Order, Hon. Senators! Could we confirm if we have a quorum?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have a quorum.
Okay. Let us proceed.
Senate Majority Leader?
(Sen. (Prof.) Kindiki): Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move the following Motion:- THAT, pursuant to Standing Order Nos. 175, 177 & 178, the Senate approves the following Senators nominated by the Rules and Business Committee to be Members of the respective committees as indicated below: STANDING COMMITTEE ON ENERGY, ROADS AND TRANSPORT Sen. David Musila to replace Sen. Johnson Muthama SESSIONAL COMMITTEE ON DELEGATED LEGISLATION Sen. (Dr.) Boni Khalwale to replace Sen. David Musila SESSIONAL COMMITTEE ON IMPLEMENTATION Sen. Johnson Muthama to replace Sen. Boy Juma Boy The electronic version of the Senate Hansard Report is for information purposes only. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor, Senate.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
What is it, Sen. (Dr.) Machage?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Senate Majority Leader does not seem to know the reason why these changes are being made. Would I be in order to demand that he actually tells us why these changes are being made?
Senate Majority Leader?
(Sen. (Prof.) Kindiki: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I had not finished making my remarks, but I had said that many of these requests came from the Minority side. There are certain internal things that have taken place there, including the loss of one of the Senators and, therefore, there could be changes which do not replace that Senator here because, this matter came to the Rules and Business Committee of this House and the explanation given was that, for example, there are certain temporary replacements which were done and which, of course, do not require the full House to debate and approve, with the permission of the Speaker. If that has taken place, as I am aware, then it means that internal balancing in the Committees has to be relooked at afresh if certain people have been told, for example, to take up provisionally the positions that were held in Committees by the late Sen. Mutula Kilonzo, et cetera . So, I think there is a valid argument here and that was explained in the Rules and Business Committee to its satisfaction. Therefore, as I have said, it is upon this House to query further. But as the Senate Majority Leader, my business here is to represent this request as approved by the Rules and Business Committee; as an agent of the Rules and Business Committee and not as an agent of the political parties from which the membership are drawn. Mr. Speaker, Sir, with those few remarks, I beg to move this Motion and request Sen. Dan Mwazo to second it.
Sen. Sang. The electronic version of the Senate Hansard Report is for information purposes only. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor, Senate.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I arise to support the Motion; one, to congratulate Sen. (Dr.) Khalwale, a Member of this House that we de-whipped from our team. We want to congratulate him from the Majority side for having found space in one of the Committees, but also to sympathize with Sen. Boy Juma Boy, who seemingly has been de-whipped, and we have not been given reasons why he is being replaced in the Committee on Implementation. But, apparently, the Minority side seems to be learning quite fast from ourselves and they are already executing de-whipping as we had done before. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I arise to support the Motion and congratulate the Senators who are getting into some of these other new Committees. But I think, more importantly, if you look at the Committee on Delegated Legislation and the Committee on Implementation, there is a lot of work to be done in this House. We have moved a number of Motions, we have passed a lot of Motions, but we need to see the Committee on Implementation following up some of the decisions and resolutions that this House is making and ensuring that we are able to follow them to their logical conclusion and that Kenyans are able to benefit from the decisions that this House is making.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I thought it was important for me to stand just to clarify one of the issues that was raised by Sen. Sang. Mr. Speaker, Sir, this list originated from the Minority Whip and it was considered very carefully. Sen. Boy Juma Boy has been given a position in the Committee of Education in an acting capacity, a position that was occupied by the late Sen. Mutula Kilonzo. So, fairly and with great consideration, this list was considered and worked on. Every Committee member has been taken care of. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I have one more clarification, Mr. Speaker, Sir. The nomination of Sen. Boy Juma Boy in an acting capacity to the Committee on Education did not require to be approved by this House.
Order, Senators! Seeing that there are no more contributions, I, therefore, wish to put the question. Of course, this is not a matter affecting counties; so every Senator has a vote.
Order, Senators! Before I proceed to the next Order, I have two Communications from the Chair.
The first Communication is just a reminder that tomorrow morning, we will have the National Prayer Breakfast Meeting for Parliament and the entire leadership of the country. As our usual tradition, this is an activity we The electronic version of the Senate Hansard Report is for information purposes only. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor, Senate.
Order, hon. Senators! On Order No.9, the Majority and Minority sides have petitioned the Chair that the Motions by Sen. (Dr.) Zani and Sen. (Dr.) Machage are awaiting voting. The proposal which is agreeable to the Chair is that we proceed with Order No.11 by Sen. Musila. All the other Motions, including Sen. Musila’s, if it is concluded, we can take a vote on them next week on Wednesday afternoon. It is important for hon. Senators to realise that the Chair has put them on notice. You have one week to mobilize so that on Wednesday afternoon we list all these Motions for voting. If this is agreeable with the House, we will now proceed with Sen. Musila’s Motion.
Agreed! Yes! The electronic version of the Senate Hansard Report is for information purposes only. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor, Senate.
(Hon. Ethuro) In that case, proceed, Sen. Musila. PROVISION OF MOBILE TELEPHONE SERVICES IN MARGINALIZED AREAS
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move the following Motion that is directed to the Department of Information, Communication and Technology:- THAT, aware that mobile telephone communication plays a major role in the social and economic development of any nation; acknowledging the positive role mobile telephone providers have played in providing communication and other related benefits to our country; noting with concern, however, that despite these efforts, mobile telephone penetration in Kenya still remains at less than 50 per cent which is a major constraint to development particularly in the rural areas; the Senate urges the National Government to provide a policy framework of partnership with private telephone network providers, to provide mobile telephone services to hitherto neglected parts of the country, and further urges all County Governments to provide budgets to supplement mobile telephone providers to develop mobile telephone networks in areas deemed to be not economically viable with a view to ensuring that 100 per cent mobile telephone penetration is attained in Kenya by the year 2017. Mr. Speaker, Sir, first, I wish to state that in this Motion I have acknowledged the positive role that has been played by the presence of mobile telephone communication in the Republic. I want to remind my colleagues that about 15 years ago, a mobile phone was a luxury. There were days when only a selected few, mainly politically-correct individuals, were allowed to access mobile phone services. When they did so, they paid very heavily. But as we progressed, thanks to liberal government policies and the entry of more mobile telephone services providers, competition brought in a lot of facilities and fixed stations were brought to many places. I also want to acknowledge that Kenya has advanced in mobile telephone communication. It is one of the leaders in this area particularly when it comes to money transfer. These are some of the benefits that mobile telephone services have provided to this country. Mr. Speaker, Sir, having said that, I have gone round some counties and noted that in a lot of them, it is very difficult to communicate. It is not unusual to find people boarding a matatu to go and make a telephone call. This may seem to be a fairy tale particularly to those people who live in cities. But I have witnessed this in my county of Kitui and through a documentary in one of the television stations where I saw people climb hills to go and make telephone calls. I have even been told that people climb trees to make telephone calls. Yesterday, I talked to one hon. Senator who told me that he sometimes climbs on top of his Land Rover to make a call. So, this is not something that is not happening. We have to understand that mobile telephone technology is very important. The revolution that we got in terms of development in this country is as a result of the gadget called the mobile phone. People are able to communicate and talk to their families all over the country. Instead of people coming all the way from the rural areas to come and The electronic version of the Senate Hansard Report is for information purposes only. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor, Senate.
We do not have the document.
Sorry, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I think some hon. Senators did not get the copy. However, I have some available here. I tried to enlist the support of the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), which is the authority on communication. I was shocked that the CCK does not have statistics of telephone services in various areas up to date. The list they gave me was that of 2009. I urge my colleagues to look at these statistics knowing that they are based on the 2009 census report. Looking at this report casually, one finds that in Nairobi, for example, with 3.1 million residents, only 2.2 million have mobile telephones. That is about 70 per cent of the population in Nairobi. If you check the rest of the list, you will also find that Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru, Machakos, Migori and Mombasa counties have what we could call above 50 per cent mobile telephone ownership by residents. However, Samburu, Turkana, Mandera, Wajir, Tana River, West Pokot and Meru counties – I doubt the statistics for Meru County. I even argued with the CCK officials because with Trans Nzoia and Meru counties, there is a problem although they insisted those are their figures but forget about those two counties. Let us concentrate on Samburu, Turkana, Mandera, Wajir, Tana River and West Pokot counties. I do not know why they did not include Kitui County in that list. These areas have less telephone penetration of roughly 3 per cent compared to Nairobi County with 70 per cent. We need to have a policy and carry the whole nation along as far as communication is concerned. Communication is very vital. I am persuaded to urge the National Government, through the Senate, to have a policy framework to make companies that make profits on telephone communication to re-invest money, directing it to the remote rural areas that are not economically viable. We need to carry these areas The electronic version of the Senate Hansard Report is for information purposes only. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor, Senate.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
What is it, Sen. Ndiema?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, having looked at the figures, I wish to inform the Mover that the figure indicated for Trans Nzoia County is grossly off the target. We are not satisfied with the situation. The figure is too low to be true.
Order, Sen. Ndiema! The Mover made the same observation, that he does not trust the figures given for Trans Nzoia and Meru counties.
Even the other figures are wrong!
But, Mr. Speaker, Sir---
Order, hon. Senators! Order, Sen. Ndiema! You cannot engage the Chair in a debate. I was to respond to your point of order, but I have dismissed it. Proceed, Sen. Musila.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I thank you. I want to also tell Sen. Ndiema, who was my very able District Commissioner (DC), when I was a Provincial Commissioner (PC), to also be listening very carefully. I said from the outset that these figures were not necessarily correct. Therefore, let us treat them as a guide. But the most important thing is that I had invited my fellow hon. Senators to improve this Motion as far as they can because the overall idea is to improve telephone communication for the betterment of our people, so that everybody can communicate. We need to ensure that people do not have to ride matatus, climb trees, hills or even Land Rovers to make telephone calls. We need to improve the lives of our people. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move.
Who is seconding?
The Senate Minority Leader will second the Motion.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
What is it, Sen. (Dr.) Khalwale?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, now that the Mover has moved the Motion, I am rising on a point of order to seek for further clarification. When I look at this Motion, we are urging county governments to craft budgets for purposes of supplementing private telephony. I need further direction from the Chair because it is the Chair who allowed the Motion to be on the Order Paper. We know that private companies The electronic version of the Senate Hansard Report is for information purposes only. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor, Senate.
Order, hon. Senators! Sen. (Dr.) Khalwale will be heard. Proceed, Sen. (Dr.) Khalwale.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like you to give this direction in view of the fact that basically what we will be asking for is that we purport to direct public funds to go and supplement private ventures. This has never been heard of. If anything, for this Motion to be permissible, then the furthest it can go is to stop while asking the national government to create a framework. It is not as simple as that. Therefore, in view, we would be debating a Motion which is almost unconstitutional because the Constitution does not permit public funds to be used to fund private ventures. I beg for your direction.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. As much as Sen. (Dr.) Khalwale has experience in the House, Sen. Musila made it very clear that he invites Senators to make amendments on this Motion. That will come during the debate. So, Senators can bring in amendments before it is passed. Therefore, to start saying that it should be debated or not to be allowed to go on, is not in order. Is he in order when he is very much aware that amendments can be brought in during the debate of this Motion?
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Is the Senator for Kakamega in order to mislead this House that the principle of public/private partnership does not work in our counties? Is he in order?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, can I proceed?
Order, Senators! Of course, you cannot. How do you proceed when three Senators have made interventions which require the attention of the Chair? Let me dispose of the matter, then you will definitely proceed. I am glad Sen. Sang has actually come to the aid of the Chair. The question Sen. (Dr.) Khalwale was asking is a fundamental one that when the Chair approves Motions to come before the House, constitutional requirements must be met. I was wondering whether this particular one, especially the aspect where county governments have to provide budgets to facilitate this process is necessary. Sen. (Dr.) Khalwale is a great debater and he knows it. This Motion is not describing specifics. So, for now those arrangements can work. On one hand, it talks about a policy framework which can take that into account and the second one is just for county governments to create an enabling environment by facilitating. How they facilitate and the terms and conditions of that facilitation will be entered into the contract by the parties through what Sen. Sang has proposed, that is, the public/private partnership which is a policy adopted by this country. So, that is how it is. I do not think that is sufficient ground for you to amend the Motion. The electronic version of the Senate Hansard Report is for information purposes only. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor, Senate.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, thank you for according me the privilege to second Sen. Musila’s Motion. I will start where Sen. (Dr.) Khalwale ended. To rest his anxiety, the Motion does not obligate every county to put a budget line towards this venture. It only urges them to do so. Secondly, it does not even say that we should take a certain percentage of the budget to put to the telephony. Thirdly, county governments can actually make a contribution by just providing sites for erecting masts that will make it easier for the telephone companies to put up facilities to assist wananchi. I think the importance of this Motion need not to be overstated. It is very critical. If you look at the history of mobile telephony in this country, in 1991 when yours truly bought his first mobile phone, it cost me Kshs450,000 and it had only a range of Nairobi, Limuru, Nairobi, Nairobi to the airport, Nairobi to Kikuyu and Nairobi to Githurai. Right now, the country has made major strides in mobile telephony. One point that Sen. Musila did not mention is the critical role I have learnt of late, in the use of mobile telephony is the war against crime. I noted recently when there was a security challenge in my own county, it is the availability of mobile phone that helped the population to track down criminals. When they attack one village and they run in a particular direction, people call each other and inform them of the direction they are going. So, the people were able to stop the menace. That is a very positive indicator. More importantly, communication is key to many things. Recently, I went to talk to women traders in my constituency and one lady told me how her mobile phone helped her. She said that in the morning people come to buy beans. So, she uses her phone to ask the price of a bag of beans in Nakuru, Eldoret and Nairobi. It costs her about Kshs3 and on the basis of that phone call she is able to gauge the price of her commodity on a day to day basis. Even stock traders are doing the same thing. Mr. Speaker, Sir, look at the money transfers, banks can no longer laugh all the way to their profits because of M-Pesa. M-Pesa is transacting more money on a daily basis than small banks. It is an innovation that even the United Nations General Assembly acknowledged Kenya and gave Safaricom an award. Today, the complaining Senator of Kakamega sitting where he is can send Kshs200 to his bull-fighting agents in Ikolomani and they can have money to do whatever they want. Those are the benefits of mobile telephones. Remember those old days of “over over”. When I used to be a young lawyer practicing law up to Mandera, Marsabit, Modogashe, Habaswein and other areas, when you arrive in Mandera and you want to speak to your office in Nairobi, they book for a call at 8.00 a.m. and by 3.00 p.m. it has not gone through, you will still be waiting and maybe it was a quick communication. I am sure I am preaching to the converted because the same has happened to your area and many other areas. “Over over” Over Over” but it never goes through. Today, you just pick your phone and you are able to communicate. As a Senate, which is the defender of the interest of the counties, we should be in the forefront of championing the interests of people in our counties to access these goodies of modernity to make it easy for Senators not to necessarily go to the counties to be able to communicate with their constituents. All you need is have an open line and your The electronic version of the Senate Hansard Report is for information purposes only. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor, Senate.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
What is it, Senator for Vihiga?
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. You heard the Senator for Bungoma, my good brother, Sen. Wetangula, saying that Yu is owned by the Government. I just want to make that correction and even if he says it is Orange, the majority shareholding in Orange Company is not the Government. The Government has very minimal shareholding.
Senator for Vihiga, you should have asserted your authority as the former Assistant Minister for Information and Communication.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in fact, I was going to make that correction myself because I know that it is Orange that has Government connection. That is the former Telkom (K). Even if the Orange group have substantial shares in Telkom (K), the infrastructure of post offices are still all over. If you go to Lodwar, you will find a post office building. When you go to Mandera, Bungoma or Siaya, you will find them there. These can be a bedrock and foundation of part of this infrastructure. In fact, this Senate should start thinking of a legislation that takes some of these critical assets that are wasting away and puts them in the hands of county governments. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the defunct Kenya Farmers Association (KFA) and all those very important assets that were spread all over the country have been left to go to waste. The National Produce and Cereals Board (NCPB) is no longer functioning. Where you have the NCPB silos, you can pass them on to the county governments and they can use them. So, I want to urge that we should not unduly worry about the phrase “provide budgets to supplement mobile telephones”, because it is simply an encouragement. It is not an obligation, it is not mandatory and it does not even say what quantum of budget you should put on this. With those few remarks, I beg to second this all important Motion and I think it is bound to make a big change in the counties.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to make my remarks on this Motion. As much as I want to appreciate the fact the Sen. The electronic version of the Senate Hansard Report is for information purposes only. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor, Senate.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. While appreciating the information that Sen. Khaniri is giving us, the year 2008 is a long time. Is he in order to mislead this Senate that a Fund exists yet no amount of money has ever been given so that there is no need for this Motion because there is a law in place?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I was coming to that. I know it took a while for the Fund to be up and operational and before I walked into the Chamber today, I had a chat with the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ndemo, and he informed me that the Board was eventually appointed and I think the Fund is operational from the last financial year. It took like four years for the Fund to be up and about because of too many Government bureaucracies and logistics. The point I am trying to make is that there exists a law to push this telephony companies or the service providers to set aside some funds to ensure that the disadvantaged areas are also taken care of. Therefore, what we should be pushing for is probably---
Sen. Khaniri, I thought if you look at the Motion in terms of a policy framework and that already the Fund existed to provide for the funding, so then the Motion is actually carrying forward what you had already established.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is a matter that has been legislated on and it is now an Act. Why should we come up with a Motion? Most fundamentally, the reason I oppose this Motion vehemently is the last bit of the Motion that suggests that we urge all county governments to provide budgets to supplement. Development of communication infrastructure is a very expensive affair. I was talking to the Permanent Secretary as I said, and he informed me that for the entire country to be covered by mobile telephony, The electronic version of the Senate Hansard Report is for information purposes only. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor, Senate.
On a point of information, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish to inform the distinguished Senator for Vihiga, who is my neighbor, that according to the Fourth Schedule of the new Constitution, ICT is a function of the national Government and, therefore, if we proceed on urging the county governments to provide budgets for it, it is actually unconstitutional.
On a point of information, Mr. Speaker, Sir. `
Mr. Speaker, Sir, let me digest the good information that I have been given. First, I will allow the Senator for Machakos to inform me later. I want to say that I agree with him fully and I want to thank him for that information. Maybe another area that we should look at very seriously is also coming up with legislation to push the service providers to share infrastructure. As it is now, companies with more infrastructure like Safaricom, are using the infrastructure as a competitive edge. Therefore, if there was a law to push for these companies to share infrastructure, I am sure many areas would be covered by many networks. It is also going to help in our environment because we also do not want to see masts or base stations mushrooming everywhere in the city or in our villages. Mr. Speaker, Sir, lastly, I want to state that another reason why some areas are not covered, it is not just because of lack of the network or the base stations, it is because of lack of electricity. I think we should also be urging Kenya Power Company, in places where it is not viable to take the main grid line, to develop solar energy so that the mobile companies can use these solar energy to put up their base stations so that the people of those---
On a point of information, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, let me take that information from---
Order, Senators! Sen. Khaniri, just because you are on the Floor, it does not make you assume all the powers of the Speaker. I will allow Sen. Ong’era to raise her point of order.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I am extremely confused. Is the hon. Senator for Vihiga supporting the Motion or opposing it?
Order! Sen. Khaniri, you do not need to respond. If she had been listening to your words, you even said you oppose vehemently.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Is the hon. Senator in order to say that part of the reason why mobile telephony has not got to all parts of this country is because we have not extended solar electric power when he is very well aware that we have invested so much money and we have reached all these constituencies either with grid or off grid electricity and where we have not, already there are plans to do so in those constituencies? The electronic version of the Senate Hansard Report is for information purposes only. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor, Senate.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, to respond to the point of order by Sen. Ong’era- --
Order, Sen. Khaniri! I said you do not respond to that one.
Thank you. We appreciate the good work the Senator did when he was in the Ministry of Energy and there were so many areas that were covered but I think he knows that not the entire country is covered. Therefore, I oppose this Motion.
Hon. Senators, before I call the next contributor, I want to introduce the second team of the delegation from Laikipia County Assembly and I hope you recognize that the Senator for Laikipia is also in the House. As I said earlier, when I call each Member, I request you to stand and be acknowledged by the hon. Senators. The hon. Beth Waithera The hon. Peter Thome The hon. Paul Leshuel The hon. Michael Kinyua The hon. Mary Ngima Wanjau The delegation is also accompanied by the following staff; Mr. Jasper Muturi, Clerk of the County Assembly; Ms. Anne Wanjiru, Hansard Editor; and, Ms. Agnes Muthomi Ndwiga, Clerk Assistant.
(Sen. (Prof.) Kindiki: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I rise to support this Motion. I want to take this opportunity to thank Sen. David Musila who is my neighbour. Kitui County and Tharaka-Nithi counties are neighbours. Some of the things, if not all of them, that he has spoken about are situations that I am familiar with. These are the difficulties that some of the areas in this country are facing in terms of accessing mobile telephone network. This is a very important Motion to this Senate, despite the strenuous effort by my brother, the Senator for Vihiga, to project that with regard to the Act of 2008, this Senate should not be concerned about the equalization of our country in terms of mobile telephony network. If there is a role that this Senate must keep on reminding itself about, it is the role of ensuring that the country is equal. That is why it is “the Senate”. That is why some of these people who are arguing about what Senate is doing and its role have missed the point by a wide margin. Our business is not to compete with other organs of governance or other legislative organs in all the agenda. Our business is simple. It is to make sure that progressively our country can access similar levels of development. To me, that is what will basically make this country stable. The other worry I hear coming from some of the contributors who have stood here, especially my brother, the bull fighter who has been reminded that he can use mobile telephony to organize his bull fights, is that the country is moving towards partnership between the Government and the private sector. There is nothing secret and The electronic version of the Senate Hansard Report is for information purposes only. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor, Senate.
Order, Sen. (Prof.) Kindiki. I think you are better placed dealing with issues that concern you and your counterparts as the Senate Majority Leader. In that field, we moved away from Adam Smith a long time ago.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, nevertheless, the point I was making is that we need new ideas that can make us solve our problems faster. Other than that, I would like to thank my brother, the Senate Minority Leader for bringing out some of the benefits of mobile telephone networks in some of our remote parts of this country, the economic benefits and the security benefits which are important for fighting crime. Some of these areas are difficult to police and, perhaps, the solution to insecurity problem lies in this Motion being implemented. There are even social benefits where constituents who are here can be in touch with their constituents without necessarily taking a flight, which is very expensive, at the end of every week. For me, this is an extremely important Motion. I am not persuaded that there are any inherent dangers of the public-private partnership. The only thing that I want to mention which was alluded to by my learned Senior Moses Wetangula – I am junior in this House – is the critical issue he mentioned about the transfer of assets. There are very many assets which are lying out there idle. There are huge infrastructures of certain corporations that are no longer viable or vibrant. I think within the law and within the transfer of powers and functions under the Intergovernmental Relations Law, there are ways in which some of these assets can be transferred to county governments as a way of empowering them to discharge their functions and powers. I very vehemently, in using the words of Sen. Khaniri, support this Motion.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Indeed, I would like to thank the distinguished Senator from Kitui for this very innovative Motion. The sensitivity of the point of order that I raised at the beginning compels me to oppose this Motion until my mind is crystal clear on the thought of public funds. The electronic version of the Senate Hansard Report is for information purposes only. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor, Senate.
But he was re-elected!
President Obama was elected for different reasons. With all due respect, Sen. David Musila, I know you know these things. He was not elected because of his management of public funds. This experience in the US, where the President almost was threatened with impeachment because he was being seen to be playing with public funds is an experience that we could draw from and say, maybe for the time being, we could limit this to the Government creating the framework the way the distinguished Senator has put it in the first part of his Motion, the business of committing funds to hold on. How do you think the headlines would be, distinguished Senator? That this Senate is now asking that public funds be given to Safaricom which makes billions of shillings by way of profits so that as we give it this supplement, we affect essential issues. The electronic version of the Senate Hansard Report is for information purposes only. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor, Senate.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Is it in order for hon. Dr. Boni Khalwale whose only business beyond being a Senator that we know of is bull fighting, to stand here and say what he has said about me?
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Indeed, hon. Wetangula is my elder brother and knows me better than that. He knows that besides bull fighting, I also sell at a very high cost my intellectual property; namely, my surgical skills and capacity to make prescriptions. I sell them and---
Order, Senator Dr. Khalwale! Both of you cannot use the Floor of the House to market your wares. Stick to the provisions of the Motion.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is for those very many reasons that however innovative this Motion is that we should hold our horses and not be seen to be asking an economist to discharge VAT on bread, githeri, Ugali or bushuma, to be asked to take money to blue chip companies that declare profits in tens of billions. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to oppose.
Sen. (Prof.) Anyang’-Nyong’o!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I appreciate all the points that have been raised regarding this Motion, both for and against. This is because I can understand the point of view from which they are coming, but I do appreciate the spirit of the Motion. I think that the spirit of the Motion is that the Government should provide a policy framework of partnership with private telephone network providers, so as to make telephony – especially mobile telephony – more accessible to the people. I think that this is the spirit of the Motion. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do agree that the Motion went a little bit too far to ask county governments to provide budgets for this mobile telephony. As one of the Senators has pointed out, Information Communication Technology (ICT) is in the province of the national Government. But apart from that, telephony is part of infrastructure. In our context of underdevelopment, this infrastructure must go at a national level to benefit from the economies of scale. Yes, you may ask a telephone company to set up a mobile network in one county. However, the result of that is that it is likely to be very expensive to be a subscriber because the market in the county may be too small for the company to make reasonable profit. So, he may set up mobile telephony, but must look very carefully at the economies of scale in doing a thing like that at the county level. So, it makes more sense to envisage mobile telephony and, indeed, setting up an infrastructure for telephony at a national or even regional level. One should read the history of the Bell Company in The electronic version of the Senate Hansard Report is for information purposes only. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor, Senate.
Madam Temporary Speaker, I join my colleagues in thanking Sen. David Musila for bringing this Motion at this time. As I support it, I want to move an amendment. Madam Temporary Speaker, the amendment is to delete the words after the word “country,” all the way to the word “viable” and retain the rest, so that it now reads---
Move the amendment!
Madam Temporary Speaker, I beg move:- THAT, the Motion be amended by deleting the words “and further urges all county governments to provide budgets to supplement mobile telephone providers to develop mobile telephone networks in areas deemed not economically viable. Madam Temporary Speaker, the Motion now will read as follows: THAT, aware that mobile telephone communication plays a major role in the social and economic development of any nation; acknowledging the positive role mobile telephone providers have played in providing communication and other related benefits to our country; noting with concern, however, despite these efforts, mobile telephone penetration in Kenya still remains at less than 50 per cent which is a major constrained development particularly in the rural areas. The Senate urges the national government to provide a policy framework for partnership with the private telephone network providers to provide mobile telephone services to hitherto neglected parts of the country with a view to ensuring that 100 per cent mobile telephone penetration is attained in Kenya by 2017. The electronic version of the Senate Hansard Report is for information purposes only. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor, Senate.
Madam Temporary Speaker, I stand to support the amendment. All the Senators who have contributed before me have raised concerns with regard to the component of county governments. I want to agree with them as we had raised before that the provision of ICT services in this country is a responsibility of the national government. Understanding the serious challenges that the county governments continue to face or are likely to face right now with regard inadequate resources, this House would not be in order and it would be a great disservice to the counties if you ask them to shoulder an extra responsibility with regard to provision of ICT services and to partner with private service providers. Therefore, with this amendment, we are able to achieve what we want to do for this nation, that is, to ensure that members of the public across the country are able to access mobile services. Mobile services in this country come with internet facilities. We are talking about e-government facilities in this country. It is unfortunate that major parts of this country still cannot access internet services. Right now, mobile service providers are the greatest internet providers in this country. Therefore, as we continue to enhance mobile connectivity in this country, we are able to support the citizens of this country to access internet facilities. The other component which was mentioned by the Mover of this Motion, is that we have M-pesa services provided by some of the mobile service providers. This is one of the services that is useful and critical in the lives of ordinary Kenyans in the villages. Very few Kenyans in the villages are able to operate bank accounts, but with the mobile money transfer services that exist in this country, many of our residents in our counties are able to access and to interact with services like M-pesa and various others provided by other service providers. It is important that we are able to provide an enabling environment where we are able to discuss and agree that the Government needs to carry out urgent steps to ensure that wananchi and members of the public are able to get these services. We all agree that mobile service provision in this country is unequal. It is very difficult in this country as I speak right now that when you go to a place like Nairobi County, there is network, but when you go to counties in the northern part of this country, it is not there. We were in Turkana last week and we could not communicate with other parts of this country. You might remember some of the phrases by members of the public in Turkana who consider themselves as if they are not part of this country. It is very important to, at the very least, provide mobile facilities to all Kenyans in this country so we are able to communicate and reach out to them as part of ways of ensuring that there is economic empowerment in this country. I, therefore, support the amendment, especially in ensuring that we are able to exclude any financial responsibility or burden to the county government and be able to put this financial responsibility on the national Government in order to ensure that it discharges its own constitutional mandate of providing ICT services in this country. With those few remarks, I beg to support the amendment.
The electronic version of the Senate Hansard Report is for information purposes only. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor, Senate.
If there is nobody interested in contributing to that amendment, I will propose the Question. This is a Motion that affects counties.
We shall then proceed with further contributions with the Motion as amended.
Madam Temporary Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this important Motion. We have heard from different speakers that before 2008, there was a law enacted by the Tenth Parliament. In that Bill, we have been told that the telephone mobile providers were to share infrastructure. We have also been told here that there is abundant infrastructure in place, especially that which was owned by Telkom Kenya all over the country. I support by saying we reactivate what was passed in 2008. The Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) should force the service providers to share the infrastructure which is abundantly available. What is happening today is that Safaricom has refused to share because of competitive advantage. They have the infrastructure and, therefore, sharing with the other players will allow the competition to catch up with them. And because the Act is already there, we would request the CCK to enforce it so that all service providers share a common infrastructure and, maybe, be build more according to their usage. If Safaricom uses more, then they should pay more. Then YU and the other service providers will now get an opportunity to penetrate and provide communication throughout the country. Secondly, I would suggest that because the CCK charges the service providers a fee. That fee should be used to create more penetration in the country. We need to revisit it and maybe this Motion could be referred to the Committee on Energy, Roads and Transportation for them to look at how best they can interrogate it while investigating CCK and the Ministry as to what happened to the 2008 Act. They may find how much has been implemented and how much has not been implemented. They can report back to the House so that we decide how to implement their recommendations. Madam Temporary Speaker, one of the barriers to creating more penetration of networks is the cost involved in putting up infrastructure. As one of the Senators said, it requires Kshs25 billion to create a booster or a mast. Therefore, we are asking for investigations to be carried out by the Committee because the previously Telkom owned masts or boosters are there, but it could be that they were using a different frequency. Today the FM frequency is cheaper than the former AM frequency. If this is investigated, the Committee could come back to us with specific recommendations because the Telkom boosters are already there, but they are not being utilized. Maybe they are outdated and need modernization. Therefore, the Committee would be able to bring to the House specific recommendations that could either enrich and enhance this Motion or reactivate what was passed by the Tenth Parliament, so that we can get a way forward to getting a 100 per cent telephone penetration by the year 2017. I support the amended Motion. The electronic version of the Senate Hansard Report is for information purposes only. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor, Senate.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Speaker. I rise up to support this Motion. First, I would like to commend the Senator for Kitui County for bringing up this Motion. I am a Christian and the Bible says: “My people perish because of lack of knowledge and information”. Without mobile phones in this country in the last 10 years, Kenya would not have had the kind of quantum leaps it has had in the sector of information and communication. For the first time, the grassroots Kenyans are able to reach one another and be able to communicate with one another in terms of resource sharing. For example, they are able to use the telephone as a banking instrument, to communicate with their children who are abroad. They are able to use the telephone to transact business. I heard Sen. (Dr.) Khalwale, the bull fighter say that he can actually use the telephone to do business transactions in the House. I do not know whether this is allowed. This is a very important Motion, but we need to study how it is going to be implemented. I want to propose and support what Sen. Mwakulegwa was saying that, perhaps, this Motion needs to be referred to the relevant Committee to look at how it can be properly structured and presented. Maybe in terms of legislation, do we amend the existing legislation so that we can see how these facilities can be shared? Madam Temporary Speaker, as you are aware, it is very difficult to reach many of our people in the rural areas, especially during campaign times. It is even sometimes hard for Members of Parliament to reach their campaign agents because communication continues to be a major burden. If this Motion could be structured in such a manner so that facilities could be shared--- For example, I am aware that Safaricom is not ready to share some masts with the Telkom. These are grey areas in this Motion, that perhaps, if they are well thought and structured, then we can have a proper policy in which we can be well guided. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
I will then call upon the Mover to respond.
Madam Temporary Speaker, I want to thank you for this opportunity. I also want to thank fellow Senators for the positive contributions that they have made to this Motion. I also want to thank Sen. (Prof.) Lonyangapuo for the amendments he has introduced because you recall when I was contributing to this Motion I invited fellow Senators to improve on it as much as they wanted. I welcome this amendment because it now moves the burden from the county government to the national Government and effectively now makes it not a County Motion. That makes it even easier for the Senate to move on with it and vote on it. Madam Temporary Speaker, during the debate, very important points were made by the Senators. Of importance is, perhaps, security. The issue of security as an advantage for mobile telephone communication has been mentioned and it goes without saying that those areas, unfortunately that do not have mobile telephone communication are the ones which are hardest hit with insecurity. Therefore, in proposing that we make every part of this country able to communicate with mobile telephones, it is not a luxury as I said. It is going to give economic development and security to our nation. I think and I have no doubt in my mind that if the Government implements this Motion, this country will never be the same again. The electronic version of the Senate Hansard Report is for information purposes only. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor, Senate.
Hon. Senators, there being no other business today, the Senate stands adjourned to tomorrow, Thursday 20th June, 2013, at 2.30 p.m. The Senate rose at 4.40 p.m. The electronic version of the Senate Hansard Report is for information purposes only. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor, Senate.