Let us start with the Member for Dagoretti South, Hon. Kiarie.
That is the problem when Members are not in time, especially when they have matters to prosecute. Member for Dagoretti South, are you prepared?
Yes, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
Thank you very much, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
I, the undersigned, on behalf of the Private Water Suppliers in Dagoretti South Constituency draw the attention of this House to the following:
THAT, Dagoretti South Constituency in Nairobi County has experienced perennial water supply challenge unlike the constituencies in the bordering Kiambu County;
THAT, even though Dagoretti is within Nairobi County, residents have been relying on borehole water suppliers as the Government has failed to meet their water demand;
THAT, even with the Northern Collector Tunnel and other plans laid out in the Nairobi Water Master Plan by the Athi Water Services Board (AWSB), Nairobi County still cannot satisfy the water needs of its residents;
THAT, this challenge has occasioned the emergence and rise of private enterprises and initiatives which include borehole drilling;
THAT, there are over 22 private borehole owners in Dagoretti South Constituency. The borehole water distribution network engages many people, including hundreds of clean water truck operators and thousands of vendors and distributors;
THAT, private water providers have been experiencing incessant problems such as unwarranted arrests and harassment by county government officials and the police and also wanton destruction of their property;
THAT, most borehole owners operate on not-for-profit basis despite massive investment to the projects including the cost of drilling, equipping, piping, metering and The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
operationalising the boreholes. A borehole could effectively cost anything between Kshs5 million to Kshs8 million;
THAT, with the high tariffs and operating costs, borehole owners are unable to realise any gainful returns on their investment;
THAT, the incessant police arrests, harassment and destruction of property by county government officials does not only interrupt the normal business operations but also denies our community this very critical utility;
THAT, efforts to resolve the matter with the relevant ministry and agencies have been futile; and,
THAT, issues in respect in which this Petition is made are not pending before any court of law, constitutional or statutory body.
Therefore, your humble Petitioners pray that the National Assembly through the Departmental Committee on Environment and Natural Resources: (i) inquires into how Athi Water Services Board and the Nairobi Water Sewerage Company arrive at the punitive tariffs that they charge the residents and the operators of this private borehole projects; (ii) inquires into the circumstances under which Nairobi Water officials arrogate themselves the power to use the brutal force of Administration Police officers to arrest and harass private water service providers; (iii)inquires into the circumstances under which Nairobi Water officials arrogate themselves the power to destroy private property in the pretext of normal regular quality checks; and (iv) makes any order or direction it deems fit in the circumstances of this matter. And your petitioners will forever pray. Thank you very much Hon. Deputy Speaker.
I will give opportunity to two Members starting with Hon. Wandayi.
Thank you very much Hon. Deputy Speaker. The Petition by Hon. KJ is very timely because of...
On a point of order, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
What is your point of order, Leader of the Majority Party?
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I do not remember a Member called KJ. Unless there is a stranger in the House and if there is one, you can direct that he be removed by the Serjeant-at-Arms.
I direct that Hon. KJ be removed by Hon. John Kiarie remains.
Let us proceed.
I was using the initials of Hon. John Kiarie. All the same, he is Hon. John Kiarie, Member for Dagoretti South.
This Petition is very important. The problems that have been enumerated by Hon. Kiarie are not unique to Dagoretti South Constituency only. They are problems encountered by Nairobians in all the constituencies. These are problems that need to be tackled once and for all. It really baffles us that in this day and age a city such as Nairobi is unable to provide enough The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
quality water to its residents whereas we have cities world over doing very well in supplying adequate water to their residents whereas they have very limited resources base in terms of water supply.
Nairobi is gifted, as we all know, because it is surrounded by water bodies. In fact, Ndakaini Dam has always had enough supply of water even without the tunnel that is being dug in Murang’a. This is in spite of the fact that Nairobi residents continue to pay rates heavily.
Frustrating private water suppliers is wrong but then private water suppliers are not the solution. The solution needs to be sought. The city county management needs to address the issue of its inability to provide enough water for Nairobians. In the meantime, they have no basis or reason to continue harassing innocent Kenyans who are engaged in lawful trade of supplying water.
I support the Petition and it should be expedited.
You have taken too long. Hon. Waititu.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
On a point of order, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
What is your point of order, Hon. Bowen?
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I want you to provide direction especially on the Petition by my good friend, Hon. Kiarie. Under the provisions of the Constitution, water is a county government function. This Petition is very important especially for us residents of Nairobi. We do not have water. Now that according to provisions of the Constitution, water is a county function, it is better the Petition is dispensed with by the Senate or Members of a county assembly. I want to you to rule that…
On a point of order, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
I do not think that is entirely true but let me first hear a point of order from the Leader of the Minority Party. I will give you back the microphone, Hon. Waititu, after the Leader of the Minority Party has spoken.
Thank you very much, Hon. Deputy Speaker. The point of order raised by Hon. Kangogo Bowen is not appropriate. He has misunderstood the Petition by Hon. Kiarie. The Petition largely is about harassment and Hon. Kiarie represents his people. Article 95 of the Constitution talks about Members of the National Assembly resolving issues that are of concern to our people. Hon. Kiarie is perfectly in order to represent his people who are being harassed by the county government of Nairobi.
Even as I agree entirely with the Leader of the Minority Party, we pass budgets practically on everything. I do not know at what point we will exclude ourselves from the roles of oversight and representation. I do not think there is any possibility for us to do that.
Hon. Bowen, you have made your point which is rejected.
Hon. Kiarie is perfectly in order. At the end of it, we will commit it to the relevant Committee. If they come up with a finding, then we will listen at that point in time. So proceed, Hon. Waititu. Hon. Bowen is on record and that should be it.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I support my colleague, Hon. Kiarie Waweru on what he has said about Kiambu County, which is next to Nairobi County where Ndakaini water comes from. The water supplied in Nairobi passes through The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
my constituency and Thika. Even the County Woman Representative of where the water comes from is here but, we are not connected to the water supply. All that water comes to Nairobi. So, when he speaks about water shortage, I support him. It is not only the county government that is supposed to take care of water. Water is life.
In Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, which is next to my house, I see students carrying buckets to fetch water. So, sometimes it is good that when we talk about water, the national Government should go full swing and support Kenyans.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
Very well. We will leave it at that. Members should not be unnecessarily excited.
Order, Member for Murang’a! I am denying you the opportunity to address the House in that particular manner. That is not going to happen. There should no excitement about names of Members. Members have names that you may not even know. That Member is Hon. J.K. Waweru because he is Kiarie. I think he should also be John. He is also known as J.J. Kamotho in his other life, but that is not parliamentary.
So, Members should not be unnecessarily excited about names. There is nothing that comes out of it. I know there is somebody who says Ndakaini comes from that particular place. You will go to the Committee and say that. We will not reopen that issue. That was the end. I have a Petition to present.
Hon. Members, pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 225(2)(b), I wish to convey to the House that my office is in receipt of a petition signed by 579 residents of Nessuit and Mariashoni Wards of Njoro and Molo Sub-counties in Nakuru County regarding a request for land to settle them. Hon. Members, the petitioners draw the attention of the National Assembly to the plight of the residents and seek to be granted land by the Government to settle their families, which for a long time have remained unsettled. Therefore, the petitioners pray that the National Assembly intervenes to have the residents of Nessuit and Mariashoni wards of Nakuru County offered land for settlement as the Government plans to carry out a comprehensive settlement programme. Pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 227, this Petition stands committed to the Departmental Committee on Lands for consideration. The Committee is expected to engage the petitioners and report its findings to the House in accordance with the provisions of Standing order 227(2). The previous one is also committed to the Departmental Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. There is a second Petition.
Hon. Members, Standing Order 225(2)(b) requires that the Speaker reports to the House any petition other than those presented through a Member. I, therefore, wish to convey to the House that my office is in receipt of a petition signed by one Mr. Njoroge Waweru of P.O. Box 287, Kikuyu, regarding Value Added Tax (VAT) charged on textbooks, journals and periodicals. The petitioner contends that the VAT charged on textbooks, journals and periodicals is prohibitive and curtails the promotion of education and development of a culture of lifelong learning among citizens. The petitioner further highlights that the Kenya Revenue Authority charges 16 per cent VAT on both new and used textbooks yet the value on these books is not the same, and does not levy VAT on books and journals sold online. He believes that this amounts to discrimination against printed books as these are more accessible to the majority of Kenya’s population, which has limited access to the internet. The petitioner, therefore, prays that the National Assembly evaluates the usefulness of VAT levied on text books, journals and periodicals and considers zero-rating these items. Pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 227, this Petition stands committed to the Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning for consideration. I urge the Committee to engage the petitioner and report its findings to the House within 60 days, or even earlier, given that the matter falls within the confines of the Finance Bill, 2018, which is under consideration by the Committee. I thank you.
On a point of order, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
What is your point of order, Member for Kikuyu? Is it the fact that your constituency has been mentioned though not in vain?
Of Course, Hon. Deputy Speaker, I appreciate that the petitioner is from my constituency. He is actually from a village called Ondiri in Kikuyu Constituency. He is a gentleman who knows what he is talking about. I wanted your guidance because you have already committed the Petition to the Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning. There is an issue that touches on education. I do not know how we can bring in the Departmental Committee on Education and Research into that matter. It impacts greatly on education. If we look at it just from a finance perspective, Hon. Limo says he is a beggar; he will be after the taxes and may forget the social aspect of education. It is a matter we are canvassing here with Hon. Keter. On committal of petitions to particular committees, if you allow Hon. Keter a chance, it is something touching on the same issue.
Do not go that direction. You are commandeering the Chair. I will not allow that at all. It is rightfully referred to the Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning. We ask them to be broad as they interrogate the Petition so as to also look at the social aspect of it. In the last few days, committing some of these issues to two departmental committees are matters that are in the public domain. They do not operate very well. So, I will give an opportunity to Members, including Hon. Keter, to speak to it. Hon. Keter will speak to this particular one in terms contribution. I will start with the Leader of the Majority Party. I will then give chance to four more Members to speak.
I support this Petition. It is very specific. It is on VAT on textbooks. Let me not talk about journals because those are things that are used by the prestigious section of society. Now that we have the Finance Bill next week, instead of committing this Petition to the Committee for 60 days – the next Finance Bill will come here The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
next year in September – why can the Committee not look at it and bring amendments during the Committee of the whole House so that we deal with the matter of VAT and zero rate it? This House cannot act in vain. This should not be a normal petition because the gentleman who has sent it is very specific. I remember in the 11th Parliament, this matter was very hot. It has impacted on education. The Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury should be given an opportunity by the Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning to justify his decision to charge VAT on textbooks, so that this House can deal with it before we go on recess at the end of the month. We need to put it in the Finance Bill 2018 and zero-rate textbooks so that the people of Kenya benefit.
That is an observation that is well made. I recommended 60 days but it could be done earlier because of the fact that we have the Finance Bill with us now. Still, it will go to the Committee. We would rather it comes from there. Let me give Hon. Ogolla Ochanda an opportunity.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I am not a big fan of social media but today I saw quite a number of things. One touched on the characteristics of rich people and the characteristics of poor people. One of the things that were mentioned is that poor people watch TV while rich people read. The whole idea was to encourage people not to be poor but to be rich. When you look at all that in relation to what is in front of the House now on the issue of VAT on textbooks, if we want to encourage a culture of reading – which is going down in this country – the cost of textbooks must come down. Besides that, the biggest consumer of what we call textbooks in this country is the public, and much more so the Government. Charging VAT on textbooks is basically charging the same Government. I support the Petition.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I support the Petition. Earlier on, I wanted to rise on a point of order to seek your guidance on how petitions are coming to the House.
You will have to wait if it is a point of order. I am giving you an opportunity to contribute to this. In fact, you have not pressed the intervention button.
It is there.
No, it is not there.
It is there here.
It is there not here.
So, you have to make a decision.
Let me just contribute.
Yes. Proceed, you will be perfectly in order.
I really want to support the petitioner because it is every parent’s prayer to ensure that we can have books which are affordable. They are very expensive at the moment because everybody tops up with VAT. I remember there are issues even in agriculture. There is an introduction of VAT on some chemicals for the farms. We must consider this thing so that we allow parents who cannot even afford school fees to have their kids access textbooks. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
Let us have Hon. Melly, the Chair of the Departmental Committee on Education and Research.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I rise to support the Petition. In all developed societies, one of the ways in which nations have developed is through education. One of the ways you can make it affordable is to bring the cost of reading materials down. In Kenya, the reason the Government went on to introduce the textbook policy was to reduce the cost of learning materials, especially textbooks in schools. When we zero-rate books, journals and magazines, it is going to assist our society. I want to give a case. In most primary and secondary schools, in the last two years, the Government used to pay around Kshs600 to buy a textbook. With the Government’s textbook policy, the cost of a textbook is coming down to less than Kshs200 or Kshs250. If we zero-rate textbooks, you will realise that institutions like private schools, colleges, universities and all other institutions of learning will be able to access these reading materials very well. Two, even the libraries across the country lack books. There are national libraries that lack books and it is because the cost of textbooks is vey high. If we zero-rate textbooks, we will be able ensure that most schools, institutions and libraries are well stocked. Lastly, this VAT on books has impacted on the cost of education to an extent that it has made education expensive. By zero-rating it, the cost will come down and it will be affordable in most families. I support. Thank you.
Okay. Lastly on this is Hon. Chege Wanjiru. You can see the issue of the names. Many times she is called “Elder” and other names. But, names are just for identification. Proceed, Hon. County Woman Rep.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I stand to support this Petition. I am also maitu, that is where the eldership comes in. On the issue of textbooks in this nation, we know we do not have a very good reading culture. I support the zero-rating of these journals so that we can encourage our children to read and the parents to afford buying these books. In any society that wants its people to develop, it is important to encourage a reading culture. So, I support this Petition. I hope, when it comes to the House, the direction that will be given by the Leader of the Majority Party will be supported. We do not have to wait for another year.
Okay. What is it again, Hon. Keter? You have just contributed. Are you trying to prosecute the second item you had?
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I am rising on a point of order. I really want to seek your guidance. Give us direction because we are setting a very bad tradition. I remember in the 11th Parliament, petitions used to come addressed directly to the National Assembly and not to a specific Departmental Committee. It is because, in most cases, the prayers of every petitioner can be on many issues which can be varied.
I think it is important for petitions to come silent so that the Speaker and this House get an opportunity to direct them to a specific relevant Committee rather than bringing it that way. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
That is valid, Hon. Keter. That is a fairly valid point of order. There are two things to that. One, it would have been a better way for them to come silent without committing it themselves. But, even if they did, the buck stops with the Speaker. A member of public could say that he wants the petition committed to the Departmental Committee on Lands. If it is the wise decision of the Speaker that it should go to a different Committee, that will be ruled in that manner. So, we do not follow what petitioners pray. It should be silent as you have said. Even if it were not to be, that will not affect too much. We expect that would happen. Okay. Next Order.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I beg to lay the following Papers on the Table of the House: Legal Notice No. 174 relating to the Public Finance Management (Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund) Regulations, 2018 and the Explanatory Memorandum. The Reports of the Auditor-General and Financial Statements in respect of the following institutions for the year ended 30th June 2017 and the certificates therein: (a) Kenya National Library Service; (b) Jubilee Party; (c) Sports Kenya; (d) The Receiver of Revenue - Pension Department; (e) State Department of Sports Development; and (f) State Department for Labour. The Reports of the Auditor-General and Financial Statements in respect of the following constituencies for the year ended 30th June 2017 and the certificates therein: (a) Kitui South Constituency; (b) Isiolo South Constituency; (c) Kitui Central Constituency; (d) North Horr Constituency; (e) Tigania East Constituency; (f) Saku Constituency; (g) Tarbaj Constituency; (h) Tharaka Constituency; (i) Moyale Constituency; (j) Igembe Central Constituency; (k) Mwingi Central Constituency; and (l) Wajir West Constituency. I repeat that it is good if Members from these constituencies pick a copy of the audited Reports and accounts of their constituencies.
Very well. As I ask the Departmental Committee on Sports, Culture and Tourism to do their bit, I would also want to ask the Whips to be extra vigilant because we will require Members at the point of putting Questions. It is coming soon. There are quite a number of items to be put to question. Let us proceed and have the Hon. Chairperson of the Departmental Committee on Sports, Culture and Tourism. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I beg to lay the following Paper on the Table of the House: The Report of the Delegation of the Departmental Committee on Sports, Culture and Tourism to Russia on a benchmarking visit to the 2018 FIFA World Cup games. Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
Order, Members. I do not know why you are applauding. Is it because they brought the Report within time after the Speaker asked that it be done? Either way, I should think that they have done a good job, at least by presenting it in good time. The rest will be up to the Members to speak to this document and see whatever has come out of that trip. Hon. Mule.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I beg to lay the following Paper on the Table of the House: The Report of the Delegation to the Parliamentary Consultation for the UN High Level Meeting on Tuberculosis held in New York, USA on 23rd April to 2nd May 2019. Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
Okay. Is it 2019? I am seeing problems with your dates. I see it here as 25th and 26th of 2018.
It is 2018.
Okay. Just table it. I would have expected the Members to also applaud to this one. The Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Health, do you have something?
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. Hon. Deputy Speaker, I beg to lay the following Paper on the Table of the House: The Report of the Departmental Committee on Health on its Consideration of the Health Laws (Amendment) Bill, (National Assembly Bill No. 14 of 2018).
Very well, next Order.
Order Hon. Members! You freeze like in the fridge. What remained of this was the Question to be put.
Next Order! Those Members who are coming in please find your way to your seats, this will be a long one.
Again, what remained on this one was for the Question to be put.
On this particular one also, what remained was the Question to be put.
REPORT OF 138TH ASSEMBLY OF INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION AND RELATED MEETINGS The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
THAT, this House notes the Report of the 138th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and related Meetings held in Geneva, Switzerland on March 22 -28, 2018, laid on the Table of the House on Tuesday, 24th July 2018.
Who is this? When you freeze you freeze at the position you are in; you are not even allowed to lean, you simply freeze.
Hon. Speaker, before I move, Hon. Sankok is making a very funny joke and is imputing improper motives on you. He is saying in Swahili when paka akitoka…
Order! You will not be allowed to discuss a colleague without a substantive Motion. Much as I can see that probably he required some punitive action, I am going to close my ears and eyes. Proceed, Leader of the Majority Party, I did not hear what he said.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I just wanted you to hear. As a good Muslim, I wanted to pass the message and you have heard. Hon. Deputy Speaker, I beg to move the following Motion: THAT, pursuant to the provisions of Section 13 of the Public Appointments (Parliamentary Approval) Act, 2011 relating to extension of period for consideration of nominees for appointment to a public office, this House resolves to extend the period for consideration of the nominees submitted by H.E. the President for appointment to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission by a further period 14 days from 21st August 2018.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I am doing this on behalf of the Chair of Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning because he and his committee are away compiling the Report of the Finance Bill. He said that he gave the Notice of the Motion yesterday. He is asking for extension based on the following reasons. One, to allow the Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning time, to consider the Finance Bill 2018.
There is a Member who is… who is that Member? Proceed. I will ignore. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, you are selective. That is your County Woman Representative. If she has violated the rules you must reprimand her. Just because she comes from your county…
I realised that it is Hon. Chelule. I am sure if she was a County Woman Representative from Garissa or Homa Bay you would have been very harsh but because she comes from your county you decided to seal your ears again.
Hon. Leader of the Majority Party when I sit on the other side of the House in my other life, she is a beneficiary of my vote and therefore I will treat her kindly. But when I am here I am fairly fair. I did not see her properly I am having a failing eyesight.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I hope your wife is not watching to see that you have eyesight problems because there are some businesses that are transacted at night which are very important.
She is a medic, do not worry about that. Please proceed.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, one of the reasons is that the Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning is dealing with Finance Bill which is a very important Bill and has timelines. This House must conclude the Finance Bill by end of September and we shall be on recess in September so we must conclude the Finance Bill before we go on recess. The second reason the Chair has given through me is that, the nominees submitted for vetting included a chairperson and eight members to the commission. In this regard, the Committee requires adequate time to vet each nominee properly. Lastly there is also need for the Committee to carry out proper public participation in accordance with Article 118 of the Constitution. Hon. Limo has four Bills which include; the Finance Bill, the Insurance Bill and the Capital Markets Authority Bill which have timelines and his Committee is currently in Mombasa. He has asked that we give him an extra 14 days. We expect this Committee to submit their Report on or about 27th of August so that before we go on recess on 30th August, this House will have dispensed with the matter on SRC. With those many remarks I beg to move and ask the closest friend and colleague to the Chair of the Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning, because they both deal with matters of money, to second and pass the message he has been given.
Let us hear from the Chairman of the Budget and Appropriation Committee.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I beg to second the procedural Motion. As the Leader of the Majority Party has said, besides the Departmental Committee on Finance, Planning and Trade being away… At this time the Committee is very busy considering the Finance Bill which is time bound. Most importantly, you remember in the last few weeks people have been going to court purporting to stop this House from enacting the Finance Bill, but we still have the Big Four Agenda to focus on. This Finance Bill will enable the Government to raise revenue. We are already two months into the financial year and everybody around the country is lamenting how bad things are; there is no money in the The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
economy. The situation will improve when the Government is able to raise adequate revenue for the money to move around the economy and get the country moving. Therefore, I want to plead with the House to support this extension for the time being to allow the Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning to conclude the Finance Bill and thereafter consider the nominees. The nominees are to do with salaries and remuneration of public officers. It is very important that the Committee gets adequate time to conduct public participation to ensure that the men and women who have been nominated are those with impeccable integrity to ensure that public servants are properly remunerated, including Members of Parliament, Members of County Assemblies, governors, doctors and teachers. With that, Hon. Deputy Speaker, I beg to second.
Put the Question.
Is that the mood of the House?
The Chairman, Committee on Members’ Services and Facilities, Hon. Machogu.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I beg to move the following Motion: THAT, the House notes the Report of the Committee on Members’ Services and Facilities on a benchmarking visit to the Parliament of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland Assembly, held between 12th and 16th March 2018, laid on the Table of the House on Tuesday, 24th April 2018. As Members are aware, this Committee is established under Standing Order 201(2)(b) and the mandate is to receive and consider views of Members of the National Assembly on the services and facilities provided to them by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC). The Committee advises the commission and reports on all matters connected to the services and facilities in Parliament. The Committee is the forum through which Members channel their views regarding their welfare which is supposed to be provided by the PSC. The PSC is established under Article 127 of the Constitution. Clause 6 of the Article mandates the commission, among other things, to provide services and facilities as are necessary for the efficient and effective functioning of Parliament. Among the facilities we are supposed to look after and advise the commission on are office accommodation, constituency and county offices, buildings, parking bays, committee rooms…
No. I am on the right one. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
I think I will know that because there are ways of raising points of intervention. I can only hear a voice but I can see nothing here. Unless you are able to do that, I will not be able to listen to you.
The Report we are giving is supposed to be a comparative one. We are going to compare our position to that of the countries we visited, that is, UK and Northern Ireland. So, it is imperative that we understand the facilities and services that we have here. Those are the things that we were supposed to compare in our visits and come up with a report, which we tabled in this House. Office equipment such as computers and photocopying machines…
What is your point of order?
I am not very sure the Member is on the right Motion. He is talking about services and facilities, which is Order No. 14, instead of tabling the report on the benchmarking visit to the UK. Probably there is a mix-up of these reports or he is overwhelmed by work. He has got two reports to present and he is confused on which one to start with.
The Motions are presented by the same chairman. This one is on a benchmarking visit on that particular bit. The only thing is that he could be brief; we would not want to take too much time on it. What is it, Leader of the Minority Party?
Hon. Deputy Speaker, the point of order is very interesting. The Motion reads, “The Report of the Committee on Members’ Services and Facilities on a Benchmarking Visit to the Parliament of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.” I do not know what benchmarking would be done apart from benchmarking on services. Hon. Osoro should have known that what is to be reported to us is benchmarking to compare services in the UK and Northern Ireland to those ones in Kenya. So, the Chairman would definitely be speaking about the same things but from different jurisdictions.
That is it, but be brief, Chairman.
Thank you very much, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I am now going directly to the strategic objectives of our visit. It was imperative and necessary for us to understand the kind of facilities and services we have here so that when we are making a comparison, we are able to understand. Our objectives were to understand the workings of the two Houses of Parliament of the United Kingdom—the House of Commons and the House of Lords—and the Northern Ireland in regard to services and facilities; to understand the rules and terms of engagement between the commissions of the two legislatures and their respective committees overseeing or advising on the services offered to Members of the respective Houses of Parliament; to share and extend views on the best practices so far that could enhance the committee’s discharge of its mandate in a more effective and efficient manner. Arising from the study in the two countries, we noted that in the House of Lords, the services committee’s mandate includes oversight of delivery of the day-to-day policy of the commission on Members’ services thus enabling the committee to respond to the needs of their roles without unnecessary red tape bureaucracy of overlapping committee mandates. We also learnt that the House of Common’s Administration Committee is responsible for services provided to Members, their staff and visitors. It also makes recommendations to the commission and the speaker on management issues. The Committee is also empowered, from time to time, to The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
make rules and give directions to officials of the House in relation to specific areas within the Committee’ s mandate.
The Committee’s recommendation on improvement of services and facilities in these two countries are usually implemented within a 24 hour timeframe. In the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the Houses provide sufficient budgets and allow catering facilities to operate professionally by employing highly efficient and qualified personnel. We noted that in the Northern Ireland, catering services are outsourced from a service provider to ensure that the Members of the Assembly concentrate on their constitutional mandate. The delegation noted that the high quality catering services were guaranteed because the service provider ensured that all personnel engaged in the provision of the services are properly trained to fulfil their roles.
At the Northern Ireland Assembly, the catering service provider also issues a weekly and monthly menu to guide patrons on the availability of their favourite dishes. The food and service provided for functions and wedding receptions at the Northern Ireland Parliament were required to be at par with the quality and cost of a Five Star Hotel in the greater Belfast area. We also noted that in the UK, the maintenance department can serve and work very efficiently. There are 120 stewards and maintenance is not so much an issue because they do it very diligently and within the required time. The Serjeant-at -Arms of the two Houses work effectively because the people recruited to these offices are from the military and security agencies. So, the degree of professionalism and efficiency in crowd control is no doubt very high.
From our observations, we have come up with short term, medium term and long term recommendations as to what requires to be done within our Parliament. In the short term, we should formulate a policy that sets cleaning standards within parliament buildings and get a framework for collaboration with outsourced cleaning services providers. We should also consider expanding the scope of the contract for cleaning services to include cleaning detergents, equipment and supply of toilet related items as prescribed in the standards to ensure continuous supply and minimise disruption of our normal operations. Staff needs audit should be conducted to know the best so far. We have various recommendations as given in the medium term which can be implemented within a period of six months. We also have recommendations which we came up with as long term measures for implementation by the PSC.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, we wish to thank the good office of the Clerk, Hon. Speaker and Members of this Committee who assisted in coming up with this Report.
It is now my pleasant duty and privilege, on behalf of the Departmental Committee on Members Services and Facilities to present the Report to the House for consideration and recommendation to the PSC.
Very well. Who is seconding you? Hon. Elisha.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I rise to second the Report. Our visit to the House of Commons gave us great lessons. Looking at the House of Commons, I realised that Kenya still has a top of the range Parliament because Members can sit comfortably and have iPads. Even those who cannot use iPads can admire the quality of the equipment. The House of Commons, more importantly, has a better and efficient security system. The state of the art cameras and the screening system in the UK was something to note. So, I am sure as you will see in the Report, we have indicated the need to have a more robust security system in Parliament. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I have seen the senior most bachelor and they seem to be talking with Hon. (Dr.) Pukose who was collecting the Kshs10,000. I request that you ask them to keep quiet as I finish seconding.
Hon. Elisha, honestly, I think that is completely out of order.
On a point of order, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
What is it, Hon. Leader of the Minority Party?
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I am sure following your reaction, you heard the MP for Gem refer to Hon. (Dr.) Pukose as having collected Kshs10,000. Apart from that being insinuating improper motive on another Member, it is a serious matter because at the moment this House is struggling with image issues. This is a matter that we should not joke about. Members have trivialised this matter of bribery too much and it is not a simple matter. It is a matter that can bring this House down. It is a matter that has tainted the image of this House. I think if there is any matter that we should not joke with, it is that of possible referring to this issue of corruption.
Hon. Elisha is a very good friend of mine. The person who has had issues with him is the Leader of the Majority Party but I know he is a very competent Member, contrary to what the Leader of the Majority Party thinks. He is a very sharp and intelligent man. I know he will simply withdraw, apologise and leave it at that.
Yes. If it was supposed to be a joke, it is not a funny one. You have indicated specifically that he is intelligent.
It is a very destructive joke.
He should simply withdraw, apologise and then proceed.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I am sorry, if by mentioning what appeared in the newspaper today I was faulting Members, let me apologise. Let me have the decorum to apologise.
Our experience in the UK provided us with an opportunity to look at the state of the art equipment that is going to help us to leverage our competitive advantage as those in charge of Members facilities and welfare. We had an opportunity to see how the catering department is managed. We saw why it was outsourced, especially in Ireland, which is something that the Committee is considering because that is not the core business of the House. Apart from that, I have already mentioned the importance of having a state-of-the-art security system so that the Members of Parliament feel protected in the House. We want a 24-hour CCTV that will ensure that all events of the House are recorded.
With those few remarks, I second.
I proceed to propose the Question.
I will give chance to a few Members to contribute. Hon. Kabinga, do you want to speak to this one? Hon. Pukose.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
On a point of Order, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
The Leader of the Majority Party is on a point of order.
What is it, Leader of the Majority Party? The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, we are dealing with Order No.13. I do not want to inconvenient you but Order No.14 is very important. That is the Report that deals with our facilities. So, Hon. Members, instead of discussing a benchmarking Report, we better deal with this and then come to the Report under Order No.14 so that we can conclusively deal with the issues that concern us from the gym to the cafeteria to the library to all other places. I ask that, maybe, we spend less time on this and have more time on Order No.14.
Since I had given the Floor to Hon. Pukose, if that is the mood of the House, I will let Hon. Pukose finish and then give one Member to my left, probably Hon. Koyoo, and then we can move to the next one.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I support the Report by the Committee on the benchmarking visit to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. Listening to the Chair of the Committee and the seconder – who also happens to be a Member of my Departmental Committee on Energy – on the issue of the facilities and services, I am glad that you were able to visit those great countries and look at the kind of services and facilities members are able to access within those areas. This Report should be looked at especially by our Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) in terms of these services. In the 11th Parliament, I happen to have been in this Committee. I am actually one of the people who moved the amendment to the Standing Orders of the House to create the Committee on Members’ Services and Facilities. Initially, it was called the Committee on Catering and Health Services. We felt it needs to address more of the facilities of Members and see how best they can be assisted. I remember when the issue of the laptops was brought in, the one for the Deputy Speaker was going to be a benchmark but up to today nothing has happened. I think the PSC needs to also expedite the construction of the offices of Members. When you move around and you look at the kind of offices that Hon. Members are operating from, you will appreciate that they are not very good for the Members. If we want to provide Members with services to be able to perform well, it is important that we make sure that the facilities in which they are operating are up to date and up to the standard. I happen to have travelled with Hon. Mule to Washington DC, where we visited both Congress and the Senate. We saw how they are facilitated. It is actually amazing to see what Members are able to do. We have also been able to visit some parliaments within this region, including Uganda and Rwanda. If you go there, you will see how members are struggling. As a country, we are in between. I think we need to strive and do well. For the record, Hon. Ngeno has invited me to visit Emuria Dikirr to attend his wedding on Saturday. I think I will be able to attend.
Let us not mispronounce constituencies. It is Emurua Dikirr. If you say Emuria Dikirr, that is something else and you would understand. Of course, Hon. Members, it is good to know that we have a Member who is having a wedding on Saturday. I think it is relevant to these services and facilities.
Hon. Ngeno is officially quitting the bachelors’ club albeit reluctantly but I am told he has made up his mind this time. Let us proceed, Hon. Members. I will give Hon. Oyoo of Muhoroni a chance. I see most of what Hon. Pukose contributed was very relevant to the Order that is coming after this one. I think hon. Members are more interested in the next one. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker, for according me the opportunity. I commend my good friend, Hon. Machogu, a long serving able District Commissioner during the Moi era, for bringing to this House a very efficient and constructive Report on their benchmarking visit. The essence of benchmarking trips is to enable Members to go and borrow from existing structures so that we can use them to improve our own services here. What worries me is that many Members, departments and personalities from this country, including our Head of State and several senior ministers, go out there to see what is happening there. When you go to the developed world, you find good structures and a clean environment. We want our leaders to prescribe some improvements on our existing physical structures when they come back to the country.
The reports that are constantly brought by the various delegations that go out, like what Hon. Machogu has brought today, would be best useful to this country. They would benefit us a lot so that we say that the money expended on such trips has been used well, if those reports would be implemented effectively. For several years, we have seen even the Head of State going to the United States of America. Look at the way the streets are well planned out there. Even the trees there are well tended. When our leaders come back, they shout for a short time that they want the environment conserved, and that they want the planning of towns and cities to be properly executed by the relevant authorities. After a few days, you find that Kenyans are just back to their normal lives. It is high time the Committee on Implementation made sure that once reports of such delegations are tabled here and adopted, they are properly implemented so that the public can benefit from such trips. I am saying so because the country, through the Exchequer, spends so much money, and more so on Parliament. If you compare the cost of running our kitchen, and the kind of services rendered, with how private companies manage similar facilities – for example, how BAT or East African Industries run their kitchens – you will be in a position to compare how much they spend vis- à -vis what we spend here. You will find that perhaps we spend more but the services here are wanting due to lack of proper supervision. Probably, in between, some monies that are meant to do specific things end up in people’s pockets. It is high time that we used the lessons that we learn from those trips to benefit the populace of this country. I second the Report…
You do not second. You support.
I support the Report and it should be used to benefit the purpose for which it was intended.
Hon. Bunyasi, I think you want to speak to the next one. Is that not it? Seeing no major interest in this particular Motion…Order!
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I beg to move the following Motion: THAT, this House adopts the Report of the Committee on Members’ Services and Facilities on the Improvement of Services and Facilities for Members, laid on the Table of the House on Tuesday, 24th April 2018. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
I will make a summary. This is what is affecting all of us. We made 25 observations. Therefrom, we were able to make 48 recommendations. In carrying out our work, we used various methodologies and strategies to collect, receive and collate views regarding services and facilities extended to Members of Parliament (MPs) by the Commission. Among the methodologies we used were inspections of various facilities within Parliament. We also had a meeting with the Clerk of the National Assembly, the Clerk of the Senate, the Director-General and several other members of staff, particularly those serving in the Parliamentary Joint Services. We were also able to draw lessons from the defunct Catering and Health Club Committee. We got their report and were able to learn from it. As I said, we also drew lessons from other parliamentary jurisdictions. We also took into serious consideration the views of the Members of the National Assembly while contributing in this House. There are also those who appeared before our Committee. I particularly want to thank Hon. Alfred Keter because he appeared before our Committee. Finally, we interacted with the Committee on Welfare of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC). We had two meetings which bore very fruitful discussions, particularly on our recommendations. Out of all those, we were able to make an array of observations which I will go through very quickly so that I come to the recommendations that we made. One of them is that there is need for renovations and repairs to be undertaken in most of the buildings within Parliament. We specified to the PSC the specific areas that require such repairs to be undertaken. The Committee rooms require adequate furniture and fittings to accommodate MPs, staff and members of the public attending meetings in Committee rooms because we found that that was lacking. There is lack of office equipment in the Members’ offices which hampers effective service delivery. Due to lack of policy…
Order! There cannot be two meetings in the Chamber. Who are those four Members? It is unfortunate that my eyesight is not very good. I would have mentioned them by name.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. Due to lack of policy on cleaning standards for parliamentary premises, cleaning of Parliament buildings is not undertaken to the required standard. There is no service charter displayed in any service area within Parliament buildings prescribing the time-frame within which a service supposed to be rendered to a client is supposed to be accomplished. The gymnasium is not in a good condition. The equipment is almost obsolete and also most of the areas are not well-maintained. It lacks proper ventilation, aeration and has some precarious hanging lights which are a safety hazard for users of the gym. The library lacks the necessary resource materials that could be useful to Members. There is not enough space to accommodate those who want to use the facility or do research. The parliamentary entrance as we learnt is not well-designed to provide for crowd control and avoid the traffic pile-up when there is a huge flow of vehicles, particularly those coming to Parliament. The lavatory capacity in Parliament is not adequate to cater for the huge population following the increase of MPs from 224 to 416. The Members are not updated on a monthly basis on their Committee allowances as well as Chamber sittings. The Committee also noted the complaints from the Members that Liaison Healthcare Limited which provides our medical insurance cover and with whom a contract had The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
been entered into for two years from 1st January 2018, was not offering quality medical cover services and something needed to be done. Some facilities within Parliament are not accessible to persons with disabilities and hence the buildings do not comply with the requirements of the Persons with Disabilities Act No.14 of 2003. There are broken down pieces of furniture and motor vehicles that are lying in exit areas hence causing a disaster and wastage in value. The Commission has not set up a lactating mothers’ station for those of us who require that facility. The allowances given to us such as mileage, car grant and mortgage, including the other one that we do not want to mention, do not take cognisance of the prevailing market rates. The other one I do not want to mention is that all State officers access house allowance. Only MPs are excluded from this. The lack of a specific budget for the Catering Unit might be a cause for the delay in the repairs and upgrading of the infrastructure in the Catering Unit. Procurements of consumables at the Catering Unit are singly made by the Catering Manager and this process is difficult in determining how the Manager awards tenders to the service providers in the prequalified list and whether there is compliance with the list. The Catering Fund has not been audited for the last 12 years and raises the issue of value for money and the inability to determine whether we are able to make a profit or loss in any given year. The majority of staff in the Catering Unit do not possess the requisite skills in catering and general hospitality. There is urgent need to install a catering integrated management system to enhance internal controls in the Catering Unit so that we can improve effectiveness and efficiency in that particular Department.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, any recommendation that is taken to the Parliamentary Service Commission takes a little bit too long to be implemented. We require a lot of improvement in this area, particularly taking into consideration what we learnt from other parliamentary jurisdictions. Most of the equipment in our kitchen at the main restaurant in the main Parliamentary Buildings is obsolete and requires replacement. There is low motivation among the catering staff in Parliament. We learnt that some of it emanate from poor training, mismatched entry qualifications, lack of clear staff progression and unclear roles of staff which can be attributed to poor staff management and control.
Out of the 25 observations that the Committee made, we came up with 48 recommendations, which I will go through very quickly in a summary form. Any recommendation which emanates from the Committee requires prompt implementation by the PSC when this Report is adopted by this House. The Commission should constitute an inspection committee to regularly undertake random daily inspections of high priority areas and random weekly inspections of other areas which are being undertaken by service providers and report findings to the Committee on Members’ Services and Facilities. We found out that there is no follow-up and reports are not made. There is a vacuum somewhere. The Commission should urgently equip offices which are allocated to Members of the Liaison Committee with furniture.
There is need for lavatories to be inspected regularly for cleaning. The malfunctioning door locks and non-operational taps at the hand washing basins should be repaired as soon as practicable. Members know that our lavatories, particularly the one on your way to the main lounge is usually messy. The Commission should install many more suggestion boxes for feedback on the quality of cleaning services to be operated jointly with the service provider. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
The Commission should consider facilitating the repair of the health club’s leaking roof because sometimes when you are in the club, some very dirty water leaks on you. There is an engineering Report and repairs require to be done by the Commission.
The Commission should provide mechanisms which will ensure that Members of the National Assembly are provided with monthly statements of their allowances both in the Chamber and committees. The Committee should engage the Liaison Health Care Limited to improve their services to Members. In the event of its failure to improve their services within three months of such notice, the Commission should initiate the process of terminating the contract. The Commission should give Members full per diem. It should also give the Members the option of securing their own accommodation, particularly when they go out for committee meetings. It should also restructure the catering service to facilitate the operation of a profit and loss account. The catering unit should be enabled to independently source and price food items competitively. The Catering Fund should be audited by the Internal Audit Departmental of the PSC within three months from the date of the adoption of this Report. Subject to this, the audit report should be submitted to the Audit Committee and copied to the Committee on Members’ Services and Facilities.
The Commission should also develop regulations for the administration of the Catering Fund, which will provide for a management committee similar to the one under the Mortgage and Car Loan Fund Committee. We propose that the membership of that committee should comprise of the whips of the two Houses, namely, the National Assembly and the Senate; the Chairperson of the Committee on Members’ Services and Facilities of the National Assembly, three other Members from that Committee and the Chair of the Committee of the Commission on Members’ Welfare. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of that committee should be the Clerk of the National Assembly.
We will also facilitate the audit of the staff in the catering services for purposes of getting the gaps and training needs of that department. Arising from this, we recommend that those who are not qualified to be redesignated to areas of their preference within the PSC. The officers who have potential for good work should be recommended for training at the Kenya Utalii College, so that we improve their capacity for undertaking the work that they have been given.
The PSC should also facilitate improvement of the following restaurant facilities: Worn out bar equipment such as glass washer, cellar and counters should be replaced. It should also procure large capacity tea and coffee urns. It should also install necessary items at the toilet facilities of the new wing restaurant and ensure regular cleaning of the toilets. The Commission should employ other officers such as an accountant, procurement specialist and a store man at the catering unit because they are not there. We also made medium- term recommendations.
Hon. Member, make highlights because I can see you are going through a Report. Make highlights because the Members have read it. So, they will contribute. Just make highlights, so that we can move forward.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. We also recommend that in the long-term, the Commission should fast-track the construction of the new office block and prioritise completion of Members’ offices and facilities to guarantee proper allocation of offices to all Members within Parliament Buildings. The offices at the Continental House are not good for the Members. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
While setting up a gymnasium in the new building, we recommend that the Commission should take into consideration the many things that Members require in that gymnasium. We also recommend that some items should be disposed of as quickly as possible, particularly the vehicles which have been lying for a long time. We also recommend that mileage allowance, car grant, salaries and other allowances should be given to the Members, which I said, by the Commission.
Because the Report is available to the Members and the 48 recommendations are contained in the Report, I now take this opportunity, on behalf of the Committee on Members’ Services and Facilities, to present this Report to the House for consideration and recommend it to the PSC.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I will ask Hon. Odhiambo to second.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I rise to second the Report of the Committee on Members’ Services and Facilities. As explained by my able Chairman, we visited all the facilities that exist within Parliament. What exist in that Report is our own assessment based on our visitation to the premises. We need to ensure that the health club has state-of-the-art facilities that will help the membership to achieve the level of fitness that is required.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, it is important that the infrastructure that exists within the National Assembly is compliant with the Persons with Disabilities Act. It is important that all facilities help our brothers and sisters, men and women who are with us here, to live comfortably either when they are going to the lifts at Continental House, the Main Parliament Building or the toilets. Those facilities must be set up so that they can live a normal live.
More importantly, we should take our catering staff for retraining, so that we develop their capacity and capability to enhance efficient service that will help this House going forward.
Without belabouring those recommendations, I second.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I rise to contribute to the Motion. It is wonderful that the Committee was able to go round and see how other parliaments are organised and come out positively and exuberantly as they have in looking forward to changing our system. Good facilities contribute greatly to the comfort of Members and staff who work in them. Therefore, it will contribute to increased productivity.
I have few areas I would like to highlight. Let me start with what I think is probably the most critical. Competition and procurement rules require that we seek a new service provider often including that of insurance. The one that was made last was a step in the wrong direction or a step backwards from what we had before the Liaison Jubilee. Their services are absolutely not good. I hope in the Committee’s recommendations and in the wisdom of the management of Parliament, its continuation will be seriously reviewed so that Members can enjoy services that are comparable to what they used to get from the previous provider.
The second thing is that we have talked a lot about facilities, and often we focus on catering. Catering is a huge component of it, but the administrative facilities, as I see them, are equally important. I want to comment on both. It is important to upgrade the administrative side of these facilities. To do so, we need to get qualified facilities’ managers; people who understand what it is, how it is done and have some formal training. I am sure as they went round, they The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
found there were specific facilities’ managers. Here we frequently run into problems as it has been mentioned. I do not need to belabour it. Structural facilities may degrade because a bolt may be missing and it runs for a long time or there is blockage and it also runs for a long time. Sometimes, you have to abandon a floor. Virtually, that should not happen. I do not think it is an issue of the budget.
In recent weeks, we had movement of furniture. To get it, I asked my assistant where it was being collected from. The offices are managed by the Serjeant-at-Arms. They should have no business to do with furniture. We should have a facilities’ manager who handles that. To move furniture from where it was to my office required an immediate sub-contract that needed to be put in place. My assistant could not sign the sub-contract, so I had to help because it was an oral sub-contract. That kind of arrangement should be outlawed in Parliament. Once furniture has been approved, it is should be moved by people who know how to do it. They should set it up and carry away the old one. None of that happens. Each one of them required an additional sub-contract. That is something we should seek to banish completely from here. So, qualified facilities’ managers would be very important and they should manage both by observation and through technology. They do not always have to be all over the place physically to see it.
Facilities, food and allied services are very important. We were told some time ago that in this Parliament, we have around 40 people in various hospitals around the world with various complications. We know diseases like cancer and diabetes have become endemic. We should have a nutrition driven menu. People may go for junk, if you want and it is not bad. It is tasty. People should be given a chance to have a nutrition driven menu. To support the catering side, we should have people who are well qualified in food science to guide us. Sometimes what we get here is really not up to standard in that regard.
Still on the facilities, Parliament must computerise its services and facilities. Many things are done manually. You have to walk to somebody’s office to see the person. That should not be the case. You should be able to order something or make a comment while seated in your office. There should be a service charter that guarantees you when the service will be done without having to physically go to meet the person offering the service. That wastes time and has no memory record. To get a new desk, I am yet to get a chair so I have to squat. We have written up to four letters and each time they go missing and you have to do it again. Let us put this on an ICT platform. It will be better and a lot quicker.
There are facilities for Members only in the places that were visited like the House of Commons, the US Senate and House of Representatives. We also have such signs here, but they do not hold. Many times, people go to virtually every place. In some places, even if you get a badge to let you in, it says the floor you will go to and you cannot shift from that floor to another. That is a matter of insisting on service standards. With trained people acting professionally, it can be done.
Senior officers are very polite in this Parliament. They are very good people to deal with. The higher you go, the politer and nicer the people are. But somehow, if you move in the opposite direction, it is completely different. They need to be treated with extra special care and as said, sometimes you have to enter into some sub-contracts that are really unnecessary. I really hope that we will get a service charter that affects all the people from down going up. It will improve our productivity, I can guarantee that.
As I conclude, we have a gym with limited space. It does a pretty good job offering a wide range of services. I hope when we move to the new structure, it will be expanded, and in that regard, will have science-driven management. We should expand our learning, if we have The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
this kind of conditional facilities, on what you should be doing or not doing. I am sure by retraining and retooling, we can do that, but we also have to bring people who are trained in that respect from the market.
A vibrant sports facility is extremely important for the health of Members who sit down for long hours while in this House. It seems like this Report has taken five months from the time the Committee came back for it to be presented to the House. That is extremely long. If it will take another year for the Committee to begin to think about what to do, that would have been a waste, in my view. I hope beyond the recommendations, they can be asked to provide an action plan that management can adopt so that we begin to see the changes. The level at which some of our facilities are is so low that we cannot discuss it in a public forum like this one. I am sure they have seen it.
I conclude by saying that the issue of facilitating people with disability should be taken seriously and urgently. I know it is against the law to discriminate. I just do not remember which law it is, but it is a law that has been around for a long time. Everybody should be able to access every place in this institution. With those few remarks, I beg to support the Report.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I support the work of the Committee. The basics of this Committee should be on making sure that we are very efficient in our work, as Members of Parliament, by focusing on building our capacity. Most of us are elected. It is wise that we keep on polishing ourselves so that we increase our usefulness in terms of service delivery to the electorate. I commend the PSC and the Committee. I remember that before we went for recess, we talked something about IT and facilitating Members in regard to having more IT gadgets and being more IT savvy. Clearly, from where I stand, I can see that there is a gadget. I urge this House to consider taking some of the Members of this House through some kind of orientation. I can confirm that these gadgets are just part of ornamentation in this House. Very few people are using them. We need something to refresh Members so that we do not just come here to take selfies using these iPads. We should use them to facilitate our business, as a House. On the big building that is being constructed, following the directive that our President gave, we should be leading by example. This House has invested a lot of resources in that building, but we still continue to spend so much on rent for Members’ offices. It will go a long way if the PSC considers allocating enough resources to that tall building, so that we can be housed under the same roof. We will also have the many facilities that we are discussing here. I would wish to have, within the precincts of Parliament, and specifically within the building block under construction, a huge library. The only resource that we can refer to, as Members, is what has been done before and how to do it better in the future. Those kinds of things can only be found in books. We should invest more in the library, both in terms of books and other things that would help us become better Members of Parliament.
I heard a lot from my colleague, Hon. Bunyasi, about food. Clearly, I can see some improvement from the time I came here. It is my wish that the cuisines and the menu at our restaurant could reflect the people we represent in terms of being African. We are moving in that direction, but at a slow pace. I would want to see muthokoi over there for my sister, Jessica, and my colleague, so that I can also taste the kind of cuisines she feeds on in her constituency. I would like to see githeri, osupuko and some more African foods. Parliament represents the face The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
of Kenya. We benchmark outside this country especially in the European countries. Most of the benchmarking should happen from within so that we represent the people over lunch hour. As we talk about ourselves, as Members, I also want to speak about another category attached to us. My effectiveness, as a Member of Parliament, largely depends on the effectiveness of my staff, especially the ones who are attached to my office by the PSC. As I address this House today, our staff across the constituencies have not received last month’s salaries. We need to be serious about how we handle these staff especially from Protection House, coming down in terms of returns so that they can budget for money and have programmes for it. As things are now, our staff never know when they are to receive salaries. As I speak, there is no single staff attached to any Member of Parliament who has received last month’s salary. We need to expedite and have it not just for this quarter and month, but have it in a more programmed manner, going forward. As we talk about building capacity for Members of Parliament, everyone knows that we have been receiving a lot of negative media coverage since last week. As we talk about facilities in terms of computers and other IT gadgets, and good offices, the soft part of facilitating Members is also very important. We need to have short courses or some kind of training, especially on issues we deal with on a daily basis as well as on issues that can affect us most tragically when it comes to handling some matters. It is my plea that this Committee considers Members for short refresher courses on how to handle the media and on public relations as well as other things that are relevant to us as politicians so that as we try to do so much for our constituents, we project ourselves well out there. As we consider ourselves for short courses, I urge the Committee to consider having some basic training for our staff. As we debate matters of national importance, our constituency offices are operational. We want our bosses, who are our voters, to be attended to. We should continue to sharpen the skills of our staff through training them periodically so that as we handle the national agenda in this House, they can continue to effectively serve our constituents, on our behalf.
With those many remarks, I support the Motion.
Hon. Adagala Kahai.
(Vihiga CWR, ANC)
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Order, Hon. Adagala. I am not a Mister.
Oh! Sorry, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker. Thank you very much for the correction. The sanitation of that area towards the Members’ Lounge is bad. Sometimes you pass there and maybe you want to go and take tea and it is terrible. The moment I pass around that place, I do not take tea. I take off because of the foul stench that comes from around that area. Another issue is on parking. Sometimes you cannot get parking space around this place. That is why I support this Committee on matters of Members’ welfare. The other building should be completed very fast. I took about three months without stepping in my office. It did not have any furniture. It did not have anything until I was given some funny furniture. I support this Motion and this Committee. They have done great work to make sure that we, as Members, are comfortable, our staff and any other person who comes to this area is comfortable. I commend the Committee for the good work they have done. Therefore, I support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): The Member for Gichugu Constituency, Hon. Gichimu Githinji. He is not here. Hon. Wahome, Member for Kandara. Is she on record?
Thank you very much Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for giving me an opportunity to say something regarding the services that we are being provided for by the Kenya National Assembly and Parliament as a whole. I add my voice to that of Members that have talked about office facilities that we have been using. You are aware that as soon as one gets elected, there are high hopes that they are coming to the Parliament of the Republic of Kenya. It becomes a shock for new Members. First and foremost, they come and they have to scramble for even office space in this Parliament. After scrambling for office space, it becomes a challenge where to find desks, who gives the services and where one accesses the facilities. We have to interact with the Office of the Serjeant-At-Arms. I do not know whether it is in my mind. Possibly, it is important to also look at the mandate of some of those offices where you have to seek support and assistance. It is in a manner that, kind of, humiliates or demeans a Member. You are expecting that your office will be cleaned. Sometimes you have to ask your personal assistant, if they are there, to look for who will hoove the office. When you go to the small areas that are very private, for a call of nature, you will find either tissue on the floor or stench meets you at the corridors. I get very surprised because I am sure some of the guests coming to Parliament also suffer because they may not know where to get some of those facilities, which are very key facilities. This Committee must address itself to those key facilities that a human being must be provided with to be able to manage themselves and to have an honourable day. It becomes a challenge. You sometimes see Members running across. You may not know where they are going, but it is sometimes because facilities here are not conducive. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
I agree with those who are saying that, clearly, we need to be managed by people you can exchange and interact with at the same level or in a manner that you feel you are not prying into persons that are not supposed to be offering services. I have made calls to be provided with seats. There is a selective manner of putting chairs in offices. Why do we not have processes that automatically know that Member No.1 from this constituency has been given a desk? Why should it be me or my personal assistant calling when they know we have 349 Members and there are 349 offices? When they are replacing desks, they should know the kind of desks they are bringing in, so that one does not beg. There are no processes in securing or getting these things because we are not involved in the securing. Once they are secured, why can there not be an orderly manner or way of providing paper, desks and cleaning services? Why is it not clear as to who is supposed to clean? Even communication is not there. I do not want to go to catering because maybe I should be missing some meals. You know the challenge that is there and the approach. I wonder why we cannot outsource some of these facilities. I do not think the work of Parliament is to provide catering services. I would vouch for outsourcing catering services for this National Assembly, so that we also empower other people who have the skills, knowledge and experience to provide some of the services. Then, the mix up is too much. Sometimes there is no sitting place for Members in the dining hall. I do not know whether it is us who are on the wrong because every person brings five or 10 people into the Members’ Lounge. We need order in the National Assembly and in Parliament as a whole. The way we are going, you will find a broom on the corridors of Parliament or on the walk path to the Chamber. I think we need to style up. The Committee has a big challenge and a big role to play. We must not look down upon this particular Committee. We need to empower it and allow the Committee to go for benchmarking. I am happy to support this Report, but we also do not want it to be another Report or another benchmarking trip and next time they tell us they are going to China and there is no improvement of the services. We want to see the comparable they found there so that next time, we can go through their Report and support. I support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Hon. Members, I have 13 requests. You do not have to exhaust your 10 minutes. The next one on the list is Hon. Osotsi Godfrey.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for this opportunity to contribute to this very important Motion, which I support. You know that 80 per cent of our time is spent in committees. We sit in committees, discussing things and writing reports. We have a serious challenge in this Parliament because the committee rooms are not conducive for serious meetings. The rooms are too small. The average number of Members of a departmental committee is 19. Sometimes you invite officials from the Government and they come in large numbers of about 30 officers and you are all squeezed in that room, yet you are transacting a very important matter of national concern. Definitely the outcome of your work will not be to the highest standard. I think something has to be done on the issue of availability of space for committee rooms, size of committee rooms and the conduciveness of those committee rooms because some of them are not conducive for serious meetings.
The other issue of concern is the application of ICT. The application of ICT in this Parliament is not up to the required standard, even where we are seated. Recently, they made some effort and brought us some gadgets. These iPads are not serving the purpose starting from the casing itself. I do not know where they made these casings. Was it a Jua kali casing or what kind of casing was this? It does not look good. The workmanship is so poor. The applications The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
that have been put on this iPad are so difficult for Members to use. A good ICT system must be user friendly. Members are struggling to even access Order Papers here. I think we need to be serious on the application of ICT in Parliament. If you go to other Parliaments, the use of ICT is so easy that Members are even able to interact with the key facilities in Parliament like Table Office through ICT platforms. They are able to see their committee reports online without much struggle.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Hon. Osotsi, it is important for you to state what is difficult to access, because I can see the Chairman is taking notes.
What I mean is the alignment of ICT to the work of Parliament. There is a missing gap. They have tried to provide computers in our offices, but in most cases, the internet is either slow or it is not there. So, it is not serving the purpose. There are many other things which I can elaborate.
Going to the issue of facility management, I agree with Hon. Bunyasi that maybe, it is high time we engaged a professional facility manager to manage our facilities. You will find that in most of our facilities, areas such as sanitary areas, catering and many others are not properly and professionally managed. We also need to have a complaint management process in this Parliament. When Members have complaints, how are they handled? Where do they take them? In other jurisdictions, they have an elaborate process for complaint management so that the issues that Members have can be responded to in the right manner.
The other issue is the issue of library. Library is a central facility to an efficient Member of Parliament. The Committee needs to put a lot of emphasis in the library. If you go to other Parliaments, like we did recently when we had the opportunity to visit Parliament of German, the first thing you meet when you leave the Chamber is the library. In our Parliament, the first thing you meet when you leave the Chamber is the cafeteria. Why is it like that? The library should be the first facility to access so that Members can go there, do research and come back to the Chamber to contribute. I think the position, the stocking and the quality of materials in the library is very important and should be taken into account.
There is also the issue of financial management. I have worked in the public sector for 10 years, but this is the first public institution where nothing happens in the cash office in the month of July. In fact, the cash office closes. They go home for leave and nothing happens. No committee can go for any retreat to do anything because they say that the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) is not working or there is no money. This is unacceptable. Parliament cannot stop working because there is no IFMIS. I come from the IT background and I have not seen such a system where every now and then, you are told it is down. They should give us a better reason so that in the month of July, when there is change in the financial year, we should not be experiencing such problems. Parliament should not stop because IFMIS is down, is changing over or because the cash office is closed. This is not proper management. The committee should look at this as well.
Lastly, Members have complained in committees and even in this plenary that whatever is reported in media sometimes is erroneous. My observation is that as Parliament we have invested in the media centre and every committee has a media person attached to it. What is missing in our media plan is strategic media communication. Even when you go for Press conferences, you sit before a red curtain. I do not know the meaning behind the red curtain. In the modern world, we need to be branding ourselves. We should sit in front of a parliamentary The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
brand and not a red curtain that has no meaning to it. The messaging that comes out of our committees and plenary must be strategic messaging that is going to protect the integrity of Parliament. If we only focus on managing the media centre and we do not look at the bigger picture about strategic media communication, then something has to be done about it.
With those few remarks, I support. Thank you.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Member for Saku, Hon. Rasso Ali.
Thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I rise to support the Report by this Committee. Those of us who were in the 11th Parliament did not engage with such a report. It was only during kamkunjis that we would raise our voices and talk seriously about issues of concern. Mine is to suggest areas the Committee can undertake studies on in order to make our welfare and that of the staff of Parliament more comfortable. In the span of the remaining part of the 12th Parliament, the Committee should consider developing a handbook, so that when new parliamentarians come in, they have something to go through. We know that when you become a Member of Parliament, you fight to get everything you are entitled to, including offices and telephone services. We even fight for parking lots. If we have a handbook showing what one is entitled to, then one would only fight to get what they are entitled to. The other issue is about offices. Many of my colleagues who have spoken before me have alluded to this point. The outfitting of offices of Members of Parliament should be uniform. Once I walk into the office of the Member for Saku, the outfitting should be the same as that of the Member for Kibwezi or the Member for Alego-Usonga. We should not be walking into our different offices only to find that one is so lavishly furnished and another one is a bare bone office with only two or three seats. The major issue that this Committee must address is that Parliament should not be an animal farm where all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. The Committee has a duty to make sure that new Members are not disadvantaged compared to the older Members who have been in Parliament for a longer time. The other issue is the parking lot. As Members of Parliament drive into the premises of Parliament, they should be assured of getting parking space. Currently, some of the parking lots have been turned into garages. Damaged vehicles occupy a lot of the parking space in Parliament. We want to ask this Committee to even go further and say that 349 parking lots are assigned to Members of the National Assembly so that when I drive into Parliament, I know where to leave my car. My colleagues have talked about catering. In this day and age, the idea of cooking food like in a boarding school has been overtaken by time. When we visit other parliaments around the world, we realise that people have done away with the practice where you cook food in bulk and most of it ends up being wasted. Our good doctor will agree with me that there are lifestyle diseases which are coming up like cancer and diabetes. One of the causative reasons for these diseases is food. The source is food that is not fresh or not properly handled. For that reason, we want the Committee to look at the issue of training the food handlers. Parliament must spend some money to take some of these staff to Utalii College and other places and a few of them who are senior can be exposed to the outside world. Why can we not take a few of them to see for themselves first-hand how the world that is evolving is doing some of these things? We should not be wasting food and yet we are saying we do not get enough food. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
On the issue of telephone and IT equipment in Parliament, for most of us who occupy office spaces in Continental House, there are times when there is no internet and maybe you want to do something that day and you have taken your time to work in the office. We need to pay particular attention to the internet. On the developments we are seeing inside the Chamber, it is a move in the right direction. As I sit here, I am able to do some research on the internet to contribute to any debate. So, Members must appreciate the moves that have been made in the positive direction. However, in the areas where there are lacunae, we must still point them out, so that the Committee is seized of the matters. Finally, I want to talk about the issue of correspondence management in Parliament. We walk through the reception every day and we are supposed to get our mails from there. However, important mails destined for Members sometimes reach them after five or six months and yet it could be a matter of life and death. We need to restructure how mails arrive at Members’ offices and even to the individual Members. With those remarks, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, thank you for giving me the time.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Hon. Nyikal, Member for Seme.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this Report. I rise to support the Report and we should adopt it. I start by appreciating the work that the Committee has done. I think this is the first time we have got a full Report of this Committee. I am aware the Committee has been expanded from just being in charge of catering, to include all the services and apparently, they are doing a good job. They have looked at all the issues and I appreciate that they have gone into all the areas and have made recommendations. I expect they will follow up on this. I do not think they should let the Report be implemented in the same way we implement other reports. We have a PSC and this Committee and we should not say that these recommendations should go to the Committee on Implementation. This Committee should directly take up the matter with the PSC and get this implemented and report back to us.
They have looked at the area of the gymnasium. If you look at it, all the equipment is run down and is not working properly. Even within the gymnasium, there are no programmes. People go there and take weight, go to treadmills and weight lifting, but there are no programmes that are helping us. We should have experts in this area who can get us what we want and advise us well so that we are taken through it all. There is capacity there, but more should be done. This should be an area of health education. I know some of you have seen in toilets notices that teach people about health, blood pressure and things to do with diabetes. You just read, but there are no people who are helping Members out. I can appreciate, but not all of us can appreciate.
There is a blood pressure recording machine and people take weight, but there is no link between this and what it means. I have noticed that not many Members use that machine to get their blood pressure. This is a very important single monitoring data and many people can know early if they have problems. So, more should be done in that area. I link this to catering. We have heard comments that the quality of food has improved, but our catering services should do more than just offering food and making it tasty.
They should have a nutritionist who can advise. Many people in Parliament are at a stage where they are prone to non-communicable and lifestyle diseases. Even for the younger Members, this is the time to get educated on this. If we have nutritionists, they should look at the food we eat in a way that prevents many diseases particularly lifestyle diseases. I am sure we The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
have Members here who have problems such as diabetes and blood pressure. Our nutritionist should pick out those and say: “If you have this problem, this is how you should eat and this is what you should avoid.” This will go a long way in helping us. We have the capacity. The number of people we have employed is large from what I see and we can use them better. With regard to our insurance cover, everybody agrees that it is not taking care of us well. The outpatient cover is extremely low. I personally have run beyond the limit in the year, but they quickly say we can extend it. If you can extend the limit readily, it means you know that you already have a low limit. Our health insurance cover does not get into any promotions. I do not see screening programmes that would help a lot.
Most of us here would need proper health screening once a year and that would be of help to us. That should come through our health insurance cover. So, I agree with the Committee that if they cannot improve this, then we may have to look for another health insurance provider. On our part, this Committee can get a smaller sub-committee that can work with this cover and keep monitoring if it is serving us well and the experiences of the Members, so that it is constantly being improved.
The Report talks about disability. This Parliament is not compliant. It is not that we are doing charity. It is in the law. The Persons with Disabilities Act requires that certain requirements must be met. In fact, this Parliament can be closed because there are many committee rooms where many people with disability cannot get to. Ramps are required. We do not have provision for sign language. We do not have facilities for braille and that should be there. There is only one lift that is disability compliant. Those lifts that literally say “Fourth Floor going up” is a requirement of the law.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Hon. Member, you are out of order. You are shouting. I know you represent people living with disability, but you do not just behave that way. Let the Member be heard in silence.
I appreciate because he is appreciating what I am saying.
Those are things that we should look at. Offices at Continental House, where most of our offices are, are not fit for human habitation. That is the truth. Many of those offices are in the middle. There is no natural lighting and ventilation. There was an effort to put some ventilation. There are some vents on the roof, but they are all not working. Should the power go off, as it does sometimes, it gets completely dark. That should not be allowed in modern day. The new office block should be completed quickly.
The library service needs improvement. More is required in terms of IT, but the staff should be more research-oriented to support the Members when they need information quickly. I know there is a Research Department, but I do not see a link between the library and the Research Department, so that you can walk in and quickly get help. If you need certain information from certain years, you should quickly get it. That is something that we need to look at.
On our working conditions, I do not know why when you look at the PSC compared to the Public Service Commission, people believe that Members earn a lot and are given a lot of services. When you get to the details, we have a raw deal. Even in the area of housing, it is not considered at all. So, you have a lump sum salary that will be deemed to be enough for housing. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
If you look at car and mileage allowances, with Kshs5 million, you can only get a second-hand car. Our counterparts in the Government have cars bought for them, repaired and fueled for them and have drivers. If you compare with that, we have a raw deal.
Our security officers are not given per diem when they move with us. So, we have to pay for them. These are things we should look at. Even when time for payment comes, there is a lot of delay. A lot needs to be done. We do not have a public relations office that deals with issues that affect us.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Your time is up. Very well spoken. Because you spoke a lot about people with disabilities, allow me to give the opportunity to Member 001, as they call him.
Thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I appreciate the time you have given me, considering that the matters that we are debating today concern Members’ welfare as well as facilities. Let me commend the Committee for doing a good job, especially by just mentioning the Persons with Disabilities Act of 2003. To speak the truth, all the facilities around this House are not accessible by persons with disabilities. They are not conducive for use by persons with disabilities. I know we have tried. There are ramps at the entrances to the Main Parliament Buildings, with one lift working within the building. You know the size of this building. The ramp was placed courtesy of Hon. Leshore when he became disabled. Before then, this House was totally inaccessible to anybody on a wheelchair. Our lounge and the dining areas are very slippery for those with crutches. I bet that if most of them use such floors, they will lose their teeth. Accessibility is not only to the built environment. It also goes a long way to accessibility to information and the built environment. There was a time when the Departmental Committee on Labour and Social Welfare was vetting a nominee of the President for appointment to the Commission on Administrative Justice or the Ombudsman. The said person with disability was visually impaired or blind and the oath had to be read to him because we do not provide braille and sign language interpreters. When we were interviewing a commissioner who was deaf, we had to quickly get a sign language interpreter from the streets. We do not have, as a House, sign language interpreters. This is what the Persons with Disabilities Act of 2003 talks about. It may also be interesting to note that the Persons with Disabilities Act of 2003 came to being only when the country realised that matters of persons with disabilities have to be addressed when Hon. Kibaki became a person with disability. During his stay at State House, he found that there are a lot of challenges that come with disability. That is why the Persons with Disabilities Act of 2003 was hurriedly enacted and operationalised. We also have to note that, as a country, we have ratified some international instruments like the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which we have not implemented in Parliament. So, I ask the Committee to try as much as possible to make sure that persons with disabilities access most of these facilities. For instance, the gym is totally inaccessible to persons with disabilities. There is also Continental House. I do not know if all the Members of this House do not have electorates who are persons with disabilities on wheelchairs. For a person to access my office at Continental House, they have to be literally lifted over some stairs and the gate. Yes, we may be disabled, but we have some little pride left in us. Since people know that they have to be lifted to the office, they shy away from visiting Members of Parliament. They shy away from coming to inquire on some issues from the Members they have elected. We have 1.2 million registered voters living with disabilities in this country, but they can The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
never access the Members’ offices in Continental House. It is shameful that this is the same House that makes laws. The Persons with Disabilities Act of 2003 is an Act of this House yet the implementation part of it is wanting. Some private buildings and institutions have implemented this Act and the United Nations Convection on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which this country ratified in 2008. Therefore, it is domesticated and it is part of our laws. Some of our private institutions have implemented all this, but the House that made these laws and ratified the international instrument is not implementing these rules. It is pathetic. When it comes to the issue of parking, Parliament has tried. They have marked parking slots reserved for people with disabilities, but marking is not enough. When you sandwich your car between two vehicles in a normal parking, it becomes very difficult for you, who is on a wheelchair, to alight because you need more space for the wheelchair. Some of these issues are not taken into consideration. We also have to encourage the implementation of the Persons with Disabilities Act of 2003 and even Article 54 of our Constitution, which also demands that persons with disabilities should be given employment opportunities. Persons with disabilities working in Parliament do not meet the threshold. I suggest that the Committee considers engaging persons with visual impairment in the massage section within our gym. Persons with visual impairment are normally the best masseuse. You know when it comes to massage, it is tactile or feeling. You do not use sight when it comes to massage. It is known all over the world that somebody who is blind is the best person to offer you massage. So, I encourage the Committee to engage people from the Machakos Technical Institute for the Blind, who are very good in massaging. I am talking from experience. These people can massage you very well. The only thing is that you have to control them so that they do not go to some areas because they do not see.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Which people?
The visually impaired or the blind. I had requested the Committee to contact the Machakos Technical Institute for the Blind, so that we can hire a few of their graduates to serve in our gym. Those people have been trained in massage and can offer very good massage services.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): I agree with you. You said they do not see.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, you know massage is all about feeling. It is only that you have to control them because sometimes they can go to some wrong places as they massage you. You have to advise them. I support this Report and ask the Committee to make sure that they consider persons with disabilities. It is very shameful when Parliament that makes laws is the one that is not accessible to persons with disabilities. Imagine one ramp in the whole of this building. When you come from the front, you have to be carried unless you are taken all the way to the behind. There is only one lift in the whole of Parliament Building that is shared by the National Assembly and the Senate. Surely, must I come from one end throughout? All buildings should be accessible. This is not a privilege or something that we are requesting. We are politely demanding because it is in law. It is provided in Article 54 of our Constitution and the Persons with Disabilities Act of 2003. It is also in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Kenya ratified in 2008. Therefore, it is domesticated and it is part of our laws. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
I support the Motion.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Hon. Sankok, you have been heard and heard very well. The Chairman is here. I can see we really have a very healthy debate on this and on some of the issues that are coming up. Even Members are hearing about how to employ people with disabilities. Let us have the Member for Bondo, Hon. Ogolla Ochanda. He is next on my request list.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. The Committee has done well in terms of the Report and on issues of benchmarking. There is quite a lot that they must have brought in. I wanted to bring to the attention of the Committee and the PSC, as we go through this, that there are many things that are still missing. Some could be learnt from countries that are much lower than Kenya and others could be learnt from higher countries or democracies where parliaments work much better than we do. One thing that I realised when we visited Dodoma in neighbouring Tanzania is that Parliament has a good health facility within its precincts. There is a good facility that handles basic health issues. We are talking of a Level 1 or Level 2 hospital within the precincts of Parliament that can handle issues of testing malaria, blood pressure and little tests like some of the ones Dr. Nyikal mentioned. They are done within the precincts of Parliament and it works. There is a population of over 1,500 staff in Parliament in both the Senate and National Assembly. If you add that to the total number of Members of Parliament at 400 plus, you realise that we have a very big population. You can compare that to a small secondary school with 300 students having its own little clinic within the school compound. It is high time the Committee looked at this. We need to have a basic healthcare facility. It does not have to be very sophisticated. The one in Dodoma looks sophisticated. People need to be sent there to get this information in under two hours. It is working and is very good. In Nairobi, if you feel your temperature rising and you are in the House, you have to run to Nairobi Hospital or the Aga Khan Hospital. You waste a lot of time now that we know how traffic in Nairobi looks like. It will save this Parliament a lot. Looking at the amounts of money we pay to insurance companies to cover some of those little things, if we had a facility within the precincts of Parliament, on one hand, we would save in terms of cost and the resources that go into it. On the other hand, we will save time because there would be a facility that you can quickly access. Third, we will count ourselves as more complete as a House in terms of how our health is looked at. The other thing that the Committee and the PSC needs to look at is the issue of support to Members. The role of a Member of Parliament, particularly in terms of oversight, requires some serious data research backup. When we are debating in Parliament, like we are currently doing, without proper information, at the end of the day, either we are making noise or coming up with things that do not make sense because we are not properly backed up. There was a petition today on issues of boreholes. I was in a meeting the other day and it was said that in Nairobi alone, for example, there are 2,000 boreholes. When talking about issues of water in Nairobi, you will have the data. You will know that there are boreholes and piped water in terms of what comes from the Ndakaini Dam and from Ngong. There is proper backed-up information. That is exactly what we are lacking in this Parliament. I know we have researchers. The Budget Office has very good support staff in terms of analysts. They are analysts. They are not researchers. In Parliament, there are close to 30 or so researchers. In real sense, there are more analysts than researchers. They do not handle primary data research issues. For the researchers to be meaningful to this Parliament or to Members, they The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
need to be sectorised. They need to be in a manner such that when we are talking about issues of agriculture, there is a good group of researchers in the sector of agriculture. In agriculture, there are those who could deal with issues of cooperatives, crops or livestock such that when we are talking about some of these things, we are properly backed up. It is not good that we are overseeing departments that have technical information and we do not have the same information yet we are the ones overseeing them. We have also reached a point where there is the issue of appraisal of outputs and outcomes. Those are things that we need to look at such that if you are placed in front of a technical group from a department, you also have some good and clear information in terms of how you engage. That is when we are able to perform our oversight role. It is not good that we oversee without data yet we are overseeing those who have data. You can be cheated. That is exactly why some of our Motions have queries. I remember in the last Parliament, Members agreed that each constituency needs a 20- kilometre tarmac road. We agreed that it was good in terms of how it was placed and the fact that we need roads. When it got to the issue of cost and technical people were called to Parliament, I was on the Committee on Implementation and they asked us to tell them exactly what that Motion meant. We looked stupid because a kilometre of a road costs Kshs50 or Kshs60 million and we wanted to construct 20 kilometres per constituency. So, this was 20 kilometres per constituency multiplied by the number of 290 constituencies. Looking for where to we could get that kind of money in the budget was difficult. We were amazed. We had passed something that could not work. That is exactly what can help this Parliament, particularly in terms of Motions. When contributing to Bills, we need to have very serious data backup so that our contributions can make sense and oversee technical departments. With those few remarks, I support the Report.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Let us have the Member for Siaya, Oduor Ombaka, the County Woman Representative.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for giving me this opportunity. Mine will be very brief. There are three areas I want to talk about. I want to talk about our offices and the facilities that we have. The offices have carpets and they are not very clean. Sometimes my personal assistant cleans it. I am sure we could have pool cleaners who can clean carpets. I have never seen a hoover that can be used to clean those carpets. They are there for years, are torn and discoloured yet we still have them. The office I occupied in the last Parliament had no window. Some of the offices are not fresh. There are no windows and even if they are there, the curtains are very dirty. The floors and the windows are dirty. There is dust all over. The office I occupy right now is quite big. I like it, but it is very dirty. We have tried to clean it, but somehow, it just does not get clean. The carpet is extremely dirty. The person who occupied it last time had cartons and cartons of books and reports. There is no place where you can dispose of these materials. I do not know how disposal is done in this Parliament. I have tried to inquire, but nobody has an answer about how to dispose of the old books and reports that I have inherited from the previous occupier of that office. The second one is about the salaries of our staff. It is true it has been so long that you wonder what you can do with your staff who have starved for the last four months. Some of them have taken loans and cannot service them. They look up to us to support them. It is not possible to support your staff every other month. There is need to work out a way in which they can be The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
paid in a manner that they too enjoy their work. They are beginning to rebel. They are feeling so bad. They feel exploited. If you cannot get your salary on time, then that person is exploiting you. The worst part of this thing is that when they do not get paid on a monthly basis, then the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) charges them. We have to pay KRA because there is a fine for not paying on time. Some of those things make us incur costs that can easily be avoided. That is as far as delay of salaries of our staff is concerned.
The last one is about the lounges for Members. We sit there and chat. I wish some magazines and newspapers could be put in the lounges where we sit. We can kill time by reading some of them. The libraries that we have do not need to have books only. We are modern these days. We can have books with compact discs (CDs) or video tapes that one can watch. Those are not there. We need to invest in information that comes through IT systems. Some of us can borrow and watch them at home. If we can improve our libraries to the extent that we have CDs and video tapes, that will be highly appreciated.
The last point that I have is about the end of the financial years. I do not know whether that is how it works. It is simply unworkable when offices close, bank accounts are closed and you cannot access money that we can use for official work. Women representatives have the Affirmative Action Fund. My last experience last month was terrible. I had functions and the Cabinet Secretary was coming to my county. I needed to use some money from that account to facilitate her coming and do other activities in preparation for the visit. It was literally impossible to access money from the bank because it was at the end of the financial year. Please make sure that even if it is the end of the financial year, money should be accessed. They close the accounts for months. Up to now, it is closed. I do not know for how long it will be closed. That means that we also have to stop working. What was I supposed to do when the CS was coming? It forced me to borrow money all over the place. It looks very ugly and dirty for a Government officer to come and yet, there are no funds to facilitate her coming because of the end of financial year. It can be improved.
Thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity. I support this Report.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Member for Nakuru Town East, Hon. David Gikaria.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to contribute. First, I want to tell the Committee and the Chairman that they have done very good work. I wish that my brother, Hon. Kanini Kega, was here to see how a report of a committee should look like. You write the observations and then from there, you make your recommendations. After that, you tell us, as they have done in the Report, the short-term and long-term implementation plans. That is a very good Report. I thank the Chairman and his Committee for such wonderful work.
The Committee did very good work, which is almost 100 per cent. It is important for us to look at some of the observations they have came up with. Doing away with the Catering Fund and starting a parliamentary fund is a wonderful idea. In their recommendations, they say that the Catering Fund should be audited, which is a very good thing. If it has never been audited, it is an oversight. Doing away with the Catering Fund and starting a parliamentary fund that brings together all the funding meant for Members’ welfare is a critical component which we want to look at.
Secondly, I have an issue with the parking lot. It is true that we have been suffering. You come and you do not get a parking space because it is occupied by vehicles which have gathered The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
a lot of dust. They are broken down and the tyres are flat. Those are vehicles which were involved in accidents and they are parked behind here. I do not know for what purpose. Some have private registration and others Government of Kenya registration. You do not know what happens when they are left there. When the Committee was going around the precincts of Parliament, it saw those vehicles parked there. Most of them were involved in accidents. I do not know whether some of the vehicles are private, but they are always parked there. It is important for those vehicles to be towed away from that place and taken to a safer place, so that we can avail some space for Members to park there.
Some of us are very religious. We pray. We want to thank Parliament for giving the Catholics a prayer room beneath this building. It is important, but it was not captured in the Report. I do not know whether the Muslims have a place where they go to worship. I normally see them rushing to their private places and corners to pray. The Committee has a big challenge to look at the interests of other denominations. I do not know whether they would like to have space to worship. Parliament gave Catholics space to pray every Wednesday in the morning. Hon. Koinange chairs the Protestants Members of Parliament Caucus. We want to thank Hon. Chris Wamalwa because he got space for the Catholic Members Caucus to pray. The Committee needs to look at issues of faith, so that our Muslim brothers can have a place to pray.
I want to talk about the Members’ allowances. It is true that we, chairs of committees, realised that Members do not even know how much they receive. The Committee realised that there is need for Members to be told how much they earn at the committee level and plenary. It is important. In my Committee, we have made it a rule that the first meeting of every month on Tuesday, every Member must be told the number of meetings he attended from 1st to the 31st of the previous month, and what he or she expects. In the past, some of the staff were accused of not giving Members allowances for attending committee meetings and that money was passed to somebody else. That was alluded to in the last Parliament. Every Member should be notified that he or she attended this plenary meeting and committee meeting and this is what he or she expects. Most of us go out there and we sign papers because we are not given our committee meeting rates during our local tours. It helps a Member to know how much he or she will get. I want to thank the Committee for coming up with this observation and giving some recommendations.
Allowances are at Government rates that have been prescribed. We need to review them. The cost of fuel currently is not what was prevailing two or three years ago. We are given our mileage allowance based on some rates that were done three or four years back. The expense incurred in the repair of tyres, maintenance of vehicles and even the price of fuel have all increased. So, it is important for the Committee to visit the concerned Government agency which gives out the rates that are applied for mileage to see whether they can be reviewed. Things have gone up by almost 50 per cent. My Committee does not know whether the fuel cost has gone up by 16 per cent. The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) included VAT in the fuel cost.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I do not want to say that you drink in our old bar. I know that you go there to take a soft drink. For those of us who drink alcohol, that bar has some historical issues. We were told that when President Mwai Kibaki was here, he said that every Member who goes there to drink is assured of a second term. So, Members who are first termers should visit that bar because they will be assured of coming back for a second term. There are also other issues.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Are you passing information to the Members? The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
I am just trying to encourage them to visit the bar. You and I have visited that place and we had an opportunity to be re-elected without much struggle. So, it is important for you to visit it even though it has very old seats.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Even those who take soft drinks.
(Nakuru Town East, JP)
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Let me add you one minute so that you can finish making your contribution about Members in Mombasa.
(Nakuru Town East, JP)
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Member for Isiolo North.
Thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity. I would like to thank the Committee for coming up with a comprehensive Report. Members can only be effective if our working environment is conducive. The Report has touched on all the important areas where we need facilities for us to be effective in our primary responsibility of being legislators. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
One of the key issues which should be of concern to all of us is the way facilities in Parliament are not conducive for Members living with disabilities, as well as members of the public who would like to participate in the proceedings of the Committees of the House. It is very shameful. Parliament should be the first institution to comply with the provisions of the Disability Act because it makes laws. Therefore, it has the obligation to comply with the laws we have made. I would like to talk about the conditions in our offices, specifically in Continental House, where most of our offices are located. On quite a number of instances, I have been unable to use some of the facilities, especially the washrooms. More often than not, there is a shortage of water in the washrooms and this could lead to very serious health consequences. In addition, more often than not, the internet connectivity is down. Many times, we are unable to use emails in our offices because the server is down. That is unacceptable. We cannot work without ICT. We need a very good internet connection. Another issue which Members have mentioned and which is important for us is the welfare of our staff. As parliamentarians, our effectiveness is contributed to by having qualified people to support us in various roles and whose welfare is adequately taken care of. As we speak, members of our staff have not been paid last month’s salary. It is not easy for us to support them from our pockets. The IFIMIS has to be fixed. When we moved away from the manual ways of running Government financial systems, we thought the transition from one financial year to another would be an easy thing which would enable us to overcome the need to take some time for books to be reconciled and transactions for the subsequent year opened. That does not seem to be the case. Therefore, when our staff are not paid, it affects our effectiveness because we rely on them. The other issue is a library. A library is a very key resource for us. It is in the libraries where we do our research. The location of the library is very key, as other Members have said. We need a library that is adequately resourced both with physical books as well as virtual ones, where our research assistants can help us do research and also make us contribute to the debate in the House from an informed point of view. The other issue is the research staff. As one of the Members has alluded to, we need to have staff deployed as researchers to come from diverse disciplinary backgrounds because most of the times, when we are discussing Bills or matters which are technical in nature especially those probably that are not in line with our area of training, we need research officers to help us to appreciate what is being discussed so that we can make informed contributions to the debate in the House. As legislators, we spend most of our time in committees. We have committee rooms in the main building, Continental House and Protection House. We have had experiences where the public address systems are not working. Where they work, they are inadequate and Members have to share microphones. That is not acceptable. We need to do something about it. Sometimes, when a matter that a committee is handling is of great public interest, we get members of the public or stakeholders attending, but our sitting space is limited. Even the seats in most offices and committee rooms are old. They need to be replaced. There is a system where over time, you try to depreciate equipment and furniture to the extent that after being in use for some time, they are disposed. That system does not seem to be working. Some of the chairs we are using today probably were used two or three decades ago. It is high time they were replaced.
As I conclude, I would like to appreciate the good work that the Committee has done. I urge them that once this Report is adopted by the House, they move very fast, with facilitation of the PSC, to implement the recommendations. I have had time to look at all the recommendations. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
I am confident that if they are implemented, our working environment is going to improve greatly. Thank you.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): We must congratulate the Chairman who is in the House taking notes. I am sure the notes will help in improvement of the welfare of the Members of Parliament. Next on my request list is Member for Malava, Hon. Injendi Malulu.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I also rise to support this Report. I know it is a good report because it is talking about our welfare and service within Parliament and to the nation.
So much is expected of us in terms of delivery on our mandate. For this to happen, we need to have a very good environment. As much as we talk about the new building that is coming up to ensure that we have a good environment, in the meantime, there are a few things that have to be done, which are expected to be with us, but they are not there. For example, currently, in our society, we have to communicate constantly on our phones. In our offices, for example, in Continental House, I am afraid to say that we do not have Wi-Fi services. On the 5th Floor, where my office is located, there is no Wi-Fi. The internet is slow. Our desktop computers have internet but it is so slow that you conduct any research and prepare a document for presentation in Parliament or to other Government agencies as you strive to serve your people.
I urge this Committee to push on for this delivery. We are talking of these iPads. There are only four rows on each side. Where I sit, we do not have any. I have been wondering about the logic of having them fixed where we sit. Why not provide this to Members so that Members can carry them? There are times when I read something, I wish to consult on the phone. I would rather walk out with it to the Members’ Lounge so that as I browse, I do some communication just to verify the information instead of having an asset that is fixed on a desk. When it is fixed like this, it may not serve us efficiently as it would do if we are given these gadgets to carry in our arms.
Equally, there is so much Members do apart from being in the plenary. I would also recommend that this Committee considers installing screens in our offices, for example, where I am so that when I work on a document, I also follow what is happening in the plenary. During the 11th Parliament, we used to have a screen in the so-called “Cheboi Chambers”, which was the Private Members Lounge.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): All of us know it as Cheboi Chambers. Cheboi is the Deputy Speaker.
Yes. We used to have screens so that when Members are consulting, they are also following what is happening in the plenary. We have screens, yes, but they do not relay what is happening in the House leaving us in darkness for those of us who consult from there.
When it comes to our security, it is as if the PSC does not consider us to be high risk persons. Last week, the honourable Member for Likuyani was attacked. We are only provided with one armed bodyguard. Interestingly, when it comes to the risk, this bodyguard is with us in the day, Members of Parliament are at serious risk mostly at night when they are in their homes. I would recommend that this Committee considers beefing up security for Members of Parliament. Most Members of Parliament have two homes on average; one in Nairobi and one in the rural area. If we can have security in our homes in Nairobi and also in our homes in the rural areas, it will be good. In the last Parliament, I was living next to a Cabinet Secretary. Our houses The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
were just adjacent. It was very interesting. After dropping me, my bodyguard would turn away and go where they were living. The CS had two bodyguards who would drop him and exchange with two other officers who would take care of the home. In the rural homes, CSs have bodyguards. I ask myself: Who is at more risk? Is it a CS or an MP? A CS is appointed. So, he is not so much at risk. For an MP, you contest with several aspirants who at the end of the day, if they realise that you are tough for them in terms of competitive politics, they may want to kill you the way they wanted to kill Kibunguchy. I would request that this be considered for the welfare and the security of Members of Parliament.
We are also talking of facilities. We are at a risk of people speeding on us as we walk to Parliament and our offices. I do not know where your office is, Madam Speaker, but for those of us in Continental House, as you walk in, we have a crowd of people. These people speak all languages. Someone approaches you and says, “ Mheshimiwa, how are you?” He speaks my language. I have been monitoring this. After speaking to me in my language, Luhya, again when you follow him up, you find him speaking in Luo language. So, you wonder: where does this person fall? They are asking so much from us. They are also acting as spies on us.
We also request the Committee Chairperson to consider security of Members of Parliament, particularly when they are walking. I know those are public places but must they crowd there? Can security not find out why we have those crowds? Why are they crowding there from morning to evening? We have named some of them. They are known. We found them here in the 11th Parliament. They are still here. They are referred to as parliamentary staff. Some ladies around there are referred to as parliamentary staff because they are ever there from morning to evening, and their work is to pester Members of Parliament.
Finally, we have some offices that we regard as holy places. These are washrooms. Sometimes we get to some offices for persons to whom we are even senior. When it comes to the washrooms, they are taken care of. The environment is good. When you are there, you are free because this is a holy place. Get to our washrooms in Continental House, the situation is embarrassing. When you are there, it is a holy place. You find that sometimes there are crowds outside. So, as you walk in, you see people watching you. When you finish your business, sometimes you find that you are embarrassed with what is happening. So, you walk out. As you walk out, you find those people still standing there, looking at you.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): It depends on how you take it.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Why are you embarrassed?
You understand it is a holy place because of whatever goes on inside there. You will find that those people stand there as you walk in. They pretend that they are dressing up or something like that. So, you walk in and take one or two minutes. Some people take many minutes. When you walk out, you find the same people there, watching you. You keep on wondering who they are and what they do there. If the Chairperson of the Committee can consider those places, he should make them more holy for MPs. Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I support the Report.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Thank you. Hon. Members, I am sure all of you have read the Report and its relevance that has been presented by the Chairperson. Some of these issues are so personal. Maybe, we need to address them through
. I am sure the Chair is noting here the welfare of Members. I am sure they can speak The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
more when they are not in the Chamber. You know these HANSARD issues, the public, the media and everything. Chairperson, it is good to note this. Members really have some issues to put across. Hon. Member for Nyando.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. It is important to benchmark with other jurisdictions in a bid to learn what happens out there. It is only a concern to me that each time we leave this country to go and benchmark, we only tend to focus predominantly on developed nations. It would be my suggestion that we come up with a plebiscite system where we integrate both with what the current American President would call “a shit hole nation” with a developed nation. That is so that whatever we come up with is a hybrid system. Interestingly though, we tend to learn a lot but implement none. Based on the monies we pump into these foreign trips, whatever we learn out there must henceforth be executed in a way that will be beneficial to us as a Parliament and to the Republic of Kenya. Implementation of all lessons learnt out there should not only be infrastructural, but must also have a behavioural enterprise. I visited one of the developed nations. To my amazement, it was 2.00 a.m. in the morning when we were driving. On a red light with no vehicle on the road, the driver stopped until the lights went off. In Kenya, even when the red lights are on, drivers will never wait for a green light, much less 2.00 a.m. in the morning. They will just run through the red light. So, we must also embrace not only what we have seen to come and put in place here, but also equally change our mindset and try to inculcate what we see out there as a behavioural aspect. Kenyans are looking at us to provide leadership and direction in line with our constitutional mandate. Even though I have heard a lot of lamentation pertaining to the infrastructure we have within Parliament and within our offices, it is also important we take cognisance of our economic wellbeing. Our economy is struggling. It is not like that of the US. The US has states such as Washington DC. That State alone has a GDP of US$530 billion annually. That is just Washington DC. It is a very small segment of the United States of America. We still struggle to generate income to support our infrastructural development and recurrent expenditure. So, we are not going to bring back everything we have seen and implement it here so that we can live lavishly as a Parliament. We must realise that our economy is struggling. Whatever we put our hands on should be that which prospers and augments our economy so that it can move to levels that will hence percolate downwards and embrace the people who are suffering down there. About 55 per cent of our youth are jobless. Even the small percentage that has jobs is those that are under-employed. That means whatever they do is not in line with their skills and experiences. So, let us put more attention and focus on spurring our economy as opposed to creating our own welfare, lest we are judged very harshly by the people we represent. Let us put monies in wealth creation for all to enjoy and not in that which is only meant to massage our ego as a Parliament. There is a new animal in town called IFMIS. The wisdom behind the creation of IFMIS was not to subject civil servants and those in the entire trade chain such as suppliers and all people to jeopardy. It was only meant to curtail imperfections within the system. Each time we are confronted with issues on payments, including salaries, we are told IFMIS is still closed. It is as if this is a system that was created in Mars and is operated in Jupiter. These systems are domiciled here in Kenya. They are run by our own Government officials. Therefore, this should not be an excuse. If the Government is broke, they should approach us and say: “We are broke The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
this time. We are considering releasing monies at this point in time.” They should not say IFMIS is locked. What is this animal called IFMIS? So, the Government should make sure that we are transparent to each other even as we engage. You have heard here that those working for the PSC have not been paid since the month of July. Employees working for me in my constituency office have not been paid. The only reason we get when we chase these matters is that there is a problem with IFMIS. That cannot be true. It is akin to saying that the servers cannot be opened because people are still asleep in France. So, we must be very open to one another. Therefore, I decline the invitation to support the adoption of this Report. Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): That is a dissenting view. You do not support the Report. Hon. Member for Taveta, I know you sit in the Commission. I do not know whether some of the issues being raised are part of the benchmarking Report.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to that of my colleagues and more so, to congratulate Hon. Machogu and his team for a job well-done. They have shared the Report with the Commission. We have moved towards making sure that some of these things are realised. When you look at this Report, it is such a well done one. It flags out all the issues concerning Members’ and our staff welfare. We are willing. All willpower is there. We will put all our effort towards the direction of making sure these things are going to be realised. Thank you very much
Machogu and your group. The first and most important thing I want to just mention is that the Catering Fund Management Committee is going to be a reality. The regulations are ready. They should be tabled any time so that we can move to operationalise the Catering Fund and be able to manage it. That Fund is going to be managed along the lines of the mortgage and car loans. It will be with that kind of seriousness so that our Members can get maximum gains and value from the Fund. Why am I saying this? These are funds which come from Members. They have not been managed properly in the past. We are moving towards that direction. The other thing that I just need to mention is that in that Catering Fund, we are not only going to have the Chair of the Members’ Services and Facilities Committee chairing that particular fund, but we are also going to have two other commissioners so that the commission can take full responsibility and work with the Committee Chair and also the whips to make sure that those funds are properly utilised.
On the catering issue, we welcome the suggestion that some of those facilities can be outsourced and we can get somebody to run them. We are aware that catering is giving us services. The only thing I need to point out is this: We have staff who have been employed and we need to be sensitive to this issue. That particular department has had issues which we are looking into to make sure the people who are working there can give us maximum value for being staff of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) and for serving the people in those areas.
If we all put our heads to this Report in addition to the findings of the Commission itself on this issue, we are actually going to make sure that catering is going to be an issue where Members are not really going to complain, but enjoy their services. Some of the facilities are going to be outsourced and some will remain within the PSC. Now, there is a suggestion that the staff members who work in those areas need to go for refresher courses. We are working out on something that would allow them to go because you cannot allow all of them to go in one go. So, they have to go in bits and it is going to be worked out. So, we have asked the Secretary of the The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Commission to look at ways and means of seeing that they are able to go and train the people who work in the catering department especially when we are on recess, so that they can maximise on the time they are going to be there. They have said how much of refreshing they need and the Commission is ready for that and we should be able to move in that direction.
The other suggestion which was coming from Members’ Services and Facilities Committee was on the issue of getting managers to manage the different restaurants that we are going to run in this place, so that they can be run smoothly. Somebody would be a food and beverage manager, who will take proper responsibility for all the workers who work under them. That is one thing that as a Commission we have also looked into, and we think it is a step in the right direction. Without talking too much on that particular issue, soon we should be tabling the regulations for debate by Members, so that we can move on and make this a reality. The new block is a development that has been going on for so many years and we think in the next one year, it should be complete. We even had a sitting with the Secretary in the State Department for Public Works who is the lead consultant. We even had a sitting with the Cabinet Secretary, the Principal Secretary and we made a decision that whatever we do, this building must be utilised after one year. In other words, within the next 12 months the building must be ready and we have timelines on how things are going to be done so that the building can be completed. In fact, even on the budgetary allocation for the development, I want to thank the Budget and Appropriations Committee which has given us enough funding to facilitate the work in that building.
There is a provision for gym and offices for all our Members, especially the ones who have not been housed in the other buildings, and the ones who would be moved to that other side. Since we spend a lot of money on rent, we should be able to do a saving and that money will be used where Members are concerned.
The committee rooms which are here were meant for less than 15 people in the past. When I came in 16 years ago, a committee had only 11 Members and most of the times, not all the Members would be there. It was just enough for 11 Members. This House has had 349 Members and we went to 29 Members per committee. When we went to 29 members, we realised it was impossible. Those committee rooms would not be able to hold so many Members and it was counter-productive having so many Members. The numbers have then been reduced to 19. With just 19 Members, the room would be full. The committee room space that we are going to have in the new building is going to be more than adequate because there are many committee rooms there. That is why it is important for the building to be completed because it has taken too long.
Meanwhile, Members have been complaining about the gym facilities. Because of those complaints, the Commission has also moved on to see how we can improve on that service. But apart from improving on that service, because even the space is not adequate, we have then put aside some small facilitation for Members. We had done some facilitation at the Hill Park Hotel. Hill Park Hotel is under the medical scheme. The hotel is far from where most Members live and we have said there is some little facilitation for people to have membership elsewhere where they prefer, but it might not be covering the whole amount. Therefore, a Member will have to top-up if they really want to go to the top notch hotels because mostly the gyms would be in hotels.
On sanitation, this is a promise that we are giving. A lot is going on right now and we are going to make sure that the sanitation considering the numbers… The washrooms, especially the ones before the lounge, are carrying a very big workload and we need to improve them as The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
quickly as possible. That is because they are giving us a bad stench and a bad name and that is not good enough. So, something is…
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Hon. Commissioner, I do not know whether this is the right place for you to debate everything on the Report because you have told us you are going to bring us regulations to be debated in the House. However, I will add you one minute. But I was proposing we have a Kamukunji where Members will be told the developments that are arising in terms of their welfare.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, on the issue of security, we are just in the process of putting up a top notch security system in these premises, so that the whole square can be covered. In due course, people will be given more information. On facilitation for Members offices, we have made arrangements for people to get new furniture in this term so that constituency offices can have enough furniture.
I just needed to mention those few issues so that Members can appreciate what is going on and that we are taking this Report very seriously. It is a whole long list. I thank you.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Thank you, Commissioner and the Member for Taveta Constituency. I am sure your input and working together with the Chairperson of the Member’s Services and Facilities Committee is going to ensure that there is improvement of the welfare of Members. Member for Konoin, Hon. Leonard Brighton.
Thank you so much, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I support this Report on the improvement of services and facilities for Members. The Committee has done a very wonderful job. First, I would like to contribute on committee rooms. We require adequate furniture and fittings so as to accommodate Members, staff and even members of the public who attend committee meetings. There is also need to work on the audio services. Some committee rooms do not even have audio facilities like the ones we have here in the Chamber. Some committee rooms do not even have microphones, especially those in Continental and Protection houses. So, we require fitting of those facilities so that they can assist Members during committee sittings. Look at library services. We lack the necessary resource materials that would be useful to Members. We also lack enough space in the library at Continental House to accommodate readers and researchers. We also need to have selective dissemination of information in the library, so that when I go there, I am given the specific information that I require as a member of the Departmental Committee on Agriculture and Livestock. I should be served with information that relates to my line. A Member of Parliament dealing with energy should be served specifically with information that is in line with his or her committee. We require facilities in our constituency offices. They lack chairs, internet services and other things that are of utmost importance. Lack of office equipment has hampered effective service delivery by Members of Parliament. When you go to our gym at Continental House, it is not in good condition. The equipment there is not in good condition. There is no proper ventilation. We also need to look at the diet we are supposed to have given our various preferences. For example, if one is on a weight reduction programme, one needs to be advised on the diet that would help one reduce weight. With regard to weight issues, there are Members here who are underweight. I can name Members like Hon. Mohamed (Moha Jicho Pevu) and Babu Owino. They need advice on how to eat GMOs so that they can improve on their weight. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Other Members have challenges like diabetes, blood pressure among other lifestyle diseases. We require regular screening to be conducted for some of those lifestyle diseases so that Members can know their status. We work under pressure in the constituencies and even here in Parliament. We need regular check-ups for the lifestyle diseases. Members should be updated on a monthly basis on their committee and Chamber sitting allowances. I lost track. I do not even know what I have ever been paid. I do not know what I am supposed to be paid. I just receive whatever I receive and thank God for that. We require regular updates on our payslips so that we can track whatever we are being paid. With those few remarks, I support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Member for Sirisia.
Thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this chance to also contribute. We have been having challenges. I want to thank Hon. Machogu for bringing this Report. The PSC, during the 11th Parliament, did not do much. We are talking of the building being completed, but the Commission spent a lot of money buying many buildings behind this Parliament. Some of them are not in use. The Commission is still renting some facilities for Members of Parliament to use as offices and yet, it bought so many buildings which are idle. The new Commission has started on a very good note. As Parliament, we support them to push on and make sure that those buildings that were bought are used. Parliament cannot just dump money the way it has done and the facilities are not being used. Whoever decided to put these iPads here did not consider Members. We used to write. Now you cannot write properly and you cannot make notes. What we decided in the 11th Parliament was that Parliament was to buy iPads and provide them to Members so that, wherever you are, you can use it. This one here, you cannot use it when you are away at home. You have to come to Parliament to use it. I believe it has not been fitted with everything. It looks like a toy iPad. We still demand that the Commission provides iPads to Members to carry with them wherever they go. That way, even if you are out of the country, you can use it to see what is happening in Parliament. It is on record during the 11th Parliament that I poured black tea because Parliament did not have tea with milk. I do not know whether Parliament lacked money. Parliament did not even have water in the toilets. Parliament sometimes did not even have toilet papers in the toilets. We expect that, with the new Commission, much is going to be done. It is a pity that some Members who were in the Commission during the 11th Parliament are still there. It is a challenge because of what they used to do at that time. I hope they are not going to corrupt the new Commission. I can sincerely and boldly say that the Commission, during the 11th Parliament, was corrupt. Corruption in Parliament must stop because we do not expect the Commission to be corrupt. I support the Report and thank Hon. Machogu for bringing it. Members should be free to speak their mind so that we help the Commission to execute its mandate.
Thank you, I support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Very well. Let us have the Member for Ugunja, the Chairperson of Public Accounts Committee.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, looking at the time...
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Hon. Member, we have time. It is you to contribute and you have your 10 minutes. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Okay! Let me proceed. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I wish to start by appreciating the new impetus that has been infused in the working of this very key Committee.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Member for Ugunja, you can resume your seat a bit.
I want to clear this. The Hon. Member for Sirisia, you pronounced yourself to the House that the former commissioners were corrupt. It is important for you to withdraw that or you can substantiate for the sake of the HANSARD. Let us not use this House for politics.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I am not using this House for politics because Parliament or the Commission cannot elect me.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Order, Hon. Member. Can you substantiate?
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, you have told me to withdraw and apologise. I withdraw and apologise, but we need to be allowed to call a spade a spade.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Yes. You have withdrawn and apologised. If you have any issue, you know the way to present it. You can substantiate or table anything that has to do with that matter.
Thank you. Proceed Member for Ugunja.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I started by saying that this Committee has done exceedingly well. Looking at where we have come from as a House, the new Departmental Committee on Members’ Services and Facilities, under the able leadership of Hon. Machogu, is on the right track and needs to be supported to continue with the work. It must not be lost on us that the numbers in this House have grown exponentially from the Ninth Parliament to now the 12th Parliament. A lot of work has gone in, in terms of providing and expanding facilities to accommodate those growing numbers.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I wish to note that under the Constitution, it is the sole responsibility and mandate of the Parliamentary Service Commission to provide facilities to facilitate MPs in the conduct of their duties. I, therefore, take it that this Committee, by extension, is performing the task that is primarily that of the PSC, but on the side of Members. Therefore, it calls for very close collaboration and working relationships between this Committee headed by Hon. Machogu and the PSC headed by Hon. Speaker.
There must be seamless working relations with only one purpose: to ensure that at the end of the day, the House has got adequate, up to date relevant facilities that will enable the work of Members to go on effectively and efficiently for the common good of the citizenry. That is very important. So, at no one point should we have those two bodies working at cross purposes. If that happens, it shall have defeated the very purpose why those two bodies exist.
As you all know, House committees are a creation of the Standing Orders and by the same token, Standing Orders flow from the Constitution. So, those two bodies must complement one another. I am stressing that for a reason. We do not want a toothless committee of Members moving round and not producing results because they feel incapacitated.
I listened carefully when the Vice-Chairperson of PSC, Member for Taveta, was making her contribution. I was pleased to note that this new building has been provided with enough funds to enable its completion within a period of one year. That is to use her own words. So, I The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
pray that, for sure, the construction works in that building get concluded as soon as is practically possible. Now I speak at the Chair of PAC because we have had issues even in the previous audit report by the Auditor-General concerning the payment of works on that building. Now that there are indications that it is going to be completed, we can only hope that it remains so.
Thirdly, once the construction work on that building is complete, we expect that Members will get adequate facilities to enable them do their work more efficiently. But, as we say this, we must also recognise one unique fact: That this thing they are calling the Parliament Square is a fairly restricted and constricted environment. How I wish the planners would have thought of relocating this Parliament altogether from the Central Business District (CBD) to somewhere else. I have had an occasion to visit the Parliament of Malawi in Lilongwe. It is a masterpiece. I think it was built by the Chinese and it is outside the CBD. It is all square in a place similar to Karen or the Muthaiga of Nairobi and you find the environment is so conducive, including even on matters security.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, you will realise that securing a place such as this one in the middle of the CBD is not very easy. Security experts will tell you this. So, that is now water under the bridge. Maybe in future, we could think of relocating and turning this facility into something else. For the time being, let us make the best out of what we have. The Report that this Committee has produced is good and it is going to inform a lot of improvements. But even as we make these improvements, it is incumbent upon ourselves as Members and support staff that we use these facilities prudently, carefully and efficiently. This is because, at the end of the day, they remain facilities purchased or procured using public funds. Let us make prudent use of them as if they are items or facilities that we purchased using our own money in our homes. Where there is need for repairs or maintenance, let us do them on time before a lot of damage is done so that we can save taxpayers’ money. Again, it is my hope that once the facilities are improved and modernised in the manner that has been proposed by the Committee, the output will also be commensurate to the quality of facilities. The output here means legislation, budget-making and oversight. That must be visible. I do not have a way to measure this. Otherwise, we cannot continue to modernise facilities at taxpayers’ expense in vain. We must be able to show the value for money. What is the value for money in these improvements we are talking about, Hon, Machogu? Your Committee must ask itself that. What is the value for money that the public is going to derive from this modernisation? That is a challenge I throw not only to the Committee, but to all of us.
Finally, there is the issue of the remuneration or payment of staff. You know Members’ services and facilities include the staff that support Members. I have heard a lot of Members lament here that, as we speak, it has taken quite a while before some of the staff is paid. This is an issue that needs to be addressed even more seriously because there is no point in Parliament ensuring that Members of Parliament and members of staff who are on permanent and pensionable terms are being paid promptly and then leaving members of staff who are working in the constituency offices going for weeks and sometimes months without their pay. We need to understand what the problem is so that we can deal with it because it cannot be that there is no money for these other category of staff and yet, there is money for Members and other category of staff. Something needs to be done because it is not only against the law…
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Your time is over. I will give the Chairman of Public Accounts Committee just one minute. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for your indulgence. All the same, I support this Report. It is a good Report. Let us have it implemented so that we can see the benefits that would accrue from its implementation in the fullness of time.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): I wanted you to go on record whether you are supporting or not. Next is the Member for Makueni, Hon. Maanzo Kitonga.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this very important issue. I support the Committee. This time round, the Committee has done a very good job. We need to appreciate a few things. From the history we get from Members who have been here for many years - like 25 or 30 years and they have come back - they say in the earlier days, Parliament was really a miserable place and over the years, terms and services and even the facilities have improved. You can see there is this new Chamber. It was refurbished in the 10th Parliament. During the 11th Parliament, the other construction for the offices began. I appreciate that there has been steady improvement at all material times. Even the acquisition of the Parliament Square, though it may have been very expensive initially, may pay with years. We do not really have to copy what the rest are doing because you need a central place where, when Kenyans want to come and see their representatives, they can access them.
The issue of non-payment of staff countrywide is really a pain. You know Parliament is one of the units of a Government out of the three arms which are the Executive, Parliament and the Judiciary. If we are paid promptly and the labour laws are followed,… We as the top institution are the first ones to abuse the labour laws of the country. It is a matter that the administration must look at keenly and move fast and make sure that facilitation for the staff at the constituencies is done at a good time. Otherwise, we are forced as Members to go to our pockets to sustain our own employees who now find it very difficult to work for us. You know a Member of Parliament is elected to do representation. Those are the members of staff who, first and foremost, we represent. Secondly, they come from our constituencies and thirdly, they are based there and they update us on a daily basis as to what is happening. We relay the information to Parliament when we are here and we are able to act on matters. We are able to send them around and if they are not paid… Those who pay rent are frustrated because they do not pay in good time and they have to borrow money from their bosses or elsewhere. It is really a matter that we must look into. That particular office has had a lot of complaints in the past and I believe as part of the whole welfare of Members, we have to make sure that, that particular department is facilitated in good time, so that we can facilitate our staff and account for what has been used. That way, we can be able to serve Kenyans better.
I have heard Members talk about health and diet. I believe so far the people who serve us have done a very good job. I believe the standards are quite reasonable. It is like our families. If you do not live better at your home, you do not expect to come and live better here. These are Kenyans we represent. Most of those employees have families. In fact, they also have very unfair work terms. I am happy to learn that, after a lot of lobbying by some of our Members, we have made their terms better. They should even be made better and given opportunity to learn. I am sure they are headed by very qualified chefs. I have found the menu quite good so far although there is room for improvement, so that we can consume food which is healthy in terms of the fat, diet and the nutrition. We should avoid diseases with are associated with diet. In fact, diet is everything when it comes to health. However, that can be worked on internally and I believe The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
members of staff there can learn. They should continuously be sponsored to go and be trained so that they can be better. Their welfare should also be looked into because they are the ones who take care of our welfare. Otherwise, I want to say that a good job has been done. We now need to implement this Report and I believe if we work together as a House, we can do better. Finally, we should have a section to educate some of the new Members on the decorum of the House. Although we went through some training, it seems some of the young ones have not yet learnt. This is because if you bring Parliament into disrepute, you bring it upon yourself and fellow Members. It is absurd to see Members throw nasty words at each other and, as Members, we need each other at all material times. When a Member is bereaved or has a problem, we take care of each other. So, there should be no point whereby as elected Members, we start tearing into each other because it is very sensitive as a politician to lose your name. It means that a particular Member of Parliament is working on your reputation even to your electorate. I think it is unfair because it does not help the two Members or the image of the House. We need to come up with a programme whereby the new Members can learn so that we can work as a team and support each other. I thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me the opportunity.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Next is the Member for Lugari. You can take a few minutes.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. Because of time, I will contribute for two minutes. I also rise to support this Report on the improvement of services and facilities for Members in Parliament. There are three arms of Government; namely, the Judiciary, the Executive and the Legislature. The Judiciary has a very strong facility in terms of training for its staff and upgrading human resource. There is the Kenya School of Law where they hold regular courses. The Executive has Government schools. There is one in Nairobi and another one in Kwale where they hold regular seminars on how to upgrade and improve services in the Executive. Looking at Parliament, we budgeted for some money towards the establishment of an institution to assist us in training our staff. Up to now, Parliament is not running the way it is supposed to be compared to the Judiciary and the Executive. We are lagging behind. That is why when a good report such as this one comes to Parliament, we have to support it to improve the human resource capacity of this Assembly. There is the issue that Hon. Maanzo has spoken about. You cannot take three months to pay your staff at the constituency level. That is against the International Labour Dispute Resolutions. We end up going to our pockets to support our parliamentary staff at the constituency level. Those people should be paid on a monthly basis the way Members of Parliament are. Lastly, I congratulate the Parliamentary Service Commission for having done a good job - although it is not in this Report - on the issue of mileage to ensure our colleagues who come from Nairobi and Nyeri also equally benefit like those of us who come from far. I support the Report.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Thank you, Member for Lugari. Let us have the Chairperson to reply.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I would like to donate at least one minute each to Madam and to my brother. After that, I can make a comment or two. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Are you donating two minutes each?
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Let us start with Hon. Wachira Mukami.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I rise to support this Report on the improvement of services and facilities for Members of Parliament. I congratulate the Committee. It has done a good job. I was concerned when I joined Parliament and went to the bathrooms and washrooms. You cannot imagine what is there, especially for ladies. In the restaurant, we request for better food. We are a mixed group. There are young and old people. We need to have kienyeji food. That will help us to continue serving our people. I want to talk about our staff salaries. It is true we are really suffering because every time, we have to look for money to pay our staff. You can imagine that we incur bills in our offices. Like in Nyeri, I have to pay the water bill for my office. I have just received a message that we need to pay before we are thrown out. The Committee has done a good job. We will support you.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Let us have Hon. Nzambia Kithua, Member for Kilome.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I appreciate this opportunity granted to me to support the Report by Hon. Machogu about Members’ facilities and services. I would like to encourage and pray that the Chairman continues with that spirit. When we came to Parliament, the Members were not enjoying the facilities as expected. After complaints from the Members, the Committee has really tried to push for the betterment of the facilities. I can recommend that we have seen some changes even in the offices. Some of the offices had no computers and had worn out chairs, but now they have been replaced. Even the dining facilities have been improved. The issue of salaries for the staff is very painful because of the delays that have been experienced. It should be improved with time. Lastly, Members have been complaining about their sitting allowances and how they are paid. It is good to come up with a well-structured plan so that you can know at the end of the month that you were present for several sittings and you have been paid for them. We will support the Chair even through the PSC to ensure Members are satisfied as they discharge their duties.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Through the PSC. I know you are a Member of the Chairman’s Committee. Chairman, you are assured of being prayed for and supported by the Member for Kilome. Chairperson, you have the remaining minutes to reply.
Thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I want to assure the Members that I have captured all the comments, views and concerns that they have made. I want to give them the assurance that my Committee works very closely with the Speaker, who is the Chairman of the PSC, the Vice-Chairperson who was here, all the other Members of the Commission and the two Speakers of Parliament. I would like to thank the Clerk of the National Assembly because each and every time we discuss, he has cooperated very well - including the Clerk of the Senate. When we raise issues, he is also able to respond and have them implemented. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
There are few concerns I would like to comment on. First is on payment of parliamentary staff. As a Committee, we are also very concerned because it is not only the payment to the employees which is a matter of concern, but when the statutory deductions which are to be paid on a monthly basis such as Pay As You Earn (PAYE), the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), are not made on time, they attract penalties. I discussed the matter with the department of finance yesterday. I am yet to discuss it with the Chairperson of PSC so that we get a durable and permanent solution to this particular problem. They have been saying that it is the Exchequer issues which delay. We have to get a solution and a way forward. Secondly, Members will bear with us. I know the offices in Continental House are not as good, but we will work tirelessly, particularly on the cleaning aspect, so that Members can enjoy a clean environment. Last month in July, the Commission made an undertaking to us that the building will be complete in one year - that is by July next year. As a Committee, we gave them slightly more time up to December so that by January 2020, Members can enjoy the better offices in the new building now that adequate funds are available. Finally, I want to assure you that we are working on the gym and also improving the quality of food. That is one other aspect that has been giving us problems. We are putting measures in place to ensure that the quality of food that we get in our restaurants is improved in the shortest time possible. I have captured all the other aspects that Members have highlighted here. It will be my responsibility and that of the Committee to ensure that we act. The chairpersons and Members in this House are cooperative. So, I have no doubt that the recommendations that we have made here, which will be adopted in the House, will be implemented 100 per cent by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC).
With those few remarks, I thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Go on record that you beg to reply.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I beg to reply.
(Hon. (Ms.) Jessica Mbalu): Hon. Members, I will not put the Question to the Report. I order the Question to be put at the next Sitting at the most appropriate time. Hon. Members, the time being 7.00 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Thursday, 16th August 2018, at 2.30 p.m. I thank you all.
The House rose at 7.00 p.m.
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