Can the Quorum Bell be rung?
Okay, Hon. Members, let us settle down so that we can begin business. This morning is always reserved for reports from petitions. This morning, we have a report from the Departmental Committee on Health. So, the Chairperson, Hon. Rachel Nyamai, you have the Floor.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. The Departmental Committee on Health handled two Petitions. I would like to first present the brief of the Petition on the Kenya National Nurses Chapter of the National Nurses Association of Kenya regarding the direct employment of degree nurses by the Public Service Commission (PSC).
Hon. Deputy Speaker, this Petition was brought to the parliamentary Departmental Committee on Health by Hon. Abdikadir Ore, a Member of Parliament on behalf of the Petitioner, the Kenya Nurses Chapter of the Kenya National Nurses Association of Kenya on 29th of June. In consideration, the Committee invited and held meetings with the Member, Hon. Ore of Wajir West Constituency, the Kenya Students Nurses Chapter of the National Nurses Association of Kenya, the Principal Secretary responsible for health, the Chairperson of the Committee of the Council of Governors who, however, did not honour the invitation and the Secretary to the PSC. The meetings were aimed at responding to the issues that Hon. Ore had raised.
The Petitioner had prayed that the National Assembly, through the Departmental Committee on Health, looks at the issues in the following way: One, checks on the fair distribution of available current and future vacant recruitment positions of nurses to reflect 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.
cadres, and secondly, looks at matters regarding the Ministry of Health’s implementation of the scheme of service of the nursing personnel approved in May, 2014 and also makes any other recommendation that may apply. In response to these prayers, the parliamentary Departmental Committee on Health recommends the following: First, the PSC should provide guidance to the County Public Service Boards on recruitment of graduate nurses to ensure that they are absorbed into the system. Second, the Ministry of Health should consider entrenching the Human Resource for Health Inter-agency Coordinating Committee human resources matters in law by submitting a legislative proposal to be effected through Parliament. Third, the Petition should be referred to the Senate for further consideration of the issues therein since a substantive number of them concern operations at the county governments. Fourth, the Ministry of Health and the PSC should report to the National Assembly on the implementation of the above recommendations within 90 days from the date of tabling this Report.
We can move to the next Order. We have no comments on the two Reports.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I beg to lay the following Papers on the Table of the House: The Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statement in respect of the Kenya Roads Board Fund for the year ended 30th June, 2016 and the Certificate therein. The Reports of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements in respect of the following constituencies for the year ended 30th June, 2015 and the Certificates therein: 1. Teso North Constituency 2. Malava Constituency 3. Lafey Constituency 4. Nambale Constituency 5. Wajir South Constituency 6. Butula Constituency 7. Funyula Constituency 8. South Imenti constituency 9. Lurambi Constituency 10. Kanduyi Constituency 11. Wajir East Constituency
There are two Reports by the Departmental Committee on Health.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I beg to lay the following Papers on the Table of the House: The Report of the Departmental Committee on Health on a Petition by the family of Mr. Mohamed Bakari on negligence by the Mombasa Hospital and failure to attend to a patient. 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 Kenya Student Nurses Chapter of the National Nurses Association of Kenya regarding direct employment of degree nurses by the Public Service Commission.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I beg to move the following Motion: THAT, cognizant of the provisions of Article 38(3) of the Constitution regarding political rights of the citizens, aware that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is currently conducting countrywide mass voter registration; further aware that this activity forms an integral component of democracy and specifically the exercise of universal suffrage; appreciating the fact that as elected national leaders, Members of Parliament are key stakeholders in the process; concerned that unlike in the previous dispensation where the Executive, as part of the House, would regularly apprise the House on progress of such activities; also concerned that Parliament is oblivious of the current progress; further concerned of reports of low voter turnout in the current enlisting; noting the need for the deployment of a persuasive mechanism to encourage voter registration and participation in election of all identity card holders in the country; further noting that this would go a long way in the furtherance of Article 38 of the Constitution; this House instructs the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs to urgently formulate and propose persuasive and compelling mechanisms for consideration by Parliament, to motivate and encourage all unregistered citizens to register as voters and ultimately participate in the General Elections. Hon. Deputy Speaker, the IEBC is currently on the second phase of mass voter registration having done the first phase last year, 2016. This is a fundamental right as enshrined in the Constitution under Article 38, which recognises the right of every citizen without unreasonable restrictions to be registered as a voter. This is further provided for by the Elections Act of 2011 which requires that any Kenyan citizen who has attained the age of 18 and above as evidenced by either a national card or passport should be registered as a voter. In some countries, it is compulsory to be registered as a voter and vote. They include Brazil, Belgium, Singapore among others. If you do not participate in voting in those countries, you will get a penalty in your mailbox. It is not compulsory to vote in our country and to be registered as a voter. This was discussed at length in Bomas of Kenya when the Constitution was being written. It was agreed that making voting compulsory would be against basic human rights, would not assure freedom of choice and would be against the Constitution that was being drawn and therefore, it was not accepted. Voting in Kenya is voluntary. In November, 2016, there was a general election in the United States of America (USA) and more than half of the eligible voters did not vote. When voting was concluded and Donald Trump was declared the President, there were protests from so many towns in America. Masses were protesting that the President they wanted was not elected. The same people did not participate in an election and they were now hearing the voices of their own words that they have used on other countries that, “choices have consequences.” They were now suffering for 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.
consequences of the choices that they had made. Bad leaders are elected by good citizens who refuse to vote. I want to ask Kenyans to register as voters so that they can participate in elections. This is because what happened in America may happen here. 26 million Kenyans hold IDs and they are eligible voters who are above 18 years but there are only 14 million registered voters meaning that over 12 million people have not registered as voters. These people will still seek services from the Government and complain when they feel that elected leaders are not carrying out their duties as required.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is targeting to register about 9 million Kenyans in this second phase of mass voter registration. In the first week, the IEBC’s target was to register 1.4 million Kenyans but only managed to register 800, 000. This is a very low figure. So much effort has been put to encourage Kenyans to register; mass media, civic education and preachers are now preaching to their believers to register as voters and exercise their democratic rights but we still have very low turn outs in voter registration. It is important that we come up with mechanisms to encourage our voters to register. We can borrow a leaf from the Oregon State in the USA. In 2015, they passed a law that once you get your driving licence or ID, you are automatically registered as a voter. Other states like California, Vermont, West Virginia, Connecticut and Alaska have now passed the same law. This has made it easy for them to register their voters. The IEBC can borrow a leaf from those successful states. We have had problems with our Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits which do not at times work effectively. They were bought in 2012 and have been in stores without being used. These BVR kits should be domiciled at the Registrar of Persons office in each constituency such that when people get IDs, they can go ahead to register. This will save the IEBC a lot of money because there will be no need for civic education.
On a point of order, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
Hon. Irea, are you aware that he is moving the Motion?
Hon. Njomo is giving conflicting information by saying that those who are demonstrating in the US did not vote but I want to tell him that they voted and that Ms. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. The voting patterns are different because there are no college votes in Kenya. I want to tell him that Americans came out to vote.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I indicated that about half of the eligible voters turned out to vote. That is a dismal percentage because we would have expected more people to vote. It is very difficult to tell that all those people who are demonstrating voted. Many did not vote because only 50 per cent of eligible voters participated in elections. I, however, stand to be corrected. If the BVRs would be domiciled at the Registrar of Persons, the only expense to be incurred by the IEBC would be to train officials in that office on how to register people. It would be like the IEBC contracting the Registrar of Persons to do registration of voters as a continuous process. This would save the IEBC a lot of money and time, and we will raise the number of registered voters from 14 million to almost the number of people issued with IDs. Hon. Deputy Speaker, I want to urge this House to instruct the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs to urgently formulate and propose persuasive and compelling mechanisms for consideration by this House to motivate and encourage citizens to register. This would include giving registered voters an extra advantage when going for competitive positions in the Government. If the Government is recruiting people to join the forces, why should a person who did not vote have an upper hand than the person who voted? We know that they are 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.
given points during activities such as the physical exercise and if you win, you are given certain points. A person who voted should also be given some points so that they have an upper hand when they are competing for some positions. If the Kenya Police are recruiting, those who voted in the last general election should have an advantage over those who did not. This is because those who voted helped to put that Government in power or remove the Government that they did not want. They exercised their civic rights and have interest in the running of the country and should therefore get the first position. In awarding contracts, those who voted in the last general election should get an upper hand than those who did not vote. This will encourage our citizens to be interested in exercising their civic rights by voting in good leaders and vote out leaders who are not executing their mandates as required. If we do this, we will automatically increase the number of registered voters in our country. We will have people interested in participating in elections and we shall even save a lot of money that is being used to conduct civic education and encouraging people to vote. With these few remarks, I beg to move and kindly ask the Member of Parliament for Makueni, Hon. Daniel Maanzo, EBS, to second the Motion. Thank you.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker, for the opportunity to second this very important Motion. I would like to read Article 38(3) of the Constitution, which says: “Every adult citizen has the right, without unreasonable restrictions— (a) to be registered as a voter; (b) to vote by secret ballot in any election or referendum; and (c) to be a candidate for public office, or office within a political party of which the citizen is a member and, if elected, to hold office.”
This falls under political rights of Kenyans. It is in our Constitution. It begins from Article 38 to Article 38(3) which is quoted here by Hon. Jude Njomo. It is very important for Kenyans to know that it is their constitutional right to register as voters, but as Hon. Jude Njomo has said, in Kenya, voting is not compulsory. Therefore, we have to come up with persuasive mechanisms to persuade Kenyans to participate in this very important exercise. The newspapers have recently reported that in both Jubilee Party and the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) areas, voters seem to have apathy. Of course, Kenyans have this attitude and practice of coming the last day to do things and you will find that in the last two days, the queues will be very long and most probably the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) machines will get tired because of a lot of activity and most probably some of them will break down. Therefore, it is good to persuade Kenyans to turn out in large numbers and register now without waiting for the very last minute to come and try to register. The last day will be 14th February, 2017 and most probably there will be no extensions because it is a regulation by law. This is provided in the Constitution and in the election law. Lack of identity cards has been an issue. Many chiefs are announcing all over the local radio stations that there are 50 or 100 cards waiting for collection and they urge Kenyans to go and pick them to be able to register as voters. We also know that the President said that they should process identity cards in three days and it is possible for the country to do so. The only request is to let it be equal to all Kenyans everywhere in the country. 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.
Yesterday, in the Committee on Delegated Legislation, we met the IEBC team and it became an issue because they have now made regulations which members here should be very keen to look at. This is because once you have the election law and other regulations – ordinarily the process of regulations is that once they are tabled here and nobody looks at them, there is no issue within a week. A week elapses while the Committee on Delegated Legislation goes through these regulations then, of course, they will not be debated and they will automatically be adopted as a matter of urgency. We have asked what is happening with this registration. Why are BVR machines going off by midday in many parts of the country despite being charged at night? They had already reported that they have acquired solar equipment to recharge the BVR machines and I believe this identification is the one which will be used during the election
Hon. Abdul Dawood, Member for North Imenti.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I do not know if I will be supporting this Motion or not. It is so ambiguous. It does not specify exactly what the Mover wanted to say. I do not know what the House Business Committee (HBC) was doing. There was a Motion which was on the Floor of the House on the Sexual Offences Bill which had one hour left and it should have been given priority. Even if we debate this today, it will still go to the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs to sort it out. Nevertheless, what Hon. Njomo is trying to say is something which we just do not understand. What does he mean by persuasive and compelling mechanisms? He should have spelt out what he was talking about. I would like to reiterate what my fellow Member of Parliament from Meru County, Hon. Mwiti said. The American election was not won by the popular vote, but it was won by the college delegates vote. Hillary Clinton got 56 million. She had about two million votes over Donald Trump but still lost because of other reasons. So, we cannot compare that and what we want to do for ourselves. We need to register our people and give them IDs and I would like to congratulate His Excellency the President who has said that our people should be given IDs so that at least they can get voters cards. Previously, most of our children used to take years to get birth certificates. Some could not get the birth certificates hence they could not register. Why would we have people who we know are there and we do not give them IDs? When we do not give them IDs, we disefranchise them from voting. Most of our people would want to vote but we have to give them a reason to vote. If there is no real reason to vote--- If you check the trend of 2013 and previous elections, you will find that people in the central part of Kenya and Rift Valley had about 86 per cent voter turnout. People who were asking for votes in CORD areas did not inspire anybody. So they had a voter turnout of less than 60 per cent. Are we saying that we are going to force people to be 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.
inspiring so that they can vote for their people? It is not possible. We need to call a spade a spade. I believe, to be a voter, you have to have in you the need to change the leaders who are there and you want to do something good for the country. But we cannot make voting compulsory and we should have a proper strategy on how we are going to encourage people to vote and not force them to vote. The Seconder of the Motion has talked about the cleaning of the voter register. Unfortunately, it is his coalition which has put roadblocks in the voter registration audit. Had they not gone to court, the voter register would have been cleaned up. Unfortunately, it seems it is the other side of the coalition which does not want elections to go on. So, when he was seconding this Motion saying that people should be registered as voters is hypocritical because his coalition does not want us to clean the voter register. We need to know from Hon. Njomo. I like the Motion on lending rates. It was a well thought out Motion, but this one, Hon. Njomo, you have let us down as Jubilee.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I am entitled to my opinion. I see Hon. Jude wanting to complain. This Motion should have been brought earlier before we went to the final voter registration but by bringing it now, I am wondering whether we are going to extend the voter registration or we are going to proceed. As a country, we should decide whether we want continuous voter registration all the way through or we just have one month every year to register voters. We should have a continuous voter registration so that people who have IDs can register. Hon. Jude Njomo has even suggested that people who apply for jobs should not be given jobs either in the military or police service if they have not voted? What if you just got your ID and you have just entered into the stream where you can be registered as a voter but you have not voted? I believe we should not tie the voter registration to any job because that will be against the Bill of Rights. The way this Motion is, I will oppose it unless something changes. With those few remarks I would like to end here and say that the Motion needs to be changed.
On a point of order, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
I will give Hon. Jude Njomo the right of reply though he is on intervention. You can explain the aim of your Motion.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. Hon. Dawood has really struggled to understand the thinking behind this Motion. First and foremost, I would like to inform him that the Motion is asking the Committee to come up with persuasive measures, to persuade the voter to register. They will come up with many of them but the one that I quoted was, if the Government is recruiting, then those who have voted will have an advantage. This does not mean that those who did not vote will not get employed. Those who will have IDs will have an advantage just like you can have a marking scheme in any interview where you award points. So, they will be awarded points because they voted. This will encourage our citizens to feel obliged to vote. This is not going to discriminate people. In every interview there is a system of awarding points. My request is that, for those who have voted, they should have an advantage. I have seen people being carried from their houses when they are sick to vote because they are patriotic. We would also like our people to be patriotic, come out of their house and businesses, get registered as voters and vote. That is the thinking behind this Motion, Hon. Deputy Speaker. 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.
Because we do not want to see this get into an altercation between Dawood and Jude Njomo, Hon. Members, remember this is a debating chamber. Apart from that, remember laws are made for posterity. It is not just because you are seeing what is happening. This thing can be for the future – it could be futuristic. Let us not tie it to the upcoming election and say he is doing this law simply because of the upcoming elections. So, let us not dwell too much on that. Hon. Murungi, I have not seen your intervention. Are you on intervention? Use Dawood’s or your neighbour’s microphone. Is it Irea’s? Can you give him the microphone? There seems to be a problem. Even yours is not responding. Now, both of them are responding.
Hon. Dawood, you have had your say. We know your sentiments and we know your feelings. Let somebody else also express theirs.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker for your advice that this Motion is for posterity. But, my problem is that Kenyans are watching and listening to us. When we start talking, we have only 10 days to complete this exercise. When we now start talking of motivating and encouraging those who have not registered to start thinking, although we can motivate and encourage them, it means these people will now sit down and wait for us to come up with these motivational mechanisms so that they can go and register. So, the timing of this Motion I think is not right. We know Kenyans. They will sit at home waiting for handouts or something like transport to go to the polling stations. Therefore, it is really confusing us. It is confusing the exercise that the President, the Deputy President, the leaders of CORD are doing every day. It is because Kenyans will now sit and wait for lunch so that they can go and register as voters. I think we can withdraw this Motion for the purpose of what is happening now. There is no time for the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs to sit down and come up with these compelling and persuasive mechanisms. There is no time for this. Kenyans out there are watching and I know Kenyans are very smart. They will just sit and wait for these mechanisms to be put in place so that they can go and register as voters. Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
Members, can we hear contributions from other Members because we do not want--- We have a long list of 21 Members. So, let us debate. This is a debate. The Motion is on the Order Paper. Therefore, it has been looked and found fitting to be on the Order Paper. So, can we debate? Pass it or fail it as it is usually the tradition of the House. Yes, Hon. Makali Mulu.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for also giving me this chance to add my voice to this Motion.
Members, let us have one meeting. Hon. Maanzo, do not go and start another debate at the back there. Let us hear Hon. Makali Mulu.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I really want to start by thanking Jude for coming up with this Motion even though I have my concerns in terms of timing and in terms of what he is trying to do. 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.
If you read through the Motion, you will find that it talks about our own Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs being requested to come up with persuasive and compelling mechanisms to ensure Kenyans register as voters. That did not come out very clearly when Hon. Jude was moving the Motion. What we should be thinking about, in terms of timing is that we are time barred. I want to tell Kenyans wherever they are to, for now, ignore this Motion. Go out and register as a voter. But, for the future, this Motion is important.
As we move forward, we need to borrow best practices from other countries. If we had what we call an integrated comprehensive registration system, we would come up with a system where once you are born, you get your birth certificate. Immediately you reach 18 years, your Identity Card (ID) comes out automatically. So, you are given your ID. As a country, I believe we need to have voters card and an ID. Why do we not come up with legislative framework where once you get an ID, it becomes your voters card? That is so that you just produce your ID and you vote. If we go that way, we will be going through what we call best practice. That is what I would push for. The other thing is, you know, every Kenyan is entitled to a political right. The political right is that they are entitled to vote. The problem with most Kenyans is that we want to enjoy the results of these political rights and we do not want to participate in making sure that the benefits come to the table. That is why I think it is time Kenyans went out there, got voters cards and voted. The other day, in my constituency, I demanded that for university students to get bursary, it is important they produce voters card so that we know whether they belong to Kitui Central. That is the only way I can know because it is an urban constituency. Many people were complaining that I was forcing them to get the voters card. I asked myself how I would know whether one came from Kitui Central which is an urban constituency and yet he or she did not have voters card. I have everybody in this constituency. I have people from North Eastern; I have people from Nyanza; and, I have people from Central Kenya in my constituency. The only way I can know they belong to that constituency so that they benefit from the bursary is through the voters card. But, Kenyans think that when you get voters card, it is to elect them. That is not the case. It enables you get the best leader. It also enables you to practise your political right. Even as leaders, we need to challenge ourselves. I think leaders have contributed to the fact that voters are not keen to get voters cards. When people elect leaders like us they have expectations which we fail to meet and that is why 70 per cent of us go home every five years. Voters have reached a point where they wonder whether there is need to elect somebody who will not bring change to their lives. I think that is an issue we need to address in this country as leaders. We all agree that poor leadership will always contribute to poor turnout of voters; voters have no motivation to get out of their house, walk that long distance and make sure they go and vote a Member of Parliament or Governor if these people are really not meeting their expectations. As leaders, we need to challenge ourselves and make sure that, once you are elected---
What is your point of order, Hon. Makau? What is out of order in what Makali is saying? You must be addressing what he is saying.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I am wondering whether Hon. Makali is in order to mislead this House that we should not persuade voters. Last week, His Excellency the President of this country was in Kitui County flagging off lorries full of food, grass and water 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.
bowsers to encourage people to register as voters. This Motion is favouring this side of the House. I think we should go there and persuade them. In fact, we urge the President to give Kenyans more food, more water and more monies to persuade them so that they register as voters. We are all aware that Jubilee areas have already hit the ceiling.
Order! I have not given you the chance to contribute. It is Hon. Makali who is on the Floor. I just wanted to know what is out of order. So, can you now allow Hon. Makali to continue?
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I appreciate the frustration my friend is going through. I did not say that we should not persuade Kenyans to get voters card. If anything, what is important in this Motion is the issue of persuasion. I think we need to go out there and persuade them to register. But instead of persuading them when we are about to go for an election, it is good that we come up with long-term plans and mechanisms to make sure that people register as voters. That is why I am saying that one of the attractive things is to make sure that once people are elected to office, they should make an effort of meeting the expectations of the electorate, so that at the end of the day, the electorate have a reason to wake up very early in the morning to go and register. Unless we do that, we will not be helping this country. As I support this Motion, the work this Committee has is to make sure that the 12th Parliament, once it is on board, because the Members will have a longer term than us, should start by enacting all the necessary amendments to make sure that we have a legal framework which can encourage Kenyans to register without persuading them the last minute. That is a more long-lasting solution to this problem than just saying that we persuade them and in a year like this one, we take water and pasture to them. What Hon. Makau is saying is very true. It was an insult to the Akamba Community for a whole President of this country to come to my constituency with only two bowsers of water and a lorry with pasture. Was he coming to see cows or human beings? We need to be careful. That is why we are saying that as a community, we need to be serious. With those comments, I support the Motion. However, it is a long-term Motion to help this country have everybody register as a voter. I support, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
Hon. Philip Rotino. Hon. Dawood, you have had your say. Please, allow other Members to debate.
Thank you very much, Hon. Deputy Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to this very important Motion. From the outset, I want to support this Motion. The Motion is very important. The Mover is thinking about how to encourage our people to vote. It is the tendency of Kenyans to register the last minute. It is the tendency of Kenyans not to go and do what they are supposed to do. This Motion has a long-term effect. The Mover talks about encouraging or trying to tell the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs to get some ideas of ensuring that every Kenyan is encouraged to vote. This Motion might not help in the ongoing exercise, but it is also important for communities like ours. What the President did was very good. If he comes to my constituency, my people are pastoralists. They keep moving and we have to encourage them by providing them with food so that they do not have to move around. They should have a point where they can get food and water as they come to register. 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.
Last week, I had to move the registration clerks from a school where they were stationed. I told them to go to the trading centre where the people are. If they stayed in the primary school, people would not go there. They have to move to where people are to encourage the people to register. There are many ways of encouraging people to register as voters through motivating them. As a leader, I must encourage them by giving them hope. They should feel that when they vote, there is something better for the future. If we do not give them hope as leaders, then, they are not motivated to register as voters. I feel that registration must be a continuous exercise. Anytime a person registers as a citizen, he must also register as a voter. Voting must be made compulsory because it is necessary for every person to choose leaders. This Motion has a long-term effect. We should plan for the future. We should plan for what we need to do for the next generations, so that we can ensure that people register as voters. As the Mover has said, there are many countries in the world where voting is compulsory. Everybody is encouraged to vote. For the 10 days remaining for the voter registration process, we, as leaders should go out there and encourage our people to register. We can encourage them in different ways like through barazas, supplying them with food or door to door campaigns, so that they can register as voters. That is very important. The Mover of the Motion should ensure that this Motion goes to the Committee to prepare strategies for ensuring that in future, members of every community register as voters as soon as they get ID cards. With those few remarks, I beg to support the Motion.
Hon. Susan Musyoka. Hon. Mwinga Chea, you will have to be placed where you were before.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I want to agree with many of the speakers before me that this Motion should have come two months ago. There is such great voter apathy on the ground today. I do not know what persuasion we are going to come up with at this point. My suggestion is that we should extend the Mass Voter Registration II by another one month, continue the exercise that we are doing as CORD, Jubilee and other parties, so that we encourage our people to come out in big numbers and register as voters. We should also encourage them to come out in large numbers on the voting day. These other mechanisms that we are putting across right now may not be easily applicable. We need to have measures that are sustainable in the future. The other thing that we need to do, as Kenyans, is that it should be automatic for everybody who turns 18 to become a voter. This voter registration exercise has been marred with so many complications and so many issues. Many people are double registered and the ones who want to transfer from their previous voting centres to others are having difficulties doing that. I urge that we encourage the people like we have been doing, but also come up with a mechanism that is going to be long-lasting and that should go on even in future. Thank you.
Hon. Cyprian Iringo.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this Motion. From the outset, I would say that this Motion has come at the wrong time.
Hold on a bit for me to recognise the presence of Utawala Embakasi Benedictor Academy from Embakasi East Constituency, Nairobi City County. You are welcome to the National Assembly. 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. Deputy Speaker. This Motion should have come earlier. I was cautioning myself as I sat here, but at a certain point you clarified that maybe this Motion is not targeting the current exercise, but it is futuristic, even though the Mover of the Motion felt that the futuristic should have held its horses until we go through this exercise. When you go out there, people are thinking that we are here to formulate ways of persuading them to go and register as voters. Therefore, they will sit and wait for the outcome of this Motion, so that we can go and implement it. Most of our electorates, given their level of understanding, are waiting for handouts or other persuasive measures, which we would like to put in place. Hon. Deputy Speaker, the voter registration and national ID issuance exercises have been so polarised in this country. Most of the people who need to get the cards are shying away from the offices where the services are given. At the offices of the National Registration Bureau where national IDs are issued, officers who are supposed to issue IDs to people are waiting to be given money, so that they can offer the service. The people, who expect to be registered without any fees because the system allows that we should not pay anything, go back wondering why they should pay to get voters cards. Equally, the bureaucracy involved in getting this document is so cumbersome that people find it better to engage in things which can earn them a living instead of sitting at one place waiting for voters cards or an ID card, which they know they will not get by the end of the day. They also know that if they go back to the registration centres the following day, somebody will ask them for money. That bureaucracy should be removed. I thought Huduma Centres were aimed at removing that bureaucracy, but I do not see them doing that. Even if you go to any Huduma Centre, you find the same kind of queues. Therefore, I propose that we embrace a system where if you apply for an ID card, you get all the other documents that are required by law, including a passport, driving licence, voters card, National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) card and any other statutory document. All of them should be factored inside one document, so that you do not find yourself having to queue in one office after another. I have a very practical case in mind. My NG-CDF vehicle was arrested in Meru by the Police Government Vehicle Check Unit because the work ticket did not indicate where the vehicle was going. Unfortunately, the driver had not indicated. They gave him eight charges on a piece of paper. He was told to go to the Traffic Police Headquarters on Thika Road to get the charges computed. From there, he would go to Harambee House Annex to pay for the charges. After that, he would go back to the Traffic Police Headquarters on Thika Road to submit the receipt for it to be mailed to the Meru Police Government Vehicle Check Unit for the vehicle to be released. What is all this for? That can be done upfront, so that the vehicle is released for the driver to continue with his journey. We create our own problems. We, the leaders who are elected by the citizens and are persuading the people to register as voters should know that people expect service delivery. They expect to reap from their voting. Instead, leaders try to get the people to vote for them. You have not been working, but you are again trying to persuade them to vote for you. In the process, you will use money which was supposed to do development work. At the end of the day, the country will not move forward. We create our own problems and when we get stuck, we start going back explaining how we could go about correcting this situation. Instead of being proactive, we are trying to react to the consequences of our own undoing. I do not support this Motion. We are just wasting our time with this one. Let us go and do the right thing to make our people vote for us. They will be persuaded by your actions to go for 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 voters card, but not by the way you sit down and arrange how to persuade them to do the same. I oppose.
Hon Michel Onyura, the Floor is yours.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I stand to support the Motion. It is important and timely. It just depends on how you look at it. I believe Hon. Njomo has been prompted to bring this Motion after observing the kind of apathy and indifference that is seen around the country with those who are supposed to be registering as voters. Can you just imagine that a whole President and the Opposition leaders are going round the entire country, spending a lot of energy and resources to persuade people to register as voters? The numbers that we are seeing are still very discouraging. We need to look for other mechanisms to make sure that the situation changes. If we decide to sit back, we will not be helping the situation. We have only 10 days to the closure of the exercise. As you have rightly observed, this is something which will help us in the future. Maybe, in their discussion the Committee might come up with mechanisms to extend the period or make it continuous up to a certain stage. It is worth going to the Committee to be looked at in detail and maybe even to try and consult other agencies in the country. I am just wondering what researchers are saying? We need to engage some researchers from our academic institutions or just professional researchers to go out there and find out what the problem is. Why are people not turning up for registration? The IEBC has said that we have a potential of 9 million new voters. They are targeting about 6 million new voters. Even with that, they will be lucky to get half of it. Something must be seriously wrong. We need to ask ourselves these questions and see what we can do to make the situation better. I agree with the suggestion that the voter registration exercise should be integrated with the national ID registration. I do not see why that cannot be done. The numbers we are talking about are those of people who have already been issued with national IDs. People have been issued with national IDs, but they do not have voters cards. Suppose at the time they were issued with IDs they were automatically registered as voters? Suppose IDs became the voters cards as well? We would not be going through the kind of apathy that we are seeing now. Hon. Deputy Speaker, I am also aware that Kenyans are last-minute people. Do not be surprised that as we move closer to the 14th February deadline, we will have long queues, which will be impossible in various registration centres. We just need to look for a way of raising awareness by giving wananchi civic education, so that they can acquire the right attitude and go to register. I suggest that we use people in every level to mobilise people to register. Let us use the Provincial Administration officials like assistant chiefs and chiefs, to launch a door-to-door campaigns to persuade people to register as voters. Therefore, I want to strongly support this initiative. I think it is good. For those who feel that it is late, at times it is said that it is better late than never. We need to ask ourselves what is happening to Kenyans. Electing leaders is a civic duty and a responsibility just like paying taxes. There is need to create awareness. I support
Hon. Maison Leshoomo.
Asante sana Mhe. Naibu Spika kwa kunipa hii nafasi nichangie Hoja hii inayohusu vitambulisho na kadi za kura. Sisi kama viongozi inatubidi kuhakikisha kuwa Wakenya wote wamepata vitambulisho na kadi za kura. Lakini jinsi mambo yanavyoendelea katika nchi yetu si sawa. Mimi ninatoka jamii ya wafugaji. Watu wetu wote ambao wanavyo 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.
vitambulisho na wale ambao hawana, wametapakaa kila mahali kwa sababu ya kupeleka ng’ombe malishoni. Ombi langu ni kuwa muda huu uliotengewa hii shughuli ya uandikishaji kura ni mdogo. Wakenya wangeongezwa muda zaidi ili wapate vitambulisho na kadi za kura. Kuna shida nyingi katika kaunti za wafugaji. Wafugaji hawana vitambulisho ijapokuwa wametuma maombi ya kutaka kupata vitambulisho. Basi, wale wanaohusika sharti wapeane vitambulisho kwa wananchi. Hii ni kwa sababu hata watoto ambao wamemaliza Kidato cha Nne hawajapata vitambulisho ilihali wamekwisha kujisajili. Cheti cha kusubiri kitambulisho hakiwezi kutumika katika kusajili kadi ya kura. Ni muhimu hivyo vitambulisho vitoke na tuwahamasishe wananchi wajisajili kupiga kura. Upande wetu sisi wafugaji, ng’ombe wamepelekwa mbali sana kutafuta malisho. Hivyo basi, wale watu ambao wanapeana kadi za kura hawajawafikia wafugaji. Wamekosa namna ya kuwafikia. Shida nyingine ni kwamba watu wetu hawana nauli ya kwenda kutafuta hizo kadi za kura. Sidhani Tume ya Uchaguzi (IEBC) itafikisha ile idadi ambayo imekusudia kusajili kwa sababu watu hawako katika maeneo yao. Ni muhimu watu wapate vitambulisho na kadi za kura kisha sisi viongozi tujitokeze kwa kuiga mfano wa Rais wetu jinsi anavyowahamasisha wananchi juu ya umuhimu wa kupata vitambulisho na kadi za kura. Watu wanaosajili wanastahili kupewa nauli kwa sababu mahali pengine hapana magari. Kwa mfano, watoto wetu wanalazimika kutembea kilomita 30 kwenda kusajiliwa. Kwa hivyo tushughulikie hili suala kabisa. Asante.
Let us have Hon. George Omondi.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker for giving me the opportunity to contribute to Hon. Jude Njomo’s Motion. I wonder why Kenyans are surprised at the voter apathy. I also wonder why Hon. Jude Njomo is not saying the truth in this Motion. He means well, but he is not saying the right things. The truth of the matter as to why there is voter apathy and why this Motion should have come earlier and looked at this matter strongly is that we do not have democracy at both levels, that is, the party level and at the general elections level. Voters never get what they want. When they choose a candidate at the nominations, they end up getting a different person, yet after five years, you want the voter to queue the same line and choose another person who will not be allowed to lead. It also happens at the general election that those who do not win, end up winning and those who win end up not winning. We have got to be realistic when we talk about democracy. Let us not talk about democracy at the top level, but rather let us start at the grassroots level. No wonder voters do not see the reason why they should go ahead and take voters card and eventually vote. The other bit is the way we have trained our voters. Every time a politician gets involved in this voter mobilisation, the voter will not go there without being “greased”. They ask what is there for them and if you insist that they take the voters card, they will tell you that, that only benefits you. So, for politicians to mobilise voters to go and register as voters, we have to part with money. This is something that must be addressed. I want to reiterate that we are not realistic. We have five years to ensure that people get ID cards and voters cards. Surprisingly, we end up rushing during the last minute trying to issue ID cards. For instance, the chief knows very well he is the one holding ID cards after they come from the Registrar of Persons, but he would seek to be bribed. It does not work like that.
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I suggest that we look at this Motion as put by Hon. Jude Njomo, clean it up and decide to have a continuous voter registration and ID card issuance rather than waiting to do it periodically at the end of the term. The IEBC could help us by putting in place a continuous mass voter registration exercise instead of this last minute efforts that will not work. It is also important that we come up with a smooth and systematic way of issuing IDs. We should ensure that anybody leaving secondary school is issued with an ID and a voters card to avoid the last minute rush. If we do that, there will not be many people looking for these cards. Let us be realistic by practising democracy at the level of the party and also during the general election. That way, the voter will get what he or she wants. With those few remarks, I support the Motion.
Very well. We shall have Hon. Kathuri Murungi. Is he not in the House? Next was Hon. Gideon Irea, who has also left. Let us have Hon. Reginalda Wanyonyi, the Member for Bungoma.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to this debate. I am disturbed by how much we are discussing voter registration. To me, whether people vote or register as voters, this exercise is an indicator of the state of the nation. We have to look at the factors which are behind voter registration. Whether we have 500 million, 20 million or 5 million voters, the truth of the matter is that people will vote. They will elect the President, Members of Parliament and Members of County Assemblies (MCAs). Whether the number is high or low, to me it is immaterial because voting will still go on and leaders will be elected. When I say that this is an indicator of the state of the nation, I mean that there are underlying factors that persuade people to vote. One of them is the method of getting ID cards. Last weekend, I was in Ndalu, Tongaren Constituency, Bungoma County and the area chief announced to the people that married women who want ID cards should get them from their place of birth. This is a terrible thing, which is a hindrance to the issuance of ID cards and by extension, to voter registration. We need to address such kind of issues to ensure that if a woman is married away from her birthplace, mechanisms should be put in place to enable her access an ID card. This is a gender issue which is hindering registration because of lack of ID cards as a result of marital status of women. Secondly, we need to address---
Hon. Reginalda, before you proceed, did I hear you correctly submit that an administrator asked a lady to go back to her place of birth to get an ID card?
Yes. It was an announcement in a function. That is the policy and the instructions which have been issued. This is one of the hindrances which married women are facing when it comes to getting ID cards and particularly those who are married away from where they were born. I think it is a matter which needs to be looked at very seriously. Secondly, as we encourage people to register as voters, let us have a clear mind that it is important for Kenyans to exercise their right to vote. I am reading between the lines that we want people to register as voters so that one side wins or a certain person wins. That kind of an 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.
approach is wrong because we want to use people for our own gain and yet, we want them to realise the importance of their right to vote. We must have the right idea as to why we want to increase the number of voters. For example, I am saddened to hear that people are not allowed to enter certain churches or markets if they do not show their voter registration cards. To me, we are introducing anarchy in the country. We are denying people their right of choice. For example, if a particular person is not convinced to vote, I believe that a person has a right to vote or not, until he or she gets the right candidate to vote for. We must put mechanisms in place which are convincing without necessarily harassing people to register as voters because it is their right. If they are convinced that the candidates are not of their choice, I do not see why we should force them to register as voters. Let us have the right mindset while we convince the people and tell them the importance of changing policy and the development agenda as far as voting is concerned. With those few remarks, I want to say that whereas the Motion is good, it is a long-term one and has no urgency. The urgency gives it a wrong meaning. I, therefore, support it for the long-term.
Yes, Hon. Reginalda, the problem with this is the apparent apathy vis-a-vis the constitutional right of every citizen to choose whether to participate in the elections or not. I think that is the conundrum you are trying to address here. Let me give an opportunity to Hon. Ferdinand Wanyonyi, Member for Kwanza.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for giving me an opportunity. From the outset, I want to thank Hon. Njomo for coming up with this Motion although it is a bit late as most speakers have said. Voter apathy and indifferences are our own creation. People are not interested in voter registration and as someone mentioned, almost 80 per cent of us may not make it back to this Parliament. This is because of our development records. Potential voters ask themselves why they should waste time registering as voters and they are not getting anything out of it. Not in terms of handouts, but in terms of development. I am sure that most potential voters, and you will agree with me, will be enticed to register as voters because they want to retain whoever is there for the purpose of continuity of development in their areas. I once travelled to New Zealand on business and not for leisure, and there, anybody above the age of 18 years is supposed to vote because that is their universal suffrage. Therefore, the right to vote and choose a leader of your own is automatic after attaining 18 years. The law in New Zealand provides that if you fail to vote, that is a crime. I want to announce in this House that I am working on a Motion which will compel all Kenyans who are 18 years and above to vote. That is what I think Hon. Njomo wanted to put across that anybody who is 18 years and above should be compelled to vote. I also want to take this opportunity to thank the President for having made it easier for people to get ID cards within three days. I wonder why there was a delay. Sometimes back we asked the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Interior and Coordination of National Government and the Registrar of Persons to appear before the Committee on Implementation and tell us why it was taking a long time for people to get ID cards. We were promised that people in all urban and rural areas would get ID cards within 30 days. I believe the best way is for us to persuade our people to register as voters. It is not just about the numbers, but it is a right for all of us to take part in elections. No wonder when you go to the rural areas people are being ferried from one registration station to another across either wards or constituencies to boost numbers, which is illegal. I read in the newspapers this morning 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 somebody somewhere was getting people from across the neighbouring State. I do not know whether that is true. I want to be on record here that in my neighbouring constituency, people are coming from the neighbouring constituency to register in order to boost numbers, so that they can retain their seat. That is illegal. That person has nothing to offer. He is like a mercenary. He is just coming in to boost numbers, goes away and does not care whether that person wins or not. Therefore, I want to take this opportunity to urge Kenyans that it is upon them to vote, but not to be persuaded to vote. If this Motion goes through, and I hope it does, we should look at it as a long-term plan. Sometimes back about six months ago, I tabled a Motion urging us to use waiting cards to register as voters as we wait for IDs and we all agreed. That Motion was passed. We called the IEBC and they said that there was nothing wrong with using waiting cards. I do not know what happened thereafter. I want to revive the same Motion in future. I think the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs should address that in future, that people can use waiting cards to register as voters as they wait for IDs. They can use IDs when to vote. That Motion was passed in this House. I originated the Motion. However, the IEBC slept on the job. I want to urge Kenyans to come out in large numbers and voluntarily choose their leaders other than being persuaded. It is their right. Kiambu County has registered 250,000 voters because they see the need to retain the President. As a leader in that area, one should persuade the voters to retain him as a leader. I was so impressed that Kiambu County has 250,000 registered voters, which is a plus. They are persuaded by the fact that the President comes from their region. Therefore, he brings development to the area. As a leader, you should do the same by encouraging potential voters to locate their cards because you want to continue with the development record for your area. I do not see anything wrong with what my friend, Hon. Njomo, has done. That is the only motivating factor for people to voluntarily register as voters. Last but not least, we should not dangle the carrot by using money and handouts as a way of asking our people to register as voters. In my own area, I have told my people that I will not give anyone a cent. They should go and register because it is their right to register as voters. I will not give them a cent. I ask Members in general not to fall into that trap that just because the numbers are low, they dish out money. That is not the best way of harnessing and cultivating democracy in our country. With those few remarks, I also want to take this opportunity to say that the chiefs are doing a good job. The President did very well by asking the chiefs to come out and help citizens to register as voters. I have gone to four or five funerals and I have seen chiefs carrying IDs with them and asking people to collect their IDs. That is one way of doing it. I want to encourage our chiefs to continue doing that job, so that our people can register as voters. The problem here is the youth. They see no need to register to vote. With time, they will catch up with the idea that it is their universal suffrage to vote as individuals. Let us move forward. I support the Motion by my brother, but maybe it has come too late with only 12 days to go. We will go further. As I said, I will table a Motion in future making it compulsory for anybody over the age of 18 years to vote. Therefore, if you do not vote, you will be taken to jail. That is the only our youths will understand. Otherwise, I support the Motion by my brother, Hon. Njomo.
Hon. Ferdinand, are you proposing that in future those people who do not vote should go straight to jail?
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, let me repeat. I went to New Zealand and fortunately, it was during voting. In New Zealand, when you turn 18 years old, 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.
compulsory for you to vote. I will table a Motion before this House to persuade the House to pass that into law, so that people respect universal suffrage.
Very well, Hon. Ferdinand. You have clarified. We shall now have Hon. Paul Bii, Member for Chepalungu.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to also add my wisdom to this debate. From the outset, while I support this Motion as a long-term exercise in this country, the way it has been framed at this time calls for more delays at the same time. People may be expecting to be persuaded with some tokens or gifts which again will even add more problems to the very delicate exercise we are seeing. It is very important for us, as leaders, to also interrogate ourselves on what could be the problem, why Kenyans do not have to register as voters or do not want to participate in elections. A lot of issues have come up. As we debate, let us also look at some factors that may be discouraging our citizens from registering as voters, so that we do not blame them. At the moment, there is drought in this country. There is famine. People are running up and down trying to pay school fees. The commitments that have coincided with the voter registration exercise should also be considered. It is not that the people do not want to have this document, but they are forced not to by frustrations. We also have to look at the officers that have the responsibility of issuing the documents. I happen to have been in my constituency as most of us are around this season. Many people complain that when their IDs are issued from Nairobi, they are listed in different locations. These citizens get tired and ask whether they have to repeat the process to obtain new ID cards. We have to look at the seriousness of the staff employed at the Registration of Persons Department. Are they serious or lax? To me, most of them portray a lot of laxity. I pity all the leaders. They have been going across the country trying to encourage people to register. It is unfortunate that the officers who are supposed to register the people report to their stations as late as 1.00 p.m. That is one problem that we need to identify and strengthen the weak areas. We should make voter registration and issuance of ID cards continuous in this country. We should not have it only around election time. Democracy says that one is willing. When I hear my colleagues saying that we should jail people, I do not think that, that is the right thing to do. What about the citizens because they also have complaints? I happen to have interacted with a person who was not willing to tell me, as much as I tried to ask him, whether he had an ID card and a voters card. He asked me why he should have them. As I continued to debate with him, he told me that these documents, especially the voters card, are used to elect people who will help this country develop. This citizen was frustrated that he has been voting severally, but then since the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) was introduced, he has never even decided to have a voters card. He never even voted in 2013 because of lack of development.
The IEBC should also have time to offer voter education continuously through the media, especially the radio stations in the evenings when people are back home from their daily chores. They need to be educated. This time, we should not be worried because at the end of the day, whoever has been registered, of course, will give us a government. So, there should be no worry that there will be no government. But we need to encourage our people that voting is a way of getting leaders who will guarantee democracy, education and all other forms of development in the country.
I want to support the idea that issuance of voters card and ID cards should be a continuous process. It should not be done in intervals. 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 shall now have the Member for Kaloleni, Hon. Mwinga Chea.
Shukrani sana, Mhe. Naibu Spika wa Muda kwa kunipa fursa niungane mkono na wenzangu kuunga mkono Hoja hii ambayo imeletwa hapa na Mhe. Njomo. Hoja hii inazungumzia ushawishi katika masuala ya uandikishaji wa kura. Ukipata fursa ya kuisoma, utaona kwamba leo inazungumza kuhusu kushawishi watu kuchukua kura na baadaye pia waweze kuhusika katika uchaguzi mkuu bila shaka hapo Agosti mwaka huu.
Jinsi tunavyojadili Hoja hii, ni lazima tuiangalie mara mbili. Kwanza kwa sasa vile tutazungumza na watu mpaka wachukue kura na bila shaka baadaye njia gani zitatumika ili waweze kuhusika katika uchaguzi mkuu. Ninasema haya kwa sababu nimeona sana wengi wa Waheshimiwa wakizungumza tu juu ya suala la kushawishi watu kuchukua kura. Baadaye ni lazima washawishiwe jinsi gani watakaoweza kupiga kura.
Kura kuweza kupigwa ni lazima kuwe na vitambulisho. Na inahuzunisha kwamba mara nyingi katika Jamhuri yetu ya Kenya, utoaji na usajili wa vitambulisho umekuwa duni sana. Ni juzi tu Mhe. Rais aliona atafute mbinu ambayo inaweza kufanya jambo hili lifanyike kwa haraka. Ni vyema lakini ilikuwa imechelewa. Kwa hivyo, ningependa kutoa mwito kwamba suala la uandikishaji wa vitambulisho liwe linafanywa kila wakati na suala linafanywa bila kuwa na gharama yoyote. Watu wetu wengi hawajachukua vitambulisho hivi kwa sababu mahali vinachukuliwa ni mbali na ni gharama kupata stakabadhi hizi.
Baadhi ya vitambulisho hivi pia vimekuwa vikifika katika vituo, kwa machifu na mahali kwingine vikiwa na makosa fulani fulani. Ningependa kusema ya kwamba wale ambao wanasajili vitambulisho hivi ni muhimi wawe waangalifu ndio tusiweze kuwa na majina ambayo hayaeleweki wakati watu wanapopewa vitambulisho hivi.
Siasa ama upigaji kura ni ushawishi. Kwa hivyo, ikiwa Hoja itazungumza kuhusu kuwashawishi watu wachukue kura, tunaelekea sawa. Kwa sababu hiyo, ni lazima tukubali kwamba jukumu la kushawishi watu wachukue kura ni letu kama wanasiasa hasa Wabunge na ni jukumu la vyama vya kisiasa. Ndio maana mimi nikiwa naongoza chama changu cha KADU- Asili, nimekuwa mstari wa mbele kuzungumza na watu kwamba ni muhimu kuchukua kura. Nataka nichukue fursa hii hapa katika Bunge hili la kitaifa niseme kuwa kuna umuhimu watu wachukue kura hususan watu wetu kutoka Mkoa wa Pwani na Kaunti yetu ya Kilifi ndio wafanye uamuzi wa busara.
Kumekuwa na changamoto nyingi sana katika masuala haya ya kuchukua kura. Kaunti yetu ya Kilifi, kwa mfano, imegonga vichwa vya habari kwa suala la baa la njaa. Suala hili la ukosefu wa lishe limechangia kwa kiasi kikubwa watu kutochukua kura katika Kaunti yetu ya Kilifi. Nataka nizungumze tu bila wasiwasi kuwa Serikali iko na jukumu la kuja na mbinu ya kuhakikisha kwamba watu wanaweza kupata lishe. Wakipata lishe, wataweza kuhusika katika hali kubwa ya kuweza kuchukua kura hizi. Haimaanishi watakapopewa lishe ndio lazima watapigia kura mrengo fulani. Hayo yatakuwa masuala ya baadaye. Kwa hivyo, saa hii ni kuhakikisha kwamba mbinu zimebuniwa watu wachukue kura.
Si vyema kweli kuambatanisha huduma ambazo watu wanastahili kupewa na masuala ya kama wako na kadi ya kura ama la. Kifungu Nambari 38 katika Katiba yetu kinazungumza kuhusu watu kusajiliwa kama wapiga kura na hatimaye kupiga kura zao. Ukiangalia Katiba yote kwa ujumla, iko na haki nyingi sana za kikatiba. Kwa hivyo, kwa mtazamo wangu, ninaona ya kuwa tukizungumza kwamba mtu hajapiga kura, ikifika masuala ya kuchukuliwa wanajeshi ama watu wanaandikwa kwa ajira fulani eti watu hawa wasiweze kupata fursa hiyo, sio sawa. Nasema 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.
haya kwa sababu wakati uchaguzi unapofanyika na wakati kura zinapopigwa, hali inarudi sawa na Serikali inahitaji kutoa huduma kwa mtu bila kubagua kama alipiga kura ama hakupiga au alikupigia kura ama hakukupigia kura. Ni jukumu lako kama kiongozi kumhudumia kwa njia mwafaka ndio maana yeye ni mwananchi wa Kenya na anaongozwa na Katiba ya Jamhuri ya Kenya.
Baadhi ya mikakati imewekwa kuhakikisha kwamba kura zinachukuliwa. Tumekuwa tukisisitiza kwamba ni lazima kura ziandikishwe kila mahali. Tumeona vijana wetu wa boda boda wametia juhudi na nimeona pia baadhi ya watu wanaosajili kura wamejitoa kutoka yale mashule waliokuwa wamekita kambi kuhakikisha ya kwamba wanasajili. Safari hii tunawapata wakiwa katika mahali pa kufanya biashara. Bila wasiwasi, Jumapili iliopita mimi pamoja na Mhe. Njomo tulipata fursa ya kwenda katika mazishi ya mamake Mhe. Harry Kombe. Mhe. Njomo atakubaliana nami kuwa katika mazishi haya kulikuwa na sehemu ya kusajili watu kura na watu, baada ya kuangalia mwili, walikuwa wanaenda kukamata kura jinsi wanavyotaka kujishughulisha katika upigaji kura.
Mtu yeyote ambaye atazungumza kuhusu kutolazimisha watu kuchukua kura itakuwa makosa. Sisi kama wakaazi wa Pwani, mara nyingi masuala kama haya hayajaenda sawa kwa sababu watu wamesema eti kura zetu ni chache. Ninataka niwahakikishie kuwa safari hii mambo yamegeuka. Watu wataendelea kujiandikisha kura kwa sababu pia nasi tunataka kuongeza uzito wetu katika masuala ya kisiasa ya kitaifa. Kwa hivyo, Hoja hii ni muhimu. Kamati ambayo inahusika katika masuala ya kisheria iko na wajibu wa kukaa chini na kuibua mbinu ambazo zitatusaidia kwa muda huu mfupi na nyingine kesho, kesho kutwa na kuendelea. Suala la kura sio suala tu la leo. Baada ya uchaguzi, labda kutokana na malalamishi ama mambo mengine, kuna uwezekano wa kuwa na uchaguzi mdogo. Ikiwa usajili wa kura utakuwa unafanywa mara moja, hivyo haitakuwa vyema. Kwa hivyo, ninataka niungane mkono na waheshimiwa wengine ambao wamesema kwamba usajili ufanywe kila wakati. Vitambulisho vitolewe kila siku na usajili wa kura uendelee kila siku. Cha msingi tunahitaji kuwaeleza watu wetu umuhimu wa kupiga kura. Mambo yalivyo sasa hivi, watu wanazungumzia zaidi kuhusu idadi ya watu wanaosajiliwa. Labada demokrasia yetu pahali ipo inazungumza tu kuhusu idadi ya kura lakini bila shaka kadri miaka inavyosonga, tutafika mahali na tutajua ni akina nani wanastahili kupiga kura na wasiostahili kupiga kura. Kwa lugha ya Kiingereza tunataka tufike mahali tutakuwa na quality voting. Hatutaki iwe kwamba kwa sababu lazima ipigwe kura, basi watu wapige kura. Mara nyingine watu hupiga kura na hawajui kitu gani ambacho wanatafuta. Kwa hivyo, hii ni Hoja muhimu. Ninaiunga mkono na zaidi ya yote, nihimize watu wangu waweze kukamata kura ndipo tuweze kuhusika katika uchaguzi mkuu ujao. Kwa hayo machache, asante kwa kunipa fursa hii.
Very well spoken. We should have Hon. Ali Rasso, Member for Saku.
Thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. From the outset, I want to support this Motion. I also want to appeal to Kenyans wherever they are, to go out there and register as voters. We just saw what happened during the American elections a few months ago. We have seen the effect on a country when people refuse to vote. Many Americans did not vote and that is why they got the leader they never desired. Voting is enshrined in our Constitution. It is in our Bill of Rights. With hindsight, I am encouraged to think that we are still a developing country. We are not a developed country just because we can use computers,
and all other kinds of modern gizmos and gadgets. We must go out there and talk to 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.
people eyeball to eyeball. In the process, we must tell them the importance of exercising their democratic right by choosing the right leaders. They say that it is those who refuse to vote who allow countries to get bad leaders. For this reason, it is difficult for Kenyans to access basic amenities because things are made difficult the way even the Government is organised. If the IEBC and the Registrar of Persons work hand in glove, we, as Members of Parliament or the President and his deputy, would not be going out there to tell people to register. As soon as an individual gets an ID card, they know that they are on the roll of voters. That would be the easiest thing to happen in Kenya. Currently, in Marsabit County where I come from, the voter turnout is very low. We are facing a serious drought that we have not experienced over the last 20 years. Our people are going out to look for water, food and pasture. This has dispersed most of our people to even neighbouring countries and neighbouring counties. It is a tall order trying to reach them because of the way the voter registration has been designed. It is static even in populated areas. So, what about those who are going far away with their livestock? Something needs to be done. The idea of having a fixated period of 30 days for voter registration should be re-thought. We must think out of the box as a country, so that all eligible individuals are brought to the voters roll. Voter registration and issuance of IDs are inextricably linked. If Kenyans do not get IDs in time, or if IDs are not available, then we should not expect a good turnout or the numbers that we desire. It should not be seen that it is Kenyans who are not coming out to register. As has been said, the issuance of ID cards is the most difficult process Kenyans have been enduring. It is easier to get a passport than an ID. An individual is told to bring their father’s ID, their mother’s ID, death certificates and birth certificates. Consider a young person who was born in location “X”. The chief knows that person and so do the elders. However, it is made so difficult until that person forgets about looking for an ID. The process of seeking an ID card is a tall order. For that reason, unless we make it very easy to acquire IDs, then voter registration in itself will be a very difficult thing. We have Huduma Centres, post offices and many other service delivery points that can be used for voter registration. Those places could be used as outlets for the issuance of IDs. This Motion, while it does not address the exact situation of voter registration, it is important for us, as a law making body, to have an institution or instrument in place, so that with time, it is easy for the citizenry to know their rights and also the basic folds that they can easily place themselves in. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, in Australia, it is compulsory to vote. It is also compulsory when you reach the age of 18 years to be on the voters roll. For that reason, this country, as a developing country, must have the right instruments in place, so that we galvanise the energy of this nation to elect good leaders that the citizenry desire. These are the leaders who will bring development to the country. With those remarks, I beg to support.
Hon. Ameso, Member for Kakamega.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I stand to support this Motion. As my colleagues have said, this Motion is for long-term purposes. It is a very good Motion. I want to congratulate the IEBC officers in Kakamega County, especially in Khwisero, for their efforts. They are now carrying out public forums and inviting everyone so that they can register as many people as possible. We have also approached them to see if it will be possible to invite the Registrar of Persons in that area to issue IDs to those who do not have them. In most 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.
cases, they have complained about the distance they cover to get to the constituency office to register. This mostly affects those who want transfers. We have gone out of our way to get a van to take them to the constituency office to be registered as voters. When we talk of transfers, it does not augur well when someone transfers people using buses. How can one transfer 60 people using six buses? That is just unbelievable. We want to urge Kenyans to refuse to be packed in buses to be taken to different areas for registration. We have a big population in Kakamega. We do not need outsiders to help us in the registration exercise. We should be left to choose our own leaders because we have enough voters. I want to urge our people to register as voters because it is their right to do so. I want to urge IEBC to look at accessibility for people with special interests because some cannot access registration centres. The IEBC should ensure that the machine is movable so as to register people who do not have access to the registration centres. As leaders, we should look at the reasons as to why Kenyans have lost interest in the registration process. We should have carried out civic education early enough so that Kenyans can know the importance of voter registration. I want to remind Kenyans that it is their right to vote. It is the only tool they can use to choose the right leadership in this country. The vote is a sure way of removing leaders that voters do not want. I want to concur with my colleagues that this exercise should be done when one is issued with a national ID since the document has details that are required during the voter registration exercise. Doing so will cut down costs for the Government since the two exercises will be carried out simultaneously. The timing of the voter registration exercise is not good. Most students will not register as voters because it is very expensive for parents to bring them from schools to register and then take them back. Parents will again have to plan for their children to travel in August to vote. The timing is bad. The voter registration exercise should have been carried out early enough. If it was done when our sons and daughters were getting their IDs, we would have cut down on costs. It would not be a problem as it is now.
Kenyans should not be transported to other areas to be registered as voters. People should get registration services in their areas. Doing transfer of people will give others leaders they did not choose. People should not allow to be transported to other areas. We have, at times, made silly mistakes in Kenya. There are old people with old generation IDs and they do not understand why they are told to change their old IDs that are no longer in use. I want to ask children with old parents to educate them on the need to change their old generation IDs. We should have proper technology that must be tested in good time so that we avoid issues of double registration and ID sharing by the entire country. The system should be able to reflect my details when it is placed on a machine so that we can avoid the stupid mistakes that have been going on in the country. The staff at the Office of the Registrar of Persons should be supportive to Kenyans. They, at times, harass our people, making them fearful. They should help all Kenyans looking for IDs. They should change their attitude when it comes to serving Kenyans. Those who have lost their IDs should make follow-ups. The President directed that IDs should be released in three days. This directive should apply all over Kenya. We want to urge them to go for their IDs and when it takes longer to get them, they should inform their leaders so that they can follow-up for them. I want to thank Hon. Jude Njomo for this Motion, which will go a long way in helping us for posterity purposes. I support this Motion. 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.
Let us have the Member for Trans Nzoia, Hon. (Ms.) Wanyama.
She is not in.
Let us then have the Member for Bomet.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this important Motion moved by Hon. Jude Njomo on Persuasive Voter Registration. Much as it is for posterity, I want to support it because as they say, failing to plan is planning to fail. Therefore, we can as well be planning for the future at this very moment. Secondly, the Motion also gives us the opportunity to actually do that persuasion. We can persuade our people to go on to register as voters because we have actually noted the voter apathy across the country. Yes, indeed, voting is a human right. It is also one’s choice. That is why this Motion is talking about persuasion other than forceful or mandatory registration. That is why I was a bit worried when one member mentioned here that everyone should be made to vote or else they be taken to jail. I was a bit worried because it would really amount to violating one’s right. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, allow me to take this opportunity to urge all eligible voters who have not registered as voters to go and register before the exercise closes down on 14th February 2017. Of course, the culture of Kenyans is that they wait up to the last minute, but because IEBC has already expressed the fact that the exercise needs to be closed for the register to be cleaned up and checked, I believe there will be no extension of that period. So, I urge particularly the residents of South Rift to register as voters. That is because the reports on the percentage targets indicate that, that area and especially Kericho County, is doing a bit poorly. One reason why Kericho is doing a bit poorly is because last year in February, when the campaign was on, there was a by-election and many people did not register because they had decided to temporarily halt that registration to allow for the by-election. I do not know why the exercise did not resume or why the exercise is not ongoing. It should not be only during election time.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I think there are loud consultations. Can you, please, protect me?
Members, I think the consultations are too high, especially from the Member for Embakasi. Member for Embakasi, the Member for Bomet will be heard in silence. Consultations can go on, but let us please lower the decibels.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for protecting me. I just want to repeat that many areas are doing poorly as far as the targets are concerned. I am singling out Kericho County, which has not seen greater percentages because there was no registration last year due to the by-election that was there. One way of persuading the voters to register is actually through civic education. That way, they can really understand why they need to vote because knowledge is power. We need to really find out why exactly there is voter apathy. Is it the way we approach our politics? Is it probably our priorities being upside down, for example, basic needs? I am glad that, at least, there was rain yesterday across the country. However, in the last few months, the country has experienced a lot of drought and hunger 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.
when you tell people to go and register and they are hungry and are out looking for water, it will look like the priorities are upside down. Secondly, as aspirants seek for votes, they are asking the voters to employ them. Probably, the voters understand that they are just registering in order to employ people who go and earn a lot of money and yet, they remain poor. The way we approach politics should also be issue-based and should be convincing enough to allow that willingness to go and register. We must not dish out goodies. I strongly oppose the idea of using any form of goodies to woo the eligible voters to go and register.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, issuance of identity cards is going hand in hand with voter registration. I thank the Executive for giving the Executive Order where the process should not demand for documentation such as birth, marriage or leaving certificates. Where the chief can prove that this is a resident of their area, they should simply recommend and allow the young people to get their identity cards. I also want to mention that identity cards are issued free of charge. Allow me to express my disappointment as I toured by county in an area called Kapkelei/Sigorian Location. I want those in charge of registration to take note of that. In that area, the clerks who are issuing identity cards are charging Kshs100 and, if you do not have the Kshs100, you are turned away. That is corruption and action should be taken. I have already talked to the person in charge and if action is not taken, then I will take a further step to ensure that they are charged for corruption. That is because identity cards are issued free of charge.
Secondly, there is harassment. The residents may not know how to place their fingers for the machine to capture the marks. They should be friendly because there are young and old people who need to be served. As we talk about new identity cards, we have so many uncollected identity cards. Do people really know why they need to possess an identity card and why they need to vote? Why would one apply for an identity card and leave it there uncollected. You can imagine now chiefs are going round saying: “Please, collect you identity cards.” It is just perturbing to know that even after applying, people fail to go and collect those identity cards. Finally, all said and done, let us assume that one has taken an identity card and registered as a voter. We have also noted that during the voting day itself, only 56 per cent come out to vote. So, we will again be going back to tell people to come out and vote. I think it is a matter of really conducting countrywide civic education. It is about researching to establish reasons why there is that kind of apathy or lack of understanding by the citizens of this country that they are not exercising their human right of voting and choice of leaders and that, as they choose the leaders, they are actually choosing development. One leader once said that bad leaders are elected by good citizens who do not vote. So, if they do not vote, they should not complain that there are bad leaders. I support the Motion.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Hon. Members, I can see 23 requests wanting to speak to the Motion on persuasive voter registration by Hon. Jude Njomo. I am sure this affects almost all of us. Spare some time for your other members. You may not want 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 use your 10 minutes because I think it is more about repetition. I cannot see the Member for Kiminini who is on my request list. The Member for South Imenti has spoken on this. We will go to the Member for Central Imenti, Hon. Gideon Irea. Is he in? Members, now you are confusing the Speaker. Hon. Members, let me follow the request list. Hon. Dawood, Member for North Imenti has spoken. Janet Wanyama is absent. Most of the Members from the 23 requests---
We were told to put on the intervention button.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): The first one on my intervention list is the Member for Endebess. Of course, there is nothing out of order and there is nothing to communicate.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for allowing me to contribute to this Motion. First and foremost, I want to support Hon. Jude Njomo’s Motion on the issue of IDs. Issuance of IDs and voter registration go hand in hand. I urge all Kenyans outside there not to wait for the last minute to register as voters. Kenyans have this habit of making the last day---
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Order, Members! I must make this communication that there is a problem with the system. Some of the Members are here and others are not here. For instance, is the Member for South Imenti in the House? Let me use the list. Member for South Imenti is not in the House. Hon. Chrisanthus Wamalwa and Janet Wanyama?
They are not here.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): So, allow the speaker to use the intervention as had been requested before ---
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. Kenyans should not wait for the last day to go to the voter registration centers to register. It is important that Kenyans turn up in large numbers to register. It is very disturbing especially for me that most of the clerks are recording low voter turnout in my constituency of Endebess. I want to urge everybody outside there to go to the registration centers and register because their votes matter.
For those of us who live in the border, we want to urge people within neighbouring countries that are Kenyans and have national IDs to come freely and register. We have had a perception that other people coming from other countries into our borders are not Kenyans. This happens especially for those who are within borders areas such as Busia, Endebess, Trans-Nzoia, Bungoma, Turkana and West Pokot. It is very unfair. These are Kenyans who have gone to look for greener pastures in the neighbouring countries. Either they have gone to do farming and business, or they have even taken their cattle to graze because of the dry season in our country. We have people who have taken their cattle to places like Kanyerus, Riwa, Giriki and other places for pasture. They are Kenyans and when they leave their animals grazing, they should come freely and register and go back to take care of their animals. For people who live within borders, we are facing a lot of challenges. I want to tell those who are spreading propaganda that their time is up because these are Kenyans who should freely come in and those who have their parents within the neighboring countries, their children should come and take their IDs. The IDs are given by the chiefs, assistant county commissioners and registrars, not Members of Parliament or politicians. Ours is just to urge our people to take their IDs and register as voters so that they can participate in a free and fair election.
More often, you will find that our opponents would want to use these things for their benefit to create political temperatures that are not good for our people to register. We want 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.
tell them that it is not good for them to engage in propaganda and destructive methods to tell voters not to register.
We want to urge everybody through this Motion that registrars should go to areas where people have IDs and have not registered. Let them register without fearing anybody or being intimidated by anybody. It is their right to register and they should not wait for the last day because we are told that the system is only able to register about 60 people per day. If you have 100 people waiting for the last day, it is going to be a challenge. Therefore, it is high time for them to register.
With those few remarks, I support the Motion by Hon. Jude Njomo.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Thank you. Hon. Member for Nyandarua, Wanjiku Muhia.
Thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I will speak briefly so that my colleagues can get a minute or two.
Firstly, we must acknowledge that when we do things the same way and at similar times, we get same results. Year in, year out, we have always had and faced the same challenge where we want to register people at the very last minute. Considering all that is happening in the country such as school fees, climate change and food shortage, that could have contributed to voter apathy. Most importantly, we have political propaganda. As leaders we have to be responsible. We cannot be poisoning our people in the country day in, day out with newspaper headlines speaking of negative development of our country and yet, we expect people to register. We can already see that, across the board, people are not registering. Having said that, I think this Motion, though a little bit late, is timely. We should support Jude Njomo by offering solutions. One of the solutions as we also identify the problems is: We know our youths are facing economic challenges. Most of them are jobless and others are mobile. Today, if a youth in Nyandarua applies for an identity card, and in two weeks he gets a job in Kisumu or Mombasa, by the time the ID comes out, the youth is not there. This is a challenge that we need to sort out with technology and the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government has to be candid. It is on record and I spoke about this issue. Banks are so efficient when they issue their ATM cards, by sending SMS alerts. When the IDs are ready and the youth are expecting them in seven or three days as the President has directed, there should be an SMS alert informing the youth that their ID is ready. This will prepare the youth not to waste so much time coming from Nakuru to Nyandarwa or Kisumu only to find that there is no ID. So, effectiveness, efficiency and timeliness in all departments which are dealing with IDs should be there.
I also think that we should go the census way and possibly look at the Budget as a House. How do census officials succeed to know the population of the nation? They go door to door. Possibly, it is time that those departments go door to door. Civic education is not enough, but I know awareness is in place. All vernacular radio stations are speaking about this. The President and the Opposition leaders are all speaking about this and so there is awareness. There must be something that is limiting people to register and these are the issues that we need to iron out and find solutions.
When we look at Form Four leavers, they leave in a group. This is where we can catch a number of the students who finish Form Four level to get IDs and, at the same time, register as voters. Why do we not integrate those documents? Why do we have National Social Security Fund (NSSF) card, National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) card, driving licence and ID card? The list is endless. In my bag, I have AON insurance card, birth certificate and many other 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.
documents. These documents are too many. We need to integrate them. Possibly, if we are feeling secure enough, we may opt to use an ID card, but the way this ID card is given should be interrogated.
As I conclude, when members of the public want to change their polling stations, it will not be necessarily for voter manipulation. I have employed somebody and that person voted in another area. When they want to transfer, the polling stations are also very far. Distance matters, considering those people are poor. They are facing food shortages and cannot afford Kshs200 to ride on a motorbike in order to change the polling station of their choice. This also brings the issue of persons with disability. We have 1.5 million people living with disability who are potential voters. This is a number that is left out.
On the issue of age, people are also ailing. Today, my father is 70 years old. He was 65 years old during the last elections. If he wants to change his voter’s card, he can no longer walk like he could five years ago. So, the issue of door to door registration has to come in. So far, the chiefs have done well. As I conclude, if an exam is done and the pass mark is 500 and the first person acquires 200 marks, he will have passed the exam. However, the examiner will say---
It is me who is contributing my dear! The examiner will say the pass mark was far below. For this reason, the exam was not passed. Equally, in the elections that we are about to face, if we expect certain millions of people to register but a certain number of people does not participate, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will say that the turnout was not good. It will just be the people who got a handful of votes and this will not represent the expected numbers. For that reason, people may continue crying and saying the leadership is this or that way and yet, they did not participate. For that reason, I urge people to continue registering. As Members, we should continue drumming the message. This Motion is very timely. Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Thank you. You have communicated to Kenyans, of course, through the House. The Member for Kaiti!
Thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to this important Motion.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Hon. Members, the Mover will be called upon to reply at 12.40 p.m. You know debate on the Motion started at 9.50 a.m. The three hours allotted to it will be already spent at 12.40 p.m. So, Members, it is good to give time to the rest.
Thank you, I will try to be as brief as possible. I think voter registration in this country has never been taken seriously. When we are discussing about persuading people to go and register as voters, as a House, this is something that should be done in a more systematic manner. It is not easy to just go round persuading people and telling them: “Please, go and register.” There should be a system, a mechanism, where people are made to know that this is their right. Not only should they know it is their right, but there should also be a system where people are registered even without being persuaded. I think the Government had an intention of introducing integrated electronic identification cards using the Electronic Voter Identification Devices (EVIDs). This would have made the exercise of registration of voters very easy. I think there are some officers who are sitting on their jobs, particularly the people who are in charge of registration of persons. Some 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.
countries have gone the electronic identification card way. They do not conduct continuous registration of voters. There should be a system whereby an ID will carry the details of the voter. That could minimise the cost of conducting a one month exercise and even trying to put this country into an electioneering mood and, hence, bringing it to a standstill. That is because everybody is out there trying to persuade people or voters to vote. It is high time we gave solutions. We should not only talk about how to continue persuading people. We should come up with a solution. There is money that had been allocated and was meant to have introduced the electronic identification card system. Somebody is just sitting on those approvals. Some countries like Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique have gone the electronic identification card way. Even Tanzania, our neighbours here, is using that system. It is important to know that voting is our right. In some countries like Germany, if you do not register as a voter, I think it is criminal. It is criminalised. We should not criminalise our citizens because of not registering as voters. Let the Government do its part. Let the people in charge of registration of persons adopt the current system of registration, which is going to make it very easy. It is going to cut on cost. It is going to eliminate so many other challenges and issues that sometimes force the people in charge to ask for documents which are not available. The previous speakers have talked about documents which are being asked from married women. They are being told to go back to where they were born so that they can be issued with voters cards. That, to some extent, is not right. It is very unfair. We should try to treat people equally in this country. There should be social justice. There should be fairness. You cannot subject people to that. If my daughter was married in Western Kenya, you cannot tell me she has to come all the way to Makueni to register. That is very unethical. It is high time we had three systems of registrations - voluntary registration, persuasive ways of registration of voters and a compelling system of registration. This is something that can be compounded and put into a one-stop system by issuing electronic identification cards. We should be sensitive to the cost of running this exercise. We should not go round subjecting the country and everybody, including Parliament, to this. The absence of Members is because they are down there trying to persuade their people to register. This Motion is a good but, we should think seriously about the solution; and not talking about what has happened in the past. We should now focus on the future and we shall have a solution to this problem. Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Hon. Members, I have a few minutes. In my own Speaker’s discretion, allow me give you three minutes each. Hon. Mary Emaase, Member for Teso South?
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for allowing me to add my voice to this debate. This is a very important Motion. However, I agree with my colleagues who have mentioned that it has come a bit too late. We need to look at what the real problem is. Why are people not coming out in their large numbers to register? In my county, being a county at the border, we have a huge number of people who are unable to register because they do not have IDs. I mean a big number! We have married from the Diaspora and vice versa . We have elderly ladies who are grandmothers with 10 or 12 children. They cannot exercise their rights as Kenyans to vote because they do not have IDs and they cannot be given IDs. When they go to register to get IDs, their children are asked to bring their fathers’ IDs, their mothers’ IDs, a letter from the Luguru and what have you. You find that some of their children do not have ID cards. I 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.
think we should be addressing the real problems so that, for example, by the time students complete their fourth form, we should have a law in place that guarantees that it is mandatory that those students walk out of school with ID cards. Once we have the IDs, then we are guaranteed that people will register to vote. Secondly, to vote is a democratic right. What is lacking is civic education. A voter must be motivated to vote. I should have a reason to want to vote. If we have not done adequate civic education, we should not complain of low registration. I have voters who say: “ Ni Waheshimiwandio wanataka kuchaguliwa. Kwa hivyo, wanipeleke niende nijisajili kupiga kura .” I should be facilitated by those who want to be voted for. That kind of a voter requires civic education that it is their right to vote. They should be involved in this process; they should participate; they should be engaged. Thereafter, they can demand for services from the leaders they elect; demand for what belongs to them, their right. We have institutions in this country that are mandated to do civic education. It is not sufficiently being done. We have local radio stations. Even in my constituency, there is a local radio station called Emuria FM. I have not heard anything from IEBC educating and encouraging people to go and register as voters. We approve budgets in this House. I have seen budgetary allocations towards civic education in various ministries and departments. We are seeing very little civic education. We should do civic education so that the electorate can appreciate the importance of voting in the right leaders, voting leaders on merit, voting leaders based on development agenda as opposed to party affiliations, as opposed to hiding behind parties just because the party leader is popular in your region. That way, they will be sure that those leaders will be able to drive the development agenda in their regions.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Your minutes are over. Hon. Susan Musyoka, the Member for Machakos County.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I wanted to speak to the next one.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Okay. I am following your requests. Hon. Wesley Korir.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me an opportunity to contribute to this Motion. As former speakers have said, this is a very timely and good Motion. But should we be talking about encouraging people to vote? Every Kenyan that has attained the age of 18 years should know that it is their constitutional right and responsibility to vote and elect their leaders. Many people complain when leaders do not do what they are supposed to do. You do not have a right to complain if you never voted for anybody. That is what the message should be for everybody. I stand here, too, to condemn those people that think they can ferry people from different constituencies and counties to come and vote in different constituencies. Yesterday, there are people who were caught in my constituency in buses coming from Bungoma and pretending to be going on a funeral. They had red ribbons on the buses and yet, they were being transported from Bungoma to come to Cherangany and register as voters. We currently have their IDs. This should be condemned in the highest levels because it is a criminal act. If somebody wants to change their voting station, it is their right; they should not be coerced by anybody. They should not be bribed by anybody to do that. That is a criminal offence. Those people doing that, IEBC should take them to court and be arrested. That is not the right thing.
Wa kwanza anatoka kwako. I also support the idea that we need one ID. When you look at what is going on right now with the biometric voter registration, they need your fingerprints and ID and you get a card. Why can they not integrate the acquisition of national ID with the IEBC? It is the same thing. If you have a system that already has my fingerprints, why do you need my fingerprints again? Why can the IEBC and the National Registration Bureau not integrate their systems so that people’s fingerprints taken for ID issuance can also be used during voting? If you can do that, it makes things easy and cheaper. You can force somebody to take a voters card but you cannot force them to vote. Instead, the Government spends so much money in giving people IDs and voters cards. That is double the amount that can be used at the same time with the same thing and use it well. I think what we need as a House is not a Motion. We need to bring a Bill to amend the Elections Act and make sure that the system we have for IDs is also used for voting. That will make things very easy. That system should also be used for issuance of driving licence. There is no need to have all these documents. If you have gone to a driving school, you will just be given a certificate of driving school. Instead of having a very big driving licence, use your ID as a driving licence. If we can integrate all these---
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Your three minutes are over. Hon. Florence Mutua.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. Mine will be very brief because most of the things have been covered. One, as Kenyans, we need to ask ourselves why we are last minute people. This is something we should have been doing progressively and continuously. Here we are at the last minute, rushing to register our people and even requesting for more time. We should be prepared as a country always. I am sure before 14th February, you will see many people coming out. I do not know if it is our culture or what happens. We like last-minute things. We need to prepare adequately, especially on voter registration. We also need to address the issue of voter apathy. It is so much out there. When you tell somebody to get a voters card, they will ask you: “What is in it for me?” They even want you to give them cash. There is a problem. We have Kenyans who do not understand that, that vote will give them development. There is a disconnect between development vis-à-vis handouts. We need to handle these issues seriously and have civic education where people are trained as to why they vote for leaders every five years. Those leaders are supposed to bring development. The issue of voter importation is also critical and should be addressed. When you bring voters from other countries or areas that are not within your area, it means the people of your area will not get adequate services because you have brought strangers to come and vote for you. We need people to be voted in because of their performance, but not just bringing in numbers to get you wrong leaders. So, the issue of voter importation should be tackled very fast and the people who are doing it should be monitored by those who do the monitoring. My biggest issue, and I will speak for Busia County, is the issue of women who are married from other countries and counties. Yesterday, I was handling issues where those women are being told by the administration they have to go back to where they were born. Those women have been married for over 50 years and some of them are so old. Some do not even know their chiefs. How do you expect a woman to leave her matrimonial home to go to her paternal home to get an ID? Whatever law that is being used by the chiefs should be looked into by this National Assembly and corrected. That is because it makes our women suffer. It is not their fault that they are married in Busia County. They need to be helped. More so, when women come from 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.
Uganda, the things they are needed to do for them to get IDs and they have families here are so long and tedious. That is why, as a community, we need to speak about this. We need women married into various counties to be assisted so that they can vote. I assure you, the number that came out yesterday was so huge. I did not even know how to handle it. I am committed to ensure I transfer those women to their homes. I give them money so that they can go and get voters cards, which is not right. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, as we move forward, as a country, in future, we need to mandate every Kenyan to vote so that they can access public services. That way, they will vote in the right leaders they want, who will bring them development. We need to slowly do away with the culture of handouts to ensure that our people understand what a voters card can do for them in terms of bringing them good roads. When you have a good road, you have access to the market. When you have a good market, you have access to profit from whatever you selling. We, therefore, need to start creating awareness amongst our people so that they can know the meaning of voting.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Thank you. Hon. Nyikal, you will have two minutes and then I will call upon the Member to reply.
I stand to support this Motion and congratulate the Hon. Member who brought it. Although it has come at the current situation, asking the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs (JLAC) to look for persuasive ways and bring back a report for us to pass is actually important. I think they should look into the issue more broadly. They should not just look for decisive ways. They should also try to address all the challenges resulting in the problems we are facing today.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, people should know that voting is not just a constitutional right. It is actually an obligation. We should reach a situation where it is mandatory for people to vote. The current apathy we are experiencing is an opportunity for us to look at our country. Why is it that people do not want to vote? Have people lost hope? Do they feel that voting has no impact on their welfare? The issue of IDs is definitely the failure of the Executive. It is possible to get 90 per cent of children born in this country get vaccinated every year. Why is it not possible to get 90 per cent of those who reach the age of 18 years to get national IDs? In fact, they are less than the children that are born and need not wait. Although we are blaming people for turning up at the last minute, I think the registration department has not done its job. It should be its mandate and objective that every year, those who are eligible are registered. This should not just be happening during election years. You should also look at the situation that we are having. For example; there is food shortage in the country. Even the culture of handouts is our undoing. At this time in particular, people are being asked to turn out to register as voters. They feel that registering as voters is for the benefit of Members of Parliament. Finally, we know that those who registered for the Referendum in 2010 are not eligible to vote this year. I am wondering why and they are already registered. Why the cut-off of 2013? We should include those in the current voters register.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Hon. Members, we must appreciate the need for all the Members to contribute to this Motion. I know it affects every Member in this House. As we represent the people, it is an exercise that is happening in every part of the country. Hon. Members, this is a House of rules and procedures. I, therefore, call upon the Mover to reply. It is on the persuasive voter registration. Hon. Jude Njomo. 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, I am under extreme pressure to donate some minutes to Members who feel that they have something to say. I will be magnanimous enough to donate one-and-a-half minutes to Mhe. Letimalo, Member for Samburu East; one-and- a-half minutes to Hon. Tiya Galgalo and one minute to Hon. Anami.
Thank you so much Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for giving me this opportunity. I also want to thank my colleague, Hon. Njomo, for giving me an opportunity to contribute. I support the Motion. Since this is donated time, I just want to go straight to the point. I really want to commend IEBC officials, the National Registration Bureau (NBS) and other stakeholders for mobilizing people for the ongoing voter registration exercise, particularly for going to the market places and even using voter educators to do civic education. The poor turnout for voter registration is attributed to lack of national IDs. I would like to appeal to the National Registration Bureau (NRB) that for all new applications, they should be able to use all the possible means to process the IDs and send them to their centres countrywide. The NRB officers in the field should be able to liaise with administrators of the national Government and the county governments so that they can issue out the national IDs to enable people to register as voters. Secondly, as it has been said here, those of us who come from Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) experience peculiar situations. People in the ASAL areas are livestock keepers. While Kenya is experiencing drought, those of us from ASAL areas are more affected to the extent that herders are moving with their livestock in search of water and pasture. The majority of those herding livestock are the youth. Those are the same people we are targeting, I appeal to IEBC that they liaise with security personnel to pursue herders in the ASAL areas with a view to ensuring that they register as voters as they move with their livestock.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Your two minutes are over. Let us have Hon. Tiya Galgalo, Member for Isiolo County.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I stand to support this Motion. Most of the things have already been said by my colleagues. I urge the IEBC to provide mobile BVR kits to pastoralists who are now out there searching for water and pasture during this dry spell. I would also want to say that the distances to registration centres in some areas are quite very long. In many instances, the communities keep on asking for transport, especially motorbikes, for them to access registration centres. It is very difficult, especially for women who are expectant, because they cannot ride on motorbikes. It is very difficult for them to get to registration centres. Lastly, I would like to say that issuance of national IDs to women is quite difficult. Quite a number of them have waited for their national IDs for between five and seven years. I was out in the field. I have realized that quite a number of women cannot even get their national IDs because of the long procedure involved in the process. Many of them have to go to the chiefs, go for vetting, keep on checking and yet, they live in very far places. It should be made possible for women and people in ASAL areas to be registered as voters. I also want to thank the Government for providing food and water by trucks, especially to people in ASAL areas. This has really assisted in terms of registering the communities because where there is a watering point and food that is provided through the Ministry of Devolution 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.
Planning, it has really made life easy for some of our communities in Isiolo. It is also unfortunate because Form One students have not even reported to school in many parts of our county. When I was there last week, we had two to five different schools which had not received Form One students. Twenty boarding schools had less than 30 students who had reported to school.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Member for Shinyalu, the Floor is yours.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I stand to support this Motion, especially on the issue of timeliness. It has been an issue on whether this is timely or not. I would like to suggest that we support this Motion especially for its timing and for its intention to have the Committee to interrogate every aspect of the voter registration process. Indeed, there are aspects of voter registration that we can deal with even now. Mhe. Njomo has elaborated how. The issue of inclusiveness is well spelt out in our Constitution. We must all be anxious to include everyone in the democratic process, especially at the moment of voter registration and, indeed, during the democratic process of electioneering. I would like to support this and especially underline the need for the Committee to interrogate every agency and every aspect of this process so that we can make the best out of the voter registration exercise as well as personal and community participation in the electioneering process. With those remarks, I support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Order Members! For the convenience of the House, you have your four minutes. You had indicated to give the Hon. Member for Kanduyi one minute, but you have to be within the four minutes.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): I can assure you he is not threatening you.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I am sorry. I am not threatening him. Hon. Njomo is my friend. Thank you for the one minute. I want to stress one point that was raised by Hon. Nyikal about the registration of voters who participated in the Referendum in 2010. I have just been informed that because they were not captured by the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR), they will not be eligible voters. Therefore, enough communication, advertisements and mobilization should be done to those who particularly voted for the 2010 Referendum. Secondly, we have only three BVR kits for every ward in my constituency. In a ward which has 21 polling stations, three BVR kits are not enough. You have to take seven days to cover the entire ward. So, the number of kits should be increased. Finally, the voter registration exercise should be continuous. This is something we have talked over and over but nothing seems to happen. That is why we have mass registration being conducted for only a period of one month. I support the Motion and the appeal to Kenyans to turn out in large numbers to register as voters during the remaining period.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Let us have Hon. Jude Njomo. I can see most of the Members on the request list. Some want to speak to the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, but this is a House of rules and procedures. So, you can proceed.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I thank Members for the support they have shown on this Motion. I would like to clarify something that has been stressing some Members about persuading voters. “Persuading” does not mean handouts. In the dictionary 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.
“persuading” means “Cause someone to do something through reasoning or argument.” This is what we are trying to do. We use argument and reasoning to convince our citizenry that it is their right to register as voters. We persuade them in many ways as Members have suggested. If we make our ID registration to be a simple process where somebody goes to registrar and gets their ID freely, that will also encourage him to get his voter registration card. If we do voter registration at the point where the ID is being issued, it is going to make it simpler for somebody to register as a citizen and as a voter. Many Members have supported that system of integrating whereby the biometric data that is captured for identification is the same that will be used in the voter register, rather than having two different bodies doing this. It can be done by one body and they can share information. That way, we will save the taxpayers’ money. We will be more efficient and we will not be asking Kenyans to do two exercises which can be combined. It is also going to make registration easier if the location of the registration offices is accessible to our people. Some of the compelling issues that would cause people to want to register include jobs. If you get a job, you may be asked to come with a certificate of good conduct from the Criminal Investigation Department or a clearance certificate from your school. This could be only one more additional requirement if you want to be employed by the Government, join the military, be employed as a teacher by the Teachers Service Commission or join the Kenya Prisons Service. During the interview, you will have an added advantage if you can prove that you voted. This is because you participated in either putting a government in office or removing what you perceived as a bad government. You played your part and civic duty. Therefore if we pass this, I plan to take it to the next level and make it a Bill. It will put in place a synchronized system of registration and an easy way of integrating the Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) data with that of the Registrar of Persons.
Therefore, the citizenry or those who would like to be employed will feel obliged and have a duty to register and vote because they have an interest and want to be part and parcel of the Government. With those few remarks, I wish to thank every Member who participated in this debate and call upon all the citizens who have not been registered as voters to do so within the short time remaining. Please do not wait until the last minute because the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) machines can fail on the last day. For those who are being transported from one constituency to another, those moving you are going to fail during nominations. They will not make it and will not pay your fare during the day of elections and your vote will be useless. Register where you want and do not be moved. For those who are moving voters, I wish you failure at the early stage during nominations.
With those few remarks, I beg to reply.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Hon. Members, this was a Motion instructing the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs to urgently formulate and propose persuasive and compelling mechanisms for consideration by Parliament to motivate and encourage all unregistered citizens to register as voters and ultimately participate in the general elections.
Hon. Members, I must appreciate your contributions towards this Motion, which were of course, cutting across the country. I also appreciate other Members who wanted to contribute and were in the request list like Hon. Robert Mbui, Member for Kathiani and Hon. Peris Tobiko, Member for Kajiado South. I see you. It is only that the time has ended for contributions to the Motion. The same applies to the Member for Likuyani, Hon. Enoch Kibunguchy. 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. Members, I am sure we stated almost everything including youth registration which is also happening in Kibwezi East Constituency and their voice has been heard by Hon. Jessica Mbalu. Members, this is a House of rules and procedures and for the convenience of the House, we wanted to move to the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No.33 of 2016), by Hon. Florence Mutua, which was in the Second Reading. It was interrupted on 25th January 2017 in the Morning Sitting and the balance of time was one hour. Hon. Enoch Kibunguchy had a balance of four minutes. Members because of convenience of time, this will be done in the next Sitting.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Hon. Members, the time being 1.00 p.m., this House stands adjourned until this afternoon at 2.30 p.m.
The House rose at 1.00 p.m.
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