Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security the following Question by Private Notice. (a) Under what circumstances were Messrs. Yusuf Godana, Hassan Sheikh Birik Mohamed and James Waweru killed in Lafey District on 27th October, 2011? (b) Can the Minister confirm that the officers met their death while on duty? (c) What assistance did the Government extend to the families of the deceased during the burials?
Is the Minister not here? Mrs. Ngilu, where is your colleague?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am sure they are on the way.
We will come back to that Question later.
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I saw Mr. Ojode outside.
He is actually walking in, so we will come back to that Question in a moment.
Next Question by the hon. Member for Makueni!
asked the Minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security:- (a) to explain under what circumstances Police Constable Gerald Kioko Mbinda (P/F No. 54962) was dismissed from the Force on 30th April, 2009; and, (b) whether he could consider reinstating him.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg the indulgence of the Chair to give me up to next week in order to reply to this Question because I wanted the details which I had promised the House, but my officers were unable to get those details right away. I will request the Chair to allow me to answer this next week on Thursday.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, much as I would like to agree with the Assistant Minister, I wish that he could have responded to this Question this week because it has taken long and this officer has suffered at the hands of this Ministry.
He is seeking the indulgence for just one more week.
If it is for one week, I would be okay, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir.
So, is it same time next week?
Thursday next week.
Hon. Member for Isiolo South!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for the second time, I beg to ask the Minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security the following Question by Private Notice. (a) Under what circumstances were Messrs. Yusuf Godana, Hassan Sheikh Birik Mohamed and James Waweru killed in Lafey District on 27th October, 2011? (b) Can the Minister confirm that the officers met their death while on duty? (c) What assistance did the Government extend to the families of the deceased during the burials?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also seek the indulgence of the Chair to allow me to answer the Question next week because I had answered the part of the security and what is remaining are details from the Ministry of Education. So, I will be able to get those details. They promised to get them for us yesterday but we never got them. So, I seek the indulgence of the Chair to allow me to answer it on Thursday.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this is the third time the Minister is asking for postponement of this and yet this is a Question by Private Notice. I also want to say that it is not true that this Question has been handled as much because it was one supplementary question that the Assistant Minister was not able to respond to and, therefore, we stopped at that point without indulging the entire House. If he could do it by Tuesday, then I will be willing to.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have to get some details from the Ministry of Education because it borders on the details which he requires.
Mr. Bahari, the Assistant Minister is actually making consultations with another Ministry. I think let us indulge him to Thursday next week.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I had already agreed but to Tuesday.
It is Thursday.
Next Question is by the hon. Member for Juja!
asked the Minister for Labour:- (a) whether he is aware that M/s Kenya Tanning Extract Company Limited terminated the services of 21 workers with effect from 31st December, 2008 but has declined to pay them gratuity, redundancy or other dues; (b) whether he could inform the House when the former employees will be paid their dues; and, (c) what measures the Ministry will take to ensure that, in the event of closure of the company, the former employees are paid all their dues.
Is the Minister not yet here?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would request that we revisit the matter in the second round because I want to consult with the Minister.
Okay, we will come back to it later.
I am aware that the hon. Member for Turkana Central is out on official Parliamentary business so I will defer his Question to next week on a date to be confirmed upon the return of the hon. Member.
Next Question by Mrs. Odhiambo-Mabona!
I am also aware that Mr. Ruteere is attending the climate change conference in Durban, South Africa. So, he indicated to me that he will leave today. I am not sure whether he has left or still in the country. Does anybody know whether he has left?
I will give him the benefit of the doubt. I will defer this Question to a time convenient to the House when the Order Paper permits.
Next Question is by the hon. Member for North Horr.
asked the Minister for Water and Irrigation when the construction of the six irrigation dams/reservoirs (all funded by the Arab Bank for Economic Development for Africa) along Honi, Ngarengiro, Karuthingitu, Nanyuki, Narumoru and Nairobi rivers in Kieni Constituency will be completed.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.
The programme that will include construction of six irrigation dams is currently under feasibility study which is being funded by the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa through a grant aid of US$400,000 which is equivalent to about Kshs40 million. The feasibility study will be completed by May, 2012 and a detailed design is programmed to start thereafter and be completed in February 2013. Construction of dams will then start in May, 2013 and is expected to be completed within two years, that is, by May 2015, the expected cost of all the works is about Kshs5 billion.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to seek clarification about the construction of the dams and when they will be complete. I thank the Minister for coming up with that elaborate answer to my Question. Is it possible that these dams will be completed before 2015? We are talking about over two years from now. Is it possible for the completion time to be brought forward to 2013 or even next year?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is not possible to design dams of this size and get them through the tender processes. The funding has already been obtained and, therefore, it is not possible for this to be done earlier than May, 2015, with all the designs and the construction work having been done.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, probably, it will be good for the Minister to inform the House which year this provision in the Budget is, in view of the fact that we have had Government Ministries and departments providing budgetary allocations for programmes and projects they want to undertake. They keep on telling Kenyans that these are the programmes and projects to be done, and it is only because they have been promised or told by some foreign donors that money will become available. That money never becomes available as and when the public expects to reap the benefits of the projects. I would be happier to know how much is already provided for in the financial year and how much is anticipated in the next financial year, so that, at least, we know, systematically, and on a year in, year out basis, what the people of Kieni expect to be achieved.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if the hon. Member listened to my response, I said that we already have Kshs40 million for undertaking the feasibility study of this project. Once that is completed, this project will start in May, 2013 and it will take two years. The money has already been signed for. However, in projects like these, I noticed that there are so many other things that come up. We had one project in Bura that started nine years ago, but there have been so many complications even when the feasibility study has been ready and the donors have money. Sometimes we ourselves do not do what we need to do to ensure that work is done fast, so that people can benefit. The one I am talking about is funded by the Arab Bank. I do hope that this one will not have any complications. Since the money is available and it has been signed for, it is up to us, the Government, to let work be done. The Ministry of Water and Irrigation has gone through difficulties because of the work that we started to do three years ago which never used to be done before; there are so many interests that have shown up in the Ministry of Water and Irrigation. Some of the work that ought to have been finished has stalled because of these interests. I hope and pray that Kenyans will start understanding the importance of the projects that we have embarked on and ensure that we provide water to the people, so that we reduce their suffering due to food shortage.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Minister has said that these irrigation dams will cost Kshs5 billion. Could she tell us whether the donor is funding the entire projects, or whether the Government of Kenya will contribute part of the money? Is the project co-funded by the Government?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, when we sign contracts for a project of this magnitude with donors, sometimes there is a requirement that the Government co-funds 10 per cent of the cost of the project. That money comes from the Exchequer. That way, the donors are able to see the seriousness of the Government in funding and completing projects. That is what it is.
I know that the people of Kieni are very anxious because of the magnitude of the project. Kenyans are also anxious to know when this work will be completed. However, my interest is in the design stage when the feasibility study is done. Have you given this to one contractor or several of them? If so, can we also know them, so that hon. Members from that area can know who to approach if the work is delayed?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, consultancy is usually advertized and consultants apply. They go through the tendering processes. Once we have picked the consultant we will be able to announce him.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, will the Minister attend the inauguration o f the project when that time comes?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have already said that the project will start in May, 2013.
Mr. Mureithi is not in! Next Question.
I understand that Mr. Kioni is out on official Parliamentary business. So, I will defer this Question till when he will be back and approaches the Clerk to restore it on the Order Paper.
asked the Minister for Minister for Agriculture:- (a) what the current status is of negotiations between the Kenya Sugar Board (KSB) and the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) on the mode of disbursement of loans for sugar-cane development; (b) if the she is aware that the stalemate in the negotiations is the cause of scarcity of sugar cane to millers in the country and, if so, what measures the Government is taking to solve the matter; and (c) if she could table bank statements to confirm that funds meant for the loans are safe and intact.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) Following an agreement between the AFC and the KSB in 2006, the AFC is disbursing the first tranche of Kshs500 million to small scale sugar-cane farmers. Currently, Kshs203 million is targeted for the second round of lending. (b) Negotiations between the two organizations for the disbursement of the second tranche of Kshs500 million were completed on 17th November, 2011 and it has already been disbursed to the AFC. (c) I have the statements, but it is not here, showing that the money is safe. The money is with the AFC and there are no negotiations going on.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Assistant Minister for finally acting. I have talked to the AFC and, indeed, they have received this money. I also want to use this opportunity to ask farmers not to hire out their farms. Instead they should go to the AFC and get this money to improve their sugar-cane farming. What mechanism has the Assistant Minister put in place to ensure that this money is not loaned to farmers other than sugar-cane farmers, as it has been in previous cases?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this is purely cane funds. It will be given to the farmers who qualify and are planting cane, especially cane development. At the moment, we are facing a very serious shortage of sugar. That is why we are investing this money in cane development to avoid this in the future.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have no further questions given that the money is already with AFC. I am happy.
asked the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance if he could clarify whether the Ministry has been complying with the requirements of Section 13 of the Fiscal Management Act regarding monthly publication of revenues and, if not, to explain why.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. I confirm that I have been complying with the requirements of the Fiscal Management Act, Section 13 as regards the monthly publication in the Kenya Gazette, our statement of actual revenues collected by category and net Exchequer issues by Ministries. I hereby table copies of the Gazette Notices for the months of June, July, August and September, 2011 and my signed statement to the Government Printer dated 8th November, 2011 for the month of October. These were all published within 21 days after the end of each month. The statement is also posted on the Treasury website.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I appreciate the effort by the Ministry to ensure compliance with this statutory provision. What will the Assistant Minister do to ensure these notices are published in the Kenya Gazette in time? Sometimes, there are delays in publishing them beyond the statutory guaranteed period. For example, notices for the month of October have not been published even though the Ministry has issued instructions to the Government Printer to do so. What will he do to ensure this is done to comply with the law?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, personally, I will follow up this one to make sure that they comply. This is the only one where they have delayed in publication.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the letter and spirit of expectation of that particular provision in the Act was to ensure that the Minister of Finance is sequentially and cumulatively able to inform the country on a monthly basis how much has been collected in terms of expected revenues and how much has been disbursed to the implementing Ministries. The country needs to know on a month by month basis whether the budget is being followed and ensure that every Government department is allocated funds according to their budget. We do not want to see one Ministry receiving 90 per cent allocations while another one is receiving only 10 per cent. So, the Assistant Minister would be doing this House a great service if he can tell us whether they are meeting their revenue collection targets.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in most cases, we are on target. However, there are some months we record less and, in other months, we record more collections. So, we disburse as we collect the taxes. It is not exactly as per the targets, but it varies according to collections. All in all, when you total them up, they meet the targets.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, my final question would be with regards to the details in the publication. I would like the Assistant Minister to confirm whether he is satisfied with the level of details that he has been given. The Act says that the Minister should gazette a statement of actual revenues collected by category. However, if you look at the published statement under revenue, it shows revenue from taxation is lumped together with other revenues such as grants and loans. Is he satisfied that this level of information that we get is what was envisaged in the Fiscal Management Act?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am satisfied that this meets the requirements. As we continue implementing this particular Act, we shall improve on the details of the information.
Mr. Kabogo’s Question for the second time.
asked the Minister for Labour:- (a) whether he is aware that M/s Kenya Tanning Extract Company Limited terminated the services of 21 workers with effect from 31st December, 2008, but has declined to pay them gratuity, redundancy or other dues, (b) when the former employees will be paid their dues; and, c) what measures the Ministry will take to ensure that, in the event of closure of the company, the former employees are paid all their dues.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to apologize for coming late. It was due to the checks at the gate. It took some time for the security officers to check my vehicle. However, I beg to reply. (a) I am aware that M/s Kenya Tanning Extract Company Limited ceased its operations on 31st December, 2008. The company had 34 employees. Of which 25, were unionisable. All their severance pay dues were calculated, but some declined to collect. (b) The former employees will be paid their dues once the case they have filed in the Industrial Court through their union, Kenya Chemical and Allied Workers Case No.695 (N 2009 ) is heard and determined. (c) The Ministry will not take any action since the company has already ceased operations and is willing to pay the uncollected balances of Kshs3,118,972. The matter is before the Industrial Court Case No. 695 (N 2009).
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, while I appreciate the answer given by the Assistant Minister, you realize that he tells the House, especially in part (b) of his reply, that the employer will pay once the matter in court is settled. So, they acknowledge that a payment will be done. From the information that I have, it was the Ministry that advised the union---
Mr. Kabogo, is the matter in court?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, that is where I am coming---
I am asking you whether the matter is in court.
It is in court, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir.
And you agree with the Assistant Minister that the money will be paid after the case is determined?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do not agree. That is what I am coming to.
That is where I am going because the matter is active in court.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I wanted to say in brief that the Ministry of Labour has a habit of advising employers through the unions to go to court so that they can buy time. The issue here is that the employer says he wants to sell a property so that he can pay these bills. He knows very well that it will take time to do so. So, the Ministry advises them to go to court. What has the Ministry done to expedite this matter in court to make sure that these people are paid or has the interest of the workers been registered on this property, so that when it is sold they can be paid?
Better still, Mr. Assistant Minister, would you be prepared to deposit that money in court pending the hearing of the case?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is the employees who have filed the case in court. Once they agree and register a consent---
Order, Mr. Assistant Minister. I have followed what both of you have said. You have said they will be paid once the matter that has been filed in court is determined. I am asking you from the Chair here, in those circumstances, are you prepared to deposit that money in the court, so that it can be paid as soon as the case is determined? You are not denying that they are entitled to payments.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we are willing to deposit the Kshs3 million but the employees are demanding something more than that. That is why the matter is in court.
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. Is the Assistant Minister in order to mislead the House? The matter in court is not about the dispute of how much. It is about when they will be paid the Kshs3 million. The employer is saying: “I am selling a property. Let me finish, I will pay them”.
The Assistant Minister says he is willing to deposit that Kshs3 million in court, why are you not happy with that?
In that event, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am very happy with that. Can he give an undertaking to the House as to when and probably report back to the House?
Assistant Minister, would you tell the House when you will deposit that Kshs3 million in court?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, let me do the consultation and I will give you a feedback in a week’s time and ensure that the employer deposits---
The matter will be restored in the Order Paper for that specific purpose of your confirmation as to whether you have deposited that Kshs3 million in court and, if not, when you will deposit it. Next Question by Mrs. Odhiambo-Mabona!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, before I ask the Question I would like to apologize for coming late. I will be going on a safari to South Africa this afternoon so I was trying to pursue some documents.
asked the Minister for Education:- (a) whether he could provide a list of Special Schools and Technical Training Institutions which are caring for the mentally challenged, hearing impaired, visually handicapped, physically challenged and deaf/blind in the country; (b) whether he could consider funding the schools/institutions adequately, considering that most parents/guardians of such students cannot afford high school fees; and, (c) whether the Government could transfer the Technical Training Institutes to the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology for financial support and infrastructural development.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg the indulgence of the House that this Question be taken back and be reframed. This is because---
Order, Assistant Minister! What did you say?
The Question be re-done for the reason I am giving. It has covered two Ministries. My Ministry deals with special schools up to post- primary; that is up to secondary schools. However, technical training institutions belong to the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology. We know the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) hires for them teachers but funding, management and everything else, belongs to the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology. That even renders part “c” of this Question irrelevant. The institutes, like the one in Kisumu are handled by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology. It does not belong to the Ministry of Education.
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. Is it in order for the Assistant Minister to be telling us to reframe a Question when the Question deals with people with special needs and which cuts across ministries? Is it not the business of the Assistant Minister to consult his colleague so that they can bring a comprehensive answer rather than tell us to reconstruct our Questions? This Question is properly asked by the said Member.
Assistant Minister, listen to all these points of order and then you can respond to all of them.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, indeed the Assistant Minister is quite justified in so requesting the House but has he really exhausted the options? The option he has is to answer the part of the Question which he feels he is competent to deal with, and then tell us whoever he thinks should answer the other part. Alternatively and better still, he could refer the matter to the Prime Minister who would then respond to it because it cuts across more than one Ministry. Is he in order to run away from answering the Question?
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. Is the Assistant Minister in order to mislead this House that technical education in special schools is under the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology while we know special schools, for example, Ngara School for the Deaf has a technical department in it, vocational training which trains tailors, masons and is funded by the Ministry of Education and not the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology? Is the Assistant Minister aware that Joyland---
Order! You cannot ask the Minister a question. You rose on a point of order!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, is the Assistant Minister in order to mislead the House that schools like Joyland which have departments funded by the Ministry are funded by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology yet they are under the Ministry of Education? Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Assistant Minister should have answered parts “a”, “b” and then go to “c”.
Assistant Minister, what do you have to say to that?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, the hon. Member has talked of vocational training institutes. That is different from technical training institutes. Let me give you two examples. We have Joyland in Kisumu, that is a primary institution and it has vocational training, dress making and things like that. A technical institute like the one we have in Kisumu; the Kisumu Technical Training Institute belongs to the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology. Vocational training collages belong to us. Those are two different arrangements. Then, as regards Members asking me to answer this Question partly, if I do it partly, we shall end up with a problem as I will still be told to go and get the other parts. Why can we not split it; you give me one that I can handle. I will bring a very good answer to Parliament and then give the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology its part. For example, even in part “c” you are asking the Government to transfer these technical training institutes to the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, yet that is where they already belong.
Assistant Minister, I will give you directions on what you should do. The organization of business in this House is premised on the understanding that there is one, and I repeat, one Government with collective responsibility to the House. So what you will do now is; you will go and consult the Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology to provide you with the relevant information that touches on higher education and then you combine the two then come and answer that Question in this House. When can you do that?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I still have a problem with that. This House---
Order, Assistant Minister! You will consult and come and answer that Question on Thursday next week. The Question is deferred to Thursday next week!
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. On Thursday next week, because I will be away, I will ask Mr. Aluoch Olago to ask the Question on my behalf.
Next Question by Mr. Chachu Ganya!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, first I want to apologize for coming late. I could not get here on time.
asked the Minister of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030:- (a) why he Ministry has not repeated the 2009 Census exercise in the eight districts of northern Kenya whose results were nullified; and, (b) when the Ministry will repeat the exercise in the districts.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg the indulgence of the Chair to allow the Minister to answer this Question next week on Tuesday.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it looks like the Minister is not in the Chamber. I will check why he is absent. As usual, you will put some sanctions on him. I do not know because I am not in the Chair. However, I will consult with him and ask him to come and answer this Question on Tuesday.
Mr. Chachu Ganya, what do you have to say to that?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I filed this Question long ago and it is of national importance. Secondly, there are two Ministers in that Ministry. I do not know if there is reason as to why they should not be here.
You are quite right. Just as it is disorderly conduct not to ask a Question that is on the Order Paper, it is also disorderly conduct on the part of Ministers not to be in the House to answer Questions. My direction is that the Minister should show cause why sanctions should not be imposed on him for disorderly conduct for failing to explain why the Ministry is not in a position to answer that Question before answering the Question. I will therefore, defer the Question to this time next week for the Minister to show cause why action should not be taken for disorderly conduct on his part.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I will definitely communicate with the Minister.
Next Question by the Member for Ol Kalou!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, before I ask the Question I would like to apologize. We overshot a bit on our prayer day but I would like to apologize so that you allow me to ask the Question.
asked the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Local Government:- (a) whether he is aware that the Government had set aside a plot of land for a community market center at Gatimu shopping center; and, (b) whether he is further aware that, despite availability of Kshs. 200,000 from the CDF kitty for fencing and building of a toilet on the plot, the project has stalled due to illegal allocation of the plot.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have consulted with the hon. Member for Ol Kalau and I am not satisfied that the answer that I have addresses the issues adequately. So, I request that we compare notes with the hon. Member for Ol Kalau and you defer this Question to Tuesday, next week.
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. You have heard what the Assistant Minister has said that he will consult with hon. Mureithi and that he will review the answer that he has. This is not a Private Member’s Question. This Assistant Minister has been having this Question for the last--- Is he in order?
Order! But there is a person responsible for asking the Question which is Mr. Erastus Mureithi. Although the House has interest in the Question, the overriding interest is that of the Member who asked the Question. If he has consulted with the Assistant Minister and agreed, we have to respect the agreement that they have reached. Dr. Mureithi, is that the agreement you have reached?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, that is agreed because I have also looked at the answer. For the sake of those women who own that market, it is better that it is dealt with in more details than it has been done today. I have agreed. However, I would like to ask for your indulgence. Next week we will be working on the law on IDPs in Mombasa. Therefore, we will not be around. You are a Member of that Committee. Could this be taken up when we come back from recess?
It will be put in the Order Paper on priority basis during the next session. The Assistant Minister for Medical Services, the Chair is being consulted here in respect to a Question that I dropped. Were you ready to answer it?
Yes, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir.
In that case, if the Member has sufficient reasons to request a reinstatement I will consider it so that Members do not lose the opportunity.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, first of all, I would like to apologize for coming late. Indeed, as you have indicated, I am always in the House. I had a personal problem in the morning.
Since the Assistant Minister has an answer I will allow you to ask the Question.
asked the Minister for Medical Services:- (a) whether he is aware that Mbagathi Hospital is in a deplorable state and some wards, such as Ward 1 do not even have windows; and, (b) what he is doing to improve the condition of the hospital, which serves many Kenyans.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) Mbagathi District Hospital is not in a deplorable state. However, it has buildings that require frequent maintenance due to their age and design. The windows in the wards are of the louvers design and the glasses occasionally fall off and break in the course of being handled by patients. The hospital replaces them on continuous basis. All windows are also fitted with curtains. (b) The Ministry is implementing a programme of renovation and upgrading of the hospital. Recent works that have been completed and some with support from development partners include construction and equipping of an operating theater; extension of the pediatric out-patient section; construction and equipping of a kitchen; tarmacking of the access road; renovation of the comprehensive care clinic; expansion of the x-ray department; renovation of the old kitchen to become a physiotherapy department; renovation of resident blocks for doctors; general renovation of special clinics, out-patient departments and pharmacy; and, construction of a 30-body mortuary. The Ministry is in the process of procuring coolers. In the current Financial Year, 2011/2012, the Ministry is constructing a maternity unit at the hospital at a cost of Kshs20 million. This will address congestion in the existing facility originally, a general ward. Tendering will be done shortly. Other improvements will be carried out as funds become available.
Thank you Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. First of all, I would like to indicate that I got complaints from members of the public, many of whom I do not know and were just texting to indicate their concerns. I went and saw for myself that the windows had actually fallen off. I am happy that the Assistant Minister acknowledges that. I noticed that he has indicated that the type of material used especially for the windows is of a type that falls. So, what does the Ministry intend to do to ensure that he hastens the repairs and puts a quality that does not fall off easily since this hospital serves many women?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, as I said maintenance is on continuous basis and as we are talking, there is ongoing work at the hospital.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Assistant Minister has done a good thing by acknowledging that this hospital was not originally designed to be a general hospital. However, effectively, it has been running as a district hospital that serves many of the Nairobi residents. How long will the Ministry allow Nairobi residents to continue using a facility that was not designed to be a hospital in the state that it is, which the Ministry has accepted is deplorable? How long must we wait, as Nairobi, to be given what we deserve just like any other district or province which is a properly built institution that we can call a district or provincial hospital?
Except that he did not agree that it is in a deplorable state.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I agree that he did not agree. However, when he answered the rest of the Question, if I could give you a copy of the answer, he stated all the deplorable conditions. He said that it was not deplorable but continued to state how deplorable it is and how it was not designed to be a general hospital.
Mr. Temporary deputy Speaker, Sir, if you look at that hospital, you will see that by upgrading it to a full district hospital, we are decongesting the Kenyatta National Hospital which is a referral hospital. However, the hospital was not designed to be a district hospital. But due to the population in Nairobi and because we want to decongest Kenyatta National Hospital, we made it to be a hospital and we are renovating it to conform to our criteria and norms.
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. Is it fair for the Assistant Minister not to answer my Question which I asked directly? Since he has admitted that it was not designed to be a general hospital for Nairobi, when will Nairobi get its own general hospital like all other districts and provinces in this country?
I think the Assistant Minister has answered the question regarding the amount of money he is setting aside to improve the facility.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. First, the Assistant Minister should correct this because Mbagathi has been a hospital all these years. It is only that it was not meant to be a general hospital. Could he tell the House whether what they are doing is repairing or rehabilitating the hospital because it is in dire need of a new face? Could he also tell the House what the acreage of the hospital is?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, with regard to the acreage of the hospital, that is a different question and I do not have the details as per now.
That is sufficient.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. The problem of hospitals not being taken care of is not only confined to Mbagathi Hospital. If you visit hospitals in Murang’a County, you find that most of them are in deplorable conditions and leave a lot to be desired. They have not had a coat of paint for a long time. What has the Assistant Minister done to make sure that they are properly maintained?
Order, Mr. James Maina Kamau. If you want to ask questions about Murang’a hospitals, please, direct a Question to the Assistant Minister with regard to that.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this problem is not only confined to Mbagathi Hospital. What are they doing to other hospitals countrywide?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we, as a Ministry, do have a budget for maintenance. Normally, the maintenance is done to all district hospitals, sub- district hospitals and even in referral hospitals. However, if you look at our budget, we have a problem because whatever this Parliament approves is not enough to renovate all health facilities in the country. We are trying our level best to renovate most of our health facilities.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this problem is not only in Mbagathi Hospital, but it is across the country. Many hospitals have no doors, windows and sometimes three patients of different sex share one bed. Doctors are going on strike. Could he tell the nation what programmes they have for the whole nation---.
Order! Mr. Duale, ask supplementary questions that are relevant to the answer given by the Assistant Minister.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir---
Order! Are you prepared to ask a question that is relevant to the answer given by the Assistant Minister or you want to make a speech?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to ask a question. I was building my case. What programme does he have for many hospitals, including Garissa General Hospital, in the country that have no doors, windows, and where three to five patients share one bed?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if you look at the mandate of the Ministry of Medical Services, one, it is to improve the existing infrastructures and put more infrastructures in place. We are also mandated to take care of human personnel in our health facilities. We, as a Ministry, have always been giving our proposals to the Ministry of Finance to allocate us more resources. However, our resources are very limited. We are trying our level best with the minimum resources at our disposal. It is a policy of the Ministry to renovate and put up more health facilities in this country.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, some of my colleagues says hospitals in their areas are in deplorable conditions. However, I hail from North Horr constituency, where there is no single hospital and no single medical doctor. My constituents have the trouble of travelling over 700 kilometres to visit the next Government in Marsabit County. My question to the Assistant Minister is: As a Ministry, what plans do they have for the rest of the country where we do not have a single hospital? Those Kenyans have been suffering since Independence.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if you look at the new Constitution, medical care is a right of all Kenyans. Since we are going to have a devolved Government, we have a policy that each County must have a Referral Hospital. We are in the process of upgrading some of the health facilities to sub-district hospitals. However, there are criteria which must be followed before we upgrade those health facilities. If it has been passed as a resolution by the Development Committee of every constituency, we would always look at it before we upgrade those facilities. It is our policy that we should decongest the referral hospitals, even the ones which are going to be built in each and every County.
Last question, Mrs. Odhiambo-Mabona!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, you notice from what the hon. Members are asking that most of our hospitals are in deplorable states, including those in Mbita and Lagdera.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am happy the Assistant Minister has acknowledged that under Article 43(1) of the Constitution, it is indicated that every person has the right to the highest attainable standard of health. From what the Assistant Minister has indicated, indeed, that hospital does not show that the Government is complying with that Article. When I visited the hospital, there was no sign of any such work going on.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, is he willing to accompany me, and hon. Shebesh and any other interested Member, to the hospital for us to confirm, whether those works are ongoing and, if so, when?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am ready to accompany the hon. Member any time. We, as a Ministry, are interested in health states of all Kenyans.
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I asked a very specific question. When? Is he the Assistant Minister in order not to answer my question?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in that case, could we go with him now?
It is up to you. The two of you should make up that decision.
Are there any statements that were due this morning from any of the Ministers? I want to confirm that.
Yes, indeed, there are questions due regarding the shooting of Ibrahim Ondego and Johnstone Nyamberi. There is also one on the settlement of IDPs on inhabitable land. That was requested by hon. Mututho from the Ministry of Lands.
So, Mr. Ojode, do you have your statement ready?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the one of the shooting of Ondego is coming tomorrow afternoon. That is what we agreed on.
The order shows that it was due today.
No. It is due tomorrow afternoon.
And the one from the Ministry of Lands.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, unfortunately, the Minister is not here. But I undertake to make sure he comes and gives the statement tomorrow afternoon.
Any requests? Next order!
Who was on the Floor? We adjourned on this Motion. Does anybody want to contribute?
Yes, Mr. Mungatana!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, first, I want to thank Dr. Otichilo, the Member for Emuhaya for bringing this Motion before the House at this time.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I also want to thank the Member who seconded!
Order, Mr. Mungatana! There is a procedural error on my part because the hon. Gitari was actually seconding at the time we left. Since he is not here, I need to put the Question before you can proceed.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to thank Dr. Otichilo for bringing this Motion to this House at this time. This Motion says in part that: “This House is urging the Executive arm of the Government to urgently formulate a Geo-Information Policy and establish a secretariat that will co-ordinate the development of a web based special data infrastructure at both national and county level in order to allow users to readily have access to data and information with line Article 35 of the Constitution.” Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the first point I want to make in support of this Motion is that after the passing of the new Constitution, things have changed in this country. There are things that need legislative and administrative changes. The legislative changes that we have started in this House are many. They are ongoing. However, in terms of the administrative changes to make this Constitution a reality, the Executive arm of Government has been lagging behind. It has not shown the commitment that is required to make sure that this Constitution becomes a reality. I say so because Article 35 has clearly stated that access to information is now a right for every Kenya citizen who is here or living outside Kenya. However, in terms of making this a reality, the Executive arm of Government has not moved with haste. Therefore, this House through this Motion has made yet another attempt at urging the Government to try and do what it needs to do to make sure that information is available to the Kenyan people. Whenever we try to computerize, make information available and bring transparency, the Government has always been reluctant in terms of implementation. A very good example is the IFMIS system of payment and transfer of funds within Government systems. If I recollect correctly, this system was purchased by the Government many years ago. In fact, it was purchased some time in 2002. However, it has taken the Government many years to try and implement this system. Why? The reasons are obvious. It was supposed to clear of any corruption or leakages when it came to transferring Government funds from one place to another. There were some officers within the Executive arm of Government who resisted this system year in, year out. They resisted it even after the Government had purchased it. They made sure that payments remained manual as possible. They did not want it to be computerized. The IFMIS started in Uganda many years before it came to Kenya. When it was working in Kenya, there were very many unhappy people. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this GIS that we want to put in place now to make a reality of Article 35, we know is something the Executive arm of Government knows it should be in place. The Syokimau debacle could never have happened if this system was in place. Any person who bothered to check in this system would have known whether this land was available for sale or not. They would have found out whether these pieces of lands were available for sale or not, before they purchased them. They would have known whether they were meant for industrial or residential development. All this information would have been there if the Government was committed to having this system in place. It is not that the Government of Kenya does not know that this thing should be there. However, they did not want it to be there. Through this Motion by hon. Otichilo, this Parliament is stating the obvious that the Government needs to put information in place, particularly so, at the county level. We, who, come from various counties, particularly the ones that are far flung, have issues attracting investments. When this system is in place, any investor, not only outside, but I am talking about specific investors from within the country, will feel free to come to our counties and invest funds if this information is in the Government system. There is a lot of money in this country. However, there is very little information. When Safaricom put its Initial Public Offer (IPO) for purchase of shares, there was over- subscription. This and other IPOs that came afterwards showed that in this country there is a lot of money. This money can be invested. However, our people do not have enough information. Until the Vision 2030 came into place, some of our counties were known only negatively. People know counties from the reports that newspapers give. Investors also know the counties from the information that they receive from newspaper accounts. As we all know, newspaper accounts will only report what is sensational. They will not say investors are required, for example, to nurture crocodiles in Tana River County. They will not tell you to establish a crocodile industry that will process crocodile meat. However, they will report consistently how the people are being eaten by crocodiles. They will not tell you about the benefits that can be accrued from the crocodiles in Turkana County. Instead they will report about wars in Turkana County. Some of these counties have a lot of potential in terms of development. However, this information is not available in the Government systems. It is not doing anything! Even when we passed the Constitution and said in Article 35 that information is supposed to be available, the Executive arm of the Government is not doing anything in that direction. In fact, it is very defensive. Every time you want information, even if you are an investor, you are not given correct information. So, from the county level, we want this Motion to pass. We really and sincerely want the Government to do something about putting proper information about some of these areas wherever we come from. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the secretariat should be established with the passing of this Motion which I want to urge this House to pass. This secretariat will go a long way towards making this a reality. We know that already there is an ICT secretariat in Kenya. If they would not want to set up a new secretariat for the purposes of this Article 35, then they must accommodate what we want in this particular Motion. Information is power. Many countries have developed because of information. Our nation lags behind because of lack of information. Even Kenyans who would have sold potatoes so much in Tana River County, they cannot because they do not know what is lacking or available there. By the passage of this Motion, this House will want the Executive arm of the Government to take the first step forward.
With those few remarks, I support
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this Motion. First, I want to thank hon. Otichillo. Hon. Otichillo is always bringing very good Motions in this House that contribute to the development of this country; this is yet again one of those Motions that speak about issues of the concern to ordinary Kenyans. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to note that one of the primary aims of the information system that is set is to help in planning. I want to speak very specifically about that. In this country, we behave as though we plan by accident. I do not know whether we still have a Ministry of Planning and whether it knows that in other countries people actually plan. It is very embarrassing to see a country where buildings come up and then we look for roads through these buildings. I do not know which miracles we hope to perform. We try and look for where the sewer and other systems will pass once the buildings are in place. I have contributed before in this House about experiences I have had in other countries like Botswana. At one time, we saw a whole field that was very nicely demarcated; we asked what it was all about and we were shown roads, poles for power and systems for water; after that planning, then people could build houses. However, in Kenya, we just build and then try and figure out where the roads will be. After we have done that, we go and attack poor and innocent Kenyans who have worked hard, who do not want to steal, who are not corrupt and we pull down their houses, because they built them on a road reserve. Where was the Government when they were building on a road reserve? Was the Ministry asleep? Really, if it was up to me, I would have disbanded that Ministry and created a new one with new people, who can take their work more seriously. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this country has many young people who are looking for jobs, and who can do excellent work. That is why I am very happy with the Motion that hon. Otichillo has brought here. It will force the planners to effectively plan, so that when we need all the information on planning, then you can actually google and see that where I want to build, according to the Government system, is actually a road reserve, a game park or a place that was designed for children to play on. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, one other reason why I think this Motion is very important is because it will enable us to reduce corruption. In this country whenever you want to get information from any Ministry, whether it is the Ministry of Lands or that of Immigration and Registration of Persons, that information is not readily available unless you are willing to part with a lot of money and this is so across the whole country. If you want to get information about your own land, you cannot get it because corrupt officials will not let you get that information. Now when we have this system, it will ensure that all the information is, as provided in the Constitution, availed at the click of a button. This will reduce corruption because a computer does not ask for a bribe. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in concluding, I want to say that I am happy that it will also facilitate the inclusion of marginalised groups in the development of this country, because it will give us information about gender and development. It will give us information about security, tourism and areas with potential for tourism like Mbita Constituency. Mbita Constituency is a place with a lot of potential for tourism. It is a place that has a lot of potential for development, but because this information is not readily available, then even investors cannot go there. This is information that is kept as a secret. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to thank the hon. Member and I duly support the Motion. I would want to tell the Government that we should not stop here. Once we support and pass this Motion, the Committee on Implementation should follow up and ensure that it is implemented within the life of this Parliament. With those few remarks, I support.
Before I call the next speaker, hon. Nkaisserry, who is going to be responding on behalf of the Government?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is a Minister here.
Minister, are you responding on behalf of the Government?
Yes, I will, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for the opportunity to also contribute to this very important Motion. I want to thank the Mover of the Motion, Dr. Wilbur Ottichilo, for thinking in this direction and in a long-term way. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we know very well that failure to plan is actually planning to fail; we all know that information is very important on anything. We need information in a developing country like Kenya on all sectors and aspects of whatever activities are going on including the lives of Kenyans. So, the Motion is a very important one, if we are to achieve some of the targets that we have set ourselves to achieve like the Vision 2030 and beyond. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have talked about whether there is planning in the country, but I would even like to go further and say that the planning we have by the Ministry of Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 which deals with the overall planning--- We should now even go further and say that there should be a strong recommendation that all sectors, departments and Ministries should have an element of planning. This is so that every aspect of planning that goes on can be brought down to the very small units. This is so that planning can start from the bottom rather than just coming up with ideas which are implemented without proper planning. This planning should even be in the stock exchange market which deals with selling of shares. The reason why we have had problems of people losing their money, for example, in Safaricom Limited, has been because of lack of proper information by those who were dealing in the shares. At the moment, we have got a Committee which is dealing with what took place in the country recently and is ongoing in some places. It involves Syokimau, Eastleigh and so on. It means that structures were put there without adequate consultation and planning. We learnt yesterday at one of the Committee meetings that the land around the airport, including Syokimau and so on, was gazetted in 1971 and allocated to the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) for the expansion of the airport. You can imagine what has happened after that. Whoever was issuing title deeds was doing so because he or she did not have adequate information. We did not have a place where somebody could access information very quickly. If the poor people who are losing their property and so on had information that this area had been annexed for the expansion of the airport, maybe they would not have ventured there. So, it is because of lack of information that you sometime find people going into a lot of expensive ventures where they end up losing.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, we have talked about tourism in general. We only talk about the sites which were known to Kenyans during the colonial days. You have talked about the sites in Suba. There are many attractive sites all over the country. There is a place called “Chavera” in my place where there is a rock with some footprints and it is believed that Jesus passed there. If we had this information, people would come and see whether it is true or not. There are very good sites from Maragoli Hills to the side of Bunyore which can be tourism attraction centres but Kenyans do not have this information. Recently, I visited a place in Mt. Kenya. Because of lack of information, in December, everybody is planning how he or she will go to the South Coast and North Coast in Mombasa. If you went to some areas with your family, you will stay comfortably. Those who have partners can go and stay exclusively in a natural place---
Everybody has a partner!
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I was just saying that there are some people who want to be alone and meditate. But sometimes you want to be in the company of others. So, you can choose. There is green vegetation---
Hon. Members, please, stop amusing the hon. Member who is speaking, so that he can contribute to the Motion.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, this Motion is very important because even the issue which sometimes we do not want to talk about here, that is, the youth, women and so on--- Sometimes you meet people who look at very short-term gains in markets and insist that if you do not finish with them at that time, it is like life is coming to an end. If you told somebody that you have his Kshs100 and you want to keep it for him and by the end of the year, it will be more, they do not want to wait, because they do not see the benefit. However, if they can have access to information where they can see that if you keep money in a place, after about five years, it will be this much and you can buy this--- That information is lacking because people wake up in the morning, go to market places, come back and do not even have a place where they can go and access some information. Planning of towns and so on in this country is very pathetic. We are now suffering a lot of traffic jams because of poor planning. We did not look ten or 20 years ahead. We are using roads which were built by the mzungu when the population of Nairobi was very low. The other day, the Minister was trying to answer a Question on the expansion of Thika Road and the problem experienced where other roads join. If it was done with proper planning earlier on, maybe it would have been better to try to open up all these places first before doing a major road which now creates a lot of blockage. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, we have also had a problem with disaster in this country. Right now, it is raining and we can see the kind of disasters that are happening. Water is killing people. If we had information and planned well for this water, we would not be having these disasters. We would be using this water to generate electricity, irrigate our farms and so on. So, this Motion will help us a lot in disaster management. With regard to planning in smaller towns, it is becoming funny for people who use Kisumu Airport and move to town. I do not know whether Bonny has experienced this. There is traffic jam at Kondele because of poor planning. It is a small town and now it is becoming impossible to move. So, if you want to go to the airport, you cannot reach there on time.
Kisumu is a city!
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, Kisumu is a city, but it is still small in terms of size. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, with those few remarks, I beg to support. The Committee on Implementation should move fast and have this Motion in place.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker. I rise in support of this Motion. I want to start by congratulating Dr. Ottichilo for bringing this Motion. He has now acquired a niche of bringing Motions that are not only enlightening us, as Kenyans, but also pushing Kenya towards catching up with the information age. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, the support of this Motion means that we are pushing the Government to set up a system that becomes a major planning tool. This is because with the Geo-Information System (GIS), we shall say goodbye to demolitions and excavation of roads to let water pipes or any other communication equipment to pass through. Everything will be planned and we move in an orderly way. Even the congestions in town, such as the immediate past speaker was talking about, will be minimized because everything will go on in an orderly manner. They say that if you do not plan, you plan to fail. So, this is allowing us, as a country, to advance in the way we plan our development. I was just thinking of the sort of questions that we ask in this House about allocation and reallocation by the Treasury. If we have this system in place, we will be able to track the allocated funds, their use and even with discretionary funds, we will be able to see how the discretion holders are spending those funds. In Ministries where there is infrastructure, there is always a discretionary fund which becomes a tool of those in authority to use as they please. If there is transparency in how they allocate, we are able to track what they are doing at the touch of a button. It makes people more careful in what they do. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I am also imagining about the fraud that is escalating through mobile phones, where we have been told that people in prison are perpetuating fraud, obviously aided unabated by those looking after them or people outside the prisons. With this sort of system, we will be able to track the owners of all mobile phones. We are moving towards having every purchase of a mobile phone registered. If we have such information and it is online, we are able to access it. Therefore, it will not take the time of the police to investigate who is the phone user for a phone that has perpetuated fraud. Things will become much easier. We may not eliminate wrongdoing, but our response time will be minimized.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I am also imagining the experiences people go through when they go to search for information at the Lands Registry. We hear the Government blaming the Syokimau residents who have been traumatized by the demolitions. All those around Nairobi and elsewhere, who have been traumatized by demolitions and evictions, when they go to search at the Lands Office, they are falling at the hands of fraudsters and given searches which are not authentic. When there is transparency in the way the information is stored and accessed, then the public is more likely to get accurate information. If there is any inaccuracy, the time to respond and detect it, is much sooner. This is a system that we needed like yesterday. That is why I began by congratulating my colleague, Dr. Ottichilo. Even at the Registrar of Companies, searches are still taking long. Registering companies is taking long because they too have to search for information to know that there is no other company by those names. They need certain details of people and have to liaise with other Government departments. When everything is on this system and the information is easily accessible, even Government offices will discharge their responsibilities well. This is a Motion that when implemented - I will not say if, because Parliament must force implementation of what it passes - will unlock the potential of this country. Recently, I asked a Question about the number of patients with fractures at the Kerugoya District Hospital and those needing metal appliances to fix their fractures. In supplementary, I asked the Minister regarding all our public hospitals. That is not information the Minister could stand there and give readily, but it is information that would have been available not just to the Ministry for purposes of planning, but even to us as legislators. We would not have spent the time asking the Minister information that is at our fingertips. This information would have helped the Government to formulate policy and to realize that by having people stay in hospital because they cannot afford the metal appliances that would fix their fractures, the Government ends up spending much more money on their upkeep. Therefore, it would make economical sense to supply all accident victims with that sort of treatment, so that they can leave the hospital beds for others. I am only saying this to underscore the importance of the GIS for purposes of planning. Today, the information available to us, even about our constituencies and any region in Kenya, can only be found in Google and we cannot complain whether Google is accurate or not. That is the information that we get. It is the only available quick information. How about us, as a country, providing this information to every Kenyan and to anybody who wants to know anything about Kenya? In procurement, what encourages rent seeking is the opaqueness. If you can track procurement online, it means it is open for everybody to see and it becomes much more difficult to try and seek to manipulate or alter the specifications or even to help alter for a preferred contractor when the process is on because it is exposed. This is about transparency, accountability and planning. This is a Motion that I would call on colleagues to pass, so that we not only fulfill the requirements of Article 35, but we do ourselves a favour for having a much desired planning tool. With those many remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, for the opportunity to make a few observations on this very critical Motion. I want to start by thanking the Mover of the Motion, Dr. Ottichilo, for bringing a very timely Motion and which is long overdue. Information gathering is very important because the information gathered enables the country or institutions to plan well for development. The information gathered requires to be disseminated, so that the implementers of the various projects are guided by it. I recall vividly the Mau Mau freedom fighters when they were fighting for the freedom of this country in 1950s. They had their command posts or information centres which were well coordinated and they were able to identify the enemies of the struggle for freedom. They were able to give names to the enemies of the freedom struggle who were at times called “ nyakeru”. These were the enemies of the freedom struggle. Therefore, this data centre is very important. It is, therefore, important to even recognize their role and those heroes and heroines who are remaining. This secretariat can accelerate that information, so that we can support those heroes. Accelerated data will quicken socio-economic and political development in our country. This information assisted the allied countries during the First and the Second World Wars. It was used by the Americans, the Japanese and even the European countries. The National Security data is very important. I recall that during the post- election violence in this country, the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) had produced information that was ignored by the Government. Expanded and well based information can stop unnecessary violence in our country. Countries that have invested heavily in this information like the United States of America, the Russians and the Israelis have made a big move in that direction. The creation of wealth is pegged on proper documentation of this information. We are talking about IDPs in this country but up to now, we cannot tell how many IDPs have been settled and how many have not been settled. The amount of land that has been procured and these people settled on is not known. Therefore, Geo-Information System will come readily to give that direction. Even the deadline for the settlement of the IDPs would have been given by this centre. We also have integrated IDPs in this country and their position and status are not known. The Ministry of State for Special Programmes would have been better placed to utilize this information. The national relief food supply in this country can be done very satisfactorily using this information. The Members of Parliament or even the Provincial Administration should not be going to the Ministry of State for Special Programmes or any other Ministry, to look for food. This data can also transform that information and the necessary will be done.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, on transport, we want to know how many buses are in this country. We want to know how many matatu vehicles and bodaboda motorcycles are there, so that the Government can have better ways of expanding the road network in this country. Therefore, the proposed secretariat will go a long way in assisting the development of this country.
Hon. Members, can you, please, consult quietly?
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, we have people who are fighting for land in this country. With proper information, we will know where land is available and whose land it is. Land grabbers will be locked out. It is also important to appreciate that those countries which are very advanced have created information secretariats, which guide the people. We want the proposed secretariat to be established in our counties. As we start the county governments, we want this secretariat to be in place. Information centres should also be started in primary and secondary schools, as well as in our universities. Therefore, enough funds should be set aside for this very important engagement. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I conclude by saying that this is a very timely Motion and should, therefore, be supported by all hon. Members.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I want to start my contribution by congratulating Dr. Ottichilo for coming up with a very timely Motion, and for doing the work that should be done by the Executive arm of the Government, which is formulation of policy. I want to go straight to areas which we should improve. I am going to narrow down on three areas. As I contribute to the Motion, I would like to take the opportunity to speak about climate change talks that are going on in Durban, Republic of South Africa. We also know that the conference of parties is taking place. In those talks, there is a critical issue about the Kyoto Protocol, and whether or not the Kyoto Protocol will be renewed. The Kyoto Protocol remains the only legal instrument through which African and developing countries have to hold the developed world to account. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, the Kyoto Protocol talks about mitigation by the developed countries by cutting down their greenhouse gas emissions, and adaptation by vulnerable countries like Kenya of the climate change mitigation initiative. I heard the Minister for Environment and Mineral Resources very clearly articulate issues in the Kyoto Protocol, but I would want to say that even as we speak with confidence about the Kyoto Protocol, without the kind of information that Dr. Ottichilo is talking about in this Motion, it would be an exercise in futility. If we do not have the kind of policy that gives us information to be able to plan, even if we achieve big protocols internationally, we cannot implement them. Let me speak specifically about disaster risk reduction. The issue of disaster risk reduction---
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Minister who is supposed to be replying to this Motion is not listening to what I am saying. Maybe, you should ask her to listen.
Hon. Minister, are you listening to the hon. Member? Who is the Minister who is going to respond on behalf of the Government? Please, Minister, listen to the hon. Member on the Floor.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, even if nobody else listens, I would like the Minister to listen because she will be responding on behalf of the Government. The Member for Rarieda should probably give the Minister a few minutes to listen.
I am speaking about the issue of disaster risk reduction, and it is one of the components that highly need the kind of geo-information policy that we are speaking about through this Motion. I am saying this because all the Ministries in this country must have a component of disaster risk reduction, especially Ministries that deal with the of food security. I am specifically talking about the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and the Ministry of Energy.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, if these Ministries do not have components of disaster risk reduction in their planning and policies, what happens is what happens every year in this country. A crisis is created. Food is not available. The maize crop in the last season failed because we did not look at the necessary information, which must have been available. If information was not available then, it must be made available. So, we always find ourselves dealing with crises. It is unfortunate that the policy on disaster risk reduction continues to lie somewhere in a cabinet. It has not been brought to the Floor of this House. We still have a climate change policy that has also not seen the light of the day on the Floor of this House. It continues to be moved from one Ministry to another. Therefore, what this Motion is talking about will probably help to address those critical issues. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, when we go to the issue of gender, we have been saying that we have information and data on gender. We have been saying that this information is available, and that it can help us look at critical areas where gender discrimination is being practised. This information may be available at certain levels but it is not available at the national level for everybody to look at, be they in the public or private sector. Certainly, it is not available at the county level. Again, this Motion is speaking critically to the issue of information on gender and development. I like the aspect of gender development, because we are not just looking at representation of women, but how women and men are playing equal participation in development in this country. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, lastly, I would like to speak about the issue of the youth. The young people of this country are techno savvy. They are people who know how to build very complicated ICT systems which are used internationally. Therefore, we are not lacking people who can come up with this kind of information. The days of Government using physical files are gone. You find that when a Government Ministry wants to look at something, they ask for a file. That is why we are seeing such a mess at the Ministry of Lands. Files are avenues for corruption. A file can disappear and information that is so critical disappears with that file. This Motion is speaking to a web-based spatial data infrastructure, both at the national and county level. What we are saying is that this information will never disappear. This information cannot be used for corrupt purposes. Where land is will be clearly stated and who owns it can be clearly stated. Where you can develop and where you cannot develop will be clearly stated. This can be done by the young people of this country who are trained and who are hungry for work. This is also the way to create work for our young people who are highly trained in ICT. With those remarks, I beg to support the Motion.
Thank you very much, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker---
Hon. Poghisio, I am told that you are not the one responding to debate. It is Dr. Shaban who will be responding.
That is correct, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker.
On a point of order, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker. This is a very serious Motion, and hon. Poghisio is the substantive Minister in charge of this particular sector. Would it not be good manners for Dr. Shaban to speak and then we allow hon. Poghisio to give us the substantive response?
Dr. Khalwale, hon. Poghisio is not the substantive Minister responsible for the matter before us. So, Dr. Shaban will respond to the Motion on behalf of the Government. Please, proceed, hon. Poghisio!
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I thank you for protecting me from my good friend, Dr. Khalwale. I stand to contribute and support this Motion. It is very interesting that I have to change my statement midstream. I want to start by saying that I support this Motion. I support it because I know that my Ministry will be enjoined in the matter contained in this Motion, and I thought it would be important for me to give it support very early. I would like to say that this has many advantages for the country, not just for information per se, but it also means that infrastructure, which is much needed in this country, will be built across the country to enable information to be collected, stored and disseminated. So, this is in line with the policy of the Government to make sure all parts of the country and all sectors of our economy are covered. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is very clear, as hon. Members have said that with the availability of data, we can do very many things. We will not have to go to historical things; but we can do very many things that are ahead of us. However, we will also be able to cross-reference very easily and enable the Government to be more efficient. So, this is not just for the hon. Members who are raising it but it is actually for the efficiency and effectiveness of Government as well. So, this will be part of e- governance and I do not want to pre-empt what my colleague will say when responding, but this is effectively an improvement on what we have thought about. I know that many hon. Members have raised the issue of the Ministry of Lands and the information there and the people being able to know which land is clear, which land has got encumbrances and so on. I think this is very good because this will be the easier way, less expensive and cost-effective because one does not have to travel to any office. There is one particular station – and now that the Government is setting up digital villages all over – it will be very easy for anybody in the village to go to a digital village and seek information, find information and apply that information effectively to their own purposes. So, I would not like to over emphasize the fact that this is a very important and quality Motion. I think hon. Members who bring Motions like this have to be congratulated because they are thinking on how we can improve the situation for all people. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I come from a very rural constituency and solving problems in a rural constituency is difficult if we have to do that physically or by walking to places or by driving to places. So, technology will come in handy in making sure that we do solve these problems. So, I want to congratulate not only the hon. Member, Dr. Ottichilo, for thinking about this, but also the other hon. Members who have contributed and wished well this Motion as it passes through the House. Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. Once again, I support this Motion.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I stand to support this Motion and just recollect that if, today, we are constructing the Thika Superhighway, then today must be the reason when we should decide to construct an infrastructure that will give us an information superhighway. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, Kenya is, indeed, a giant in matters of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and, therefore, we would not have to make any extra effort to create the prerequisite manpower that we would need to support this particular initiative because hon. Members will recall that, today, the mobile phone connectivity or users in Kenya are as many as 25 million. With this awareness of the ICT, it is a shame that we have not gone further and given our people an infrastructure of information from which they can operate. That we are such a giant in matters of ICT and we are still disorganized is a shame. We do not even remember that a small third world country like Kenya today is the one on the forefront in terms of being innovative on issues of ICT. You know we are the ones who are the brainchild or, rather, mobile money transfer is a brainchild of a Kenyan innovator. It is a shame that having been the leaders in mobile money transfer, even the little boy – I understand he is a boy from Kisii, I am not too sure and probably the Minister for Information and Communications is aware – who invented M-Pesa is not a celebrated hero in Kenya. I am told that he does not earn any royalties from this kind of innovation. If we were having this kind of infrastructure, then we would have recorded that this young man is actually the owner of this and he would be having the patent and would be earning royalties. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, because Kenyans like football, sometimes I sit before the television and listen to commentators of the English Premier League. You will be amazed at how much information these people have at their fingertips. You will find a commentator, when a goal is scored in the third minute, just on the spot like this, the commentator will tell the viewers that this goal that was scored through a back pass in the third minute was last scored in the 16th Century. You hear this and you really get impressed. Then, they will go further and say that Pele scored very many goals at the age of 21, and that kind of stuff. This is the case and yet when you come here, you will find that we do not even know how many clubs our celebrated Joe Kadenge played for, how many cups he won as a Kenyan player or how many goals he scored. Let us not just talk about sports. Let us talk about the National Assembly. We have a library here which is completely incompetent because you cannot go to that library and have quick access to information like the works of George Anyona, one of the most outstanding debaters in this House. You cannot have quick access to the works of Martin Shikuku, including the contributions made by one Gitobu Imanyara. To my mind, I believe that if we have this kind of instrument, then this invaluable information will be readily available and we will make positive use of it. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to talk about security in line with this Motion. If we had this kind of instrument, it would be very easy for you just at a flicker of a button to know the crime patterns in the country; which parts of the country are insecure; which parts of the city are insecure and then you will make an informed decision to visit those parts. This would also help the police to know which areas of our cities require more policemen at any particular time because they would know that if you go to Eastlands, for example, there are more instances of crime there, and they would post more police officers there. They would then say that the police officers who are wasted on the safer sides of the city like the Karen area and so on, for purposes of security, they should be concentrated either in the Central Business District (CBD) or the Eastlands side. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, because I can see that this Motion is capturing a lot of interest, let me conclude with my last point on the fight against corruption. If we want to fight corruption, we must pass this Motion. Hon. Mungatana has earlier on talked about the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS). The IFMIS is a move in the right direction. But the IFMIS that we are having at the moment is being rolled out half heartedly. In spite of it having been here for more than five years, we, at the Public Accounts Committee, still hear of situations whereby officers who are supposed to be conversant with IFMIS do not know how to use that system. It is half hearted to the extent that it only captures one side of the accounts. It is important that IFMIS should capture both revenue collection and revenue expenditure for it to be effective. We all know about corruption that has been going on with the donor-funded projects especially the free primary education. It is a shame that because of lack of access to information, the taxpayer is today refunding the World Bank Kshs2.5 billion that was stolen by officers who are alive, some are still in the office and others are half-heartedly being cosmetically put on half salary through interdiction and stuff like that when, in fact, all that was required was this kind of system to track all primary schools, how much money has gone to those primary schools, who is supervising the money, who is the head teacher, who is the Assistant Education Officer (AEO) or the District Education Officer (DEO). We must refuse, as a country that a payment, due to lack of information of Kshs347 million can be made as a refund to the World Bank without even Treasury caring to come to this Parliament and seek approval and, shortly thereafter, another Kshs63.7 million, all in refunds for monies that were embezzled by senior officers who are still in the Ministry. When Parliament raises the red flag, all the Executive does is to shuffle the officers. You will find that the Accounting Officer is moved from this Ministry to another one. We must fight corruption and to do so, we must pass this Motion.
With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Minister, your time is actually ten past eleven. So, let me allow Eng. Gumbo to make some contribution. If you could be kind enough to your colleagues, give them two minutes because the Minister would be responding at ten past eleven.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to take as little time as possible. Allow me to start first by thanking my good friend, the very learned hon. Member for Emuhaya, Dr. Wilbur Otichilo, for bringing forward this very useful and timely Motion.
I want to urge the hon. Member and Parliament in general that we should pursue this Motion strenuously so that as a useful product, we end up creating very interactive information portal that can serve the whole country. This Motion has come at a very right time because many things that we try to do even in our constituencies become difficult because there is very little information. I remember recently, we were sitting in our District Education Board (DEB) and we wanted very basic information where the issue of drop out of school girls from school came up and we just wanted basic information from the DEO where we wanted to know the number of girls that have dropped out of school due to pregnancy. We then came to the distribution of constituency bursary where we wanted to know the number of total orphans in our schools. This information is missing. I think that some of the basic decisions that we have to make at the level of the constituency within the areas that we come from, is this sort of basic information that we need. I also remember cases where we have sat in the District Food Security Committee and we just wanted to know accurate figures of those who are food deficient in the constituency but it is very difficult.
So, I support this Motion because we will be able to reach this useful information at our fingertips to be able to make key decisions. I laud my good friend, Dr. Khalwale, for bringing the issue of our heroes who have passed through here. In this year and age, it should be possible, for instance, if I want to know about Jean Marie Seronei. I should be able to just type the name Seronei and it should be possible for me to see both his contribution in text, audio and video. This is the area that we need to go. The other day, I got very embarrassed when I went to one of the schools. Normally when I go to schools, I try to dish out some quick quizzes and also reward those students who are alert. I was amazed that among the 40 candidates who were sitting for Kenya Certificate of Primary School (KCPE), there was no one seemed to know who the first Attorney-General of Kenya was. With that, it showed that there is a big gap and we need to be able to provide this information and make it available so that we can be useful.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, as I conclude, I think if we have an interactive information portal for the whole country, it will be one of the ways to try and fight the cancer of illiteracy which has dogged our country for a long time. As I walk around the countryside, I have noted that many problems that we have between Kenyan communities come as a result of misinformation. I remember that there is a day I was talking to one hon. Member and I told him the need for us to be more open minded in the way we go about electing our leaders, for instance. The impression he gave me is that he believes that if some communities in Kenya ascend to the presidency, even if you meet somebody relieving himself, they would tell you that you must wait until the Government finishes relieving itself. I think that kind of misinformation is what we need to erase from our minds and we can do that by using this information to particularly highlight the positive attributes of the different cultures of the Kenyan people. That way, we will be driving towards a lasting communal cordiality among our people and we will be driving towards achieving long lasting national cohesion. That one can only be possible if this information can be made available.
With those remarks, I support.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, first of all, I thank the hon. Member for Emuhaya for bringing up this Motion which is long overdue. The issue of information for planning is very key. Kenya hopes, through Vision 2030, to be a first world but we cannot reach that level if we do not have information on what is available and what is needed to arrive there. I want to say that what the hon. Member is proposing about special data infrastructure is very critical. As we are today, if you want information for agriculture, you have to go to the Ministry of Agriculture physically to get that information. That also applies to the Ministry of Gender and Children Affairs. What the hon. Member is saying is that we must bring this information together so that one does not have to go to the Ministry of Agriculture or Ministry of Gender and Children Affairs to get that information. As of today, we are struggling to resolve issues of land ownership and other things and I hope this system, if put in place, the land administration system will be easy and everybody will have access to that information. We do not have to go to the Ministry of Lands to get the search certificate or we do not have to get the maps from the Ministry of Lands. All that information should be in their system. If that happens, we will avoid situations like what is happening now. We will be able to manage all our resources like water. I do not want to say much but I want to support the Motion and say that once this Motion is passed today, the Committee on Implementation should ensure that it is implemented by the relevant Ministry.
Minister, it is your time but if you want to donate some of your time to other hon. Members, you may.
Much obliged, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Who do you want to donate to and how many minutes are you giving him?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I will donate three minutes to Mr. Namwamba and two minutes each to the rest.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker. May I also thank the Minister for the indulgence. I will be very quick because I only have a couple of minutes.
It is often said that information is power and that if you have access to information, you will make correct decisions and interventions that are ultimately useful to society. I represent a constituency that faces considerable environmental challenges. The Minister is aware of this because she has often grappled with some of these challenges. One of the challenges we have faced is being unable to have information that can enable those responsible to make quick decisions. One of the things that the Government has been able to do – I want to commend the Government even as it grapples with the possibility of setting up this system – is to establish an environmental data assessment facility in my constituency, Budalang’i. That can now enable the Ministry of State for Special Programmes to accurately gauge the risk of flooding and other environmental disasters and act appropriately. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the importance of this kind of system cannot be gainsaid. Whereas I know that it is going to take considerable resources to put this kind of system in place, I want to urge Government to start taking that first step as the Chinese say a journey of 1,000 miles starts with the first step. As we go into the process of preparing the Budget for 2012/2013, it will be a great step for the Government to set aside resources to get this process on track. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I support.
Capt. Wambugu, I believe you are the second Member that the Minister donated her time to.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I also stand to support the Motion. I first want to congratulate my brother, Dr. Otichillo, because of his good work and this small piece of policy that he is trying to get in place, especially at this time when the Constitution gives Kenyans the right to access any information that they require.
We have a lot of research work that has been done in this country. Very many good documents have come from the universities and other research groups, but because of the way that information has been stored, Kenyans have not been able to get access to it. However, I believe if that information is stored in the system that is being proposed, we will be in a position to utilize that information to the maximum.
In terms of agriculture, we have a rich country, but unfortunately, many of us are not able to use land we have because we do not know what type of soil is in our farms. Every time we want to do anything, we have to go through a very long process, like going to the test laboratories in the Ministry of Agriculture and so on. That information could have been stored in a system a long time ago in such a way that one would only be required to access the website to know, say, what type of crops to grow. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, with regard to planning, now that there are demolitions going on in Syokimau and in other parts of the country, if the information on land use was stored in a central data facility, then you would know, when applying for a title deed, what type of use the land has been planned for.
With those few words, I beg to support.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, first, I want to congratulate Dr. Otichillo. I also want to thank the Minister for allowing us to contribute. I have a few points that, probably, would show that I appreciate the request for information. Last time, I asked a Question here about an airstrip in Murang’a, yet the Minister could not locate it. We had to go out literally and look for it. With this kind of information available, the Government will be able to accelerate planning. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, when we visited Turkana where there is talk about shortage of energy, we realized that wind and solar could be very big resources for centres in northern Kenya. We would not have to rely on hydro-power when we have solar and wind in plenty in the northern part of Kenya. Unfortunately, maybe, some departments do not have that kind of information. We are talking about human settlements in the urban areas. Unplanned settlements have become a problem in this country. We have slums. There are no schools; there are no health centres and land tenure is an issue. If this information is provided to the relevant departments and to the communities, much more would be achieved in planning and in accelerating the development of this country. We have cultural centres spread all over the country which we do not know about, yet we are talking about eco- tourism. If this information is provided to the relevant groups, then we could do a lot to promote tourism in our country.
We have been talking about security in our country. Do we have enough information? Do we know which roads and routes are accessible by our forces? In supporting this Motion, I would like to request the Government to take it seriously and carry out implementation without delay. With those few remarks, I support the Motion.
Mr. Kivuti, you have to plead with the Minister if you want to speak. It is her time.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, let us also allow hon. Kivuti some two minutes.
Hon. Kivuti, you have been allowed two minutes of the Minister’s time.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I stand to support the Motion. I also thank Dr. Otichillo for bringing this matter up. When we talk of geo-spatial information, we are literally talking about land information. Land information system in Kenya is what would solve a myriad of problems in this country. We have 24 laws relating to land in this country and they are not all coherent. In those laws, land is controlled in different ways. It is only through the establishment of a proper Geographic Information System (GIS) that we can harness all the tenets of the five dimensions of geo-spatial management in this country. We can actually do big business in geo-spatial information. How? If you look at the tax regime in Kenya, a big percentage like 30 per cent is collected by local authorities compared to what is collected from all the other businesses that are actually geo-spatial. All the taxes are geo-spatial related and the local authorities only collect about 30 per cent. We can use the GIS to collect taxes for the central Government and the local authorities. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Ministry of Lands could be a controller. This is because when setting up this system, if we do not include the public private partnership (PPP), the system may not work. Why? To control a GIS requires a lot of integrity, and that is what has been lacking in the lands offices. When you bring in the private sector, you will have the players who bring in the data, which is now locked up in wherever place. We will then let the Government be the regulator. I wish we could have this system in place, at least, in the next six months. If we do it the PPP way, the Government will not need to spend any money to establish the system. The infrastructure for this system is already in place in the Ministry of Information and Communications. We have already confirmed that with the Minister. With those many remarks, I support.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. First of all, I want to congratulate Dr. Otichilo for bringing this Motion. I do believe the time has come for us to embrace geo- information. That is the only way forward for us. The Government has already embraced this concept. In almost all our primary and secondary schools, our children are studying Information Technology (IT). We have equipped our schools with computers. I believe we are moving in the right direction by promoting e-learning in our schools and other learning institutions. I do agree with all my colleagues who have spoken before me on the issue of information technology. We need to embrace this technology because it is useful in many areas, be they in health, land administration and management, gender development, security and safety systems. I just want to touch on a few issues before I conclude my contribution. The prevalence of diseases in our country would have been dealt with better if we embraced this technology. We could map areas where these diseases are prevalent and help our people to take the necessary precaution. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, my colleagues have spoken passionately about land administration. Some of us who do not come from where the issue of squatters is a big problem may not understand this. Land issue is very emotive and we need to address it seriously if we have to move ahead in development. Currently, we have professional squatters because of lack of land administration system in this country. These are people who move from area to another. Everywhere they go, they are resettled. Because of lack of information, they keep on running from one place to the other looking for land to settle. If Government wants to resettle people, with the help of this system, it is easy to get their names. We can only deal with this problem if we have information system on land management. The other day we saw the Permanent Secretary looking for files which had moulds in the Ministry of Lands. Most of the officers were not amused because they were the ones who actually hid those files. It is important for us to embrace this technology to deal with such issues. I would like to address myself to tourism industry in this country. The branding of our country is so important. We cannot talk of how successful our tourism industry is if we do not talk about branding our country. There are countries with less attraction sites or animals but they are doing better than us. Why? It is because they know how to market their country. This can only be done if we aggressively market our country. We have to avail information about our country so that we attract more tourists. This country is rich in natural resources. However, this information is not available to many people because of lack of information system in this country. Most of our people and even tourists do not know what is available in Kenya. If we embraced this technology, we would go far in marketing our country as a tourist destination. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, our air transport is not one of the best in the world. The other day, we were stranded in Marsabit for about three hours. We were on our way to North Horr Constituency. The pilot told us he could not land in Mikona. In fact, he took three hours finding information on that airstrip. The public officer who accompanied us assured him that, that airstrip had been rehabilitated and that we could land there, but he could not believe him. If we had this technology in place, we would not have taken that long. I did not blame him, he was trying to find information which he did not have. Finally, he had to overfly the place to see and confirm for himself that he could land. So, we landed in Mikona in North Horr Constituency. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have a Kenya National Bureau of Statistics in our country. At the moment, they have already started working on this information system. I do agree that we need to computerize all Government departments so that we share information. I will want to ask Dr. Otichilo to bear with us. We might not need that secretariat he was talking about because it is already in place. The Government will table a policy paper on the Floor of the House so that we embrace this technology. We do not need to duplicate our departments. The departments are there; they just need to be strengthened. I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. First, I want to take this opportunity to thank the Government, particularly the Minister for supporting this Motion. Madam Minister, I am very happy for what you have said and for the commitment you have said that already the process is in place to put this infrastructure in place. I, therefore, hope that you will move with speed and have this data infrastructure in place. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this country has never moved forward because we have not taken data and information as the most important ingredients in planning and decision making. We have allocated so much money to various programmes, building schools, roads and health facilities. However, we have forgotten the most important ingredient to planning is data and information. Most of the programmes we have been involved in are donor-funded or locally funded. They have not succeeded because of poor planning. How can we plan without proper information? That is why you will find that most of our projects, even at the constituency level, are not based on information. They are based on personal interests. We want this country to get into the culture of using information as a planning tool in the new constitutional order. As we move towards the county governments you realize as of now the counties have no information. As we chose the governors and the administrators of the counties, we will not be able to come up with a solid programme of development unless we set up a data infrastructure that will describe the potentials of various counties. We need to ask ourselves: What can these counties do? What is available or what is lacking? We need to start to build these data infrastructures, so that as we get into the county governments, we will be able to use information for rational decision-making. We, as a country, must move away from decision-making based on personal interests or personal whims. We should now go to a planning process where we will use data as barometer. Data is the tool that will show us where we should be going. The establishment of a GIS will solve this problem. This is a technology that has been developed very well in the world. In Kenya, we already have so many young people who are already trained in this system. So, we are not saying that this is a technology that we will build afresh. It is technology that is with us. Therefore, what we, as a Government need is to come up with is a policy. We must say that data is as good as building schools and health facilities for our people. Information as all of us know is power and without information you can do very little. Therefore, we need to build an infrastructure of information so that it can be accessible to everybody. As per Article 35 of our Constitution, everybody is now allowed access to information. We shall not be able to access information if the current information is not accessible. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if you try to get information on anything, most of the information in various Ministries and departments is in files. You can never get access to it. We must remove this information from the files and put it on a computer- based system. We must put it on a web port so that anybody can have access to information everywhere in the world. If we do this, it is going to improve the marketability of this country. Most investors want to invest in this country but they cannot invest because most of the time they do not have information on this country. They have to come to Kenya to look for this information. With this system, investors will have access to information wherever they are in the world and they will know what opportunities this country is offering in terms of investment. They will come here knowing exactly what it is they can invest in and who they can contact. This is a very important system and many countries that are now developing very fast, be it in the Far East, this is a system they have installed and they are considering information as a major national asset. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, my friend and brother Dr. Khalwale here talked about corruption. Let me tell you, we shall not eliminate corruption in this county unless we have information and data available on everything that we are doing in this country. If the information is readily available and everybody can access it, corruption is going to be very difficult to practise. Setting up this information will create a transparent system where everybody can access information and monitor what is going on. Whatever is going on, be it at the constituency level or wherever, people will be able to access it. Now, we can get this information even on mobile phone system. A GIS system can work on a mobile phone system. So people will be able to access information wherever they are. Therefore, they can make decisions wherever they are. Members of Parliament, decision makers whether in Europe or wherever, will be able to conduct the activities and businesses of their Ministries because they will have access to information to make decisions very fast. Finally, this system, if installed is going to improve knowledge creation in this country and knowledge management. Knowledge is now a major commodity of the 21st Century. With the GIS system created and with all this information available, research and development is going to thrive as a business. Our youth are going to get into creation of information as a business. They will use information to create employment. Therefore, information will turn from being a commodity that can only be used for decision making to a commodity that can create employment. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am very happy that most of the Members who have contributed on this Motion have supported it. I am particularly very impressed and happy with the Minister for supporting this Motion and for committing that they are going to bring a Motion on the Floor of this House so that we can discuss it and this process can commence. I am also happy that she has already indicated that the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics has already embarked on this process. It is vetting the team so that they can work on this. With those many remarks, I want to thank everybody who has contributed on this Motion.
Next Order! Yes, Dr. Khalwale, please, proceed! Who will be responding for the Ministry of Agriculture? Mr. Kareke Mbiuki you are here!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg for your indulgence that before I move this Motion, this is the first Motion I am moving since the just ended by-election in Kitutu Masaba. Allow me to use this opportunity to congratulate Mr. Walter Nyambati and more importantly to congratulate the voters. This is especially the voters of Odiado Ward in Funyula who overwhelmingly voted for New FORD(K), the voters of Matayo’s who overwhelmingly voted for New FORD(K) and the voters of Matulo Ward in Webuye who overwhelmingly voted for New FORD(K). We thank them. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to move the following Motion:- THAT, aware that tea farming is the leading foreign exchange earner in Kenya and that Kenya’s tea is the most popular the world over for its consistent high quality---
Just a moment please, I want to follow what you are reading. Please, start afresh!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to move the following Motion:- THAT, aware that tea farming is the leading foreign exchange earner in Kenya and that Kenya’s tea is the most popular the world over for its consistent high quality and considering that most tea factories owe colossal amounts of money in terms of loans to various financial institutions in the country, concerned that these loans impact more heavily on the small scale tea farmers who contribute highly towards tea export, concerned further that, if these loans are not either waived or written off tea production may be compromised both in quality and quantity thereby impacting negatively on our GDP, this House urges the Government to take over all the outstanding loans owed to the respective financial institutions by the tea factories so as to spur economic growth, sustain the tea quality and quantity and further make the small scale tea farming more profitable.
Just a moment Dr. Khalwale. I want this for clarity so that we can plan how to move this methodically. I am just being informed that Mr. Kabogo has suggested close to ten amendments but they are almost typographical, they are small and you are in agreement. If that is so, then I will allow you to read the Motion as amended so that when the time comes for him to move, we will not have to go through the process of voting twice. They are very minor and from what I am seeing here they all relate to adding the word, “coffee”. So if you have considered this, the two of you, and if you are in agreement, rather than go through the entire process of just adding one word after every three lines, and I see it has already been introduced in writing, would you like to look at it and then move it as amended so that that it is the Motion before the House?
Thank you Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. Indeed, we have consulted with hon. Kabogo. Just like me, hon. Kabogo fights for the poor farmers in his constituency and in Kenya on coffee. So, we are in agreement that I can read his Motion.
You will replace what is on the Order Paper with this so that we can move on straight to moving the Motion.
Yes, but is that procedural, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker?
Give me a moment! I just want to look and see whether there is anything substantially different.
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir.
It is clear now. Just proceed. Move it and then you will amend it as you go on.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I wish to congratulate the farmers of Kenya for sustaining our economy. I wish to congratulate the farmers of Kenya for being the ones that enabled me to get a salary at the end of the month. Because of that, I want to appeal to my colleagues that this little commitment that we will give them, for the next two hours, we give it to them and allow our farmers to enjoy the fruits of their sweat. Since the final underwriter of laws in this country is the President, I want to appeal to him to remember the tea farmers of Othaya who have sustained him in politics for 50 years. The real gift he can give them, as he leaves to go into retirement, is to allow these loans to be written-off by His Government so that happy as he is in retirement his age mates, who are also farmers can also enjoy not by going to his home for handouts but by earning from their sweat. So that I am not misunderstood, I appeal to the House that this Motion, on the face of it looks like we want to write-off loans. That is a small picture. The big picture is that this Motion seeks to achieve ten great things for Kenya and for Kenyans. The first thing is that we want, through this Motion, to give a clear incentive to small-scale tea farmers who comprise 75 per cent of all the tea produced in this country.
We also want to sustain the production of high quality tea which, by the way, is used in the whole world for blending because Kenyan tea is the best quality in the whole world. Through this Motion, we seek to maintain and further Kenyan’s pridal place as the producer of large quantities of tea. We further, in this Motion, seek to expand our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and, indeed, spur the entire economy. We further seek, through this Motion to contribute to the strengthening of the battered Kenyan currency. If we increase the amount of tea we are selling in the international market, it attracts foreign exchange and in the process, it strengthens the Kenya Shilling. This is how crucial this Motion is. Further, through this Motion, we intend to increase jobs in the tea industry. Today, the tea industry employs 3 million young people. If this Motion sails through, I have done arithmetic on the computer and it is clear in my mind that we will create a further 7 million jobs and you can imagine what we will do to our youth who are leaving universities and other institutions of learning if there is an extra 7 million jobs. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, tea farming is not done in Mombasa and in Nairobi City neither is it done in Kisumu City. It is done in the very rural areas, where the people we represent, as Members of Parliament, live. So, if we pass this Motion, we will reduce rural poverty and reduce rural-urban migration. Finally, through this Motion, we want to give an opportunity to the concept of county governments. Counties with tea factories will have an opportunity to have a stable economic base through which they can become more autonomous and contribute to the larger national economy. That I am asking the Government to take over these loans is nothing new. It is the trend that is invoked worldwide. Recently, I came from the US and I was privileged to be with Madam Speaker on that trip. You will remember when we were there, the big news was how the Obama Government was bailing out corporations. The Obama Government has bailed out Chrysler, the motor car producer. The Obama Government, when we were there, you and I, you heard, had given US$500 million, equivalent to Kshs50 billion to Solyndra. So, to ask our Kenya Government to take over these particular loans is doing something that is modernistic and futuristic and that is where we want the leadership of Kenya to take our people. I would like, at this point, so that Members realise the crucial role that this sector plays in our economy, to make a few highlights on what our tea farmers are doing. Number one, tea farmers were the number one foreign exchange earner for this country. We earned Kshs97 billion from tea farming. In fact, we overtook tourism. Now, compare the amount of investment that the Government puts in tourism with the little we are asking of them; taking over these loans! It makes more sense to leave the investment we have made in tourism where it is and the savings we make, we pay off these small loans so that our farmers can take it as an incentive. The gross revenue that we got from this farming was Kshs54.6 billion up from Kshs51.7 billion that was earned in the previous year. Our farmers earned Kshs30.5 billion in the year 2010/2011 compared to Kshs28 billion which they earned in the previous year. The monthly payments that enable our farmers to put food on their tables, buy uniform for primary school children, buy text books and small things like pencils for our children, farmers were paid a whooping Kshs10 billion. Indeed, we must do everything possible to retain tea as the number one foreign exchange earner having overtaken tourism. I cannot conclude this Motion without sharing with Members those things that we can do so as to expand the performance of tea because I have talked of an ambitious 7 million new jobs. If we want to achieve the 7 million new jobs, we cannot get it simply by taking over the loans, as a Government. We could do more and there is plenty of room, for example, management of the monetary policy at the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). The CBK should develop a better monetary policy which is favourable for foreign exchange rates. This is a huge challenge if what has been going into the volatile forex market is anything to go by.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, there is room for us to do more research at our universities and agricultural research institutes to ensure that the quality of tea which is planted in Kenya is improved. Thirdly, we can upgrade and modernize the production process in all our factories, so that production is cost-efficient. How do you make production cost- efficient? There are huge avenues, namely, making fertilizer cheap. Short term basis of making fertilizers cheap is to subsidize, the way we do for cereals. However, we could go further because there is plenty of room. We could build a local fertilizer producing factory. This is not difficult. In places such as Nyanza and Western provinces, where we produce a lot of sugar, there is a lot of manure that comes from the sugar factories. These could be used for purposes of creating a fertilizer factory that can be improved through other ingredients by experts to ensure that we are self-reliant in producing our own fertilizer. What a shame? A small little economy like Zambia has its own fertilizer producing factory. Why should we import fertilizer?
We can make labour a bit cheaper for the farmers. The way to make labour cheaper for farmers is to ensure that workers are paid in line with the productivity. So, if farmers are not overwhelmed with these loans, then they will pay better to the workers. Everybody will be happy. For the large scale farmers like hon. Kosgey and I, we can use plucking machines.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, the other area where we can become cost- efficient is on the issue of transport. A lot of tea is wasted because the roads are poorly maintained. It is important that the Government goes out of its way to ensure that all roads in tea producing areas are tarmacked, tea is collected on time and spillage is reduced.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, our farmers all the way from region one in Embu, Kiranyaga, Kiambu in Central Province, Kisii in Nyanza Province, Western Province and Rift Valley, are choked by cost. They are dying. In fact, for an MP who comes from a tea producing area, he gets embarrassed to talk about the comparative payments that are there in the country. There is a factory called Mogogosiek and another factory called Kapkorios. Kapkorios earned a whooping Kshs1.5 billion last year while Mogogosiek earned a whooping, Kshs1.2 billion. But what happened? All those billions were eaten up by those loans that are killing these farmers. Farmers in Mogogosiek and Kapkorios were paid a mere Kshs33.50 and Kshs34.40 per kilogramme as bonus respectively. Compare this to what happened in Makomboki Factory in Murang’a County. They were paid Kshs45.15 per kilogramme as bonus. They were paid so much money that the Government had to send there special police to keep off twilight girls because they were going to confuse farmers who were having so much money.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, if I was in Government, I would not have allowed that, because even farmers also have a right to enjoy. What is important is that those girls who are being harassed, not all of them are prostitutes. Those girls are professionals. We have to manage this industry because that is the world. We cannot discriminate against certain Kenyans. We have got to be very honest. These are our own children. We failed to give them jobs, and then we start harassing them. It is very unfortunate!
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I want to go to the sad case of my own home. My own factory, where I deliver my own tea, in Mudete Tea Factory and Kapsara Tea Factory; the only tea factories in the Luhya land, we were paid Kshs25 per kilogramme and Kshs29 per kilogramme, respectively. Why is this the case? It is because of the high cost of constructing those ultra modern factories in those areas. It is important that we write off these loans, so that our people are set free. That is what Dr. Martin Luther King used to call economic emancipation. There is no point of enjoying political emancipation when our people are not enjoying economic emancipation.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, having said that, I want to appeal to the Government and the Government is ably represented here today, by the hon. Mbiuki. Hon. Mbiuki, you are a young man with a very bright future. I am looking forward to this young man who is paying mothers Kshs5,000 to give birth, something which by the way I support. However, be aware if we do not pass this Motion, then those children that you are supporting to come forth into this world will be nothing but just beggars. They will be standing outside shopping centres begging. That is not the way to take the Government. I beg you ask your Government to support this. For this reason, I beg to move and ask Mr. Gitari to second.
Hon. Khalwale, your time is up! Who is seconding.
I invite the youngest Member of Parliament, hon. Gitari, Member of Parliament from Kirinyaga to second my Motion.
Is he the youngest!
There is no relationship, hon. Khalwale, between height and age.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker. I rise to second this Motion by my learned friend, Dr. Khalwale, except on the issue of twilight girls.
Order, hon. Gitari! Dr. Khalwale is not a learned friend. As far as my English is concerned, there are only certain people who are referred to as “learned”?
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, with the new Constitution we paid---
On a point of order, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker. It is important that we continue using parliamentary language in this House.
Dr. Khalwale is not a learned friend. You cannot refer to him as a learned friend. He is a doctor in medicine. The people who are normally referred to as learned are in the legal profession.
On a point of order, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker. I beg to differ. The issue of being learned is the issue of going to school, like I did. I have two degrees. So, I count myself learned. This is not a legal firm. This is the House of the National Assembly of Kenya.
What is your point lastly on this matter?
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I think it is known to all of us that the term “learned friend” is used by lawyers while referring to other lawyers. To the best of our knowledge, Dr. Khalwale is a medical doctor and a gynaecologist. I am sure that term cannot be extended that far.
Thank you and that is my understanding. Hon. Khalwale, you may be schooled, but you cannot refer to yourself as a learned friend. That is a very specific terminology used by lawyers. Hon. Gitari, please, continue with your contribution.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, thank you for your direction. But soon we will bring a Motion in this Parliament, so that all of us can be learned friends since we have all gone to school.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, what I was saying is that I beg to second this Motion by my friend Dr. Khalwale, save where he referred to twilight girls. I do not support him on that. Let me use this podium to remind my friend Dr. Khalwale---
What is it that you do not support about the twilight girls?
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, if we were in the Government, he would have said that they should not be harassed. That is the only part I am not supporting.
So you want them to be harassed?
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I want the Government to use its machinery. I also want to use this opportunity to remind my friend Dr. Khalwale that he owes the people of Kirinyaga Central an apology for coming to support my opponent during the by-election. This Motion needs to be supported by all of us. It is important to urge the Executive arm to know what happens on the ground and understand the feelings of the farmers. We want the Government to support farmers by waiving the loans by farmers. We know that farmers are heavily burdened. We know that they have loans from financial institutions. With the current inflation and the rise in interest rates, most farmers face auctioneers day in, day out. So, my plea is that we support this Motion, so that we cushion farmers. This is not the first time that this is happening because we know that in times of adverse effects, this Government has been handy in cushioning our farmers. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, as a way forward, let us empower tea producers, so that production is guaranteed instead of waiting to rescue them when it is already too late. It is high time that the Government came with a policy because as Dr. Khalwale has said, when we went to the UK, the Government was cushioning some people. Kenya will not be the same because farmers in more developed parts of the world are cushioned by their governments, especially when affected by bad weather. In Kirinyaga County, for example, we have five tea factories. Farmers are owed Kshs4 billion. Just the other day, they received their bonuses. However, January next year, they will borrow money from banks and SACCOs. So, by end of January, they will be owed Kshs2.4 billion. Some of us who come from tea farming areas have come this far, including to Parliament, because our farmers went to the banks, got loans and educated us. It is now our chance to give back to the community. We are urging the Government to waive the loans. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, due to increase in interest rates and the cost of living, it will be a good thing to cushion farmers. This is because unless we cushion the farmers, we will leave them to be beggars, because by June auctioneers will be waiting for them.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I have said that some of us like hon. Kareke Mbiuki, the Assistant Minister, come from a place where a lot of tea is grown. It will be a great thing for him to consider this Motion, because we know what is happening from the places that we come from. Farmers are burdened. They cannot afford to pay school fees. So, what are we producing in Kenya? If these farmers are unable to take our brothers and sisters to school, then we expect in another five years to have very many people who are uneducated and they will turn to crime.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, this has been done previously. Although this Motion is for effecting an amendment, we know that this House in the past has passed that coffee farmers be cushioned, although that was not enough. So, we will not be doing it for the first time. What we are saying is that we can also cushion the tea farmers, so that when they are doing tea farming they can learn from the basics and make the tea sub- sector more productive. It can just be like any other business.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if the Government comes in and rescues the farmers this time, then by the end of the first quarter of next year, when the interest rates will be regularised, they will be able to pay.
I beg to second.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker for allowing me to catch your eye. I rise to support this very important Motion, but I do so with an amendment which, I would want to move and contribute at the same time. I beg to move that the Motion be amended as follows:-
“by inserting the words “and coffee” after the word “tea” wherever it appears in the Motion, and by deleting the word “is” appearing immediately after the word “farming” in the first line and replacing it with the word “are”. That amendment will be supported after my contribution by hon. Mwathi.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I support this Motion because it is meant to help the farmers of Kenya, more so tea and coffee farmers. Many years ago, coffee and tea were the largest foreign exchange earners in the Republic Kenya. However, due to the debt burden and other technical inputs, coffee and tea have become minor contributors of foreign exchange. If the debt relief is given to both tea and coffee farmers, it will go a long way in helping the industry. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, you will have noticed in the recent past that coffee and tea farmers are abandoning coffee and tea farming and going into the more lucrative real estate development. This is purely because the earnings in farming are less than those in the real estate industry. So, taking over debts of coffee and tea farmers will come a long way in boosting coffee and tea farming, which will bring in foreign exchange which is vital. You have seen in the recent past how the Dollar, Euro and other major currencies have behaved. If we had lots of coffee and tea exports, this would cushion the Dollar and retain all the international currencies at levels that are reasonable for international trade. You will also see that in developed countries like the United States of America (USA), the production of milk and farm produce is far beyond what those countries can use. Those countries give subsidies to farmers. You will find dairy products in USA stored for 20 years. The Government goes to the extent of funding storage of food for 20 years. When the produce is good here, you will find that farmers have to part with their produce at very cheap or low prices. In those countries you will find that prices are almost stable because the Government comes in to subsidize farmers and so, farming becomes a continually productive exercise. You will also see that if people abandon tea and coffee farming in the Republic, we will be saying: “To hell with employment of our youth and people in the rural areas.” This is because, for example, in Kiambu County where there is a lot of coffee, people are uprooting coffee now to build houses for sale. You will see that coffee has employed people right from when I was born in the 1960s up to now. The same plantation is employing the rural community, but when the Chinese companies come to take over and build real estate, they come with their own labour. Therefore, it is important to cater for tea and coffee farming for the purpose of employment of our youth and the people in the rural constituencies. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, with those few remarks, I want to move the amendment and ask the Member for Limuru to second it.
We need to dispense of with the amendment, so that we can discuss the substantive Motion.
Yes, hon. Mwathi!
Thank you, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker. I rise to second the Motion as amended.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, in so doing I want to briefly state that I hold this unique position. I am the Member of Parliament for a constituency where there is both tea and coffee. I am very well aware that both of these crops are very important to small-scale farmers in the whole country.
Secondly, I just want to remind the House and hon. Members that at one time we had the coffee boom. Coffee was a leading foreign exchange earner sometime in this country. The earnings that we got from coffee at that time were used to put up educational facilities, commercial centres and infrastructure like roads. Indeed, the Great North Road was a beneficiary of money earned from coffee. For those of us who went to school around that time we had the coffee boom, we were supported in payment of school fees by coffee produce.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, we also have small-scale coffee farmers who grow coffee. These people have problems dealing with their loans, just like tea farmers. Like I said, I have knowledge about the two crops because they are grown in my constituency.
At the same time, I want to associate myself with the sentiments of hon. Kabogo when he says that farmers who have had coffee for a long time are uprooting it in favour of real estate. That is only happening where we are very close to commercial centres and the City. In the far flung areas where coffee is still grown, people are suffering because they still have the crop, but they experience the weight of the debts, so that they do not get enough proceeds from the bonus that comes from the sale of the crop. As I conclude, I want to state that other than the debts that we have, we need to create a situation where we can weed out brokers in the tea and coffee sectors. Once we are done with them, the direct benefits to the farmers will increase. That may not be done today, but I intend to bring a Motion to deal with that sector.
With those many remarks, I beg to second the Motion as amended.
( Question of the first part of the amendment, that
We are now debating the Motion as amended. I will put the Question at the end.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, for the opportunity to participate in this very important debate on the Motion. I wish to start on the outset by congratulating the Mover of this Motion who is not here now, but nevertheless, he has done well for the people of Kenya and, more so, for the many farmers out there who have educated their children and fed their families through the growing of coffee and tea. As you know, in the recent years, we have had significant challenges in these two crops and I think this Motion is very timely because it gives us the opportunity to address some of the challenges that are facing these crops. From the outset, it has been proven that growth in the agricultural sector is the surest way for us to provide employment for our young people back in the rural areas. We have had arguments that we can start factories and industries, but all those can only be found within the urban centres. If we are to provide employment in the rural areas, then we must empower our people and more importantly, support the cash crops that are found in these areas to employ our people. These two crops face a very serious challenge. As has been the case for a very long time, Kenyan tea is sold in bulk and it is not branded. Therefore, if you go to Europe, Asia and all these other countries, you will never see tea that is made in Kenya. It is used to blend other lower quality teas from Malaysia, Pakistan and all these other countries and you will find it in the Western countries under all these other brand names. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, the Member has indicated our tea as being of the highest quality, if you go to the Western countries and you want to have a taste of this very high quality tea, you will never see it. It has been blended and called other names. Therefore, our biggest challenge should be to get our Kenyan tea as Kenyan tea in coffee and tea shops out there, so that we can maximize. Today, tea from Rwanda, Burundi and a bit of Tanzania, for example, which is of very low quality, once it is blended with Kenyan tea, it lowers the Kenyan brand. We must add value to our tea and make sure that it is sold as Kenyan tea out there and that people know and appreciate the value of Kenyan tea. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, it has also been mentioned here that the area under cultivation of tea currently is under a major threat from alternative investments, including real estate investment. The area between Nairobi and where you would want to call “Runda”, and Kiambu in general, was a coffee growing area. Given the estates that are coming up in that area today, before long, Kiambu and Nairobi will be one. All that area will be residential estates. A long time ago, we used to have a law that would not allow anyone to uproot coffee. What investors do to beat that law today is that they do not uproot the coffee trees but just cut them at the stumps. I am sorry that we have not been able to enforce this law. More importantly, although we may not be able to stop the development that is going on, because we want to support the real estate sector, there are many other areas which are currently not under cultivation, where we could also grow tea and coffee. However, what is happening is that we put under real estate, say, 40,000 acres that are under coffee and tea and do not replace the same with land in other areas. So, it may be important on our part to look at other areas where we could have plantations, so that we can replace the areas under coffee and tea that have been taken up by real estate. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, while on this matter, allow me to say that we have also had a major challenge because many of our farmers in the rural areas are not well trained on how to manage their finances. Therefore, after a whole year of working hard and, finally the bonus comes, most of our good old men disappear to the shopping centres in the company of girls from other places. The result is that we are going to lose a good number of our farmers because of HIV/AIDS and related challenges. We must enhance our awareness campaigns, so that when the tea bonus comes, it does not become a curse to families. As it is now, once the tea bonus is paid to farmers, if you go to Kericho, you will find that all the men have left their farms and are busy in the small towns. They go back to the farms when the bonus money is over. For this reason, they cannot educate their children or improve their crops. Therefore, the bonus money, which is meant to improve their crop actually, ends up becoming more of a curse to the family rather than a blessing. So, we need to increase our awareness campaigns. As much as we may not want to arrest the girls who go there, I think we should really encourage our people to ensure that we move on. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, an impression has also been created in this House, that all our tea factories and, maybe, also coffee factories, are struggling under the heavy weight of debts. This is not correct. We have some very good tea factories that have huge surpluses. We have tea factories that are owned by M/s Finley, for example, in Kericho. Those factories are doing extremely well. They have surpluses. They pay dividends. There are tea factories with shares trading in the Nairobi Stock Exchange such as Sasini Tea. They are doing very well. Therefore, if the hon. Member intends to imply that the Government goes to Sasini Tea, which is a tea factory, and which is also in the Nairobi Stock Exchange, and waives the debt of Sasini Tea, this would not be in the spirit of liberalisation; although they process tea, they are private company. So, for what reason would the Government come in to give money to a private entity, owned by the public? This will not be in the spirit of liberalisation. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, what we probably need to do is what the Government did a few years back, when it had the STABEX funds. They were used specifically to help tea and coffee farmers. Due to fluctuation of tea and coffee prices at the international market, at one time you would find that prices would be very good. When the US Dollar rate would go haywire, again, the prices would come down. So, there is a need to come up with a fund that would ensure that farmers have constant income that would enable them to service their loans. These are structures we can put in place. However, to recommend that we have a universal waiver of all debts for all companies, be it Finley Tea or Sasini Tea or any other privately-owned coffee estates, may not be in the interest of the country. It may also be unfair to other companies that are operating within the same sector. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, lastly, allow me to say that for a long time, tea and coffee have been amongst the major earners of foreign exchange in this country. Due to the decline in the production of these two crops, we have seen that our currency has been under threat from hard currencies. Therefore, if we want to have our currency stabilise without the intervention of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international organisations, we must support the production of cash crops as it will ensure that we have a constant flow of the hard currencies from out there. It is unfortunate that most of the other cash crops that we used to have, including pyrethrum and sisal are on their deathbed as we speak today. This explains why our shilling has been under constant threat. We used to provide 80 per cent of the world’s pyrethrum but currently, as we speak, Rwanda, which started just about four years ago, has already overtaken us. All the experts that we had here have already been taken up by those small countries. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to ensure that we add value to our crops; ensure that it is sold here and also ensure that as we send money out there, the farmers also benefit.
Lastly, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, allow me to also raise concern that in the western markets and more so in Europe, there has been concern about what they call “fair trade.” If you go and look at the farmers who produce some of the major cash crops in Africa, you will find that they are very miserable. I know that whenever companies like Tesco in the UK want to buy any cash crop coming from Africa, they would like to see how farmers are treated. If you look at the lives that some of our coffee and tea farmers lead, and look at the crop they are having, you will find that they get a very small percentage of what they have worked for. Therefore, we would expect fair trade to be enshrined in the whole process so that the farmers also get a fair share of what they deserve.
Order, hon. Kinyanjui! Your time is up.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker.
Yes, Mr. Muturi.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker. I stand to support the amendment and the Motion by highlighting a few points. A few months ago, I raised a Question in this Parliament on the same coffee plantations and I am glad the Minister who answered my Question is here. It is in consideration of the small-scale tea farmers whom we represent and who suffer in the process of supporting the economy of this country. This Motion has come at the right time. The coffee and tea small-scale farmers need support from the Government. We need to request the Government to subsidize the inputs, the chemicals and the infrastructure. The input by the Government will help the small- scale farmer that you are talking about in our constituencies. We do not expect the Minister or the Government per se not to address the issue of value addition. We need to consider and encourage our farmers to add value to our coffee and tea. The debt relief that we have been talking about from the Government with regard to small-scale farmers in our coffee industry needs to be accelerated. The cost of fertilizer – and the Minister is aware that we do not have even adequate fertilizer for our small-scale tea and coffee farmers has gone up. We need the Government to be serious and address this issue, especially in areas that have had coffee for many years and they cannot afford to uproot the crop. They need support.
Having said that, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, if we are supported to add value, subsidize our crops, educate our farmers on good use of finances, we shall improve our economy.
With those few remarks, I support the amendment on the Motion.
Yes, hon. Twaha.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker. Time is almost running out. I rise to support the Motion. There is need to subsidize our farmers because we have been duped into signing free trade agreements with countries which subsidize their farmers and protect their markets whereas we have opened our markets to their products and we do not protect our farmers. I will give an example of cotton farmers in Lamu.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, we have to compete with subsidized cotton from the United States of America. We also have to compete with second-hand clothes. Our cotton is a raw material in our textile industry and the final product of the textile industry, which is garments and apparel has to compete with second-hand clothes from Europe and America. This is unfair competition.
Order, hon. Twaha! You will have a balance of nine minutes when this Motion is put on the Order Paper.
Hon. Members, that concludes the business on the Order Paper. Therefore, the House stands adjourned until this afternoon at 2.30 p.m.
The House rose at 12.30 p.m.