Hon. Speaker, I beg to lay the following Papers on the Table of the House:- The Science, Technology and Innovation (Registration and Accreditation of Research Institutions) Regulations, 2014 and the Explanatory Memorandum The Science, Technology and Innovation (Relevance and Quality Assurance Research) Regulations, 2014 and the Explanatory Memorandum The Science, Technology and Innovation (Research Licensing) Regulations, 2014 and the Explanatory Memorandum The Report of the Auditor-General and the Financial Statements of Chuka University for the year ended 30th June, 2012/ 2013 and the Certificate of the Auditor- General therein. The Report of the Auditor-General and the Financial Statements of Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board for the year ended 30th June, 2013 and the Certificate of the Auditor-General therein The Report of the Auditor-General and the Financial Statements of the Transition Authority for the year ended 30th June, 2013 and the Certificate of the Auditor-General therein. The Report of the Auditor-General and the Financial Statements of the National Hospital Insurance Fund for the year ended 30th June, 2013 and the Certificate of the Auditor-General therein.
Thank you, hon. Speaker.
Proceed, Chairperson of the Departmental Committee on Lands.
Hon. Speaker, I beg to lay the following Papers on the Table of the House:- The Report of the Departmental Committee on Lands on the Petition for the resettlement of Enoosupukia evictees Report of the Departmental Committee on Lands on the Petition for the resettlement of the 1992 Molo clash victims
Hon. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order No.44(2)(a), on behalf of the House Business Committee, I rise to give Statement regarding business that will appear before the House for the week beginning Tuesday, 25th November, 2014.
Hon. Speaker, as usual, the House Business Committee met on Tuesday to prioritise the Business of the House. The House will consider for the Second Reading, the Environmental Management and Co-ordination (Amendment) Bill, 2014, if not concluded today and the Prohibition of Anti-Personnel Mines Bill, 2014, if not concluded today. At the same time, we have given priority to two Bills from the Senate, namely; the County Government (Amendment) Bill No.1, 2014; and, the County Government (Amendment) Bill No.2, 2014, by Senator Amos Wako. Both Bills propose to amend the County Government Act. Hon. Speaker, also scheduled for debate by the House are a number of Committee Reports, including the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Reports of the Public Investments Committee on the accounts of State Corporations, and a Report of the Committee of Privileges regarding absences and conduct of Members of the National Assembly. Next Wednesday morning, a Committee of the whole House will consider the Retirement Benefits (Deputy President and Designated State Officers) Bill, 2013; and, the Alcoholic Drinks Control (Amendment) Bill, 2014. In addition, the House will consider for Second Reading, the Parliamentary Society of Kenya Bill, 2014. Hon. Speaker, regarding the Cabinet Secretaries appearing before the Committees on Tuesday, 25th November, 2014, the schedule is as follows:- (1) The Cabinet Secretary for Lands, Housing and Urban Development will appear before the Departmental Committee on Lands at 10.00 a.m. to answer questions on the Karen land issue, among others. The venue will be the Mini Chamber, County Hall. (2) The Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury will appear before the Departmental Committee on Finance, Planning and Trade at 10.00 a.m. to answer questions from hon. Chachu Ganya, MP; and hon. Rachael Ameso, MP. The venue will be the National Assembly Chamber. (3) The Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government will appear before the Departmental Committee on Administration and National Security at 10.00 a.m. to answer questions from hon. Hezron Awiti, MP; hon. Joseph Gitari, MP; hon. Joe Mutambu, MP; hon. Shariff Ali, MP; and, hon. Shakila Abdalla, MP. The Question of hon. Shakila Abdalla is similar to that of hon. S. Ali, MP. The venue will be the National Assembly Chamber. Hon. Speaker, it is good to bring to the notice of hon. Members the fact that if one does not appear for one’s Question, as the tradition stands, it will be dropped. It will only come back after six months. It was also agreed that on Tuesday morning, during the Committee sittings with Cabinet Secretaries, no other Committee shall sit apart from those dealing with Questions The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
directed to other Cabinet Secretaries. This is meant to allow as many Members as possible to attend the Committee sittings. Hon. Speaker, I would like to note that we have eight remaining sitting days before we go for the long recess. In this regard, the House Business Committee is of the view that the Committee of the whole House of the following Bills be given urgent priority:- 1. The Public Service (Values and Principles) Bill, 2014 2. The Person Deprived of Liberty Bill, 2014 3. The Water Bill, 2014 4. The Scrape Metal Bill, 2014 5. The Kenya Qualifications Framework Bill, 2014
The House Business Committee will meet again on Tuesday, 25th November, 2014, at the rise of the House to consider business for the rest of the week.
I beg to lay the Statement on the Table of the House.
Hon. Members, for better clarity, attendances on Tuesday morning, when Cabinet Secretaries appear before various Committees, are considered to be attendances similar to an attendance in plenary. So, every Member in attendance should ensure that they are recorded as having been before that Committee for some other purposes that I am sure hon. Members are quite familiar with. Therefore, it is not only the Members of the Committee before whom the Cabinet Secretary is scheduled to appear that should be considered as having been in attendance; it is every Member. I hear that there are some Cabinet Secretaries who will be appearing before this Chamber. I direct that the attendance mechanism available at plenary be made available at that time for Members to record their presence – including those who will be appearing at County Hall. It should not be taken that it is only the Members of that particular Committee who are in attendance. Every hon. Member is required to register their presence at those sittings.
Hon. Members, I would like to make a Communication regarding our colleague, the late Gerald Otieno Kajwang’, the Senator for Homa Bay County.
Hon. Members, as you may recall yesterday, Wednesday, 19th November, 2014, I made a Communication regarding the passing on of the Senator for Homa Bay, the late Gerald Otieno Kajwang’. In the Communication, I indicated that the two Speakers had constituted a committee comprising of Members of the National Assembly and the Senate to assist in the funeral arrangements of our departed colleague.
Hon. Members, I now wish to inform you that the Committee met today and agreed that a visit by all Members of Parliament to condole with the family at their Runda residence, Nairobi, be made on Tuesday, 25th November, 2014, at 9.30 a.m. In this The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
regard, pool transport has been organised and will depart Parliament Buildings at 9.00 a.m. on the same day. Due to logistical challenges, including parking space, hon. Members wishing to visit the family are requested to make use of the pool transport to and from the residence. Other funeral arrangements, including the burial date, will be announced later, after consultation with the family of the late Senator.
Further, I would like to inform you that the Burial Committee, having met, made certain resolutions affecting both the Members of National Assembly and the Senate. This Communication is signed by Hon. Aden Duale, EGH, MP, Leader of Majority Party; and Hon. Francis Nyenze, EGH, MP, Leader of Minority Party. Both coalitions and Burial Committee have agreed that each Member of the National Assembly shall contribute Kshs.10,000 on check-off basis, being contribution towards the burial expenses of our late colleague, the late hon. Gerald Otieno Kajwang’. Hon. Members, I am kindly requested to authorise the check-off arrangement. Therefore, on your behalf, I accordingly authorise.
Hon. Members who are walking in, please take your seats so that we can transact this business.
Business appearing at Order No.8 is the Physiotherapists Bill, (National Assembly Bill, No. 40 of 2013). What remains about this Bill is for the Question to be put and I will proceed to do so.
Hon. Members who are walking in, please take your seats so that we can proceed with this business.
Stop shaking hands; we want to finish this business. We want to put the Question. Before we proceed to the next Order, let me clarify that with regard to the Persons Deprived of Liberty Bill (National Assembly Bill No.30 of 2014), the Question relates to Second Reading so that we can proceed to the Committee of the whole House.
Hon. Speaker, I beg to move that the Environmental Management and Co-ordination (Amendment) Bill, 2014, be now read a Second Time.
The provision of this Bill is first to align the Environmental Management Act with the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. This Bill is amending the current Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act, No.8 of 1999. So, that is the genesis of this Bill. You will see in this Bill a number of provisions and clauses talking about amending the principal Act. The principal Act is the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act, No.8 of 1999. Hon. Speaker, through you, I will ask the Clerk’s Office at all times to provide hon. Members with the existing principal Act so that they refer to it every time we are amending an existing law. If you look at this Bill, it talks about amending an Act and it is good to have that principal Act in place.
The objective of this Bill is to take into account a devolved system of government. So, this is a Bill that concerns counties. You do not need to have gone to a law school or wait for the two Speakers to decide whether a Bill is touching on county governments, as our colleagues always talk about. So, we want to confirm to them that the Environmental Management and Co-ordination (Amendment) Bill, 2014, will ultimately be sent to the Senate.
The other objective of this Bill is to create a rationalization and harmonization of all State resources to be under one law. The other objective is also to create a sound environmental practice that is in tandem with international standards. It is also to create structures for dispute resolution on matters of environment and resources in our country. It also talks about the national values, principles of governance, transparency and The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
accountability and how to create public participation in the management of the environment and natural resources.
Clause 3 of this Bill proposes to amend the Act by inserting a new Section 2(A) to the existing principal Act. This new section requires every person to cooperate with State organs in as far as the protection and conservation of the environment is concerned. Why do we need to conserve or cooperate with State organs in protecting and conserving the environment? This is in order to ensure that ecological development is sustained. Clause 4 of the Bill again proposes to amend the principle Act, No.8 of 1999 by inserting another new sub-section 3A which guarantees a person the right to access information that is in possession of the anticipated Authority or any other lead agency that deals with the environment.
Therefore, this is similar to Article 35 of the Constitution that allows each and every citizen of Kenya to access information from any public agency or department. So, sub-section 3A guarantees every person the right to access to environmental information. The Bill also proposes to amend Section 4 of the principal Act. It does this by dissolving the current National Environment Council and transferring all the functions to the Cabinet Secretary in charge of the Environment, Water and Mineral Resources. What does this do or what does it treat? What is the rationale of this new amended Section 4? This is to avoid duplication of functions between different departments or institutions. It ensures prudent use of State resources in accordance with Article 201 of the Constitution; which is the sub-title of the Article on Principals of Public Finance. It talks about openness, transparency, accountability and public participation. Hon. Speaker, Clause 8 of the Bill proposes to repeal Section 8 of the Principal Act, by decentralizing the services of the Authority within the Republic of Kenya. The authority will have its headquarters in Nairobi and will ensure that its services are found in all the 47 counties. Clause 12 of the Bill seeks to amend Section 14 of the Act. It does this by recognizing the role of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), that will advise the Authority on the benefits of the public officers, in accordance with Article 230 of the Constitution, which is basically on SRC. The Bill further proposes to amend Section 23 of the Principal Act by ensuring that all accounts of this proposed Authority are prepared, audited and reported in accordance with Articles 226 and 229 of the Constitution and the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act. Hon. Speaker, Article 226 of the Constitution talks about how accounts and audits of public entities are done. Article 229 as referred in this Bill is basically the office of the Auditor-General. Therefore, it says that the accounts of this new Authority which will be created, must be prepared, audited and reported in accordance with Articles 226 and 229 of the Constitution and the PFM Act. Hon. Speaker, the Bill further seeks to amend Section 29 of the principal Act by disbanding the provincial and district environment committees and constituting new ones that will be called county environment committees, in accordance with Chapter 11 of the Constitution. Clause 18 of the Bill introduces a new sub-section 29 that will empower the governor of every county to appoint the membership of the county environment The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
committee. That is why I said earlier that one of the objects of this Bill is to take into account the existence of the devolved system of Government. Therefore, that anticipates the creation of new committees after the disbandment of the former committees. The functions of the county environment committees shall be, among others to ensure the proper management of the environment for respective counties. This Bill also proposes to amend Section 39 of the current principal Act. By dissolving the current public complaints committee and transferring all those functions to a department within the Ministry, it ensures the same thing; the pragmatic use of public resources. In addition, the Bill proposes the disbandment of the National Environment Action Plan Committee. Therefore, this Bill harmonizes or rationalizes those too many bodies from the village to the national level dealing with environmental issues. We are talking of the district and provincial environment committees. We are taking over the National Environment Action Plan and functions of the committee are being transferred to the Authority. The new sub-section 37 as proposed under Clause 26 of the Bill mandates the Authority to formulate and originate the National Environment Action Plan within three years of commencement of this Act and to ensure public participation, when the exercise is being undertaken. That must be done with public participation as envisaged in the Constitution. Similarly, under Clause 28 the Bill introduces a new sub-clause 40 to the principal Act which requires every county environment committee to also prepare the County Environment Action Plan. Therefore, each county will have its own action plan. If you have a forest, you must plan for that forest. If you come from the desert, like me; the only forest I have is Tana River and I must find an action plan. If you are from hon. Ng’ongo’s place – who is not here – you must look for action plan. Either it is the fish or water. Hon. Speaker, Clause 30 of the Bill introduces new sub-section 41A and 41B, which sets out the purposes and the functions; the mission of the national and county environment plans. This tells you that you will not sit somewhere and plan for a forest which is not in your county. If you have no forest, you have no forest. The only choice that you have is to plant a new one. This is not how we run our political parties. We use political parties to ascend to power. This law is saying you must plan. Clause 41A and B, provide that you must have a purpose, a function, a vision and a mission of your national and county environmental plans.
The Leader of the Minority is looking at me when I mention political parties because he knows where he is coming from. That was just as a by the way. This Bill seeks to amend the principal Act by inserting a new subsection 56A. What does it do? The new subsection 56A does one function; it empowers the Authority to issue guidelines on climate change in line with the country’s international obligation, which is very important. It ensures the Authority issues certain standards and guidelines on climate change.
Climate change has become the cash-cow of certain NGOs. My friend, hon. Moses Kuria, whom I have not seen this week and must have travelled on parliamentary duties, must bring certain accountability and regulations in the management of NGOs and civil society, so that if you are dealing with climate change and you use the platform of The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
climate change to solicit for billion of shillings, you provide full disclosure. So, Clause 56 is giving that.
As a country, we must have a guideline in line with our international obligations. The Bill also proposes to amend the principal Act by inserting the new sub-section 57A, that seeks to provide for a strategic impact assessment in the preparation and implementation of policies, plans and programmes. This Bill provides that you must have a strategic plan that will have serious preparation in implementation of policies, plans and programmes.
In conclusion, Clauses 69, 70, 71 of the Bill seek to improve the performance of the envisaged tribunal. This must be a tribunal that is composed of men and women of integrity. Where I live, before you reach your house, you encounter coffee estates. I am a subject of Kiambu County and Governor Kabogo, along Kiambu Road is my neighbour. Hon. Waititu is my immediate constituent. We want to live next to the coffee estates, so that our children can get fresh air. This is next to rivers. Somebody wants to build 1,500 low cost flats in that area. This was formerly a coffee estate, but one old man decided to dispose of the coffee. It is a choice. Somebody wants to build 1,500 low cost flats.
Today, you cannot live in Kileleshwa. If you had property in Kileleshwa, there is no difference between Kileleshwa and any other part in the rural area.I do not want to talk too much, but I will bring a petition to the House very soon concerning a certain developer. Because of greed for money, he does not want us to enjoy the beauty, the climate, the rivers and the coffee estates of the great Kiambu County, from where our President comes.
Clauses 69, 70 and 71 of the Bill want to improve the performance of the National Environment Tribunal in terms of, one, composition. Who are the people who will be appointed and in terms of procedure, how will they run the Tribunal? The Bill also proposes under Clauses 69, 70 and 71 a new section 104, which empowers the Cabinet Secretary on the recommendation of the Authority to prescribe the standards for setting up acceptable levels of radiation in the environment and establish criteria and procedure for the measurement of ionizing and other radiation.
I am happy that hon. Ottichilo is in the House. He is one of the very few people who will understand when we talk about acceptable levels of radiation. I had the chance to lead a delegation composed of hon. Ottichilo and hon. Junet, who is very busy, but at least, he made very serious contribution when we were at Vienna. We were with the Minority Whip, my good friend, hon. Mwadeghu and we were supposed to go and look at how Kenya can access nuclear energy.
Clauses 75 to 80 of the Bill seek to enhance penalties. It talks about penalties if one contravenes this particular Act. I have done what I was supposed to do in moving this Bill. I beg to move. I ask Majority Whip, hon. Metito, to second.
Thank you, hon. Speaker. In seconding this Bill, I want to agree with the Mover; the Leader of Majority Party that its main objective is to align the existing Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act with the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. In doing so, it is worth noting that in the preamble of our Constitution it The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
recognises that there is need to respect and sustain the environment for the benefit of the future generations.
At the heart of the national values and principles of governance in our Constitution is the principle of sustainable development. In the Constitution, there is still established the Environment and Land Court which is a superior court of records where all environment and land matters are to be adjudicated. Hon. Speaker, therefore, this Bill if enacted into law tends to manage or align the management and the conservation of the environment in accordance with the Constitution. Under Article 69 of the Constitution, it ensures sustainable exploitation, utilisation, management and conservation of the environment and natural resources and it also ensures that there is equitable sharing of the accruing benefit. Secondly, it is also required to achieve and maintain a tree cover of at least ten per cent of the land area of Kenya. Thirdly, there is also an objective to ensure that it protects and enhances intellectual property in indigenous knowledge of biodiversity and genetic resources, and biological diversity as well. Also there is need to establish a system of environmental impact assessment, environmental audit and monitoring of the environment. There is also need to eliminate processes and activities that are likely to endanger the environment. The important one is to utilise the environment and natural resources for the benefit of the people of Kenya. Hon. Speaker, therefore, this is a very important piece of legislation as has been said by the Mover and if you look at the Act in our Constitution, they are classified as fundamental human rights. Article 42 states: “Every person has the right to a clean and healthy environment, which includes the right –
(a) to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations through legislative and other measures, particularly those contemplated in Article 69; and
(b) to have obligations relating to the environment fulfilled under Article 70.”
Still in the same Article, it is also the duty of every person to cooperate with State organs and other persons to protect and conserve the environment and to ensure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources. Hon. Speaker, therefore, the proposed amendment to the existing Act is in a nutshell trying to align the existing Act in the Constitution. These are those several Articles, especially 42 and 69. If you look at the existing Act, it has so many flaws that are being corrected in the proposed legislation. Regulations concerning environment were scattered across various sectors and this has caused impediment to a coordinated approach to environment management. Secondly, still in the existing Act, legislative framework enforcement is vested in Government officials, who do not always enforce the law. That is why we have been having problems of ensuring there is a clean environment. It is lack of law enforcement officers to enforce the law. Hon. Speaker, the other misgiving of the existing Act is that it has several laws which are separate and which are punitive in nature. They deal largely with the detrimental effects to the environment, by fixing some penalties for liability. This is why The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
we are talking of these very many pieces of legislation being scattered all over. They have actually come up with several bodies like you have the National Environment Council, National Management Authority and National Environment Tribunal. Since all of them have been charged with functions that concern the environment such as formulation of an environmental policy, issuance and maintenance of standards, monitoring and enforcement of environmental standards, investigation and arbitration of disputes, there is need to bring this piece of legislation. We do not repeal the existing statutory legislation, as the Mover has said, but coordinate the activities of these various Government agencies that are tasked with regulating different sectors of the environment.
Hon. Speaker, the Constitution talks of preserving forests, wetlands, rivers, hills, mountains, conservation of biological diversities, access to genetic resources among others, but I want to call upon the enforcement agencies to involve communities when they try to define these areas. Just last week we received a petition from the people of Tana River County because the forest areas, where they have been grazing, have been earmarked for gazettement, and it is happening in other areas. So, as much as we try to conserve the environment which is actually an obligation to all of us, it is good that we involve the communities on the ground so that we do not deprive them of what they call their livelihood. Hon. Speaker, having said that this is a good piece of legislation I call upon my colleagues to support it. Therefore, I beg to second.
On a point of order, hon. Speaker.
Yes, hon. Gumbo. What is your point of order?
Thank you, hon. Speaker. While it is not my intention to, in any way, attempt to derail the debate on this Bill, I have looked at it and I am sure most of the Members in this House have also done so. I think that even as we debate it, this House really needs to pronounce itself on some aspects of this Bill which personally I feel as we go along, even if it is not on this Bill alone, we should take cognisance of the fact that this is a highly technical Bill. I have had occasion before to ask on the Floor of this House why a Bill such as this one would not be moved by the Departmental Committee Chair. I say this because I have listened to the Leader of Majority Party moving the Bill and with all due respect to him, my sense of what I understood from the presentation he made is that perhaps somebody gave him the highlights of the Bill and I did not get any indication at all that he may have sat with the Committee to consider the important aspects of this Bill. Hon. Speaker, this might look like a small matter but if you look at our Constitution, it says under Article 108: “There shall be a leader of the majority party and a leader of the minority party.” That might look like a small matter but I think we must have laws and systems in this House that are self adopting. I have always asked myself: If we go this way, where Bills such as this one are presented by the Leader of Majority Party, what would happen because it is possible to have in this House a situation where the Majority Party does not necessarily come from the Government side of the country? It is possible and it is very The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
realistic that you can have a President who even though he was elected by the majority of Kenyans has fewer Members represented in this House.
Even more fundamentally, in my view and with all due respect and I have had occasion to pronounce myself on this matter before, the manner of drafting of this Bill makes even debate on it unnecessarily too academic. This Bill proposes to amend virtually every clause of the 1999 Act. If you have a situation where you have to amend virtually every section of an existing law, would it not be more prudent to redraft the Bill entirely? If you look at the Bill, right from the beginning on page 2859, it starts at Clause 2 by saying: “The Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act, 1999, in this Act referred to as the “principal Act” is amended in section 2.”
For Members who are keen on debating this Bill, you would expect that the aspects of that proposed Act to be amended would be listed. But here, you go past the Memorandum and then you meet suddenly that Clause 2 which it proposes to amend.
Hon. Speaker, honestly, this House must pronounce itself in the manner in which Bills are being drafted in this House. I have also looked at some of the pages and even the manner of arrangement of sections; there are even a few typographical errors in this Bill. But more fundamentally, I am completely at a loss. This is one Bill where I feel strongly, considering that it is very technical and considering the manner of arrangement, this House should have pronounced itself on the Committee report before we even commence debate on it. However, my concern is the manner of arrangement. I hope the Members sitting here have looked at this Bill. If you, for example, look at page 2933, it says: “Section 58 of No.8 of 1999, which it is proposed to amend-” Then you have to go again past the Memorandum which the Leader of Majority Party was dwelling on. You have to look for that Section 58 which is proposed to be amended. Is this really the best way to draft a Bill? Why would the aspect of debating a Bill be made to be so academic in a manner such as this? Unless somebody is keen, it is not easy to notice it. I have listened keenly and I was hoping that my good friends, the Leader of Majority Party and hon. Katoo would have picked that point. Are we not here to make laws that can easily be interpreted? Why should it be so academic that when we are debating laws, I have to look at one page, and to look at the meaning of that page, I have to flip another 200 pages to get what it is that I am pronouncing myself on? Hon. Speaker, I am concerned that the drafting of Bills is a matter that this House must pronounce itself on. We have talked about it a number of times. This is not an academic exercise that it is being made to be. We are not sitting for exams. The aspect of making Bills cannot look like we are here mainly to look at what is wrong with a Bill. We should be here to appreciate that the Bills that are going to be presented in this House are going to have impact on our country. However, as presented, I am of the opinion that a time has come for this House to pronounce itself on this. We mentioned it when we spoke about the Insolvency Bill and the Companies Bill and yet again, this Bill is coming up. It is time that this House pronounces itself in the manner of arrangement of clauses in Bills that are coming before this House. With all due respect to those who did this Bill, this is a very poorly presented Bill. It is The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
unnecessarily making the work of the Members difficult. That is not what we are trying to achieve by going through this. I beg to submit.
The Leader of Majority Party, do you want to respond?
Hon. Speaker, I am very shocked. First, I want to raise fundamental issues. Even in the United States of America, currently, the Minority Party is in the Government. In any scenario, the Government will sign public Bills. So, I pray that the day hon. Gumbo and his party forms the Government, if we will be the minority, if we form the Government with a minority, we will sign the Bills, which is highly unlikely. Secondly, hon. Speaker, and you have made a Communication on this matter, the Leader of Majority Party signs a Bill, a First Reading is done and it is sent to committees to critique the Bill. So, there is no way a Committee will sign its own Bill and it is referred to it for critique. Even Private Bills by Members of the National Assembly will be sent to Committees to critique and a report is brought. My good friend, hon. Gumbo is an engineer; he is not a drafter. Before a Bill comes to the National Assembly, it goes through able drafters at the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC), the Law Reform Commission, the Attorney-General’s Office and then it comes to the able Directorate of Legal Affairs of the National Assembly, that will look at the Bill. I went through clause by clause of this Bill and its flow is as clear as the day to the night. It is as clear as the way I drive from Nairobi to Thika, to Mwingi to Garissa. So, it is as clear. I am wondering where hon. Gumbo sees the contradiction. He should have pointed out. Finally, and this is where I have a problem, when you are a Member of Parliament, under Article 95, you are either a Member of Parliament for the great Rarieda Constituency or Garissa Township. You have no choice. It is not like my dress my choice. When you become a Member of Parliament, whether a Bill is voluminous or a two page Bill, the onus is for the National Assembly, in its individual Members and Committees, within the time set in the Standing Orders, to discuss the business of the House. We cannot say that we do not want to see a big Bill like the Insolvency Bill that will change the way we do business in our country. I want the Chairman of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, hon. Chekong’a to listen to me. He is busy collecting signatures to amend the Standing Orders, which I agree with and he has got more than 150 Members. At what stage does a Member of Parliament choose the volume of a Bill? We make legislation for the people of Kenya. The Insolvency Bill is the key to better ways of doing business in our country. The Company Bill has been in the House for the last nine months. In fact, I will ask, as the Leader of Majority Party, that you give direction on why we are not dealing with the Companies Bill and the Insolvency Bill.
Hon. Gumbo has said that the Bills are very technical. That is a very sad statement. In the last Parliament, we agreed with him - the Members were more - to set the benchmark for the academic qualification of a Member of Parliament. People said no. Hon. Ababu, James Orengo and I among others said that a Member of Parliament’s academic qualification should be basic graduate. We were told no. We were told that leadership has nothing to do with education. Today, history will judge me right. A Member of Parliament is saying that the Bill is technical and academic. So, are we saying The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
that because we reduced the standard of education, then we must get Bills of that standard? I am sure the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee will agree with me that the reports he is going to table in the next one month are extremely technical, that when he moves them, some people will either sleep or say that they are technical. So, my good friend, the engineer, if it was an engineering-related Bill, this could have been mboga . It is on environmental matters and I am sure there are many environmentalists in this House. I am also not an environmentalist, but I read this Bill and prepared notes. I am a pastoralist. So, I will ask my good friend that we read the Bill. Of course, I have answered most of the issues.
I want you to give direction on this trend being set, that if a Bill is voluminous and it is helping the people of Garissa Town, Members of Parliament will say they need three or five years. Hon. Speaker, this is a House of legislation. So, I am telling my good friend, hon. (Eng.) Gumbo, that let us continue with this technical Bill. We will bring all the amendments and agree with our drafters that this is the best piece they have given us. We will get the way forward from hon. (Eng.) Gumbo because in my opinion, it has passed through most able hands of drafters. Our business at this stage is to contribute and, at the Third Reading, make the legislation and even change the title of this Bill. It is within us to change, forget about drafting; we can change it. Finally, I remember the late Mutula Kilonzo, a man I respected in the last Parliament. He brought a Bill from the Cabinet and we changed it. When we finished, he said, “Hon. Speaker, this is not the Bill I brought from Government”. He said this because even the title was changed. Hon. (Eng.) Gumbo, let us forget about the drafters. If you want to change even the title and make this Bill which is amending a Principal Act to be a different law, bring all the amendments that will make this Bill a different Bill from what it is now. Thank you, hon. Speaker.
Hon. (Eng.) Gumbo, you can respond.
Hon. Speaker, again with utmost respect to the Leader of Majority Party, I wish he spends more time to listen with his ears than with his heart. This is because from what he has said, he listens more with his heart than with his ears. Hon. Speaker, I did not say I have a problem with this Bill. What I said is the manner of the arrangement. When you go through this Bill, you actually find some typographical errors. I want to remind my friend, the Leader of Majority Party that, I might not be the most diligent reader of Bills in this House, but I take time to read Bills from page to page. I have read this Bill, I have crossed the “Ts” and I have dotted the “Is” in this Bill. All I am saying is that the way this Bill is arranged--- In fact, anybody who has looked at it does not see any reason whatsoever why we could not have had it redrafted and brought as an entirely new Bill in this House. This is because it is proposing to amend almost every section of the existing Bill. Why should it be so difficult to just make arrangements? For example, page 2863 talks of Section 5 of the Principal Act. I wish the Leader of Majority Party could be listening to me. Why would it be so difficult that once you make reference to that section, then you list that particular section you propose to amend below it, instead of having to flip through to the The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
back to look at it? Is that necessary? This is not an academic exercise. Please, listen more with your ears than with your heart. We will transact the business here better and faster. I thank you, hon. Speaker.
Hon. Members, actually, the issues raised by hon. (Eng.) Gumbo are not very light. I have also looked at the Bill. Of course, I do appreciate that it is one of those Bills--- If you look at Article 72 of the Constitution, Parliament is supposed to legislate on environmental matters. Again, Article 162, sub-article 2, Paragraph (b) states that the matter of creating the tribunal that is expected to be established with powers similar to those of the High Court is vested within Parliament. So, I do appreciate that perhaps the drafters of the Bill may have thought that all they needed to do was to amend it in order to comply with both Articles 72 and 162 of the Constitution. However, it is very interesting that if one looked at the entire Principal Act No. 8 of 1999, it would not be very difficult to come up with a completely new Bill incorporating all these views which are included here. In my view, it would have been neater to do so because it would have been a new Bill, of course, as usual, provided that the enactment of this Bill will mean the repeal of Act No. 8 of 1999. That is the easiest way of going about it. You should come up with a new Bill, put this new Act, particularly, to provide where the Cabinet Secretary in the former Act was given power to make regulations having the force of law. In terms of Article 94, sub-article 6, no person or authority has power to make provision to make the force of law, other than Parliament. Then make those provisions within the new law. It is true that it is the Attorney General’s suggestion to align the Principal Act with the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. However, I think it would have been much neater if a completely new Bill was proposed. But, be that as it may, as a House, we have a responsibility to deal with those Bills that are presented to us. We will have the difficulty of having to consider this Bill section by section as it is, make what we will of those proposals and as the Leader of Majority Party says; including changing the title, if we chose to. This is what we have. However, it is fair to observe that it would have been much neater if a new Bill had been presented to us with all these new provisions, which were merely going to align that old law with the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. However, I am unlikely to be the one to give direction as to what the Executive will do when they propose legislation. As you know, under the current dispensation, hon. Members are at liberty to propose new laws and legislative proposals. Therefore, it is up to those originating Bills to decide how they want those Bills to be owned. I want to agree that, once a Bill has been referred to a Committee, if the period that we have given ourselves in our Standing Orders expires, there is nothing, save convenience and good order that will require us to get a report of the Committee. However, it is much easier and again neater and smoother if we had a report from the Committee concerned because I believe that Committee, perhaps, had interactions with various stakeholders in keeping with the provision of Article 118 on public participation. So, if they had given us their report, I am sure hon. Members debating this Bill would have been more enriched with whatever they may have come across in those interactions. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Remember we extended the deadlines. This is one of those Bills that we had to seek extension. As a House, we have no option but to proceed with all the difficulties; in the assumption and the knowledge that the 10th Parliament, in its collective wisdom, saw the need to amend Section 22 of the Elections Act to provide for qualifications to become a Member of Parliament of both Houses. Therefore, whether it is complicated or technical, I want to leave that one to the collective wisdom of our predecessor, the 10th Parliament, who made the decision to amend Section 22 of the Elections Act. Therefore, unless there is a serious intervention, we can end here.
Thank you, hon. Speaker. Following your comments, honestly, this is a Bill that requires a lot of public participation. When we have no threshold to the level where amendments, if they exceed, we require republication of a particular legislation including the amendments, we have not had that. Honestly, amendments are messy. The only reason we missed the minimum qualifications is because of so many amendments and the final amendment cancelled all other amendments. We ended up with a recommendation that even a Standard Four leaver could be a Member of Parliament. With modern drafting and computers, the Leader of Majority Party could withdraw this Bill, put all the past legislations that are not being amended, insert all the new ones as a clear draft of the Bill, publish it and allow the public to see it. That is because the public will not quite see it “with delete this”, “amend this” and “add this”. I am only requesting that I support hon. (Eng.) Gumbo and your final observations. I am asking my brother: “Please! It will be neater and very quick. You can give us a new Bill within five days.”
Hon. Members, let us hear hon. (Prof.) Nyikal.
Thank you, hon. Speaker. Although I think I can read and follow this, the problem is that, as a new hon. Member, you actually get into problems following some Bills. If you really like to contribute after reading and understanding, you get into problems. But the point I want to raise is about the Committee report. I know and I have got it from you now that it is required that the Bill should actually come with the Committee report. But the Standing Order also provides that if that report is not available within the stipulated time, the Bill can proceed. I think that is where the House needs to put its foot down. The Committees have work to do. As you have said, something happened with Section 22 of the Elections Act and, therefore people are here representing their constituents. It must be made easy for everybody to participate. I have actually enjoyed participating in Bills where we have a Committee report and it is easy to follow. I remember earlier on when we first came here with amendments; you did not have the proposals; the part indicating what parts are being amended. That has been improved so that even though you are going back and forth, you quickly, with one document, can know what is being amended. My point is that we should make it a rule; we should not make it easy for the Committees that Bills come to the House before the Committees finish their work. That is because they are making it difficult for hon. Members to participate in the debate.
I fully agree with hon. (Prof.) Nyikal. In fact, that has been our clarion call to Committees, that in fairness give us reports. When Bills have been referred to you and, indeed, the National Assembly has been putting out notices in the newspapers inviting and advising members of the public that a particular Bill has been referred to a The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
particular Committee and the Committee will do public hearings, that is in compliance with the Constitution and that has been happening. We need to look for a way of ensuring that within the periods that we give ourselves in the Standing Orders, Committees submit reports. It is not an academic exercise, that requirement for Committee reports. I agree with you; Committee reports help hon. Members who are keen. Of course I appreciate that hon. Members represent their constituents in various ways. There are those who do so by participating actively in the passage of laws, in over- sighting, in asking questions and also going to offices to seek favours. Those are all forms and modes of representation. There could be hon. Members who may not be in the House but they are very busy representing their constituents in various offices outside of the House, which is true. It is natural. Kenyans must know that. In fact, it is one of the issues which are terribly misunderstood when people look at the Chamber, they fail to appreciate that when an hon. Member goes to their constituency on a weekend, he finds a myriad of requests: “We want this one to be paid his pension. He has not been paid for so many years. This one has passed on. This one requires their title deed”. Hon. Ngunjiri wants to chase the title deed for his constituents of Bahati where it will not happen in the plenary here. It means that he has to go to where title deeds are printed. I do not know where they are currently. Your constituent wants a pensioner to be paid their pension dues. They even want others to be transferred on the basis that they are sickly wherever they will be stationed and all manner of requests. Those things will not be done here in the plenary. That is one thing that Kenyans need to understand. So, I appreciate that there are hon. Members who are very good and may be they get re-elected severally because of doing it out there and not necessarily here. Therefore, I want to appreciate those many ways of representing. Hon. Ngunjiri is pointing at himself saying that he has just come from doing that but he has now come to participate in law making.
Hon. Members, I want to say that we may not need to debate this particular aspect but it is within us to demand that reports of Committees, especially with regard to Bills that have been referred to Committees, be presented before debates on the Bills commence. Of course, with regard to this particular one, being one of those Bills hon. Members also appreciate that you extended time, and being one of those Bills that will also go to the other House, I think it is fair that this House acquaints itself of its legislative role by considering it. I want to urge you to read it with all the difficulties that its current form may present and make your best contributions on it, including amending as many portions of it as possible.
The original Act which is referred to as the principal Act has only 148 sections. This Bill has 83 clauses; several of them proposing to amend and repeal parts of the existing or principal Act. That is why I am saying that it would have been much easier if a new law was drafted taking into account the existing one and incorporating the new provisions of this Bill. Well, that is a wish. For now we must deal with this Bill as it is; with its 83 clauses and make what we can. The Leader of Majority Party alluded to this when he was making his opening remarks, that it is fair that hon. Members are provided with the principal law because not everybody has the principal Act yet the Bill makes so much reference to it. I am sure the Leader of Majority Party had that in mind. The Bill makes so much reference to the principal Act. After that, it goes to say “section this of The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
the principal Act which it proposes to amend.” Not everybody has trained in legislative drafting to follow this. So, I appreciate what hon. (Eng.) Gumbo is saying. It presents quite some challenges but we will have to bear with that and give it our best shot.
I want to give the first chance to the Leader of Minority Party.
Thank you, hon. Speaker for giving me this chance to contribute to this very important Bill. I want to say that I support this Bill and I want to make it clear that I was the first Cabinet Minister for Environment. So, in this Act it is the Government that matters. Hon. Speaker, when the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act, 1999 was crafted, I was the Minister. However, when it was operationalised I had already left the Ministry and this is an area where I have a lot of knowledge in, having worked as Minister for Environment.
I want to say that from the discussions and your ruling hon. Speaker, it is good to raise the bar for one to be elected into the National Assembly so that Members can debate even a very technical Bill. That will help them to debate in a very positive and effective way. It is good you support what hon. Eng. Gumbo had raised. In the drafting, there are a few things here and there but generally the Bill seems to amend certain areas of the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act, 1999 so that it aligns it with the new Constitution and also with the current situations that we find ourselves in. Hon. Speaker, I want to say that this country has been described as a country of splendour. It is a country with a rich historical background and a great diversity of people, animals and beaches for sunshine. That is why we can attract even 5 million tourists in a year, if we market ourselves well. I want to say that other changes that this Bill brings about are on Clause 28 that provides for the preparation of Environment Action Plans by each county government. The county governments have been craving to control forests and resources that are found in their areas. This Bill seeks to advise on how these county governments will exploit resources. Before I go into the various clauses of this Bill hon. Speaker, I want to say that this Bill is so wide and has so many clauses. This is because it covers so many things including mineral exploitation, charcoal burning that is very rampant in the constituency I come from, sand harvesting that affects most areas of Maasai Land and Ukambani Land, logging in the Rift Valley, Central Kenya and many other places including Mt. Kenya and Meru. It also deals with pollution. Today, I will surprise you that the entire length of the Athi River has no live fish because of pollution which this Bill seeks to address. There is so much pollution in Athi River that there is no life apart from the Sukuma Wiki that is planted on the river banks. There is no life in the waters of Athi River and yet people consume water from Athi River downstream. This water is very poisonous and I am sure so many deaths come about because of that. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Mr. Speaker, I want to bring to the attention of this House---
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Leader of Minority Party, we do not have a Mr. Speaker on the Chair.
Madam Speaker. We have Madam Speaker, I am sorry! I never looked at that side. I did not know that the Chair had changed because I was addressing the House, but forgive me for that. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I want to say this is an important Bill because it addresses several issues that touch on humanity and environmental conservation in this country. Let me say that global warming and climate change are real. The temperatures of the globe are warming every year because of the Carbon (IV) Oxide which is emitted from factories, cars and all manufacturing plants. As a result, that carbon eats the Ozone Layer (O3) and then the sun’s rays penetrate through and heat the ground. However, because of that Carbon excretion, the heat that hits the ground from the sun cannot escape so it warms the globe. This Bill seeks to address that because if there is afforestation, reafforestation and conservation of the environment, we will address that because forests act as Carbon sinks. They absorb the CO2 in the atmosphere and that helps the globe not to warm up. I am appealing to all the legislators here to talk to their constituents to plant as many trees as possible so that they also benefit from the Carbon Credit. The world governments are giving money to those people who conserve the environment. The other issue that this Bill addresses is the sustainable harvesting and management of the environmental resources. Why sustainable? It is because there has been confusion on sand harvesting in areas where we come from. County governments and other governments are preventing unemployed youths from forming groups and harvesting sand. It is not a crime to harvest sand and you can make it very clear. You can build sand dams, sand is collected and you harvest. What is a crime is scooping all the sand from the river bed to the extent of leaving it bare. Sand harvesting is like grain and tree harvesting because it sort of grows and builds again so long as it is done in a sustainable manner –the word here hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker is “sustainable”. It has to be done in a sustainable way. And with that rider before I get back to the Bill, I just want to tell the Government not to interfere by trying to scuttle the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). The NGOs do a lot of work in trying to conserve and in teaching the communities how to sustainably benefit from the environment. The Government should not curb the resources that come to the NGOs. Those resources come to the NGOs to help communities harvest the resources that God has given to them sustainably. The Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act of 1999 was a very good Act. This Bill, apart from the additions, does not change the core part of that Act. It was very well crafted. It aligns it with the Constitution, makes it relevant and increases those other clauses that talk about county governments and the new structures that we have initiated with the new Constitution of Kenya, 2010. The Bill seems to address issues like mining, which were not very active in the country before. But now, Kenya has discovered fossil fuel, oil in Turkana, natural gas in Coast, coal and iron ore in Kitui and Kwale. Many other minerals have been discovered in this country. This Bill seeks to give The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
guidelines on how these resources can be harvested or mined in a sustainable way, which is beneficial to the communities in the areas where these minerals are found.
Environmental rights, privileges and freedoms are presented in Article 42 of the new Constitution. It says that every person has a right to a clean healthy environment, which includes the right to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations through legislation and other measures, particularly those contemplated in Article 69; to have obligation related to environmental fulfillment under Article 70. This Bill addresses very well the right and freedom to a clean and healthy environment that Kenyans are entitled to. For us to have a clean and healthy environment, we need good laws, which were not adequately provided by the various legislations that were scattered in the old Act.
Article 69(1) (a) of the new Constitution states that the State shall ensure sustainable exploitation, utilisation, management and conservation of environment and natural resources. It goes further to say that it will ensure equitable sharing of the accruing benefits. It acknowledges the role of the State in ensuring sustainable development as well as the importance of equitable sharing derived from the environment.
County governments, especially those that have forest resources, have been agitating to have control over those resources. This Bill seeks to streamline this, so that even when we have the Kenya Forest Service, the county governments and the national Government, each role is defined in this Bill. It is good that I have gone through it. The Bill will also help realise Article 72 of the Constitution, which requires Parliament to enact legislation to protect the environment.
When you go to Garissa, Baringo and other areas, you will find the mathenge shrub, which has affected people and livestock. It is until very recently that through research, they have found that this is a cash cow. I am sure the people who come from where there is the mathenge shrub are laughing all the way to the bank because of the new discoveries. I would urge the Government, under this new Bill, to do more research, so that we can have more benefits across the country. As I support, I want to say that NEMA has done a very good job because of the requirements that they have put in place. For instance, in the Environmental Impact Assessment Report, they carry out environmental audits. If other organisations can be as actively involved to make sure that the environment is managed properly for sustainable use by this and the future generations, Kenya would go very far. I support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu)
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to address myself to the Environmental Management and Co-ordination (Amendment) Bill. I must say that I agree with hon. Gumbo on the manner of drafting of these Bills and the fact that the Committees really need to bring their reports. But even as we say that Committees need to bring their reports, the House Business Committee, as well, must also give Committees sufficient time. I remember the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee was deliberating the Persons Derived of Liberty Bill and we were in the process of making a Report, but this Bill was put to Question today. The problem may The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
not necessarily be with the Committees per se, but also the House Business Committee should consult with the Chairmen of the various Committees to know at what stage they are deliberating the Bills, so that Reports can be brought to the House. Nevertheless, this is one of the Fourth Schedule Bills that the Legislature is required to pass. I have looked through the Bill and I notice it is a good Bill generally, but it requires some panel beating. One of the things that I notice is that it dissolves various establishments that are contained in the same Bill, particularly the National Environment Council and transferring its functions to the Cabinet Secretary. This is prudent because Article 2(1) of our Constitution requires that State resources be used well. Therefore, dissolving these establishments is key and necessary. I also notice that there is disbandment of Provincial and District Environment Committees and the constitution of County Environment Committees in accordance with Chapter 11 of the Constitution. This is also important considering that we now have county governments, which also need to be involved in the management of the environment because it is within those counties that we have most of our populace. I consider this an important amendment to this Bill and more importantly, because we no longer have provinces or districts as they used to be. I also noticed the disbandment of the National Environment Action Plan Committee, and it confers its functions to the authority. The importance of this, in my understanding is that, the action plan committees should be based at the counties so, this Bill is important. However, I take great exception to the dissolution of the Public Complaints Committee, which is said to be dissolved and its functions transferred to a department within the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resource. I take issue with these amendments. Article 47 of the Constitution talks about fair administrative action, which requires that we do things expeditiously, efficiently, lawfully, reasonably, procedurally and in a fair manner. Therefore, dissolving this kind of a committee and transferring functions to a mere department in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resource is not fair. Article 47 says that Parliament enacts legislation in order to give effect to the rights of fair administrative action, it provides for review of administrative action by a court or an independent and impartial tribunal. If you say you that you want to dissolve a Public Complaints Committee, then you are killing or doing something converse to fair administrative action, which is not fair. When we talk about a Bill that is supposed to enhance penalties for willful pollution of the environment by various entities, we cannot talk about bringing penalties, while on the other hand we are removing the standing Public Complaints Committee. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, we have a lot of pollutants within our environment. We also have a lot of degradation on our environment; dumping and many others. We are a country that is still grappling with issues of etiquette and environmental conversation. Therefore, we need to make a law that will not only take care of the environment, but also be consonant with the constitutional provisions that require us to make a law that relates to our people. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
In conclusion, this Bill attempts to rationalize State resources, according to Article 201. I believe we would have probably debated the Water Bill first because it talks about resources. An environmental Bill will also touch on the issues of land, basins and others. Therefore, this is a Bill that should have come after we have debated other legislations. We can follow and even quote the other Acts even as we debate this Bill. It is good Bill moving forward, but it requires some amendments, particularly on the issue of dispute resolution. I could not agree with hon. Gumbo more; moving forward, we need Bills that are simplified so that we make sense as we debate them so that, we can debate them out of knowledge and not out of ignorance. Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Very well spoken. The hon. Member representing Balambala Constituency, hon. Aden, the Floor is yours.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the Environmental Management and Co-ordination (Amendment) Bill, 2014. As I start my contribution, I want to join my colleagues who have just spoken before me. Indeed, it is not a matter concerning the level of education of hon. Members here, but this Bill is a bit technical. I have been looking at this Bill for the last few days. I can tell you, it is a very complicated Bill, because it touches mainly on the environment, water, wildlife and there are other existing legislations doing the same. With a lot of caution, I must say that, it would have been far more safer for this particular Bill to have been looked at by the Departmental Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, so that we know that there is nothing inconsistent with other Bills. There are issues touching on water in this Bill and I want to say that, it is my deep concern that, by the time we go through this Bill, the issues we have stated here with regard to water and management of water--- The Cabinet Secretary is given powers among other things which include recommending certain issues on water like standards of drinking water, water for industrial use, agriculture and many more. I am sure within the Water Bill, there will be elements that will touch on the same. When you look at environmental pollution, be it air or noise, I have seen other legislations address this particular issue. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, therefore this is a very complicated Bill. It requires us to subject it to a lot of scrutiny, including public participation. One of the things this Bill is trying to do, for example, is to dissolve the Public Complaints Committee and transfer the same to a certain department within the Ministry. In my view, that amounts to taking away certain rights which were previously enjoyed by members of the public, in terms of access to the Public Complaints Committee. That is why we would have required doing public participation. Having said that and cautiously having put those issues ahead, this Bill is good in many ways. With regard to devolution of the management of environment to the counties, this Bill goes a long way in empowering our counties to take responsibility of managing their own environment. This is in line with the spirit of our new Constitution. These counties will now be allowed to form county environment committees, which will consist of bodies as described by the Act here. This will include experts, heads of NGOs and departments that deal with the environment. I am glad because I come from a The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
pastoralist community. I bet my community will be co-opted as members of the county environment committees. That will be very good because then, we will understand as residents of that particular county what is going on. Depending on the lifestyle of our society, we will then manage our environment well. The counties are also given the opportunity because this Act empowers them to develop action plans specific to their own counties. This is a milestone because counties are divergent, in that they have different forms of environment or different layouts of environment across the country. Those who come from arid and semi-arid environment and forests would worry about protection of forests. Our counties have been given the ability by this Act; with a lot of specifications and guidelines on how that will be done as specified in the Act. They will be able to do their specific actions plans, of which I think it is something positive. An area that might require amendment in this particular Act is the area where the National Environment Council has been done away with and powers given to the Cabinet Secretary. I want to say that, the members of the council before included people who have interest in environment. These include NGOs; the United Nations has dedicated an entire arm to deal and support policy establishments in various countries. But what it says now is that they will no longer have that opportunity at the national level. It is surprising that, while at the county level we allow NGOs to participate in the policy making of the county action plans by being members of the county environment committees, we have done away with the National Environment Council, therefore removing those important stakeholders. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, among the members who have been done away with are universities that spend a lot of time to research on environmental issues. They will no longer be involved in national policy issues. Therefore, I have a lot of challenges with that. It is wise for the Cabinet Secretary, as much as we give him powers on certain issues, to be guided by experts on environment, universities, research centres, NGOs that have got a lot of investment and research into environmental issues and so on. The National Public Complaints Committee has also been abolished. I take a lot of exception with that because looking at the composition of the Public Complaints Committee as was before, I think it was Section 30 (1) of the previous Act, this Committee as existed before comprised of a Chairperson appointed by the Minister who shall be:- (a) A person qualified for appointment as a High Court Judge of Kenya. (b) A representative of the Attorney General. (c) A representative of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK). (d) A representative of the Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs). (e) A representative of the business community and two members appointed by the Minister who are experts on matters of the environment. All these have been scrapped. That makes us wonder, say that at the national level, I want to raise a complaint against a factory in Nairobi that is polluting the air; very big national issues that negatively impact on the environment are raised, where will such complaints be directed to? Sometimes, those complaints are big and affect several counties. For instance, you pollute River Athi right from its sources in the middle of Nairobi and it pollutes all the The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
way into Machakos County and the counties beyond. We need to have that complaints body. Taking it away is not good at all and we need to probably consider an amendment to that effect. Strict management of pollution as recommended by this Act is good. I welcome it a lot. Issues with regard to the management of the pollution of water with strict penalties, management of air and noise as well are very good recommendations that are in this Bill. Finally, climate change guidelines are new things that have been introduced by this Bill and I support them very much. That is because in the past, we could think of environmental management minus climate change guidelines. The rest of the world is focusing a lot on the bigger impact of climate change. That is because some of the environmental hazards or issues that we are dealing with are as a result of the much larger climate change issues. So, generally, I think this Bill is good. I must admit Eng. Gumbo was not wrong in raising that issue. This Bill is complex. I mean he is an engineer. He would be the most qualified in terms of understanding this issue technically, but I must say that this Bill is very complex.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Thank you for your support. Hon. Members, I have 11 requests and I can assure you that you will all have a chance to contribute, if you just hold on. Hon Member for Wajir North, hon. Ibrahim Saney.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. The environment is a wide sector and the history of environmental legislation in this country has been long. Environmental legislation is found in so many Acts. There is the Wildlife Act, the Forestry Act, the Fisheries Act, the Water Act and the Agricultural Act, just to mention a few. There are so many of them and any legislation touching on environment we must be very careful. It must ensure that there is no antagonism. It must be harmonized to bring on board all those legislations that deal with matters of environment. The Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act of 1999 has been the most comprehensive environmental legislation in our history. However, it has only fallen short of two things which I must recognize and has been noticed in the current amendment. It went short of not mentioning and recognizing climate change. I am happy that this amendment has brought on board the aspect of climate change. It further went and recognized the right to clean and healthy environment, which is in consonance with our Constitution. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, the amended Act further goes ahead and brings on board new measures to monitor and control air quality, noise, pesticides, toxic substances, monitoring and radiation. Those are new issues that we must support and are developments in the right step. Furthermore, the Environmental Management and Co- ordination (Amendment) Act recognizes devolution and has devolved action plans from the national Government to the counties. I am sure action plans are being developed through participatory means where all stakeholders contribute. If we will be developing comprehensive action plans and implement them, then that means we will integrate environmental management and manage them in a more holistic manner than it was previously. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
However, this amendment Bill has some shortcomings. It tends to confuse various Acts. In this House, we are already debating the Water Bill, the Mining Bill and the Climate Change Bill. Environment is the mother of all these legislations. I disagree with my colleague, hon. Waiganjo. This should have been the first Act to be debated and then all other piecemeal Acts that deal with water and those other small things should have followed. This should be the one that should inform anything to do with the environment. Currently, it is very much confusing how the Water Bill, the Mining Bill, the Climate Change Bill will be debated at the same time with the Environmental Management and Co-ordination (Amendment) Bill. There is some confusion on the aspects of monitoring water quality. The same functions are in the Water Bill that is being discussed. So, you will see there is some overlap in the two pieces of legislation on how to manage water. There is the Water Services Regulatory Authority which is being espoused within the Water Bill and in the Act; there is some work to do with quality control and standards which affect the same sector. So, there is a bit of confusion. Do we take the Environmental Management and Co-ordination (Amendment) Bill as the source of authority or the Water Bill? I am sure these are things for us to harmonize. The same issues are in the Mining Bill and many others have not yet been exhausted. However, I believe the development of a strong complaints tribunal is welcome though I believe it should be strengthened further. Right now in northern Kenya, there is the development of many resources. There is so much prospecting going on and already, there is a glut of cases as to whether pastoralist communities can be brought on board in the exploration of those resources. The one in mind is the one touching on Badada in Wajir County where the host community has gone to court trying to engage the company and the Government for disregarding the rights of pastoralist communities. The tribunal is, therefore, welcome and I believe it should be strengthened to make sure that communal land, which is always prone to abuse, is safeguarded. Pastoralists being vulnerable due to climate change, if not protected, will further be marginalized by those big multi-national companies who are driven by profits at the expense of pastoralist communities livelihoods. With those few remarks, I support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Thank you. The hon. Member for Wajir North, very well spoken. Next on my list is the hon. Member for Chuka/Igambang’ombe, hon Onesmus Njuki.
Thank you. I appreciate your effort to pronounce the name of my constituency rightly. It is actually very easy. It is Igambang’ombe. It is just like ng’ombe which means a cow in Kiswahili. I want to put my voice to this particular Bill because the issue of environment is one that touches on almost every living thing and even non-living things that are there in the world. This is because when you talk about environment, most people think we are talking about fauna and flora, which is basically plant and animals. However, the environment touches on many other things that are non-living, including the air that we breathe, the noise and the good sound that we hear, the minerals, the water and even the impact that is actually made on the environment by the industries and the technology that is actually in play at the moment. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, the Bill that was passed in 1999 is not in tandem with the Constitution that we passed in 2010. In the four years that the Constitution has been in operation, there has been a lot of confusion in the counties, the constituencies up to the village-level on issues to do with the environment. This Bill is, therefore, going to restore order in the sector so that we can run our businesses as usual, without having so many prolonged cases. At the moment, we have so many cases in court relating to environmental matters simply because we do not have coordination between the environment committees on the ground and the services being delivered to the people.
What is currently operational is the District Environment Committees. That is in conflict with what the county governments have put in place. The head of that Committee is the Deputy County Commissioner. On the other hand, the Sub-County Environment Committees, which are in charge of environmental matters in the county, are not members of the District Environment Committees. Therefore, it looks like the District Environment Committee is undermining the county governments. The passage of this Bill will put things in order and solve all those problems.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, looking at what is happening in our country, in terms of conservation efforts; there is demand for products that are environment-related, especially wood products. The authority responsible for issuance of licences in such operations is the county government. On the other hand, the same county government does not have representation in the District Environment Committee. That is where the paradox is. Areas that do not have forest cover close to what is recommended for the nation, especially the arid areas; are being invaded with activities that deplete the environment further because of poverty. We are looking at having at least 10 per cent of forest cover, which is still very far from the world average of 31 per cent. You find people in an area that has less than 3 per cent of forest cover being given licences to burn charcoal while those in forested areas conserve their trees. They go and buy charcoal from the areas where forests have been depleted. Therefore, providing for the coordination of the two committees will resolve the problems and help us balance the environment and work towards achieving the 10 per cent forest cover target. The proposed Environment Action Plan provides a road map to achieving a sustainable competitive advantage for the counties because this will be generated based on what is available in the environment. It will not be a general paper of national nature. It will focus on what is available in the environment. There is no way a county can have a harvesting programme for established forest, if they do not have any; or if they are in a place where they are supposed to harvest sand or exploit minerals. This will provide for a competitive edge so that every county can utilise what is available locally and pass on the benefits to people.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, what is proposed in the Second Schedule is very positive. The mwananchi is currently disadvantaged due to inaccessibility of information. People do not know what is supposed to be addressed by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). What are you supposed to seek a NEMA licence for? Some people may not be aware that as they change the use of their premises, they are required to carry out an environmental impact assessment. Some people may not even know that when they undertake irrigation activities, the canals that they dig in their The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
farms are subjects of an environment impact assessment. Therefore, this Bill goes a long way to shed light into what is required for one to receive an environment impact assessment clearance from NEMA, so that we can move in tandem with the conservation laws that have been put in place.
Even as the Bill proposes to form the county environment committee, some of the counties are very expansive. Some of them have very diverse climatic conditions. You may find a county that has a sub-county with full forest cover and another sub-county that may be almost a desert. The county environment committee alone may not address the issues that affect particular sub-counties, especially if they do not have adequate representation in those areas. Therefore, we will be seeking to introduce amendments to provide the counties with the option of retaining the Sub-County Environment Committees, so that we can be able to address the gaps that may be there, depending on the size of the county. It does not have to be compulsory. We seek to make amendments so that counties can put in place there committees on need basis. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, the Bill is generally good. It may be complicated, but we have no choice but to deliver good laws for the people of Kenya.
With those few remarks, I support the Bill.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Next on my list is the Member representing Alego Usonga Constituency.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I also arise to support this amendment Bill. A lot has been said about the drafting, the numbering and the mix-up of the various environmental laws addressing the same thing. I will not dwell on that aspect, but rather make my contribution by pointing out the fact that this Bill seeks to streamline the old environmental law that was used during the centralised system of governance, so that it can fit in the decentralised system of governance. To that extent, it is good because it takes into account what is happening now.
The Bill stipulates how our environment should be managed to ensure sustainability of the earth, which is home to the entire humanity. This is in conformity with what has become the international requirement, particularly with regard to international agencies – including our development partners. To that extent, we are simply conforming to what is happening internationally.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, lack of environmental management threatens degradation of the soil, air and water. This reduces biodiversity, which is the biggest cause of climate change. This particular amendment tends to deepen our environmental management when we go down to the counties and we involve, not just the experts that have been there before, but as Section 29(1) (e), (f) and (g) stipulate, we will involve the pastoralists, farmers and the local businessmen in environmental management of our country. It is a fact that many of our people do not recognise our environment. When you walk around in town, you will see how people throw trash everywhere and vehicles are polluting the environment. Nobody takes care of that. If this is taken to the counties and involves the local people, they will start appreciating the environment. In my area, some of the rivers that were there before have now been polluted such that fish cannot live there anymore. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
This is a sign of lack of environmental appreciation. If we involve the local person in environmental management, this will stop. Water sources in this country have completely become extinct. Some water sources that used to provide a lot of water have become extinct because of siltation. This is an environmental problem. Therefore, involving the local person down there will enhance understanding and make people know that it is from the environment that we get our livelihood and daily bread. Managing our environment as envisaged in this Bill will ensure that while we engage in economic growth and development, we will do it responsibly. We, the present generation, will consume the environment where we get our input in production. We will use it more responsibly to sustain our present wants without compromising the wants of the future generation. Sustainable and responsible utilisation of our natural resources is something that we must be alive to. This particular Bill, if amended and implemented as stipulated here, will ensure that, that will happen. With those remarks, I support this Bill.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to give some input into this very important t Bill that has been brought by the Government. This just shows how the Jubilee Government is committed to devolution and to the rule of law. If you look at what happened when the Mover was moving this Bill, the question is whether we should have brought an amendment or whether we should have repealed the whole Bill. What hon. Duale did is in the right direction. This is a constitutional law that we needed to have and we extended time, so that we can debate it now. If we decide now to talk about the Water Bill or any other Bill, the consequences, as we have been advised by the Speaker, are grievous! We need to concentrate on discussing and passing the Bill. Hon. Duale put it very clearly that from here, the Bill will now go to the Senate because it affects counties. It will consume a lot of time and I totally agree with hon. Duale, that it looks a more technical Bill. Environmental issues used to be very technical and we never took seriously environmental issues in this country until the Act was put in place a few years ago. As hon. Duale has said, this Bill is here, so that the old Environmental Act can go in tandem with the current Constitution. He has made it clear that, as a Government, we want to uphold the Constitution that the President and ourselves here in Parliament swore to uphold and to do what we are required to do. I love the Bill because in my constituency, the only natural resource that we have, Lake Nakuru, is dying. It is dying because of people not adhering to the rule of law and environmental issues. The effluent from industries has driven all the flamingos from Lake Nakuru. We hope that with these amendments and, as hon. Katoo has made clear, the enforcement arm of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) will need to take action, so that we do not kill the only natural resources that are within some of these counties. We do not have any minerals except sand. The other day when we were passing the Mining Bill, the Committee that was in charge removed sand from being a natural resource. That is the only natural resource that we have. Again, if we kill the only natural resource that we have, it will be bad. The Menengai Crater is dead. I would not want it to erupt, but this law is good for us. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Before we came to this Parliament, there was a law which was passed to reduce the weight of polythene papers. Sadly, it was removed. If you look at our environment, polythene papers have really destroyed most of our regions. Part of the amendments that we will be bringing, we should try to see whether we can re-introduce the polythene paper issue and of course, protect our wetlands. I visited China and I was told that they passed a ruling in court that brought down a 98 storey building that had been built on a wetland. That is the direction that this country needs to take, so that we do not just allow people who look at the environment, they see a space and all they want to do is put up some development on that space. We need to appreciate that there are places where we put apartments, places where we do farming and places where we do forestry, so that these natural resources that God gave us can be preserved. The Bill is going to be in tandem with the new Constitution. As has been said, it is creating a very sound environmental practice internationally. We are required to be in conformity with issues to do with climate change internationally. This Bill has brought out that very clearly. Has it removed public participation by removing the public complaints mechanism? No. Environmental issues used to be handled in an office, a department and an Authority. The public was never involved at any one time. With the creation of the County Environment Committees, which the governor has been given an opportunity to form, it has made it very clear that public participation is mandatory. The public will be able to give views on whether certain forests need to be cleared. In the past, a Government official would just sit in some place and decide to clear a forest. The consequences are that the same public suffers after clearing a forest. So, public participation has not been removed by this amendment. In fact, it has been enhanced. That is the most important thing. As hon. Nyenze has said, and I am in agreement with him for the first time, the involvement of the youth at the county is very important as regards these amendments. The more we involve women and the youth, the more employment opportunities we will create and places where people can earn their living. On cooperating with the State organs in terms of increasing--- It is important that every person must cooperate with State organs so that we can enforce and improve environmental management issues. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, on the right to access information, in the past, it used to be a Government document. An office is shut and you cannot access any information that you require. This amendment has brought forth that you can walk to any office and request for information. One of the other issues that have been brought by this amendment is that the Cabinet Secretary, despite being given other powers, is obliged by this amendment to bring environmental issue reports to Parliament. It has actually specified when we are in session and when we are not in session; it has specified within 21 days. I think it is important for us to have these reports so that we can also know that the Cabinet Secretary is mandated by these amendments to bring these reports to Parliament and of course share with the governors.
Something else we have always been talking about is wastage in this country; the huge wage bill in this country. The bringing in of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to try and reduce those wastages in terms of allowances and salaries The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
that should be paid to various committees and authorities, is something good. The governor has, of course, been given an opportunity to appoint the county environment committees, which is a good thing.
I agree with hon. A. B. Duale that we need transparency when it comes to NGOs. We will not accept an NGO to come to Nakuru National Park to do something, they solicit billions of shillings from partners and other friendly people who want to come and assist and then, they cannot be answerable for that. With the excess monies that they have, they start using it to fight the same Government that has put them in place. I think it is important to have accountability within NGOs, so that even if somebody is---
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Your time is over. That was a very good contribution. Let us get the expert on environment, hon. (Dr.) Otichilo.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this chance to comment on this very important Bill. Environment is life. Unfortunately in this country and in many other countries in Africa, we do not take seriously the issue of environment. First, I want to agree with the Chairperson and hon. (Eng.) Gumbo that the number of amendments we are bringing to this current law of Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act are too many. Ideally we should have repealed the current Act and drafted a new one. That would have made life simpler for Members of Parliament to systematically understand this Bill. I am a Member of the Departmental Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. Because these amendments are too many and they are conflicting because we do not have the original Act to compare with; most stakeholders have had it rough. As a Committee we have had to go through a lot of proposed amendments because of these conflicts in terms of having too many amendments. Ideally, it would have been good to repeal this Act and come up with a new Bill. Anyway, it is already done. We shall have to do with what we have. But we are going to have a very hard time, particularly when it comes to the Third Reading because the number of amendments that are going to come, will be more confusing. It will take many hours to eventually go through this Bill. Having said that, I think these amendments are very timely. Because of our new Constitution, this Act needs to be realigned with our new Constitution. It specifically needs to specify clearly what the role of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is. This is because there has been a lot of confusion on the role of NEMA. As you can see from the title of the Bill and the current Act, it is “Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act” but the work NEMA has been doing has been beyond coordination. They have, in fact, been involved in actual implementation. That has brought a lot of confusion. So the current amendment is clearly stating the role of NEMA which is mainly to coordinate and enforce the law. So, that is extremely important to be clear about.
There are a number of amendments that have been proposed in this amendment Bill which may not be very good. For example, the abolishment of the National Environment Council is not well informed because the environment is a cross-cutting sector. We need every contribution from every sector of our economy. When you abolish the National Environment Council which was bringing all the key stakeholders to look at the environment as the basis for life and human survival, when you abolish it and take it The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
to the Ministry in charge of environment, basically you are now downplaying the role of the environment in human life. You are now making the Ministry to be responsible for a sector that is cross cutting. So, when it comes to the abolishment of the National Environment Council, it was ill informed and I believe some of us will bring amendments to reinstate it because we need contributions from everybody. The environment affects everybody and our Constitution is very clear that the environment is everybody’s business to ensure that our environment is taken care of.
Another area which this amendment Bill is proposing which I think was also ill informed is the abolishment of the Public Complaints Committee. That Committee is extremely important. That is a Committee which is available to every Kenyan to complain about any environmental injustice that may have been done to an individual, a community or natural resource. When you abolish it, then you have a problem because it has been abolished on the premise that we have the Land and Environment Court which should take care of any complaint. But you know very well that Kenyans most times do not want to go to court, particularly when it comes to matters of the environment where nobody is concerned. It is the tragedy of the commons so that nobody cares. It is very unlikely that people will go to the Lands and Environment Court to complain.
So, this is an area where I believe that we may need to reinstate this committee. This committee is free. It goes all round the country and people are able to talk to them very freely. Otherwise, if you tell Kenyans to go to court on environmental issues, it is very unlikely that they will go. The other thing which I want to support in this Bill is the need for preparation of a three-year National Environment Action Plan. This is extremely important. We need to have a national action plan, which states what we should do to address our environmental challenges. This is a very important inclusion in this Bill; I think it is very timely. The provision that enables counties to prepare a county environmental action plan is very important. This is going to take environmental issues to the county level, so that they can be addressed at that level. Counties are going to identify their key environmental issues and address them during their budgetary processes and implementation of projects. So, this is a very good and innovative inclusion in this Bill. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, the inclusion of standards and guidelines for climate change is very important, because the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is supposed to enforce them. It is important that NEMA has standards and guidelines on climate change. Climate change is the single most important threat to human life today. Unless we come up with both adaptation and modification measures to deal with climate change, our planet is at risk. The other issue which I want to note is the strengthening of the National Environment Tribunal. This is also extremely important. By strengthening the Tribunal, we will be able to deal with environmental issues. Where people contravene environmental laws, this Tribunal will be able to handle their cases. There is one area which has been totally ignored in this Bill, and, which to me, is very important. This is to do with national environmental accounting system. Our environment is being destroyed because people do not put value on it. People do not put value on air, water and aesthetics of being in an enabling environment. So, it is important that this Bill has a section which will compel this country to say what the value of our The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
environmental assets is. This is what the rest of the world is doing. Our environmental assets should be given monetary value, so that we know how much we own environmentally.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): You wish to support. It is on record that you have supported, hon. Ottichilo. That is a very informed debate on the Bill. I am sure some of the amendments for insertion or deletion will be welcome when we get to the Committee Stage. Hon. Members, be ready for this. Member for Gichugu, hon. Barua Njogu.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for this opportunity to contribute to this important Environmental Management and Co-ordination (Amendment) Bill, 2014. The law we are amending today came into force because of the realisation that environmental management and co-ordination was being done through very many sectoral laws. So, it was found necessary for the country, as part of the international community committed to environmental conservation and management, to come up with a framework law. That was one of the justifications, or rationale, for the enactment of the Act we are amending today. Historically, the process of this environmental law started with the National Environment Action Plan, after which the Environment Management and Co-ordination Act (EMCA) was put in place. I am saying this because it is important for us to appreciate the history and the issues that were considered before this framework Bill was enacted into law. The Bill recognised the role of public participation, every member of the community, every profession and the gender commitment. It is, therefore, important as we make these amendments to take cognisance of these issues. I support the views of hon. Gumbo, which he voiced at the beginning of this debate in terms of the procedures that should be followed as we discuss these important, complex and technical laws. It could have been very important and useful for the members of the Departmental Committee on Environment and Natural Resources to have presented a report which would have guided other Members in the debate. However, I would like to be on record that this Committee had requested to be given at least two more days to have a report available. I want to assure the House that on Tuesday morning the report of the Departmental Committee on Environment and Natural Resources will be available. The Members who will contribute to this Bill that afternoon will benefit from that report. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, the Bill devolves environmental management. It recognises the management of natural resources and environment at the county level. This is important because environmental resources are destroyed at the grassroots level. Having the County Environment Committee, which is all-inclusive, is going to be a very big positive for environmental management. The environment is one of the pillars of sustainable development agenda. The other two are economic and social pillars. So, if the environmental pillar is not seriously and carefully taken care of, it might lead to the collapse of the sustainable development agenda and make it difficult for us, as a nation, to achieve the objectives of Vision 2030. Some of the amendments proposed in this Bill are actually taking us backwards. I would like to support the views of hon. Ottichilo when he mentions about the abolition of The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
the National Environment Council. Abolishing this Council and transferring its functions to the Cabinet Secretary (CS) is tantamount to concentrating powers in the Cabinet Secretary as opposed to devolving powers and responsibilities. This Bill also proposes the abolition of the Public Complaints Committee. This Committee is one of the most important organs, which are creations of the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act. Without the Public Complaints Committee in force, it will mean that the common man and woman in the street will have no mechanism through which to air their complaints on environment. As the previous speakers have said, the court system is not accessible by the majority of Kenyans. In fact, most Kenyans have not been sensitised enough to know that they can get redress on environmental issues from the court system. Secondly, court systems are very expensive. They are beyond the reach of many, hence the importance of this Public Complaints Committee. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, as it is now, even one has to go to the Land and Environment Court; it will be very time-consuming, and cases could take more than several years. Some issues of the environment which are taken to the PCC are those that require urgent attention. Maybe, it is burst sewer, or somebody polluting a neighbour’s environment. That cannot wait for the court system. That one must be addressed on the spot. That is why I want to say that this issue of the abolition of the PCC must be rethought, and the committee must be put in place. In fact, I am of the view that this committee should be strengthened, so that it can execute its mandate effectively. The law we have is adequate for environmental management in this country; what is happening now is that the institutions we have created under the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act (EMCA) are not performing to maximum capacity. It is important that this House looks at what is necessary even if it means allocating more resources to the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resource to ensure that it is possible for the mandates of these institutions to be executed. Several hon. Members have mentioned things like wetlands. As it is now, wetlands in this nation are being destroyed through unsustainable farming practices. I want to tell this honourable House that wetlands are the lungs of the earth. Without wetlands, our rivers are going to dry up. If charcoal burning continues uncontrolled, it is going to cause more and more land degradation and threats to the existence of the human race. As hon. (Dr.) Ottichilo has said, environment is life; I want to emphasise the same that the biggest disaster we may have in the future will come if we do not take care of our environment. We are trying to align the former Act to the provisions of the new Constitution. When this one is done, it will mean that we shall have many grassroots organs which shall participate in conservation management and reporting. So, when you have these 47 committees in 47 counties, it will be much easier for us to compile the state of environment report in time hence the nation will be able to act quickly and effectively on emerging environmental threats. Right now, because of the incapacity that we have in as far as reporting is concerned, the nation is not able to take action on this, which I am sure would improve the situation. The other issue I would like to mention is on environmental impact assessment; my proposal on this is that the environmental impact assessment is an important tool because it provides mitigation of possible adverse effects on the environment. I heard the The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Leader of Majority Party talking about flats being built in a certain area. The issue here is not the flats; environmental impact assessments do not foresee crucial projects because of environmental impact. What is supposed to be put in place is adequate mitigation measures, so that whichever project is put in place, the effects of it can be mitigated adequately, hence adverse effects on the environment can be avoided. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, environment impact assessment is going to take off this. As I conclude, I would like to ask that institutions like the PCC should be strengthened. In fact, my proposal is that the PCC should be given prosecutory power, so that once it makes some findings, it can prosecute on behalf of the community. I would like to end my contribution at this particular point. I would like to support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Thank you, very well spoken, hon. Member for Gichugu. Is hon. M’uthari in the House?
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this very important Bill. It is important to know that this Bill is coming – although in my opinion it is late – to harmonise and bring the existing Act in line with the Constitution of Kenya. The Act which has been in existence up to now does not consider the changes that the people of Kenya gave to themselves through the new Constitution.
As I support this Bill, it is also important that once we pass it, it is implemented and the people given responsibilities must do what is demanded of them. We have the existing Act that we are amending through this amendment; there are so many things that are not working. There is a lot of money that is being paid to the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), whenever there is construction work due to the activities which demand impact assessment, or environmental audit. All this money is paid, but enforcement of the current Act--- There is very little in terms of implementation. We demand that the bodies or individuals who are entrusted with this responsibility should enforce the laws as they are because we know the importance of our environment.
The environment encompasses everything and it is important to note that this particular Bill brings together various aspects related to land, wildlife, forestry and exploitation of mineral resources. They are all considered within this particular Bill. The fact is that we are establishing structures at the national level and devolving the functions of management of our environment to the county level. One thing that is left out of the process of devolution is that--- We are devolving and then coming up with things that make it look as if devolution ends only at the county level. There are supposed to be sub- county committees dealing with issues of the environment at that level.
In the existing Act we have District Environment Committees. It is the people at that level who understand the environment better. So we devolved these functions to the county level and left out the sub-county levels, yet we have devolved this level in other sectors. That is an area that seriously needs amendments. As I said there is the problem of enforcement. Laws have been there. Let us take an example of when the late hon. Michuki said that Nairobi River would be cleaned. What happened after he left the Ministry? How far has the process gone? Even as we come up with laws – we have many laws in this country – we need to know that the problem is not lack of laws, but the The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
question of application. When we come up with these amendments, it is important to raise the awareness of Kenyans, so that they understand what needs to be done. When you look at the land and its allocation--- When growing up in my area in Igembe North, we had forests but that have now been cleared. Even where we have new areas under survey, people end up taking the hilly areas and then environmental destruction takes place. It all happened yet we have laws that are supposed to be enforced to stop it. There is also the question of destruction of the environment and participation of the public. We have had some institutions and committees that were established under the existing Act removed; that in my opinion is a bit retrogressive. We can talk about participation, but what are the mechanisms for participation, and how effective are the ones that have been proposed? Many times we may have the question of participation ending up as a way of just doing things to make sure that we fulfill the law, and not do what we are supposed to do. There are several things also to applaud in this particular amendment; there is some clarity, as in the question of coming up with a national environmental action plan. There is also the plan to come up with the county environment action plans. These are some of the things that are good in this Bill. There is also the question of coming up with quality and recommending standards. When you look at Clause 53, and amendments which make it clear when we talk about water quality, what is the best quality of water for drinking, industrial use, agriculture and even irrigation purposes? This clarification is important. Again, when you also look at the Second Schedule, it clarifies the elements that we need to consider for environmental audit or assessment. When you look at these areas, they are important because they make things clear and clarify whatever is required. All in all, I want to support this Bill, but we will come up with some amendments to strengthen, and bring back, some of the issues that are left out that may be very important as far as management of our environment is concerned. Failure to take care of our environment will have consequences. Taking care of our environment has to begin with me, you and everybody. If we want to have a clean environment, then we must clean the environment where we are. If we want to have more trees, then this is the rainy season and everybody must participate in tree planting, so that we can have enough forest cover. With those remarks, thank you.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Thank you, Member for Igembe North. Yes, hon. Tonui, Member for Bomet Central.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for this opportunity to contribute to this very important Bill. This is a constitutional Bill which has timelines. It is one of those Bills which can send us home if we do not pass them at the right time. It is here with us at the right time. I support this Bill. I also support the sentiments of the Speaker, that it would have been better to have had a whole new Bill rather than having piecemeal amendments. These amendments are rather too many. This Bill consists of more than 104 pages; it is so big. The amendments should have been put in a new piece of legislation, so that we The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
consider all of them at once. But all in all, I believe that this is going to serve us well, as a country. Because of time, I know that the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources has not sat down to digest these things in details. I believe that during the Committee Stage, this will be handled well and we will have several amendments, so that we can capture everyone’s aspirations in this Bill. Otherwise, I believe that whatever we have in this Bill is addressing some of the key issues in the environmental matters. We need to live in a conducive and healthy environment. This Bill is addressing several issues in pollution like air pollution. It touches on several sectors like the transport sector, where we have a lot of pollution from unroadworthy vehicles. This is being addressed. The issue of dust is also being addressed. We need to live in places where the air is not polluted.
This Bill also addresses issues of air quality standards, which are being set. There is, for example, the standards of emissions from tanneries which pollute the environment. I am happy that those issues are being addressed by this Bill. The issue of water, which is so critical is also being addressed. In some parts of my constituency, we rely on dams and the kind of dams which we have are not good. They are not protected. We rely on run-off water for drinking. At this time and age, both the national Government and county governments need to do something to ensure that we have clean drinking water. I believe this is being addressed in this Bill. Whatever is being addressed in the Bill should be in line with the realities on the ground. Our people are suffering when it comes to the quality of water; therefore, this issue needs to be addressed. I am also happy that this Bill tackles the issue of treatment of effluents. We need to dispose of waste in the right manner. This Bill is capturing it well. Where we need to polish, we must polish, so that we do not have people disposing of waste anyhow. I am also happy that issues of pesticides and toxic substances are being addressed in this Bill. Now that we have our international partners, the people whom we are exporting our agricultural products to, complaining about the level of toxic substances in our agricultural products, I am glad that this is also captured in this Bill. It is being addressed, so that we sell our agricultural products, and they are not rejected either in the African Union (AU) or the United States (US). Those are very good issues which have been captured. There is the issue of environmental impact assessment reports, which is very important. However, I wish it were very specific. In certain parts of this Bill, there are clauses which may be a little bit hard to follow; for example, where it talks of changes in land use. If I have my small piece of land and I want to change its use from grazing to planting tea, I will require these reports. This will make those small-scale activities too expensive. We need to be specific on the acreage and what kind of agricultural activity we are changing from. This is because if you are simply changing from grazing to planting tea, you may not need to undertake an environmental impact assessment report; doing so will make use of the land expensive. This is even the case in settlements. I believe it can discourage many people from building houses. Then, there is the Public Complaints Committee. We need to capture this because dispute resolution does not need to be so lengthy. There are certain things which deal with the environment, and which can irritate you. Going to the court and processing all The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
the required documents can be costly and time consuming; therefore, not many people will be keen to go through that process. We need the Public Complaints Committee, to which you can simply write a small letter giving certain details and they address the issues to do with the environment. I know there is a tribunal which is being formed here, but a tribunal is still a court and requires lots of preparation before you go there. Some of us are not lawyers and we may not do that. We need something at which a common man, who has a genuine complaint, can have it addressed. The Public Complaints Committee really needs to be captured in this Bill. Currently, there are issues of double payments which need to be addressed also. If you are building a structure, or doing something, which affects the environment, you are required to pay a fee to the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to get approval. Also at the county level, you need to pay something to the County Environment Department. This is duplication and it makes business very expensive. That should also be captured in this Bill, so that we reduce the cost of doing business at whatever level. This Bill also captures something in climate change. There is a Bill we have already approved on climate change. I do not know where we should be capturing issues on climate change. Should they be in this environment Bill, or should they be in the Climate Change Bill, which we have dealt with in this House? I do not know if this one is misplaced. They need to be redirected to the other Bill, which we have done in this House. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I am happy to note that this Bill brings in the county governments. The county environment committees will be formed under this Bill, so that issues of environment can be addressed at the level of the county. How I wish that this could be extended all the way to the sub-location level, so that those issues can be addressed very well. If we only have county environment committees, I know they are likely to concentrate only on urban areas and ignore rural areas. We need this thing to be more comprehensive and to go all the way. I am not happy with the dissolving of the National Environment Council (NEC) and then transferring all the power to the Cabinet Secretary in charge of environment. That is concentrating power in one person. I think we need to get rid of that. We need to have proper devolution. We need to have so many people participating in decision- making process, so that corruption can be reduced. Where one person is making decisions, I believe we are going to create billionaires. Once they make a decision, it is final and they are likely to go in a certain direction. If we can have this Council to advise and make recommendation to be acted upon by the Cabinet Secretary, that would be good because it would reduce corruption and avoid concentration of power in only one person. I am also happy that it is dealing with the issue of access to information. It is so important for the public to get access to information in the environment sector, so that they are well informed of their rights.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Your time is up. Thank you; well spoken, though you had more to say; you will speak next time. Hon. Members, the Bible teaches us how to be patient. The English saying goes, “Patience pays”. The Standing Orders give the Speaker the discretion to do that. Hon. Members, it is for you to catch the Chair’s eye; Member for South Mugirango, it is now your time. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Thank you, Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me a chance to contribute to this Bill. From the outset, I will say I am supporting this Bill, but it has major weaknesses. The first one which I want to point out is the appointment of board members. It clearly states here that the Cabinet Secretary concerned will appoint six people who are not public officers. It does not say their qualification. It does not say their background and this is an institution we are forming and it requires experts. It requires people from various professional backgrounds. It is good that this Bill will go to the Senate for debate and the Senate will look at these new amendments. The challenge I am having here is that by the time we do all the amendments, the Bill will be like an old cloth that you have put patches on. It will make you look as if you have something completely new, which is going to be very confusing to most people. That is one area which is critical to me, and the drafters have not come out to say the people you will appoint. Secondly, I want to talk about funding for this Authority. How are we going to get experts? We are saying that the responsibilities this Authority is going to perform will require a lot of money. They require financial support but this Act does not tell us how this money is going to be raised. We are already complaining about the fee. That fee alone cannot sustain the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). The fee alone cannot provide logistics. That fee is not enough for them to buy laboratory equipment; they will need equipment for carrying out various assessments. That fee alone cannot pay the manpower they employ; they are going to have very specialized people. They are going to have engineers. They are going to have scientists and so it is not possible to bring a Bill like this one without looking at how you are going to fund this Authority. You give them a lot of responsibilities and yet that is what they are supposed to do. At the same time, if you go to the Second Schedule, it contains projects requiring submission of an environmental impact assessment study report and change of land user, which of course, we have said here. What acreage are you talking about here? Are you talking about a peasant farmer who has two acres and has been disappointed by the poor prices of tea? Do you tell such a farmer that he has to ask for permission from NEMA before he removes the tea to plant onions or Sukuma Wiki ? What is it we are talking about? We need to come up with clear stipulations. You have to say whether this is commercial and not any other land. The Bill talks about many things including urban development, transportation, dams, rivers, water resources, storage dams, aerial sprays, forest-related activities, and large scale agriculture; all these things. It says that processing and manufacturing industries will need to go through this process before they are given a certificate. You cannot do this without a properly set system, with qualified manpower. You cannot talk about an organisation which is poorly funded yet you give it a lot of responsibilities. What they normally do is actually sit there and when you want an assessment certificate you talk to them to come and look at your place then they give you a certificate and you go. That is nothing because it does not give the proper image. That is why we have a lot of pollution. NEMA is in this country, yet Nairobi River is polluted, even though it was cleaned just recently. We have got many illegal structures which are coming up and The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
buildings which have been done where water passes. Basically, the water cannot pass because of the poor drainage and all these things. That is because we have not strengthened these bodies, and they cannot be strengthened unless there is good funding. It looks like a joke. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker I want to quote some sections that I have seen here. They are saying all the decisions are going to be made by the Cabinet Secretary. They have abolished the Standards and Enforcement Review Committee. It has nothing to do because its powers have been transferred to the Cabinet Secretary. In the same provision, they tell us that governors will form a committee and will list the people whom they are going to employ. When you look at that provision, it also says that governors must think about age, gender and diversity in employment. However, it does not limit the Cabinet Secretary to thinking about gender and diversity when he is appointing his board. He can, therefore, pick his cronies without due regard for their qualification. They talk about the county governments and what they are supposed to do. You look at exactly what the Bill intends to achieve in terms of enforcing cleanliness, reducing pollution, and creating wealth, which we need. Wealth is like water – you know water is very precious, or valuable, if it is not polluted. Air is also very precious when it is not polluted. When you look at what the Bill says, you do not know how it found its way to us for debate. It does not make sense. Yes, we need it but it is unclear. The good thing is that it is going to the Senate then coming back to us. There is another contradiction in this Bill: You know we have passed the Mining Bill; if you look at it and you look at this Bill, then the two Cabinet Secretaries will be fighting.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): The Member who has just walked in, please consult in low tones.
You know the Cabinet Secretary in Mining and the Cabinet Secretary in Agriculture will be fighting when we pass this Bill, because one will make a decision that will pollute the environment and the other one will make a decision that they would do mining. What will this add up to? We must look at the implementation and practicability of the Bill in terms of effectiveness. So, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, the entire Bill has problems. I do not know what needs to be done, or whether it is too late. I think this Bill should be withdrawn. If you try to look at the amendments required to this Bill, they are massive and will cause confusion in this House at the time of the Committee Stage and when it comes back from Senate. So, when I look at it, I wonder exactly what the drafters of this Bill were doing and what they wanted to achieve. Here they say the Cabinet Secretary shall, on the recommendation of the Authority, recommend minimum standard for emission of noise. It, therefore, goes to the Cabinet Secretary to do it. Then why do you form this body? Why do you not let the civil servants do this job rather than say we are forming a body yet you do not give it power? This Bill is just going to cause unnecessary confusion, considering that we have a new Constitution and county governments. Those powers must be given to those institutions that are going to perform the function. As we move on, we will have amendments to this Bill, so that we can have what is right and what can be enforceable by all of us. But more important, this organisation needs funding and highly trained manpower. It is not a place where you are going to get The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
people, who are not qualified, to sit there, so that they can give you certificates. That is what they do. They do nothing else. They come, look at your place and then give you a certificate to say that you can construct your building. They have no manpower and knowledge to do this job. I support this, but I am happy it is going to the Senate. It will come back here and we shall have a lot of amendments to this Bill before it can serve this country. With those few remarks, I support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Thank you for supporting. Now that you have talked about gender--- Hon. Members, we have heard a lot of male voices. Let us get to hear a bit of soprano in the House. Hon. Member for Bomet County, hon. Cecilia Ng’etich.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to also support the Environmental Management and Co-ordination (Amendment) Bill, 2014. The purpose of this, as clearly stated, is to comply with the Constitution, and to ensure that there is proper co-ordination and management of the environment. Previously, this was done by various institutions, some of which were in conflict with one another. Some had overlapping responsibilities while others had been overtaken by events. I, therefore, want to appreciate the Mover of the Bill. It is quite timely; the various amendments it has proposed cannot be ignored. Last week, we passed a Bill on the Public Service values. This goes hand in hand with this Bill in the sense that environmental pollution is a major problem in Kenya. When you go to the estates, you find heaps and heaps of solid waste. For example, Nairobi River is highly polluted, and so are many others. This will strengthen the Authority and will give effective service now that it will be closer to the people through devolution. It will, therefore, as stated in the proposed amendments, provide for very stiff penalties to those who engage in willful pollution. Habits, they say, die hard. I wish to propose here that if we want to succeed in ensuring that people take care of the environment with ownership and responsibility, it will be good to instill in them these values right from school. They should be taught how to be responsible and to keep their environment clean. We should strengthen the Environment Clubs in schools. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, you have witnessed this several times, while driving behind a bus, you are lucky if you do not find somebody throwing a maize comb and almost hitting your windscreen. Therefore, these values should be instilled right from the time when one is young. As for the adults, the law can be enforced because these are people who can understand the meaning of obeying laws. In many parts of our country, we have witnessed high soil degradation through soil erosion. I want to mention that the former President, His Excellency Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi, initiated a good scheme for preventing soil erosion and thus preserving the environment through the “ Zuia Mmonyoko wa Udongo” campaign. It had become synonymous with him, so much so that everyone knew what he stood for. With regard to this, as leaders, we need to lead by example. We need to show in our various areas of jurisdiction what we are doing to ensure that the environment is preserved. Secondly, during those days of the former President, His Excellency Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi, we had a tree planting day every year, where every student and all The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
parents would plant a tree. He also initiated planting of trees along the highways, which is now being adopted by many counties, which is really good. In the cities, air is polluted through carbon dioxide that is emitted by various vehicles and high population of industries in cities. The tree planting programme advised that to curb pollution, it is good to make cities green by planting trees in every available space. It is good to plant trees so that they may absorb harmful gases. When we talk of the environment, all of us know that the late Prof. Wangari Maathai was the guru of the environment. She fought to preserve environment through the Green Belt Movement, which later earned her the Nobel Prize. She also introduced the Shamba System, under which the public would be encouraged to plant trees. Before the trees matured, they would plant crops in between. This way, the trees would be preserved and the public would harvest food from the same parcels of land. This would ensure that the trees survived and grew to maturity; the public would then be shifted to other places. This would have been a very good way of ensuring that our forest cover meets the international standard; right now we are just at 7 per cent against the world standard of about 12 per cent forest cover. One time, there was a policy that when you cut down one tree you needed to plant two. It is sad to say that we have seen illegal logging and burning of charcoal without any replacement of trees. For a long time, no one will realize this. However, the effect is already being manifested in form of drying up of many rivers. Recently, I remember reading an article about the risk of Mara River drying up. This would lead to slow economic growth, in the sense that wildebeests, which is the Eighth Wonder of the World that often attracts tourists to view them as they cross Mara River, may not be there anymore; they will just walk over to another place. They will not be swimming across because of the drying up of the Mara River due to the degradation of the environment, or the deforestation, that is happening now. One Member has already mentioned it, and I want to support the fact that in the Bill there is a proposal that indicates that the Authority that will be formed will also provide for any interests in and over land. Giving two authorities power to deal with land is wrong, because there is another legislation that deals with use of land, and we know very well that land is an emotive issue. It is in public domain that the conflicts that we see in the northen part of Turkana are because of land. Today, I listened to proceedings of the Senate, and there was a petition about Nyandarua and Laikipia border. There is also conflict about water resources like the ones in Naivasha, where certain communities want water for their animals while others want it for human use. We need to comb through these proposed amendments to ensure that they do not create more problems as we try to solve the existing ones. Otherwise, the Bill is good in the sense that it will bring efficiency when the environmental management is under one coordination body, which will also be able to take stock of natural resources.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Your time is up, hon. Cecilia. Hon. Kabando wa Kabando, Member for Mukurweini Constituency.
Thank you very much, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for the opportunity to contribute to this Bill. It is important to debate a Bill that is addressing various aspects of environmental management, issues of governance, and the The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
restructuring of institutions therein to enable us have a situation that is improved. We have a lot of debates and many issues are raised on the environment, particularly under the auspices of international forums as mentioned by hon. Cecilia, who, as you actually put it, is a guru in this area. There are issues of climate change and environmental degradation. They pose serious threats to human survival. This is a matter of life. Unlike in other scenarios where you talk about resource allocations, equipment and general education, we are talking about issues that affect the health, livelihoods and wellbeing of the people of this world. Therefore, to address issues of environment lightly for us is not safe. To assume that issues of climate change or environment matters need more international focus and international conferences for us to domesticate their importance and, therefore, their usefulness, is doing a little disservice to ourselves. I appreciate very well the contributors who have preceded me like hon. Ottichilo and hon. Barua of Gichugu.
People have insight and the requisite knowledge to input these matters. Therefore, the question that arises immediately is, if consultations and the hearing preceding the tabling for the Second Reading were adequate, or we are going to precipitate so many amendments at the Committee Stage to the extent that the quality of this Bill will be strange to the original format and the content--- For instance, there is almost unanimity on the question of reinstating the National Environment Council (NEC), and making it distinctive and strong in order for it to have the responsibility, rather than weakening and internalising it within a department and leaving it at the discretion of the national Executive. That is a matter that needs redress; hopefully the responsible Committee or the Mover of this Bill will be capturing these sentiments, so that we do not have a flurry of amendments by individual Members and some submissions by outsiders.
The County Environment Committee (CEC) is, of course, provided for in the Constitution. It enables the counties to have the requisite role that is appreciated and deal with this matter. The strengthening of the Committee is what will be necessary. We know that the counties are doing their own things. We have the County Executive in charge of the environment. The environment committee is within the county. We are producing these Bills in quick succession. Even though the Senate is going to debate them, the question that we should be asking is whether we need to download this material to the counties themselves as a way of involving them. When it comes to public participation, sometimes we assume and just call institutes, NGOs, individuals, consultants and academics in areas of particular matters under review. If a Bill is discussed by the Senate and forwarded to the counties, we will be able to have divergent views from all over the country. Today I heard of an issue regarding exploration of oil being discussed at the High Court in relation to the Wajir County. Such are matters which need to be addressed by those small but very important committees. Through their respective elected officials, we can lessen the burden of having to deal with so much litigation and so many petitions on matters that can easily be resolved.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, having the National Environment Council (NEC) and the National Environment Action Planning Committee (NEPC), and duplicating the same in the counties through the County Environment Action Planning The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Committee (CEAPC) will be unnecessarily creating many institutions at different levels. It would be sufficient to have it at the national level, and have the planning committees in the 47 counties to deal with the actual matters, because these programmes happen on the ground. This will enable us to address the sentiments about public complaints and ensure that we have non-judicial processes. Tribunals are good but, as said by another Member – and I repeat it – they are also litigious, laborious and expensive. Therefore, they lead to a lot of time and resource wastage.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, as we create all these institutions and laws, let us think about the cost of doing business. This aspect has been mentioned by another Member. Let us think of the bureaucracies that we are creating, which will need to be consulted whenever we desire to undertake certain basic matters. For instance, we have the Physical Planning Act, the Public Health Act, and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). Recently, we passed the National Construction Authority Regulations. We have the county approvals.
When you take a certain area in Nairobi, sub-urban like Limuru, where my friend, hon. Kiragu, comes from and the connection with the City and the urbanisation of the constituencies around here, you will find that the methodology of construction in those areas is almost similar; low, high and middle classes construction, residential, hotels and so forth. In an area of 100 acres, where there is subdivision of the land, to say a quarter or an eighth of an acre, each individual is required to seek the physical planning approval, the public health approval, county approvals, NEMA approvals and the National Construction Authority approvals, it just too much. We should now start thinking about harmonisation. Perhaps, time has come when the Mining Act, this Act that we are amending and all the other laws relating to the environment were taken to a national conference under the auspices of, for instance, the Wangari Maathai Institute of Environmental Studies to reduce bureaucracy, so that it excites some academic or scholarly reviews and participation. This is the same Government at the national level. When you have the Cabinet Secretary for Mining and the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resource creating a department to deal with the matter that is almost coming to the same purview, it needs review. Even in certain areas, we should have environment impact assessment done generally in a certain zone, so that we can zone assessments instead of segmenting them to individuals. This can reduce the cost of doing business and improve the livelihood of our people. In areas like housing, you should not have young people going to five or six institutions seeking the same approvals and the next day, you have another 100 people from the same area. A zonal segmented wide area impact assessment would help us grow harmoniously.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Hon. Members, you had 10 minutes. You did very well to support. It has been captured in the HANSARD. Members, we have about nine requests and we have about 17 minutes to adjourn the House. In our Standing Orders, we talk about repetition. It is very important that if you have to repeat, you take the shortest time possible, so that we can give the other Members an opportunity. Hon. Member for Butula, hon. Michael Onyura. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Thank you, hon. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to make a comment on this Bill. I have taken note of your advice, that there are still other Members who would like to contribute. So, I will be brief. I support this Bill. However, I agree with the sentiments I have heard from the Members that the Bill presents many little small amendments here and there, and that it would have been much cleaner, better, easier and less complicated if we just had brought a fresh Bill and repealed the existing law rather than have many amendments like this. However, since this is the route that we have taken, I want to believe that the powers that are concerned will take note of what the Members have said.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, when it comes to matters of the environment, I think these are issues we should take very seriously; particularly we in Kenya should strive to be in the forefront. Remember that we are the hosts of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and we have been given that honour by the whole world. We also owe it to the whole world, not only just to ensure that we conform to and follow the best international practices but also to appreciate the fact that we have been given that honour to be the Headquarters of UNEP. We should do much more.
As the Bill itself says, it is aimed at ensuring that it is aligned to the new Constitution, particularly when it comes to issues of devolution. One of the main features of our new Constitution is to do with devolution, where as much of these activities as possible are done at county level. I think that it is a good thing to recognize that a lot of these activities should be devolved. In doing so, we should ensure, as the spirit of the Constitution expects, that there is maximum participation of all the stakeholders and, in fact, of all wananchi. It has been said here many times that the Constitution envisages and tells us expressly that all Kenyans are entitled to a clean healthy environment. I think there should be minimum standards everywhere, in cities and rural areas that will guide us so that, as it has been mentioned, you do not go to some places and find heaps and heaps of garbage, unattended sewage running all over, and some of it spilling into rivers. You find reckless discharge from factories into our rivers. We must set minimum standards in every area, and those who are responsible, and who fail should take responsibility for their mistake. That is why I am happy that this Bill enhances the level of responsibility, and applies appropriate sanctions to those who will sleep on the job or fail to do what they are expected to do. We should also have incentives as well as sanctions as the Bill now provides. Talking about incentives, when it comes to an area with forest coverage and tree coverage--- I was encouraged when I saw that even the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resource were encouraging people to get into tree farming. I have seen this in some of the areas in western Kenya; there are some farmers who are moving away from planting sugarcane, which is a serious headache in the way it is structured at the moment, and going into tree farming. I think these are ways of encouraging improvement of the environment.
When it comes to the issue of information, this is very important. Just the awareness on how to improve our environment and how to relate to the environment is important. I think awareness and education should be intensified from the lowest level possible. There were tree planting days which were very regular. I think that they used to The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
serve not just for the awareness, but even just for improvement of environment. Why it was abandoned, or left by the wayside, I do not know.
Such good practices should be revived and encouraged. I would also urge that when we are doing strategic plans at constituency, ward or county levels, we should make sure that the environment is given prominence. We should give ourselves targets for environmental roadmaps just to ensure that we keep our environment clean. We need to disseminate sufficient and useful information on the impact of environmental degradation and climate change. We are already seeing some of the effects in terms of unpredictable weather patterns. This can be related to the way in which we are looking after our environment. Some Member mentioned here the great environmental conservationist, the late Wangari Maathai, who said that it was our responsibility and that we owed it to posterity to look after the environment. As it normally happens, it is not us who will be suffering from our reckless and careless handling of the environment, it is the generations to come that will face problems. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I support this Bill with the reservations that I have mentioned. Thank you, for giving me this chance.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Thank you for the support. Hon. Members, the next one is the Member for Ndhiwa. If time allows, we will go to the Member for Laikipia East, hon. Anthony Kimaru and the Member for Mbooni, hon. Michael Kisoi.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I will ensure that time allows my very good colleague, hon. Kisoi, to speak. So, I shall be very brief. These amendments are as progressive as they are retrogressive. On the first part, it is a beautiful amendment because it aligns the Environmental Management and Co- ordination Act (EMCA) to the Constitution. That is a good part. The other part is that which does take into consideration issues of county governments. Those are very good thoughts to put in place in terms of effecting an amendment. The best part is with regard to Clause 4 that seeks to align the Bill to the right to information. It is important for people in various parts of the country to know what people who use the environment do with it. The Authority ought to be giving information to various people. That is an interesting part of the Bill. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, there is a retrogressive provision in Clause 4 that seeks to dissolve the National Environment Council, and I heard a Member speak to it. We do not want to take everything else back to the Cabinet Secretary, because then you are clawing at progress that has been made. It is useful to disband the District Environment Committees and the Provincial Environment Committees because they are obsolete. To that extent, the Bill is very progressive because it seeks to respond to the needs of the county governments and, therefore, aligns the environment law with the Constitution. In the same breath, the Bill is retrogressive because of seeking to amend Section 31 by dissolving the Public Complaints Committee and transferring its functions to a department within the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resource. We should have an arrangement which allows the public to have complaints addressed properly. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
When you have complaints addressed within a department of a Ministry, we will be faced with a problem because then the complaints that have been brought cannot be dealt with properly.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I think that is a minus on this particular amendment. A progressive amendment on this one is the establishment of environment action plan committee, which then will give the Authority power to propose an environment action plan within three years. You wonder how this country is working or moving forward without a proper national environment plan. That the Authority should be given power to establish a national environment plan within three years is a very good move, and I think that is useful.
The other progressive amendment is to the extent that the county environment committees are going to be given power to manage issues in environment at the counties. That is a useful thing that ought to be given consideration. As I said, the fact that you want to make this Bill to be aligned to county governments, and also you want to make this Bill respond to the right to information--- Those were useful amendments. You are having issues to deal with climate change in the proposed amendment to Section 56(8). There will be conflict when you have various provisions dealing with climate change in one piece of legislation, and you also have same provisions in another piece of legislation, unless you have that by reference and concurrence. Otherwise, there could be provisions within the Climate Change Act that we passed and in this particular Bill, which will be in conflict and then it will be difficult to harmonize issues of climate change properly. The other retrogressive part is the insertion of Section 104, which empowers the Cabinet Secretary, on recommendation of the Authority, to set standards to acceptable levels of radiation in the environment. My understanding is that it is the Authority that is supposed to be setting up the standards as opposed to the Cabinet Secretary. So, it is supposed to be that the Cabinet Secretary makes recommendations to the Authority to set the standards for radiation as opposed to the Authority making recommendations to the Cabinet Secretary. A progressive amendment is to the extent that penalties are going to be enhanced for the various players. There are various people who engage in willful pollution. Examples are people who do factories, or people who have various constructions all over the place. I have seen the section that seeks to increase the penalties. I think we should even be giving harsher penalties because the only thing we can give to prosperity is a good, safe and clean environment. So, I really think that yes, amendments bring in a few useful things but there needs to be more at the Committee Stage, when we look at this Bill properly, to take back the retrogressive clauses, so that at least we have a proper Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act. With those remarks, I do support because I promised to ensure that my colleagues also speak.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Thank you, hon. Member. Next is Member for Laikipia East and, if time allows, we will have Member for Mbooni, Member for Elgeyo Marakwet and Member for Limuru. These are the requests. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
We will then have Member for Tinderet, hon. Julius Meli and hon. George Muchai, if time allows. Of course, this is a House of rules and procedures.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for according me this time to speak. Since we do not have much time, I can see on the clock I have about two minutes, I wish to support this Bill. I wish to state that conservation of the environment, or management of the environment, cannot be overstated. Hon. Members who have spoken before me have brought out the salient points regarding management. In supporting this particular Bill, I wish to say that we owe it to ourselves and future generations to preserve the environment. If we do not do this, we will be doing ourselves and the future generations that will come, a great disservice. Environmental preservation is something that is doable. We have seen that our other sister nations abroad have managed to do this. Equally, Kenya can be up to the task. Kenya, being a leading nation in Africa, should also lead in this particular sphere, especially because we also have UNEP stationed in our country. I am sure from the works of hon. Members, the late hon. Michuki, if you walk around Globe Roundabout; you will see the tremendous work that hon. Michuki was able to do within a very short time. That area---
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Hon. Kimaru, you will have eight minutes in the next sitting. You will be the first one to have a chance in the next sitting to speak for eight minutes.
Hon. Members, we were debating the Environmental Management and Co- ordination (Amendment) Bill, (National Assembly Bill, No.31 of 2014). I must appreciate the requests from hon. Members but because this is a House of rules and procedures, we will to stop now for today. Hon. Members, the time being 6:30 p.m., this House stands adjourned until Tuesday, 25th November, 2014, at 2.30 p.m.
The House rose 6.30 p.m. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.