things clear, including the issue of eucalyptus trees. We will bring this policy to this House as soon as it is debated so that we can tell hon. Members the position of the Government.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I come from this part of the world and I am aware that an average of 500 families live on these hills. In his second answer, the Assistant Minister has told us that they wish to have participatory preparation of the forests during this exercise. Given the fact that the forests were never adjudicated, it, therefore, means that the 500 families do not have title deeds. Therefore, they will not enjoy the other benefits of participating in a piece of land which is not theirs. Could the Assistant Minister tell us whether or not it is possible for him to take the 500 families and settle them in one of the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) farms? If he allocates each of these families an average of five acres, it amounts to a mere 2,500 acres.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, to be exact, there are about 450 families that occupy 66,000 hectares. The entire Maragoli Forest block has been identified as a water catchment area. This issue has been discussed by the local District Development Committee and the families have shown willingness to relocate from the water catchment area. The Government is looking into ways to move them humanely.
It is still under discussion.
Order! Ask the last question, Mr. Chanzu!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I said that I appreciate what the Ministry is doing, in my first question. However, the first part of the answer is not correct. This is an issue where the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. The Assistant Minister has said that there are Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) which have been involved in the re-afforestation exercise. I would like to say that, that is not true. I would like the Assistant Minister to give an undertaking to this House that he will follow up this matter and find out the truth. This is how money is misappropriated because nothing happened there under the Kazi kwa Vijana programme. Let the Assistant Minister give an undertaking to this House that he will follow up the matter, because it is sensitive. We need to do this collectively.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that point is noted. I will make a follow up and give the hon. Member feedback.
Fair enough! Let us move to the next Question by Mr. Mungatana!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, for the second time I beg to ask Question No.336.
asked the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports:-
(a) what the status of the implementation of the tarmacking of the Hola-Garsen Road is; (b) to account for the Kshs900 million that had been set aside in the previous budget for construction of the road; (c) why the contractor has taken so long to complete the road and when it will be completed; and, (d) whether she could consider replacing the National Youth Service and engage a more efficient contractor in the project.
Is the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports still not here?
The Question is deferred to tomorrow afternoon and the Minister had better give a good reason for not being present in the House to answer this Question. Otherwise, she will not be allowed to transact any other business in the House!
Let us move on to the next Order!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to request for a Ministerial Statement from the Minister for Transport on the safety of Jetlink Express aircrafts and other airlines operating in Kenya. Over the weekend, passengers flying the Nairobi-Kisumu route were subjected to harrowing moments and extreme anxiety following a mechanical fault with one of the Jetlink Express aircrafts. This is not the first time passengers on this route are being subjected to this kind of experience. The view emerging, therefore, is that unless urgent major steps are taken, the Kisumu-Nairobi route and other domestic routes by extension, may simply be an air disaster waiting to happen. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, arising from these incidents and the above concerns, I seek a Ministerial Statement from the Minister for Transport to address among others the following: On Jetlink Express, I request him to give the details of the number of aircraft this airline operates in Kenya. I also request him to tell this House and the country the circumstances under which two flights aborted on 7th and 8th September, where on one occasion the aircraft was forced to make an emergency return after take-off and on another occasion, it aborted take-off on the runway. In the Statement, when such incidents occur how long should it take for the concerned airlines to report to the regulator? In this particular case, how long did it take Jetlink to lodge this incident with the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) which is the industry regulator? I would also like the Minister to state to the House the safety precautions being taken to avoid major air accidents in Kenya, more particularly with reference to Jetlink Express. I would also like him to tell us when Jetlink had their last flight safety audits on all their aircrafts. Could the Minister also table before the House a maintenance record/ history of and Jetlink aircrafts in the past 18 months from the KCAA? He should also table before the House the qualifications and experience of the Chief Engineer and Chief Pilot of Jetlink Express. In the same light, does Jetlink Express have a training programme for its crew? If yes, when was the last time this programme was audited by the industry regulator, the KCAA? Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the industry requirement is that an airline of this size should have a hangar to maintain and service its aircrafts. Does Jetlink Express have a hangar to maintain their aircraft? If not, how do they do the servicing and maintenance of their aircrafts? What steps has Jetlink Express taken to compensate all the passengers for the anguish and losses occasioned by these incidents of 7th and 8th September? I would also like the Minister to table before the House the age of all the aircrafts in the Jetllink fleet. He should also confirm to the country to what extent this airline adheres to the consumer protection rules and regulations issued by the KCAA.
It is noted with a lot of sadness that even after greatly inconveniencing passengers on Sunday, Jetlink Express in the name of saving costs, lied to stranded passengers who stayed in Kisumu overnight that they could not get any more seats as the available space in the substitute aircraft which they loaned from a competitor had been taken up. However, the truth was that when that airline eventually took off there were 20 empty seats. What part of Jetlinkâs licence allows for this âdukawallahâ approach to high safety and risky business like operating a commercial passenger airline?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, lastly, it is on record that Jetlink Express recently leased some aircrafts from a certain former Eastern bloc country. Could the Minister tell the
There are only two more, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir.
It is not a question of the timing, it is a question of what you are asking for. You are asking for the entire aviation industry in the country and that is a lot of information. I thought you were specific to Jetlink Airline.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I said it is Jetlink and the other airlines because the issue of safety is a major concern. I beg your indulgence to complete.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I also want to know from the Minister what the International Civil Aviation Organization standards are on the recommended ratio between the number of aircraft operated by an airline and the number of airworthiness engineers and technicians the airlines should have. How many flight operation inspectors does the KCAA have? What are their training, qualification and experience and how long has each of them been at KCAA?
Finally, how many airlines, if any, has KCAA reprimanded in the last five years on account of questionable safety operations and if so, what was the nature of the reprimand? Lastly, could the Minister confirm to the citizens of Kenya if the KCAA has been granted, and does have, the capacity to oversee air safety in Kenya?
Eng. Gumbo, you understand the practice in seeking Ministerial Statement. It is supposed to be a matter that is urgent, current and essentially of policy nature. There is no doubt that you have asked for a lot of information which is very relevant and very important. But are you sure that you can be addressed just through a Ministerial Statement?
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. I cannot hear you.
Order, Mr. Ogindo! If you cannot hear, you better come somewhere closer to the Chair. Maybe you can also not see!
Eng. Gumbo, my fear is that under the circumstances, maybe your problem might not be addressed in just one Ministerial Statement. Do you still wish to have it as you put it? The Chair is seeing a situation where the Minister is going to come up with a very big
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the issues involved here are extremely grave.
It is understandable that they are extremely grave but under the circumstances, I am just trying to see how you can be helped on this.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while I stand guided, I would not mind as long as the Minister tables the Ministerial Statement in the format requested.
Do you want him to basically address everything the way it is now?
Yes, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Fair enough! Any Minister who can give an undertaking when the Ministerial Statement will be available?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we shall pass the information to the Ministry.
When will the Minister issue the Ministerial Statement?
Give them next week Wednesday. One week will be satisfactory.
Morning or afternoon?
Fair enough! It is so directed.
Hon. Members, I had directed earlier on, that Question No.140 by Mr. Kapondi should appear on the Order Paper tomorrow. The Assistant Minister has approached the Chair and I am satisfied that he will not have the kind of answer that you need tomorrow. So, the Chair rescinds that direction and directs that the Question appears on the Order Paper on Tuesday, next week afternoon.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, before I move that The Chiefs (Amendment) Bill be read a Second Time, I have consulted with the Assistant Minister, Ministry of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security and he has shown me a draft that the Government had worked on which is quite similar to the Bill that is before the House. In my considered opinion after consulting with the Assistant Minister, I have found that the matter needs further consultations so that we see the possibility of marrying the two draft Bills. Perhaps, he should indicate the willingness of the Government to take over the Bill to look into the issues of remuneration of village elders, appointment, qualifications and other matters that will bring about a comprehensive amendment of the Chiefs Act. So, I seek the guidance of the Chair on the issue. The Minister is in the House and we have compared notes but we need further time for consultations.
Are you withdrawing the Bill for the time being?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I need the guidance of the House whether to withdraw it or defer it for further consultations. I have also looked at the Ministerâs draft and it is quite comprehensive and in line with what is before the House. It would add value.
Essentially, you are worried that by withdrawing the Bill, it might take a long time before it comes again to the Floor of the House. Assistant Minister, what do you have to say on the same?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we do have a comprehensive draft Bill to overhaul the Chiefs Act and obviously, looking at it, the part dealing with the engagement, remuneration and duties of the elders are included in that draft. But it does not prevent the hon. Member from proceeding on his own aspect of elders only. But we are coming up with a comprehensive overhaul of the Chiefs Act to consider various other matters. The other aspect, which I will comment on later, is what we think about this Bill, but this may not be the appropriate time. I am not encouraging him to withdraw. We just discussed that in our draft, we also have views on elders which we can bring as amendments, if the House allows, which are not very radical.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. When we sit here, we need to make optimal use of the time of this House. If indeed, there is a possibility of the Government marrying the views of the hon. Member, then it would help us to save on time. The Bill will just come as one and we debate it and agree. So, I urge that you probably re-arrange the order under your power in the Standing Orders or ask the hon. Member to withdraw because we need to spend the time in an optimal manner.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. While I wish to agree with the sentiments of the House, I just want the Assistant Minister to confirm that when he consults with the hon. Member, then the Bill will surely come to this Floor because we have had instances in the past where Ministers have volunteered to assist the House and they run away with the Bill forever.
It is in my opinion that the Minister will not withdraw this Bill. We need to be careful here because the issue of village elders has been with us for a very long time. It is a bit intriguing to see the Minister coming in at this late hour to get involved in this Bill. While we would want him to get involved, we also do not want this thing to drag on for another 20 years, without ever thinking about these village elders. I agree there are many other issues that also need to be looked into. These include risk allowances and other allowances for the chiefs. As my colleagues have said, it is important that we get that assurance that this Bill will be brought to this House very soon, but not in the coming 20 years.
Fair enough. Under the circumstances, the Chair uses its own discretion now which is provided for in the Standing Orders. This Bill is deferred to Thursday, next week
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the Office of Ministers Bill be read now a second Time.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in moving this Bill, I want to first and foremost, thank the Members before me who have made serious attempts to bring Motions of this nature to this House; Motions that never saw the light of the day and never translated into a Bill as we are witnessing today. I have in mind the hon. J.B. Muturi who brought this Motion to the House in the last Parliament. I also want hon. Members to appreciate that we are standing here in order to correct that anomaly that this House failed to address by not performing its duty. Section 16 of the Constitution where this Bill is drawn from provides that there shall be such offices of the Government as may be established by Parliament or, subject to any provisions made by Parliament, by the President. The Constitution has qualified, not just once, but twice, that the offices of Ministers shall be established by the President subject to provisions made by Parliament. However, the Parliament did not do its job. We are here because we want Kenyans to know that the Tenth Parliament is prepared and ready to do its job. This is one of our jobs and we will do it to the best our ability and understanding. In bringing this Bill, I had in mind the constitutional obligation that I have just read. The second objective which is even worrying is that if Parliament allows the Executive to continue poaching from the Legislature, you really run the real risk that a House of 222 Members can be composed of 120 Members on the Government side. It will be a travesty of justice and democracy to have such a scenario. We would have returned to a one party State and dictatorship if we do not put the numbers properly. This is actually the mischief that we want to address because there is real danger. Whenever there are problems in the country, the tendency of the Government is to expand the Cabinet so that they poach Members from the Back Bench.
The third objective of this Bill is that a country that is poor like ours cannot afford an expanded Cabinet. We can make serious savings if we reduced the size of the Cabinet. In fact, the memorandums are saying there would be no additional expenditure that the Bill would incur. It is not even a matter of additional expenditure, we are actually going to reduce the current expenditure because on average every Cabinet Minister, will make a saving of about Kshs350,000 which is just personal emoluments. We are still talking about vehicles, running the cost of those vehicles, chase cars and bloated security. The cost is enormous. But hopefully, we will save this money. In so doing, the people of Turkana and many other places who are dying from famine and, cholera, among other diseases, will be able to get sufficient supplies to handle their issues. I, therefore, wish to urge my colleagues Members of the Tenth Parliament, because they occupy a special and unique role in the Kenyan society, to pass this Bill. They should stand with me and the nation to ensure that this is the way to go. We must limit the number of offices. This Bill has four parts and eight clauses. It is a very small Bill. It is a Bill because of the confines of the Constitution. Our neighbours, Uganda, have actually limited the number of Ministers in their Constitution to 21. Our neighbours, Tanzania, have also limited their own Ministers in their Constitution. It is only Kenya because of the imperial Presidency that never limited the numbers of Ministers. This Bill has nothing to do with removing Members from the Coalition Government. This has nothing to do
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. I wish to second this Motion. One of the most obvious reasons for my support is because a bloated Cabinet is too costly for this country. I think a lot has been said in the past about the expenses pertaining to a bloated Cabinet. The Mover has actually alluded to some of those expenses and I will not go into that. I would, however, say that some of those resources could be invested in more worthy causes that this country needs, including famine relief. We know that we are facing a food crisis in this country, and it is not a one-off situation. It is a situation the country goes through every time. It can also be used in ameliorating the effects of diseases such as Malaria, HIV/AIDS and Cancer that are widespread in this country. It could be used in fighting crime, especially crimes against the people. We know that the rate of crime has gone up significantly; especially sexual and gender-based violence. It could also be used to address the needs of the marginalized and the vulnerable; like persons with disabilities, youth and people from pastoralist communities. It could also be used to address some of the issues that would actually enable us attain the Millennium Development Goals such as reduction of high child and maternal mortality rates in this country. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also urge hon. Members to support this Motion because many times, as the Mover has indicated, we end up with a bloated Cabinet because of the need for political expediency. We want to reward persons who voted for us and, thereby, we compromise on competence. I would want to link this to one of the provisions that actually provide that holders of a Cabinet position must be graduates. This
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity to support this Bill. The Mover and the Seconder of this Bill have referred to this point that the practical aspect of managing a meeting of 50 or 60 people is difficult. The meeting will be lengthy if each speaks for, say, five minutes. So, it is very difficult from the practical point of view to manage a large team.
However, there are more fundamental questions that this Bill seeks to resolve. One of the biggest questions in Kenya today is the issue of reforms, be it in the Judiciary or the Police force. In the law enforcement system, the biggest question of reform is our ability to pay people. The establishment of the Judiciary provides for 501 magistrates. Right now, we have 250 magistrates. So, we are powering a system with only half the number of people allowed in the establishment. Why is this so? It is because we cannot pay people enough. On the prosecution side, we should have 458 prosecutors but right now, we have barely 60 prosecutors. It is only last month that we hired an additional 65 prosecutors. Why are we unable to identify and retain talent in these critical areas of the system of law enforcement in this country? The reason is that we are unable to pay people. We have to pay people competitive wages so that lawyers and other professionals find it acceptable to serve in the public sector.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as this is happening, we need to ask ourselves how we spend our money. We spend our money on a rather large Government. So, we have to decide as a nation whether it is better to have 40 or 50 Ministers with no prosecutors or magistrates. Is it better to have 60 Assistant Ministers with no magistrates or prosecutors, if truly we mean to take this country forward? Personally, I would choose to reduce the wage bill at the Front Bench and use that money to get the key processes right. I, therefore, support this Bill.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Departmental Committee on Administration and National Security was seized of this Bill, and it came before us for scrutiny. On behalf of Parliament, we looked at every clause of this Bill and gave our considered Report, which I will present on behalf of our Chairman, Mr. Fred Kapondi. The Committee supported this Bill wholeheartedly. We would want to just say a few things that we underpinned.
Mr. Mungatana, are you moving amendments? You have said a lot of things that are not in the Bill now. You spoke on behalf of the Committee?
Yes, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
The issue of Ministers of State is not in the Bill. Also, the issue of having only one Deputy Prime Minister is not in the Bill. So, are you moving amendments or are you are basically supporting the Bill as it is?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have supported the Bill the way it is, but we are laying a foundation because at the Committee Stage, we will be proposing certain amendments.
Mr. ole Metito!
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this chance to also support this Bill.
I would really want to thank the Mover of this Bill because this Bill is long overdue. I am sure that a similar attempt was made in the Ninth Parliament but it never saw the light of the day. This is the time when Parliament is really asserting its authority in terms of playing its legislative role. This is a piece of legislation whose time has come. I agree with him that this Bill should have been passed yesterday.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am really happy with one of the proposals contained in this Bill â a lean Cabinet. I do not need to dwell so much on the merits of a lean Cabinet, because my colleagues who spoke before me have addressed the real issue of cost- cutting. More importantly, it is also good to have defined Ministries so that if you become President tomorrow, you will really know the existing Ministries in the Government of Kenya. This has happened all over the world. So, the aspect of defined Ministries, where we know the number of Ministries and the assignment of functions to each of them is very important. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the proposal made under Clause 3(2), that there is need for the approval of appointments by the National Assembly, is also very good. In other democracies like the United States of America (USA), when the Head of State makes appointments of great nature, they always go to the Senate for approval. So, we are now giving the peopleâs representatives a good job by mandating them to approve appointments. That way, Parliament can verify whether certain parameters and conditions that should be considered when making such appointments were, indeed, considered.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, having said that it is good to have a lean Cabinet, I would even propose to the Mover that when it goes to the Committee stage, we can make it even leaner. He has said in Section 3 paragraph 4 that the President shall appoint the Vice-President from among Ministers established by this Section. The two Deputy Prime
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me the opportunity to also support this Bill. I would like to thank the Mover of this Bill, Mr. Ethuro for bringing a timely Bill. This is the right time to bring this Bill. If possible to have this House pass it as fast as possible.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I belong only to one political party, and that is ODM. We took time to get into the Grand Coalition Government. One of the reasons for this was that we did not want a big Cabinet. We wanted a lean Cabinet. I therefore, think I will just be following what my party wants by insisting that---
Lead by example!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we should lead by example, as one hon. Member is shouting at the back. We should lead by example by having this Bill passed. Once it is an Act of Parliament, it should be implemented immediately. Let us have a leaner Cabinet so as to cut on the cost of running this Government. I do not see anything wrong with that. We have played politics and now it is the time to work. Let us work by offloading some Ministers. At the moment, there is a lot of political bickering. There is a lot of confusion in some Ministries. For example, the Ministry of Medical Services and the Ministry of Public Health have been quarreling because their duties are not clearly defined. To make it worse, the two Ministers come from the two different sides of the political divide. Each one of them wants to exert influence over the other. To avoid all these, let us merge those Ministries as proposed in this Bill. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, at times, we have to sacrifice. Those Ministers who are not willing to sacrifice are not even qualified to be Ministers in the first place. Whoever is going to complain or walk out of his or her political party because he or she has been dropped from the Cabinet, to me, the party should not regret losing such kind of a Minister. In conclusion, it is really a shame that some of the Ministries--- I even wonder, if I was appointed a Minister, I do not know what I would have done. Probably, I would not resign because if I do, I would disappoint the appointing authority. So, maybe, I would stick there. Of what benefit is there for you flying a flag and running a department, then claiming you are a Minister? I would rather you were relieved from that position so that you participate as a Back Bencher. You can then bring Questions to Parliament to probe the functioning of the Government rather than doing a lot of nothing, sitting on the Front Bench and then you will be forced to vote with the Government even when you do not
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I stand to support this Bill. I have a number of reasons for supporting this Bill. First of all, I want to thank Mr. Ethuro for his foresight and timeliness in bringing this Bill to Parliament at this crucial hour. We are in an era where we want to assert the authority of the legislature. We want Parliament to take its role. We are taking this country towards a parliamentary democracy. Each and every one of us in this House went out to our respective constituencies to campaign in order to become a Member of Parliament. None of us went to campaign to become a Minister or an Assistant Minister. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg your indulgence to tell Mr. Ethuro, the Mover of this Bill, to give me his ears. We went out and campaigned to be Members of Parliament; nobody, including myself, went out to campaign to become a Minister. We have seen that in every Government appointment to public office, starting with the Cabinet, the Kenya Anti- Corruption Commission (KACC) and other senior public officers, Parliament must give its approval and authority. It is only Parliament that represents the people of this country. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, you have seen the politics of this country. During campaigns, the big boys will lead the big political parties and those who come from the big tribes. They will go out and cheat politicians saying that, âYou join my party, build my career, and vote for me, we will give you a Cabinet post. That should end. Once the communities and regions vote for their political parties as President, what do they do? They go back to their tribal cocoons and, dish Cabinet posts to members of their tribes. They dish Cabinet posts to their friends overlooking education and integrity, which this Bill is talking about.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, even this bloated Grand Coalition Government Cabinet, which I am a Member--- We have set a precedent where Members of the Cabinet will come to the Floor of this House and challenge the authority of the President. I am not the first one. Even this Grand Coalition Government Cabinet has people whose character and integrity is in question. We have Members of the Cabinet
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me an opportunity to support this Bill. I want to commend hon. Ethuro and to say that what the National Assembly has failed to initiate in the last 40 something years has finally been initiated by this Private Memberâs Bill. Section 16 of the Constitution is clear; that, there shall be such offices of Ministers of the Government of Kenya appointed by the President as may be established by Parliament or subject to any provision made by Parliament. The President has been establishing Ministries without any provisions made by Parliament. That is why we have been having varying numbers of Ministries at different times. The current number of 42 is the most bloated Cabinet we have had since Independence. This Bill will end that by providing for the specific number of Ministries. I have been looking at the proposed Clause 3 and I think that Clause 3(2) ought to give a free hand to the Government of the day to determine the names of the Ministries. Yes, there should be a guide that is there in the schedule; if a Government comes in, it will stick to the number provided by Parliament, but will want to cluster the Ministries differently according to its policies, we should have that leg room. I am persuading the Mover, that at the Committee Stage, we look at this to ensure that there is enough leg room for the Government of the day to see how to cluster Ministries. This Bill sets out that the number of Ministries should not exceed 24. If you look at the definition of Ministers in the Constitution, you will see that they include Assistant Ministers. Therefore, this Bill will see to it that Kenya does not have more than 24 Members of the Executive sitting in Parliament. Parliament is made up of 222 MPs, and ex-officio MPs, but it should not be executive heavy. In this Parliament almost half of its Members are Members of the Executive. That undermines the independence of Parliament and no wonder, Parliament appears in most occasions to be toothless. This Bill will put a stop to that. I have heard contributions from other Members about the constitutional review that is going on. This Bill is talking about today and not tomorrow. It is remedying the situation as our Constitution is today. The Constitution provides for Ministers to be appointed from among Members of Parliament. We shall cross the bridge of whether we should have Ministers appointed outside Parliament when we are dealing with the new constitution. However, noting from the outcry of Kenyans and also the economic circumstances a majority of Kenyans are undergoing, and I dare say, harsh economic circumstances, there is an urgent need to trim the current bloated Cabinet. That can only happen with the passage of this Bill. I have heard an hon. Member lament about the bloated Cabinet and absolve one of the Coalition partners of blame for the bloated Cabinet. This is a fallacy. Each Coalition partner provided 21 Members of Cabinet. That means that they have consciously entered into a coalition with a bloated Cabinet. Any Member of the Coalition, or any side that did not want very many Ministers could have given fewer cabinet members. Just as we have seen the President and the Prime Minister go together to make the necessary changes in the police force, they could as well get together and trim the Cabinet. But because both are not willing, it is incumbent upon this Parliament to pass this legislation so that we can force the necessary steps to be taken. We can also arrest the situation in future, where any other President or Head of Government can come and burden Kenyans with a bloated Cabinet.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity. I see hon. Duale has gone out. I wanted to hand over to him a list of Ministries that are manned by people from the same area. We have the Tana and Athi Water Services, Ministry of State for Special Programmes, Ministry of the East African Community, universities like Maseno, Masinde Muliro and Moi. When you look at the District Commissioners (DCs) and Provincial Commissioners (PCs) in some of those areas, they all seem to be coming from the same area. But, more importantly, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, Clause 7 talks about a code of conduct and ethics for Ministers and Assistant Ministers. As I support this Bill, I want to congratulate hon. Ethuro for this brilliant piece of work. As we talk about Ministers under Clause 3, we should also address the number of Assistant Ministers. That is a loophole that can be used to have a bloated group of Assistant Ministers as it is the case now. It is important to specify that when we are talking about 24 Ministers, do they include Assistant Ministers or we are talking about another 24 Assistant Ministers. If we do that, we will still have a bloated Cabinet.
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. This is a very important Bill. I thought that the relevant Ministry and Leader of Government Business should be represented here.
What if they do not want to work!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, is it in order for the Government not to be represented here?
Order! Hon. Bahari, what are you asking?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this is a very key Private Memberâs Bill. I thought that the relevant Ministry or the Leader of Government Business should be here to take notes and respond accordingly.
Hon. Bahari, there are three Ministers here. I think they are sufficient enough to take notes and pass them to their colleagues. So, thank you for bringing that up. I just want to remind you that three Ministers are already in the Chamber. Proceed, hon. Kioni!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, that is another reason why the Cabinet needs to be trimmed so that it can be able to respond to issues like this one. Because of their huge number, they do not know where they should be at any given time. If you witnessed, when we started debating this Bill, the Front Bench was virtually empty. But now, when we have three Assistant Ministers--- I want to support this Bill because the number of Cabinet Ministers has made it difficult for them to serve the people. We have had occasions in this House where Ministers have said that they are guided by their conscience to vote against specific Government decisions. It is important to ask whether, at the point when they took an oath of office and undertook to defend the Constitution, that conscience was still there. It is important for us to know whether that conscience is switched off and on like we do with electricity power in our houses. Because these Members of the Cabinet are so many, they do not quite know what is expected of them. I support the idea that this Bill does not need to be implemented in the next Government. At the Committee Stage, it is important for us to amend Clause 8 that requires that this be done in the next Cabinet meeting and implemented now. Kenyans want changes now and all of us are agreeable to that fact. Having said that, I have looked at the number of Ministries as listed at the back. There is need to link that to the provisions of the Bill, either in form of schedules or a sub-section. That is because I cannot get the link between the list of Ministries and what is provided for in the Bill. I can see the Ministry of Water and Irrigation. The Department of Irrigation should be put under the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Development. Without spending a lot of time, other speakers have said that many Ministers are heading departments. It must be depressing for them to just manage a department. People who have been very busy before they joined Parliament are now charged with the responsibility of just managing departments like the Department of Fisheries and Department of Livestock Development, which are now Ministries. The Ministry of Housing has been a department all along. We have the Ministry of Education, which has been split into many small units, so that we can create more Ministries.
With regard to health, at times, we do not know which Minister we should ask Questions. Many of us will go through the five-year term without knowing the difference between the Ministry of Prof. Anyangâ-Nyongâo and that of Mrs. Mugo. It is difficult to understand their different roles. We also have the Ministry for Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Areas. In my opinion, it is not proper to have a Ministry that is dealing with a given region. It is important to have a Ministry that is cross-cutting. One hon. Member said that it is like we are discriminating against a given area. We understand that there may be specific issues that need to be addressed in a given region like northern Kenya, but the wording of this Ministry should come out in such a way that it is not deemed to serve a specific number of people or a group. It should serve the whole country even if it is to address specific issues from a given area. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is important for us to have 24 Cabinet Ministers. I support the view that we need to allow some form of clustering by any President, but not beyond 24 Cabinet Members. It is also important to include the
Order! Order, the Front Bench!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, he was not here yesterday and he is now in the House. Welcome back, Waziri. I think the issue of qualification is also important. We were out recently and I came across a Minister in this country. What the Minister did in the conference that we were was really embarrassing to this country. Before long, the Minister found himself in the wrong place and went shopping. The Minister was not there when we were required to make interventions on behalf of the country. This is because one feels inadequate when he or she sits among people who know their fields very well. When we say that one needs a university degree or its equivalent for him or her to be useful in the Cabinet, it is coming from a point of knowledge. We are informed by what we have already seen. Again, we have Ministers here who feel inadequate in the presence of Assistant Ministers, and this is not useful to this country because we cannot get value for our money and services. This also makes Kenyans not to be served well. Again, the issue of having a limit of 90 days within which the President must fill a vacant position is important because these vacancies have been used in the past to create some anxiety and perhaps, buy loyalty from Members of Parliament. It is important that we know that within 90 days this positions must be filled, we move on as a country and do what we were elected to do. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I also concur that Cabinet positions should come from outside Parliament. Although the Constitution states that one must be a Member of Parliament in order to be appointed a Cabinet Minister, it is important that we move towards that direction where we have the Cabinet coming from outside Parliament, so that we do not have Members of Parliament who are appointed to the Cabinet and the first thing they do is to serve their areas of representation as opposed to the bigger picture that should be carried by a Member of the Cabinet. It is also important that the Cabinet is composed of 24 members drawn from outside Parliament. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, since many of the things I will say have been said, I need not repeat them. I beg to support this Bill.
Thank you very much, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I also rise to support the Bill. Recently during the Prime Ministerâs Question Time I asked the hon. Prime Minister whether he and the other Principal could also consider reducing the number of Assistant Ministers, as part of the austerity measures the Government is taking to reduce
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, thank you for the opportunity to contribute. I want to congratulate the hon. Member for Turkana Central for bringing this important Bill and for doing something that we should have done long time ago. Since there is a constitutional obligation to allow the Cabinet to be appointed this year, it is also very critical to give this House the opportunity of having a say in the selection and the size of the Cabinet. I do share the sentiments expressed by Mr. Wamalwa.
Order, Mr. Assistant Minister! Are you contributing as a hon. Member or are you responding on behalf of the Government?
Can I do both?
No, you cannot do both! Just contribute on the Motion.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we support this Bill brought by the hon. Member for Turkana Central---
Order, Mr. Assistant Minister! Say âyouâ support and not âweâ. That way, you are not representing the Government.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this is a Coalition Government. This is a good Bill. It sets out the responsibility of Parliament and the qualifications of certain office holders. I think it is very critical that we have technocrats who are also qualified. There is also good provision here for temporary transfer of duties because very often, it is not clear even for the country to know who the acting Minister is, when the other one is out of office for whatever reasons. The provision for the code of ethics is also very critical for the smooth operation of the Government so that we do not get Ministers disagreeing publicly or even releasing Cabinet secrets.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, regarding the question of transitional issues, we also agree because we have very little choice because this is a Coalition Government. I think it is significant that the application of this law comes in the next immediate Parliament.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I stand here to strongly support the Bill because it a very important Bill.
It is about time this country took control of running its affairs. As I stand, the kind of Government and Ministries that we have now are a heavy burden to the nation. As I speak, the number of Government Ministers is almost equal to the Backbenchers. This, indeed, as I said, is a heavy burden. No wonder this country is experiencing a lot of problems in terms of poverty and other areas.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we, as a country, have now turned our attention to managing the Ministries which are far too many and have failed to address the issues affecting this country. We have failed to address poverty in this country because the little resources we have are maintaining the Cabinet Ministers. We have failed to address even the IDP issues and plight of Kenyans. We have failed to address the important issues of education simply because we have bloated Government Ministers which we must cater for. So, it is extremely important that we support this Bill and ensure that it passes for the good of this country. In this regard, I want to congratulate hon. Ethuro for bringing this Bill, so that we can debate it and address these issues accordingly.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, due to the size of the Cabinet that we have, many Ministers are not even doing their work. The issue of collective responsibility is no longer there. Everybody is doing what he wants to do. It is about time that we fixed the number of the Ministries in this country. I do not feel that it is important for us to wait until we have the new Constitution in place to do so. It is urgent and we should go ahead and do it. It is also important that we enshrine it in the Constitution, so that any Head of State who comes thereafter, will be guided accordingly. The situation we have now in the country is such that whoever is the Head of State and Government can even have the whole House being Ministers simply because he wants to supervise. This is a situation that we cannot allow to continue. The kind of Ministers that we have is just like mere heads of departments. We want to empower them so that they can do the kind of work expected of them.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to address the issue of the Assistant Ministers that we have now. Assistant Ministers are not being given the kind of responsibilities that they should have. I want to support strongly that we should change, so that they become Deputy Ministers with full responsibilities of acting capacity in the event the Minister is not present for one or other reason. They should be given that mandate, to feel like they hold that Ministry, so that they are the principle deputies of the Ministers in the event the Ministers are not there.
The issue of education is extremely important. I want to say here now, that it should be mandatory for any Minister to have a minimum of a university degree before he or she is appointed. For that matter, I think we should even go further and say that any person who qualifies to be a Member of Parliament should be a graduate. This is because education now is affordable and anybody should get it. More so, once you become a Member of Parliament, you aspire to be a Minister and even to be Head of State. If you cannot articulate your issues because of limitation of education, then you cannot do your
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving this opportunity to support this Bill. This is a very important Bill; it is a Bill that should have been brought to this House 46 years ago. Our Constitution gives provision for this Parliament to determine the number of Ministers that the Executive should appoint. But for many years, we have abdicated our role. So, I want to take this opportunity to thank the hon. Member for Turkana Central, Mr. Ethuro for bringing this Bill. I want to congratulate him for that. Secondly, I want to note that given that free time that is given to the Executive, we have seen a situation where we have a very bloated Government which is spending a lot of money in Recurrent Expenditure. So, with the approval of this Bill, this will curtail the expenditure, particularly the recurrent. The other issue that is of great concern and important is the issue of integrity of the Ministers we have in the Government. We need to have Ministers of high integrity. We need to have Ministers who can be vetted in this House as in other Parliaments where Ministers are vetted because we have, in our case, as my colleagues have said, Ministers who have various cases in court, but they are still Ministers. This is an issue that is of great concern. We need Ministers of high integrity. As regards education, it is important that any Member appointed in any Government must have minimum degree training; anything less than that cannot warrant somebody to become a Minister. A Minister is somebody who represents our Government in key decision and policy making processes. Therefore, he must be somebody who is knowledgeable. Also, on the issue of appointment of Ministers, we must look into the issue of appointing Ministers with competence in their respective Ministries. As of now, you will note that we have many Ministers who have been appointed in different Ministries and they have no idea or real qualifications or training in those disciplines. So, when it comes to discussing or articulating issues for those Ministries, they find themselves at a loss. So, it is important to put in place a system that
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I rise to support this Bill. I thank hon. Ethuro for introducing this very important Bill which, actually, is long overdue. Parliament has ceded its powers to the Executive for too long. We should have done this since Independence because it is provided for in the Constitution. We have abdicated our responsibility until this point in time. I am pleased to see that this has now come to the Floor of the House. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the issue about numbers of Ministers has been a thorn in the flesh of Kenyans. The numbers have always been bloated and inefficiency has been rampant, mainly because the Ministers do not even know their duties; they do not know where their boundaries lie and the definition of âresponsibilityâ has been a problem. I am very, very happy that the limitation of the number of Ministers will put a check on the Executive, to the extent to which they can misuse public resources by making unnecessary appointments to those positions which, actually, at the end of the day, do not perform at all. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am also happy to note that, as a result of this Bill, Parliament will be stronger because we do not want half of Parliament being in the Executive. With all due respect to my friend the Assistant Minister, hon. Munya â my brother sitting across on the Government Bench, it has always been very embarrassing, as it is now, to look around and see that on the Government Side, there is not a single hon. Member other than my brother, who has just walked in now. It is just a reflection of the state of irresponsibility prevalent in the Executive, and I am happy that we are going to be able to check this now. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I support the previous speakers---
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. My colleague has said that I have just walked in, when he actually found me in this House!
Indeed, the Assistant Minister has been here for a while now.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I withdraw and apologise. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, on the issue of qualifications, I wish to support the previous speakers that, indeed, it is important that we have qualified hon. Members to serve in those executive positions to be able to deliver effectively to
. I also support the notion on the implementation of this Bill. As soon as it is enacted, rather than wait for 2012 or the next Parliament, it should be implemented straightaway.
Hon. Members, it is now 12.30 p.m. I will interrupt the business of the House. The House will resume this afternoon at 2.30 p.m.
The House rose at 12.30 p.m.