Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to give notice of the following Motion:- THAT, this House adopts the Report of the Departmental Committee on Administration of Justice and Legal Affairs on the Deliberations on the Nomination of a Commissioner to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights laid on the Table on Wednesday, 30th July, 2008.
Hon. Members, since the Member for North Imenti has to travel presently on parliamentary business, we will begin with ordinary Questions. Let us begin with Question No.144.
asked the Minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security:- (a) whether he is aware that Tutua Police Post in Buuri Division, Imenti North District is manned by three police constables, none of whom can give commands to 2222 the other because they are all of the same rank; (b) what steps he is taking to ensure that the station is properly manned; and, (c) when he will upgrade the police post to a full police station.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) Tutua is not a police post, but a police patrol base manned and commanded by the OCS, Kiirwa Police Station. The officers attached to the patrol base,
therefore, receive their commands and instructions from the parent station. The senior constable at the station is delegated the powers of in-charge as per the Police Force Standing Orders. (b) The District Security Committee has recommended the upgrading of the patrol base into a post. More officers and a commander of a higher rank will be posted once it has been upgraded to a police post. (c) The Government plans to upgrade the patrol base to a full fledged police station in order to minimize the rampant insecurity cases within the area.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, while the Assistant Minister has attempted to answer the Question, is he aware that the distance from Kiirwa Police Station to Tutua Police Post is so long that the communication between the Officer Commanding Station (OCS) and the constables there is not done on time? Those police constables lack proper instructions and, at times, between themselves, they do not know who commands the other. There is in-fighting in the base.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am not aware of the in-fighting. The distance between Kiirwa and the patrol base is long. That is why I gave him a brand new Land Rover. Its registration number is GK---
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. We are encouraged by the Assistant Minister who always gives new police Land Rovers every time there is a Question. Am I in order to inquire whether we must ask Questions in this House to be given police Land Rovers in all the police stations in this country?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I gave a new Land Rover, GK A92Q, because of the distance. I believe the hon. Member is very happy because he has a new vehicle for patrol.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, that problem is not limited to that particular police post alone. It is actually a national problem. The same problem is affecting Eregi Police Post in Ikolomani. When you do not have a senior officer amongst the three, when a demand is required that is unpalatable - for example going to collect a dead body - then those officers start looking at each other. They need to have somebody to command them. Could the Assistant Minister ensure that, at every police post, there is, at least, one officer who is in charge?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, that is not a police post. I said it is just a patrol base. They are being commanded and managed by the OCS, Kiirwa Police Station. A patrol base is not a police post. A patrol base normally reports to a police station. It has officers of the same rank. Later on, the patrol base can be turned into a police post and then, to a fully fledged police station. So, it is not a police post. It is a patrol base. It is like a "cape of good town"!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Assistant Minister indicated that Tutua Police Post will be upgraded to a full police station. When will that police post be upgraded to a full police station? When will other police posts also be upgraded? In my constituency, there is Saboti Police Post, which is one of the oldest. We have been promised that it will be upgraded and we have been waiting for many years. When will that police post and others like Saboti and Kiminini be upgraded?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, that one will be upgraded very soon because the District July 30, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2223 Security Team had already recommended for the upgrading. If the hon. Member also has a police post which needs to be upgraded, he has to follow the requirements. The requirement is that the District Security Team must sit down, agree and see the necessity for asking for an upgrading.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like the Assistant Minister to assure
If there is any road block, there must be somebody who can command it. I want to assure the House that the police patrol base will be manned by the OCS of that particular area.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security the following Question by Private Notice. (a) Is the Minister aware that Messrs Peter Maina Wachira and Peter Maina Njuguna, a matatu driver and conductor, respectively, were arrested on Wednesday, 8th July, 2008? (b) Is he further aware that the bodies of the two were found at City Mortuary the next morning, having been booked in by a Mr. Kirwa? (c) Could the Minister explain the circumstances that led to the deaths and indicate what action he has taken with regard to the matter?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) I am not aware of the arrest of Mr. Peter Maina Wachira and Mr. Peter Maina Njuguna on 8th July, 2008. (b) I am aware that on 8th July, 2008, a post mortem of two bodies identified by relatives as that of Mr. Peter Maina Wachira and the other as Peter Mwangi was conducted at the City Mortuary by the Government Pathologist. The cause of death was identified as manual strangulation with torture. (c) The circumstances leading to the death of the two persons are unclear and, therefore, are subject to an inquest by a court of law under Section 386(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am aware that newspapers are not a source of information for this House. But this particular case was properly captured in the newspapers. Two people were arrested for hawking and the next day, they were found dead at the City Mortuary. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I come from Embakasi where we have a big problem of youths disappearing and their bodies found dead at the City Mortuary. In fact, some are never found. Embakasi is a place where we have so many unemployed youths. Some resort to---
Order, Mr. Waititu! Can you, please, ask your question? This is Question Time and it should not be used as an opportunity to make a speech or an argument.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like the Assistant Minister to tell this House when the killing of youths in Embakasi is going to come to an end. When will the Police Commissioner disband the Kwekwe and the Rhino squads, which are responsible for the killings of our youth in Embakasi?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am not aware of any killings in Embakasi. I can give the background of these two cases. On 1st July, 2008, two unidentified bodies were found along Ngong Ewaso Kedong Road by children who were going to school. 2224 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 30, 2008 Mr. Speaker, Sir, a report was made to the police by the area assistant chief, a Mr. Daniel ole Sakuda, of Kimuka Sub-location. After taking initial police action at the scene, the two bodies were taken to the City Mortuary, where they were booked in. Investigations into the two deaths were commenced and an inquest file was opened at the Ngong Police Station. As far as we are concerned, there are no killings within Embakasi. If the hon. Member can give us any evidence that, indeed, there are killings in Embakasi, we will stop it immediately. But as I speak, there is no killing in Embakasi.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, could the Assistant Minister, please, clarify what his Ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs, is doing to ensure that an independent oversight body is set up to investigate circumstances where the police are culprits in cases of violence like the recent case where the police buttered members of the civil society?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am not aware that the police buttered some members of the civil society. If there is any case, the hon. Member should either file a Question or come to me, so that she can make me aware. Otherwise, I am not aware.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Assistant Minister may not be aware, but he has not answered my question. He has responded to the example that I gave. What is his Ministry doing to set up an oversight body to deal with policemen who beat up members of the public every single day for absolutely no reason? They have decided to make tear gas canisters our daily breathing gadgets.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, you will realise that, that is a different Question. However, if, indeed, there are cases where police officers are battering, beating up and injuring people, I will take action as the Assistant Minister in charge of security.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, where death occurs under suspicious circumstances and the police decide to open an inquest file, that amounts to an admission by the police of their failure to establish the culprits. In this case, what has the Ministry done to investigate these deaths?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, ordinarily, if there is anybody who is killed anywhere, an inquiry file must be opened. I thought Mr. Olago is a lawyer by profession and he knows that if there is any death, an inquiry file is opened.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Olago, please, listen to the Assistant Minister! He is answering your question.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, if somebody is killed anywhere, for example, by the road side or within the estate, an inquiry file must be opened.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. The Assistant Minister seems to have misunderstood me. I did not talk about an inquiry file. I talked about an inquest file. The two are very different.
Indeed, they are!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is true they are different. Just as I have mentioned, the reason why an inquest file was opened was because the report had come from the assistant chief. There are investigations going on. I understand that two people have so far been arrested in connection with this incident. My officers are doing a good job for this purpose.
Mr. J.I. Kamau, you tend to stand late every time. So, synchronize your time!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I appreciate the answer given by the Assistant Minister. July 30, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2225 However, he has failed to respond to one thing. The bodies were booked by a police officer. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in fact, the two persons were picked by police officers at Muthurwa Market. In fact, cases of killing people in Embakasi are known to everybody. I am a bit surprised to hear the Minister say that he does not know while in Embakasi we are burying an average of five young men daily, through police shooting. This is a very sad case. In fact---
Order, Mr. Waititu! This is Question Time! I know that you are not so old in the House yet, but at that rate, you are acquiring a bad habit. Ask your question!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, there are particular squads in the Police Force called Kwekwe and the Rhino. When will the Police Commissioner disband those squads, so that killings in Embakasi can stop?
Now you have done very well!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have said here that our policemen do not kill. If the hon. Member knows of anybody who has been killed by a policeman, I will be the first one to speak about it. He should give me the evidence. Where is the evidence? My policemen have never killed anybody, not only in Embakasi, but anywhere else. Let us have the evidence!
Order, hon. Members! In the prevailing circumstances, the sentiments by the Assistant Minister are accurate. Nothing has been tabled to show that the police have killed any particular person as it stands now. So, the Assistant Minister is quite in order! LACK OF IMMUNIZATION DRUGS IN KISUMU TOWN WEST CONSTITUENCY
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Minister for Public Health and Sanitation the following Question by Private Notice. (a) Is the Minister aware that immunization services at health facilities in Kisumu Town West Constituency have ground to a halt due to lack of necessary drugs like BCG injection, DPT injection, Polio and Measles jabs and Pentavalent BCG? (b) What urgent measures is the Minister taking to ensure the health facilities receive adequate supplies of these drugs to avoid putting at risk the lives of infants and mothers?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) I am aware that my Ministry experienced a shortage of BCG vaccine over the past one month, namely, June, 2008. That affected the entire country, including Kisumu Town West Constituency. The supply has now resumed. As I speak, there are vaccines all over the country. (b) My Ministry procures its annual requirements of vaccines once annually, but the stock is supplied to us quarterly. This is because our national, regional and district depots have no capacity to store these variable items. But we are trying as much as possible, as a Ministry, to make sure that we expand our storage capacity in the districts.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the answer by the Assistant Minister sets out what amounts to foreseeable delays. The clearance of supplies at the point of entry, expiry of contracts and storage of vaccines are issues that the Ministry ought to have foreseen. What steps did the Assistant Minister take to ensure that these foreseeable circumstances do not happen again?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to say that the BCG Vaccine is a very tricky one. We used a lot of vaccines during the post-election violence in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps. Each vaccine contains 20 dosages. Once we use it on even one baby, we have to throw the rest away. As a result, this fore-casting was not anticipated. That is why we lacked BCG in particular. All the other antigens were available.
Mr. Speaker, the Assistant Minister should not give us the process. We are interested in the results. We are not doctors. Could he confirm to this House that in future, we will 2226 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 30, 2008 not face a shortage of these very important drugs? We cannot play with the future of our children.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to assure this House that this kind of delay will not occur any more.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the issues raised in this Question are national, but I want to confine myself to Kisumu Town West Constituency for the time being. What steps is the Ministry taking to ensure that the three major health centres in Kisumu, namely, Lumumba, Obel Kamoth and Nyahera health centres, do not experience this problem?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to assure the hon. Member that we have taken all measures to make sure that these particular commodities do not miss in those three health centres. BOMB EXPLOSION INJURIES TO MR. LEPARTOBIKO
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Minister of State for Defence the following Question by Private Notice. (a) Could the Minister confirm that Mr. Leranta Lepartobiko of Archers Post area suffered severe burns as a result of a bomb explosion on 11th July, 2008, near Lavesoro Military Training Fields? (b) What is the extent of the injury and the current condition of the victim? (c) How many people have died or have been injured through bomb explosions in the last 10 years? (d) What plans does the Ministry have to ensure prompt compensation for the victim and that such incidents do not recur?
The Minister of State for Defence is not here? We will go to the next Question and revisit that Question subsequently.
But the Assistant Minister is here!
Why does he not respond to my call for him?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I apologise. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) Our initial investigation reveals that, indeed, the incident occurred at Lavesoro area of Archers Post on 11th July, 2008, and Mr. Leranta Lepartobiko, aged 60 years, was injured and was given first aid treatment at Archers Post Health Centre before being transferred to Wamba Catholic Hospital. (b) Mr. Leranta Lepartobiko suffered severe burns and a fractured right leg and is currently undergoing medical treatment at the said hospital. (c) The area where Mr. Lepartobiko was injured is a gazetted Military training area and statistics of how many persons have died or injured are not accurate, since some of the victims knowing that the area is for Military training, choose not to report. (d) We have launched investigations and the issue of compensation cannot be determined at this stage. The local communities are aware that this is a gazetted area for use by the Military for training. However, we have been sensitising them on the dangers of unexploded munitions that may not have been recovered after every exercise.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am actually perturbed by the manner in which the Assistant Minister has answered this Question. In the first place, the victim has suffered 80 per cent body burns. He has a broken leg and not a fracture. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Ministry is not even able to tell the number of people who have actually died in the last ten years. I have information which I have gathered from the police that in 2007, three people died as a result of negligence of the Military officers. July 30, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2227 In view of the negligence, recklessness and the irresponsible behaviour of the Military officers, what mechanisms has the Assistant Minister put in place to ensure that the Military area is clear of any offensive munitions after every exercise?
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I do appreciate the feelings of the hon. Member. It is regretted that Mr. Leranta was injured as he has said. But there was no recklessness involved on the part of our military personnel. As hon. Members are aware, whenever an exercise is carried out by the military personnel, there are other members of the military personnel who go to look for ammunition that has not exploded. But it is possible for some pieces of unexploded ammunition to be missed by those who are searching and, therefore, dangers or accidents like those can happen. But that is not recklessness. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I said earlier, we know that, that is a gazetted military training area and members of the public ought to know that there are dangers when they visit that area. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. That part of the pastoralists' land is not necessarily vacant. Pastoralists use those areas from time to time, depending on the season. In view of the fact that now, there have been many casualties and the personnel who have been going round detonating the live ammunition have not done an effective job, could the Assistant Minister consider de-gazetting that area for the purpose for which they have been using it, so that those pastoralists, who are my neighbours, could now graze their animals properly instead of encountering such problems?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. Member is aware that the military has, of necessity, got to do training. I do not think that this House will want to have a military that does not practise and do exercises. Having said that, Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have a designated area that is clearly marked and the Provincial Administration officials are aware. May I inform the House that, before any exercise is carried out, the military involves the Provincial Administration through public meetings and
Chiefs are informed of the time when the exercises will be done so that they may keep away. Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I also use this opportunity to appeal to hon. Members who represent areas which are designated for military exercises to caution members of the public that it is possible and is inevitable that there would be pieces of live ammunition which may not be detected after the exercises and, therefore, they should be careful! Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Last question, Mr. Letimalo!
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. This is not a simple matter! I saw a military exercise last year in my constituency and I did not even know it was there, let alone the rest of the members of the public! I respect the Assistant Minister who is my friend. Could he confirm exactly how that exercise is done? Is it announced through the radio? Those barazas have never been held! How sure is he that they are held?
Order, Mr. Bahari! Order! As far as you have come, that is not a point of order! You have, instead, asked two questions. So, you are out of order! Last question, Mr. Letimalo!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, considering that, that area has not been fenced; and with the kind of disasters that we have subjected the people to, does the Ministry still have any moral justifications to continue with the exercises there, considering the suffering that you have actually subjected the people to, without any compensation?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I said earlier, it is regrettable that Mr. Leranta was injured. As I said, he is in hospital. We wish him quick recovery and, of course, we will be 2228 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 30, 2008 following up to ensure his recovery. But having said that, Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I said earlier, it is necessary that the military undertakes training. They must be trained on the ground. That area has been specifically gazetted for training of the Kenya Army and the Kenya Airforce. I will continue to urge members of the public and also Members of Parliament to inform their constituents, so that they are careful when in those areas. But we will be doing our best to ensure that a thorough search is carried out after every exercise, so that incidents of that nature do not recur. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Very well. Mr. Letimalo, your constituents and yourself may benefit from the services of a lawyer, and we have a number of practising lawyers in the House. Please, approach them for help!
Next Question by Prof. Kamar!
asked the Minister of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030:- (a) whether he is aware that over Kshs30 million of the Eldoret East CDF that was stolen has not been recovered; (b) whether he could indicate the number of arrests resulting from the theft as well as the status of the investigations; and, (c) what steps he is taking to ensure all the culprits are apprehended and the embezzled funds are recovered.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) I am aware that some funds were not accounted for from the Eldoret East CDF bank account. My Ministry was informed about the matter through an audit query by the Kenya National Audit Office in their letter dated 19th December, 2006. On receipt of that letter, my Ministry instructed the Internal Audit Unit to conduct an assessment on the issue. Mr. Speaker, Sir, following the examination of the expenditures and withdrawals from the CDF bank account, it was established that Kshs26,360,000 was withdrawn without supporting documents. The Internal Audit Team further established that the collection and custody of cheques was entrusted to a CDF staff. Mr. Speaker, Sir, that is in violation of the internal financial controls. Bank reconciliation for the years 2005 and 2006 had not been done, hence hampering the detection of the fraud. Cheques amounting to Kshs2,881,000 had remained un-presented for a period of 24 months and, therefore, had become stale. (b) Upon revelation of those facts, the matter was handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for further investigations. The investigation unearthed clear fraud and four suspects were arrested and arraigned in court on 4th December, 2006. The case is still on-going and the next hearing is on 21st August, 2008. July 30, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2229 (c) Although four suspects have been arrested, investigations are still going on and any other individual found to have participated in any illegalities related to that matter will be arrested and appropriate charges preferred against him or her.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. It is very worrying that one-and-a-half years after the case was reported, the case is still under investigation. However, I would like the Minister to confirm, first, what has hindered the progress of this case. Secondly, why the District Development Officer (DDO), who was supposedly the custodian of documents, is still in office. I would also like to know why the District Accountant who signed all the cheques, because he is the mandatory signatory to the cheques, is also still in office?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have pointed out that as soon as this matter came to the notice of the Ministry, already an internal audit team was dispatched to the constituency to carry out an audit. I have stated that already four people have been arrested and they are in court, which means that the District Development Officer and the District Accountant are not suspects at the moment. But if the Member has any evidence against the two Government officials, she is free to report the matter to the police and they will also be arrested.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Considering that the CDF is a new concept which has served our people well so far, instead of us following a horse which has bolted already, what measures is the Minister putting in place to ensure that the loopholes we see including collusion are sealed so that we do not have to get into a situation like this again?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, this issue happened in 2006. Since then, we have put in place several measures to make sure that there is no misappropriation of CDF money. Last year, we recruited CDF Audit Managers who are now supposed to carry out bank reconciliations every month and issue monthly reports to the relevant agencies such as the CDF Board, CDF Secretariat, the Member of Parliament and the Constituency Development Committee (CDC). We have also recruited Regional Auditors who are now carrying out continuous audit to make sure that if there is any fraud, it is detected in advance. In the amendments which were done to the Constituencies Development Fund in 2007, we allocated 2 per cent for monitoring and evaluation. Hon. Members should take advantage of that to make sure that there is proper monitoring and evaluation.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. It is very worrying that the trend is developing as regards the custody of these amounts of money. As hon. Members, we are worried, because we are soon becoming victims of a collusion of other Government officers whom we have no control over. I am talking about the District Development Officers and the District Accountants. The Minister has been asked why those officers in the said constituency are still in office. He is asking any Member who has any evidence implicating the two officers to bring it forth when we know that over Kshs30 million belonging to Eldoret East Constituency has been siphoned out with the signatures of the District Accountant and District Developing Officer who are still in office.
So, what is your question, Mr. Magerer?
What other evidence does the Minister require?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not have any evidence to show that the District Accountant signed the cheques. I am clearly saying that if the Member has evidence that the District Accountant signed those cheques, he is free to report to the police.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
What is your point of order, Mr. Baiya?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, my point of order is this: The Minister is aware of the role the Ministry has assigned the District Accountant and the District Development Officer. Could that 2230 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 30, 2008 money be withdrawn without their knowledge, approval and consent?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am not aware that the District Development Officer is supposed to sign cheques.
I want to clarify and I want to request hon. Members to come for training. There are several training sessions going on and most hon. Members are not attending those training sessions. I want to categorically state here---
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
The Minister is responding to a point of order. Could you allow the Minister to finish?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to categorically state here that the District Accountants (DAs) and the District Development Officers (DDOs) are not supposed to sign cheques. Please note. But the District Accountant is the only one authorised to sign cheques and that is the procedure.
Very well, Minister! I also know that, that is the position. Ask your last question, Prof. Kamar.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, this Question is very disturbing because we could all be victims of collusion between banks, our own chairmen of CDCs, DDOs and the DAs. We are aware that the District Accountants have the mandatory signature. We are also aware that the DDO is the custodian of all other documents, including the AIEs. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Minister has said that it has taken one year and we do not know where the documents are. It is very worrying because we are in Parliament where we approve CDF money. It is possible that we can fall victims of the same people. It is very worrying. Whether the bank failed; whether the DDOs failed; whether the DAs failed; whether the MP failed or the Committee failed, why would it take one and half years for us to know the problem?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have clearly stated here that immediately this issue came to the notice of the Ministry an audit team was dispatched there. Using that audit report, the police have already acted and arrested four people. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the people were arraigned in court in December, 2006. I am not in charge of courts now. The case is still going on. So, what do you expect the Minister to do? I am in charge of Planning and Vision 2030!
Next Question, Mr. Yinda.
asked the Minister for Transport:- (a) whether he could disclose when the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) will compensate squatters, land owners and businesses that will be affected by encroachment of the New Port Development to be funded by the Japanese loan, stating the total amount of compensation; (b) whether he could also disclose the amount KPA will spend to acquire land to be used for the establishment of a New Port Development through the Japanese loan; and, (c) whether he could confirm to the House what he intends to do to ensure the country does not incur unnecessary expenditure on the project.
The Minister for Transport is not here! Could the Leader of Government July 30, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2231 Business know where the Minister for Transport is?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am holding brief for the Leader of Government Business. We want to request that more time be given to this Question. May be in the second round, the Minister for Transport would have arrived. Thank you.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. The Assistant Minister has made a very serious statement that he is holding brief for the Leader of Government Business. You know that there is a pecking order. In the absence of the Leader of Government Business, there is the Deputy Leader of Government Business---
Order, Dr. Khalwale! The Chair has received appropriate information from the Leader of Government Business that while he is away for today, Mr. Danson Mungatana will hold his brief.
Mr. Yinda, your Question will be left in abeyance for the time being. If the Minister walks in when we are still within Question Time, we will accord him time to answer.
Next Question, Mr. Chachu!
asked the Minister of State for Special Programmes:- (a) what criteria the Ministry employs in the distribution of Government of Kenya (GoK) Emergency Relief Fund; (b) whether she could table statistics showing the allocation and distribution of relief food to each location of Chalbi District between January and June, 2008; and, (c) whether she could table the amount of money allocated by the Government for the transportation of relief food in Chalbi District between January and June, 2008.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) The Government employs the following criteria in the distribution of Emergency Relief Fund:- (i) The districts are allocated emergency relief funds if there arises a need for allocation of such funds. (ii) If normal lives of people are disrupted by any natural or man-made disaster thus making them unable to fend for themselves, the Government will be obliged to allocate emergency funds to assist the affected people. For example, a natural disaster such as drought or floods may destroy the ability of the people to feed themselves. That will occasion the intervention of the Government through the provision of emergency relief funds to address the situation. (iii) Man-made disasters like violence or conflict may render communities destitute and 2232 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 30, 2008 unable to cater for their basic needs. That will necessitate the Government to avail emergency relief funds. (iv) In determination of the long-term food need or communities in need of emergency relief fund, an assessment is conducted by a multi-agency team composed of relevant Government Ministries and United Nations (UN) agencies to establish how a disaster has impacted on the food security situation to a given community and the kind of intervention necessary to mitigate the effects. In the case of drought, an assessment exercise is conducted twice a year, after the short rains in February and after the long rains in July. The assessment comes up with specific recommendations in all sectors that are implemented by both the Government and development partners. A comprehensive programme is put in place to assist the affected people until they recover from the effects of the drought. Emphasis is also laid on non-food interventions that enhance the capacity of the people to cope with disasters. (v) In the case of disasters like conflicts, communities are assisted with food to address their immediate needs. In that case, peace-building initiatives are given priority as a long-term solution. (b) I wish to table the statistics showing the allocation and distribution of relief food to each location in Chalbi District between January and June, 2008. A total of 2,600 90-kilogrammes bags of maize were allocated to Chalbi District between January and June, 2008. A further 2,680 50- kilogrammes bags of maize were also given to them. Also 1,200 50-kilogramme bags of beans were given to them. They were also given 300 cartons of vegetable oil. The food distribution is tabulated, location by location.
(c) The following are the amounts of money allocated to the Government for the transportation of relief food in Chalbi District between January and June, 2008. A total of Kshs662,500 vide the table which has been given for the Authority to Incur Expenditure (AIE) from January to June was disbursed for transportation of the food.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I appreciate the Minister's response which was comprehensive and quite informative. However, the reason the Government provides food to Kenyans who are suffering from drought and other calamities is to enable them to have adequate food and relieve them from that suffering. The amount of money provided for transportation is hardly adequate. Since Chalbi District does not have even one truck owned by the Government, the District Commissioner has to rely on public transport. The amount of money provided for transport is highly inadequate. What will the Minister do to ensure that, that food reaches the intended beneficiaries in the district?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do appreciate what the hon. Member has pointed out. Having visited that district myself, I realised that the number of kilometres that have got to be covered are very many, and the mount of money allocated is not enough. So, we, in the Ministry of State for Special Programmes, will make sure that enough allocation is made towards the Fund and be disbursed immediately, so that whatever allocation of food is given to them, reaches the people.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, relief food has become a permanent feature in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs). I think we want a long-term assurance on food security issues. We want the Minister to tell us exactly what her Ministry intends to do! That is because relief food cannot be there permanently for the people. It should only be there for emergency. What long-term plan does she have, in collaboration with the relevant Ministries, like the Ministry of Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands, Ministry of Water and Irrigation, et cetera, July 30, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2233 in terms of providing long-term food security?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Government has realised that it is not enough to give relief food all the time. My Ministry deals with emergencies, but the long-term solution will have to come from the development of those ASALs. That is why a Ministry has been created to be in charge of northern Kenya and other ASALs.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I come from an area which is currently affected by famine. Even most of Ukambani is seriously affected by famine. What is your Ministry doing to ensure that this time round, unlike before when little food was being given, that adequate food is given immediately? What action are you taking?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish it was possible to give enough to everybody. I realise that what we have as per our allocation is not enough. I hope that this House will be able to put a case for us. That is because there are cries all over about food not being enough, drought and starvation. So, we hope that this House will put a case across, so that the Treasury allocates us enough funds in the next financial year. We can only avail what we have. We cannot go beyond the budgetary allocation that we have. Because of the increase in food prices, the problems are even going to be worse in this financial year. So, we hope that as we go on, maybe, in the Supplementary Budget, we should be given more funds. What we were allocated was far much below what we anticipated.
Last question, Mr. Chachu!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, realising that Chalbi District is one of the largest districts in Kenya and that hiring commercial vehicles for the transportation of relief food will not be cost effective, could the Minister consider providing a truck to be used for the transportation of relief food within Chalbi District?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is the practice of our Ministry to actually allocate trucks. But, unfortunately, Chalbi had not been allocated one because it was in a larger district. Now that it is Chalbi District, I think it actually deserves a truck. But since we do not have that allocation, we will look for funds and when they are available, we will allocate them one truck.
Very well! Hon. Members, this being an Allotted Day, I think we have run out of time for the next last two Questions by Ms. A. Abdalla and Mrs. Odhiambo-Mabona. These Questions, are therefore, deferred to tomorrow afternoon and they will take priority on the Order Paper!
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I would also like you to give a directive on my Question which was not answered. 2234 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 30, 2008
The Minister did not, finally arrive! Leader of Government Business, what happens to your Minister?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have absolutely no idea. However, I would like to suggest that similar treatment as to the previous two Questions be given to Mr. Yinda's Question. Although, I have a copy of the answer, I do not feel competent to deal with it. This is because, clearly, it looks to me that Mr. Yinda is conversant with the goings on at the port. I am afraid his supplementary questions may be of the type I may not handle. I, however, have a copy of the answer. The best thing is for it also, to be given priority tomorrow.
Very well, Leader of Government Business, except for this, I want a bit of your help. When Members are not present to ask Questions we punish them fairly heavily by dropping their Questions. However, when Ministers are not present to answer Questions, what do you recommend we do to them?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will recommend to the Prime Minister's Office that serious action be taken against such Ministers.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I rise to seek a Ministerial Statement from the Minister for Transport. Could the Minister issue a Statement to this House explaining why Kenya Airways is in the process of recruiting up to 600 air hostesses from the West African region? I would like the Minister to explain to this House whether this country lacks this type of personnel so that we have to import them, given that we have so many jobless youth who need jobs. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would further ask the Minister to clarify and explain, that out of the 600 air hostesses to be recruited, 25 have already been hired and are undergoing training at the moment. Could the Minister kindly explain to this House who is issuing work permits to these air hostesses?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in view of the fact that the Minister for Transport and the Assistant Minister are not in the House, I take very serious note of the request for a Ministerial Statement. The same will be expeditiously communicated to the Minister.
Can this Statement come on Tuesday?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am unable to say yes or no at this stage before I consult the Minister. However, I will say that it is the feeling of the Chair that this matter be given priority so that it can be heard on Tuesday. July 30, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2235
If you are not in a position to say, then I order that the Statement be brought on Tuesday.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, if that is the order from the Chair, so be it. FATE OF MR. A.A. ABDI AT THE KENYAN HIGH COMMISSION IN CAIRO
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish to seek a Ministerial Statement from the Minister for Foreign Affairs regarding Mr. Abdisalam Abubakar Abdi who is a Kenyan student in Egypt and is currently stranded in Cairo together with his pregnant wife and one of their children in the compound of the Kenya High Commission's Office since 19th July, 2008. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like the Minister to clarify the following: (i) Whether this matter has been brought to his attention from our mission in Cairo and what action he has taken so far. (ii) Under what circumstances did the student get stranded? (iii) What role is played by our missions abroad in assisting Kenya?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I can deal with it now.
How long do you require?
Three minutes, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in one of my briefs, I have come across details of students who got stranded because their passports were not renewed in good time. This was because of the problems that we had in December and January. When this particular student's passport expired, he took it to the mission in Cairo and it was sent to Nairobi but was not renewed in good time. Because of previous experiences where students who had sent their passports for renewal had been arrested by Egyptian police and locked up, he feared and went to the Mission. Having gone to the Mission, the Ambassador and the Embassy gave him Kshs30,000 to go pay for his house to secure it so that he does not lose it. He received his passport, having been renewed, two days ago.
He has since left the Embassy. I want to clarify that he was not "squatting" in the compound. He was housed by the Ambassador. His wife and son were housed by one of my officers at the Mission. They are now back in their house.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish to clarify that I talked to this particular student this morning. He was still in the compound of our High Commissioner up to 10.00 a.m. Secondly, by that time today, he had not received his passport. He might have received it this afternoon or between 10.00 a.m. and this time.
Mr. Minister, if you have information there, then---
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to assure the Member that this student has not only got his passport but was also given money by the Embassy to secure his comfort. He has his passport. His wife, his son and himself are in their residence. If there is any contrary information, I can assure the House that my facts are right. I cannot vouch for the other facts.
That should rest the matter for the moment. 2236 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 30, 2008
Hon. Members, you will recollect that on Tuesday this week, Mr. Midiwo rose on a point of order to express concern over the conduct of Mr. Kimunya at a function that took place in Kinangop on Sunday last week. The Chair did intimate that a considered ruling would be made this afternoon. However, this morning, there was a further point of order that had the effect of increasing the terrain and scope that, that ruling should cover. For that reason, therefore, the Chair will deliver the ruling tomorrow afternoon.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, today morning, when Mr. Jirongo brought up this matter, most of us stood up to support his point of order. The Chair ruled that it was not going to comment on it because it was based on media reports. I, therefore, wonder if your ruling that you wanted to make today was based on media reports as you observed today, what is unique about the matter of this morning concerning what the President and the Prime Minister did with the Libyans? What is so unique about it that it should not receive the same treatment?
Order, Dr. Khalwale! That is a very legitimate sentiment, but among other things, that ruling would cover the validity or otherwise of what comes in the media, particularly television because that is not yet covered by the Standing Orders. What is covered are the reports that appear in print, but what is captured on camera may have to be treated differently. So, you will have to await the ruling.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I remember yesterday, you made a ruling yourself that the Statement by the Minister for Water and Irrigation was going to be given this afternoon.
The Statement on water was the initiative by the Minister herself. It was on her own volition. The Minister feels that the circumstances have, since yesterday, changed. She is entitled to feel that way. Madam Minister, you are fine. You do not have to make any comments.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to.
Okay. Carry on.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wanted to make a Statement on the staff changes that took place on 17th July, 2008. However, no hon. Member had sought that information. Therefore, I thought that since I have sorted out the problem, there is no need of issuing a Ministerial Statement. However, if anybody needs one, I have it and I can make it.
You need not do that, Madam Minister. As a matter of fact, I said the same thing only in different words.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Order, Dr. Khalwale! That matter is rested.
Who was on the Floor yesterday? Yes, Mr. Ngugi!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, yesterday, I was contributing to the Vote of the Ministry of Energy. I commended the Minister for Energy for the plans that he has to accelerate not only the distribution of energy, but also its generation. Energy is one of the movers of the economy. Energy is so critical for health, especially to dispensaries, health centres and hospitals which must have fridges to store drugs. I also said that most of our schools require electricity if we have to improve the time our students have to study and if they have to use computers. It is for this reason that I was commending the Minister for Energy for the plans that he has for this Ministry. Mr. Speaker, Sir, this Ministry has been allocated fairly adequate funds. I suggest that part of the funds, like it happens in Pakistan, should go towards the construction of mini hydro- electric power generation plants so that where there are rivers and waterfalls, we do not need to rely on the main power grid. We could rely on these mini hydro-electric power plants. I have seen the District Allocations by the Ministry of Energy. My district of Nyandarua South has been allocated a mere Kshs12 million whereas other districts have been allocated Kshs24 million and above. I was wondering what criteria was used because Nyandarua District has had no electricity for the 45 years we have been Independent. I am asking the Minister for Energy to relook at the districts that urgently require electricity so that they can be given priority. It is in these areas that the electricity would be used to generate income through proliferation of small industries. He should also make sure that these districts catch up with the rest of the county in the provision of electricity. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the various sources of energy in Kenya could be utilised so that the national grid electricity is relieved. I have biogas as an example. If biogas could be promoted by this Ministry, then many homes will not rely on the national grid. It would instead be used by industries. This Ministry's provision for energy would be enhanced if the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources would improve the environment and, therefore, increase the water flow in our rivers which are now drying up. I urge the Minister for Energy to liaise with the Minister for Environment and Mineral Resources so that there can be acceleration of afforestation so that in future rivers do not dry up. That way, we will get reliable electricity. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity to contribute in support of this Motion. Energy, in all its forms is very critical for the growth of any economy. It is even more critical for the growth of our economy given our ambitious programmes to achieve a new status by 2030. Starting with oil, we know that oil prices, the world over, have skyrocketed. We get all sorts of excuses why oil prices have shifted in two years from about US$50 to about US$130 to US$150 a barrel. As a result, the prices of literally every aspect of our life has spiralled at the same level. You need only to look at our electricity bills to see that the fuel cost adjustment is almost 2238 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 30, 2008 equal to the consumption on the bill. This, certainly, does not augur well for an economy that wants to grow. I would like to urge the Ministry to do all that other countries are doing. Unless you produce oil yourselves, every country is moving away from generating power from diesel and other oils. This is because other sources of energy, like coal, have become much cheaper than oil-based generation. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in this country, we are not endowed with good rivers from which we can generate power, but even the few that we have, we have not managed them well, and we have serious problems. I will come to that later. I want to urge that the Ministry of Energy seriously considers looking at alternatives of generating power in terms of wind, solar and nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is proven to be one of the cleanest and also cheaper than the alternatives that we have. The Minister the other day said, while we were in London, that he was inviting investors to invest in nuclear generation of energy. I want to urge him not to even look out of the country, given the amount of money that we saw flow in this country during the Safaricom IPO. If he puts up a programme to generate power from nuclear plants, Kenyans can put in money, invest and get good returns from it. In an ideal situation, we should be talking of energy from hydros, which is relatively cheaper and cleaner. But what do we have in this country? We have river systems that have been completely destroyed by our reckless management of the environment. Whether you are talking of the Tana River system, which has four generation spots, or you are talking of Sondu Miriu, which was recently commissioned after construction through a sovereign debt. Sondu Miriu is under serious threat because of the Mau problem. It is with this in mind that I lend my voice in support of the sentiments expressed by Mr. ole Ntimama and others - and our Prime Minister, who has taken up the Mau issue - that we must bite the bullet. Those who settled in the catchment areas of the Mau, regardless of how they got their title deeds, must be moved out, so that we resuscitate the environment and the water catchment of the Mau. The Mau is not just about Sondu Miriu. Even the famed Maasai Mara wildebeest migration will come to naught if there is no water that flows down the Mara River. That poses a threat to the latest wonder of the world called "the Maasai Mara". Rivers flowing into Lake Naivasha, Lake Nakuru and the catchments that form up River Yala and other rivers--- We must manage our environment properly!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this country, like many countries in the tropics, has enormous sun energy, which can be converted into solar energy. I would want to urge the Ministry to invest a little more money into providing solar panels to, at least, all secondary schools in the country if we have to catch up with the teaching of ICT in these schools. If we are to wait for all secondary schools to be connected to the national grid, then we are talking of arresting and retarding the growth of ICT development in rural areas, which carry the majority of our population and giving advantage to students and schools in urban areas, or, where there are rural schools, those few that have been connected to power. Equally, we have a lot of wind energy, particularly in Marsabit and Lamu areas of this country. We can exploit those and boost our energy reservoir. Equally, you know that in terms of geothermal reserves, Kenya is only second to New Zealand in terms of quantum. We have the capacity to generate up to 4,000 megawatts of power from geothermal sources lying between Lake July 30, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2239 Naivasha and Lake Baringo in the Rift Valley. If we were to invest more money in this, then our hope to achieve a new status becomes even more realistic. I know that we have the power pool for Southern Africa that we want to hook in, but we also know that even South Africa is suffering power shortages. We must look internally to generate power to turn the economy to the direction that we want. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, electricity is very critical to rural development, particularly when we talk of youth enterprises, Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs) in the rural- urban centres, but these youths we are trying to urge to get into these enterprises will not realise what we are driving them into if the cost of power continues to skyrocket at the rate it is doing so today. Something has to be done to cushion those who are coming up in investments from astronomical power bills. This country is surrounded by neighbours that have made very positive explorations and discoveries of oil. The Sudan and Uganda have discovered oil on Lake Kivu, and Ethiopia has discovered some positive signs of oil. I think that if we intensified efforts of exploration in this country in areas bordering the Sudan and the northern frontier areas of this country, I am sure that we could strike oil that would be a major boost to our economic growth, a major boost to the realization of our economic indicators. Having oil will also be helpful in getting fertilizers, because they are chemical based, to boost agriculture; as you know the cost of farm inputs has become unaffordable. With those few remarks, I beg to support. Thank you
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me a chance to contribute to this Vote. This is an important Vote at an important moment. First of all, I want to begin by commending this Ministry under this Minister, particularly in the last couple of years. From where I see things as an hon. Member, the Ministry of Energy has done a lot. In the last two or three years, the Ministry of Energy has done more than was done in the last 20 years. I want to ask them to do more. The Ministry has been very responsive to the needs of Members of Parliament. As the Member of Parliament for Gem Constituency, I know that in terms of power supply, things are about 70 per cent better than they were before I became a Member of Parliament. That maybe covers only 5 per cent of the people it should cover. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I think the trick is in the management of the newly formed Rural Electrification Authority (REA). I want to appeal to the Ministry to device a business approach to the supply of electricity in rural areas. If the supply of electricity is run as a business, people will pay. In any case, until this week, electricity has always been much cheaper than kerosene or any other form of fuel or energy. If the Ministry of Energy, and particularly the REA, could position transformers in such a manner that would make supplying of electricity to people's homes cheaper, they would have sorted out its problems in terms of finances. Right now, the REA has a small customer base, and they are over-taxing that small base. They should adopt the approach of widening their customer base. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the current policy says that transformers can be placed in a public utility installation such as markets, hospitals, boreholes or secondary schools. A secondary school may need only a few bulbs. If you place a bigger transformer some 500 metres from a school compound, you can connect power to some four or five more homes that would pay money to the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC). The problem is that right now we have many transformers installed for single users. A transmission line can end up to a health centre, and that is it. When another person applies to be supplied with electricity from such a line, he is told that he is beyond the 600 metre radius that is required. The KPLC has tried to deal with that issue, but it has not registered much success. The KPLC has come up with a programme it calls "Umeme Pamoja", which has largely remained unmarketed. It is basically a scheme where people are told to 2240 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 30, 2008 pool their resources together so that they can be supplied with electricity. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the cost of electricity should be brought down. The KPLC should look at electricity supply from a business point of view. In many countries, if you were to go into a residence, the power supplier gives you energy. All that you pay for are your bills. The fixation on the amount of monies that have to be paid before somebody gets electricity connected to his home, is where the Ministry and the supplier of electricity are going wrong. The KPLC just needs to fix that one part, and a lot of people would rush for electricity connection. After all, as I have said, until this week, electricity has always been cheaper than any other form of energy in this country, but Kenyans in the rural areas are not aware. So, the trick is in connecting more people to power so that you can make your money based on economies of scale. I know that electricity is limited, but that is so because we are not being innovative enough. I want to appeal to the Government to take charge of every position on a river that can produce power. The so-called Independent Power Producers (IPPs) are inefficient. If the Government could do more, even the Kenya Electricity Generation (KenGen) Company has the capacity to produce enough electricity. In my constituency, there is the so-called Ndano Falls. Research papers show that it can produce up to 32 megawatts of electricity. If you go there, you will find that some villages have fenced the water fall, saying that it is their personal water fall even though they do not have the capacity to generate electricity from it. The Government can, at least, engage KENGEN and take charge of the facility. Let us take a pro- people approach and Kenyans will thank us. I spoke to the Minister for Energy yesterday over the more than 50 per cent increment in our power bills. A businessman from Limuru approached me yesterday. He had been paying an electricity bill of Kshs500,000 per month before the 22 per cent increment of the electricity tariffs and now his current bill is reading Kshs1.2 million. So, something must be done about this, because I do not think Kenyans will take it lightly. In my understanding, this is occasioned by something called "Cost of Fuel Adjustment", which needs authority. The way I understand it, nobody was consulted before the electricity bills went up that much. That is not the attitude the Government should have towards Kenyans. Personally, I support the idea of increasing the electricity tariffs, but not this level of increment. An hon. Member said here today that he used to pay an electricity bill of about Kshs5,000, but his current bill is more than Kshs11,000. My own electricity bill shot up from Kshs17,000 to Kshs34,000. I do not think that is going to be taken lightly by Kenyans. That is not the attitude that will encourage the "small man" to even do business. When your bill doubles before the effective 22 per cent increment date, something must be wrong. Maybe, something is wrong with the billing system. I am happy that the Departmental Committee on Energy, Communications and Public Works has summoned the Minister for Energy and his team. We want to compromise him, so that there can be no embarrassment. Kenyans are tired of lip service and noise. We can negotiate, so that our people can stop being angry with the Government. If nothing is done about it, the anger that may come by the end of this month may be so much, and I do not think this country can go through that again. Personally, I oppose the doubling of the electricity tariffs based on the cost of fuel. After what we have gone through, this country can afford to even subsidise the KPLC and not invest anywhere else. After all, there is a lot of pork barrel investment in this country; we can cut the pork and make sure that our people get affordable electricity. Lastly, I want to commend the Government for trying to sort out the Mau Forest mess. This is a political problem. We want to appeal to the Government, after commending it, to effect the evictions with a human face. As a Member of Parliament, I want to caution politicians, because Mau Forest was stolen by politicians. Some of those politicians are in this Parliament, and they are July 30, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2241 the ones making the loudest noise about this matter. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we want politicians to be true to their words. What we have been told is that these politicians are the same ones who sold that particular land. With those many remarks, I beg to support.
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. Is the hon. Member in order to state that some of the beneficiaries of the Mau Forest are in this House? If that is true, could he substantiate and table the evidence?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, why should I substantiate the obvious? I have also said that they are the ones making the loudest noise. They are the ones who sold it. Nevertheless, if that offends anybody, let me withdraw it but it is a fact!
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Order! Mr. Midiwo has already withdrawn the remark, and there is no point of continuing with something that has already been withdrawn. Mr. Wambugu!
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir.
I have already ruled on that; so, you are out of order. Continue, Mr. Wambugu!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, thank you for giving me this chance to contribute to this very important Vote. Let me first congratulate the Minister for Energy, his team, the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC), KenGen and the Permanent Secretary for coming up with this proposed budget to request for funding. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, let me say that it is the first time, after a long time, that we have an indication of how we are going to achieve our goals in the Vision 2030. I was listening to what the Minister said yesterday about trying to support the socio-economic transformation in this country, and that we should be concentrating on expanding and upgrading the energy sector and other areas. I will be brief because most of the issues have been talked about. There are other areas which we need to concentrate on more, like research into the sources of energy. When I was in school, I was told that the definition of energy was that energy is the ability to do work. That is what we need to go for. The main sources of energy that we have in this country are hydro-electric energy, that is electricity from our rivers; we have power-based energy, that is electricity from oil; we have wood energy, we have wind energy and energy from coal. Recently, the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife came up with a good idea by introducing a plant they call "Jetropha". For a long time we have heard about some factories that were supposed to be giving us some fuel like the Molasses plant in Kisumu. Other sources of energy like nuclear energy, solar energy and geothermal energy from the volcanic activities in the Rift Valley. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is time we took positive action to develop those resources that we have. I remember that when I was in school, there was a programme which was being run by the KPLC, of sponsoring some of the best students in this country to the university. I hope that the programme is still on, and if it is not it would be good for the KPLC, or even KenGen, to adopt such a programme so that we can have more people within the energy research industry. Regarding the issue of utilising the rivers that we have for hydro-electric energy, many rivers in this country are completely under-utilised. There is something in the Budget to support that. They say that they are going to promote the production of hydro-electricity in this country. I understand that the Ministry of Energy, or KenGen, is suggesting that they are going to partner with 2242 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 30, 2008 some of the small hydro-electric power generators to be able to buy the little electricity that they generate. But I request KenGen that, rather than waiting until the small producers come up with a programme, it should go around the country, and to the areas where there are rivers, and encourage the residents in those areas to partner with them so that they can come up with some hydro-power stations. In my constituency, there are two projects of that nature, but due to lack of funding, they have stalled for a long time. We request the KPLC, or the KenGen, to come to our assistance. Regarding oil exploration, for a long time, since the 1980s, this matter has been a topic which has been discussed. We have heard many times that oil exploration is taking place in this country, but, unfortunately, we have never got any results. We only hear that there is something happening in Marsabit, North Eastern Province or in Rift Valley. It would be good if the Ministry of Energy could come up and advise Kenyans on the status of some of these projects that are going on, because Kenyans are becoming impatient. Every time we hear that there is a lot of money being pumped into oil exploration, but nothing comes out of it. We need to know and get the facts about what is happening. I understand that the Ministry of Energy is coming up with a programme called "the Kenya Energy Sector Environment and Social Responsibility Programme". It is a good programme when it is written on paper, but, unfortunately, this programme could only be known to the people in the offices of the Ministries, but the idea has not come to the local mwananchi, who could support some of the programmes positively. I request the KPLC, the KenGen and the Ministry of Energy to move out of Nairobi and district headquarters and start teaching our people how they can team up with them to support these programmes. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have a lot of flat land in the north eastern region, and that is where we have got the advantage of harnessing wind power. There are some write-ups by the Ministry, but we would like to see something happening. For the last five or ten years, Kenyans have talked of wind energy, but it looks like there is nothing that is coming up. We would like to see these things happening. Recently, there was the issue of coal deposits around Ukambani area. All these things are talked about in Parliament, in the Ministries and so on, but we see very little in terms of implementation of some of the programmes. As an earlier speaker said, if we were able to get coal for producing some extra energy we would move a great step forward. Unfortunately, coal has environmental impact. There was a discussion sometime back about coal and environmental impact. I do not what the Ministry said about it. But what we are interested in is getting coal and we start moving a head. The other issue is about the plant called "Jetropha". There is no information about this plant. I understand that out of a kilo of Jetropha you can get about Kshs1,500. I understand that the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife is trying to discourage the introduction of this plant in some parts of Central Province. That plant would enable us to make money and get more fuel. We request the Ministry to encourage our farmers within the central Rift Valley to get into that. Regarding the issue of nuclear energy, as the Minister for Foreign Affairs, if we could invest in it, then we would solve many problems within the energy sector. It would be good if the Ministry came up with proper programmes to encourage Kenyans to invest in the energy sector. Rather than taking their money out of this country and investing it elsewhere, they should invest in the nuclear sector. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, Kenya lies within the equatorial region where we have a lot of sun. Almost 90 per cent of our time, we have a lot of sun but unfortunately we have not been able to tap it. This is because we have not been able to educate our people or even invest properly within the solar industry. I would also request the Ministry to see what it can do about that so that the areas where we cannot be able to get electrical cables, we could go out there and see whether we can install some solar panels for our people to be able to get energy to drive their July 30, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2243 machines. Kenya as a country is developing quite fast and I think we need to develop as much. With those remarks, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for allowing me to make my contribution and support this Ministry which is really important in many issues touching on the development of this country. It is also a Ministry with very able officers. I happened to work there for five years and nobody can doubt their ability to perform. If I were to gauge the ministries in performance contracting, I would award them the first slot because its effects have always been felt across the country. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, having said that, it is now important for this House to collectively take this challenge which is really traumatising Kenyans. This is one challenge which if not addressed, will make the economy of this country come to a halt bearing in mind that anything we do in this country revolves around the oil industry. If you look at the fuel prices in this country and compare them with those the world over, you will agree with me that something is really going wrong. I believe it is high time something was done, even if it requires more legislation. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, although we passed the Energy Bill last year in this House, if the Minister requires more powers, it is high time we addressed this crisis as a matter of emergency. Otherwise, anything that we speak of and even if we dream of Vision 2030, and this question of energy, that is both fuel and hydro power, is not addressed, then Vision 2030 will be a pipe dream. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if you look at the fuel industry, the only saviour for this country could be the National Oil Corporation of Kenya (NOCK). Today, they have been subjected to equal competition with other multinationals which have an added advantage. Some of them have their refineries abroad where they can be able to process oil and bring it cheaply here. When you subject the NOCK and independent distributors - those with small petrol stations - to the open tender system, you will always come to realise that NOCK will never win in that process. There are some multinationals that play magic like the Kenol Kobil who always win the open tender system. What surprises Kenyans is that whenever the small distributors, that is the owners of one petrol station win in the open tender system, by the time the fuel arrives at Mombasa, the prices are higher than the fuel prices that the multinationals have in their petrol stations. That automatically tells you that there is a cartel and I am talking out of facts that it has happened and it is happening. Unless we strengthen the NOCK, we will continue suffering. As the NOCK expands, it should take care of our small distributors with one or two petrol stations. They should be allowed to fall in the same category with NOCK and affirmative action be taken so that we ensure we do not kill our local investors. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, today, most of the petrol stations owned by individuals in this country are closing down. Why are they closing down? Today, if you moved to the Caltex depot in the Industrial Area and bought fuel there, the price that you will get from the depot is higher than the price that you can have at a petrol station of Caltex or Kenol Kobil in Kisumu and in Nairobi. If this is not a cartel, how would you describe this, whereby you are supposed to buy oil in high quantities, that is in wholesale, but the wholesaler is selling the goods at a higher price than in his retail shop? That will tell you automatically that we want to kill small investors and our own people for the sake of the multinationals. Some of the multinationals owe the Kenya Refineries Company more than Kshs1.8 billion and you wonder whether they are sacred cows. These include the Kenol Kobil and OiLibya who are the larger retailers in the market. They are not footing the bills there which can be able to benefit other Kenyans but they are continuing to dispense. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for the first time, Kenyans must now demand for their 2244 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 30, 2008 rights and they can only do so through this House; that the laws be enhanced to give the Minister for Energy teeth so that he can be able to strengthen the Ministry and at the same time, make sure that he does not kill our industry. On the issue of electricity, we cannot talk of production of power through hydro when we still continue behaving the way we are doing by asking our people to remain in the Mau Forest. The issue of the Mau is very clear and I even wondered why Mr. Midiwo was trying to substantiate on issues that are already on the Floor of this House. We know who are the owners of those huge tracts of land in Mau. They are Members of Parliament seated here in this House and I challenge you to ask me to do that because it is your responsibility as a Member of Parliament to know that. Come here and read the Ndung'u Report and you will come to know who are the thieves who took all the huge tracts of land and sold them to the peasants. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, those people in Mau are suffering because some of us seated in this House took huge tracts of land, subdivided it, sold it to them and gave them title deeds. Today, we are shedding crocodile tears just because you are the leaders and you want to shout from the rooftops that your people are being oppressed. The Government is responsible and should give these peasants, who have title deeds, land but at the same time, the law should apply. There are those who were kicked out of Enoosupukia. Let us talk about them. There are those people who were kicked out of Mount Kenya in the 1988 and 1989. There are also those who were kicked out of Aberdare and those who are being kicked out of Mount Elgon. The law should not apply selectively and, therefore, the issue of the Mau Forest should be approached by sober people so that first of all we save the forest. Today, we are experiencing a lot of flash floods downstream, water run-off and desertification. The forest is already gone because we do not want to take responsibility as leaders but we want to politicise everything. For us to save the hydro energy sector, we must agree as leaders to be fully responsible for what we say and our actions. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, electricity has become a problem and even where we have distribution, we cannot be able to siphon it because of transformers.
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. Is it in order for the hon. Member to say that we are shedding crocodile tears? I am one of those people who have made a lot of noise and I do not own a single acre and I have never owned one. I think he should be specific so that some of us are saved from that kind of accusation.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if you are safe, I do not have to substantiate your position. The Ndung'u Report is here and you can get it from the Clerk's office and the library and you will be able to know who I am talking about. If you want me to table another list I can do that tomorrow or any convenient time.
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I think the hon. Member has to be a little bit serious about what he is alleging because if he wants to table that information, then he does not have to spend time accusing the whole House. He should come and accuse those people who have made a mistake and not everybody.
Mr. Kiunjuri, answer that and then proceed on.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I sympathise with the hon. Member because he is new. The procedures of this House are very clear that he demands for a substantiation, which I have said I can substantiate. I have told him clearly that I do not have to do that since we have the Ndung'u Report which has all the names of all the people who acquired land in Mau and it is a document of this House.
Proceed, Mr. Kiunjuri!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, on the issue of transformers, we would like to request the Ministry of Energy to, at July 30, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2245 least, relocate those transformers to the nearest homes. They should, at least, give incentives to those homes by giving them free power connections so that they can take care of those transformers. That why, they will not be stolen each and every day and we will avoid power blackouts. They should also check the rates that they are charging. That is because the youth of this country will not be able to venture into business at all! Even if the Youth Development Enterprise Fund gives them money, the young men and women of this country will not be able to sustain their businesses with the high cost of energy. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we are also pleading with the Ministry even in terms of connections. Let them have an affirmative action on the youth so that, if you are less than 25 or 30 years, you should be connected at half price to enable you to compete with the "haves"! Otherwise, the youth of this country must be taken care of! We are asking the Ministry of Energy to take action on those issues. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I wish to contribute to this Motion and, to start with, I wish to congratulate the Ministry. They are doing a good job. But, nevertheless, we wish to point out where we feel the need to re-adjust. The issue of energy cannot be underestimated. Energy is very useful to a country. The control and management of energy is a security issue and, therefore, it should be regarded with the importance that it deserves.
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. There is no quorum!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I believe we have enough quorum!
Order, Mr. Maina! We do not have a quorum. Ring the Division Bell, please.
Order! We have a quorum now. You may proceed, Mr. Maina!
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I hope I will start afresh. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I started by saying that the Ministry is doing a good job. I hope it will continue doing a good job. I also said that energy is a security issue and the management and control of energy should be regarded with the importance that it deserves. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am raising this issue because we are aware that the greater part of our energy is being managed and controlled by foreign cartels. That is why you will find today that, in spite of fuel prices falling in the world markets, the Kenyan fuel prices keep on going up. I would like to move that it is high time this House actually enacted a legislation to empower the Ministry to monitor and control the sector; if need be. We are all aware of the importance of fuel as a parameter of the economy of a country. We are all aware that fuel touches on every aspect of our lives. Fuel touches on everything in any country! I consider it almost reckless that we should have a system which is behaving the way it is behaving, and we look helpless and unable to do anything! Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I call upon this House to actually come up with a legislation. Let us not be quoting policies from here and there, which call for market economies regulating themselves! It does not work! Therefore, I think it is time that we come up with a system which empowers the Ministry to intervene, when need be. 2246 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 30, 2008 Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I come now to the issues affecting this country. This country should be self-sufficient in energy! Let us not always try to think of theoretical things in our minds called nuclear power! Kenya should be able to utilise the resources that are there and become self-sufficient in energy! Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have water, wind, forests and nature in Kenya. Hydro-electric power generation in this country will remain an important parameter in the provision of energy. What is required are ways of harnessing water. We should not be necessarily thinking of gigantic projects. If we were to put up small dams in various rivers in this country--- If we were to collect water during the rains, I think we will be able to generate enough energy. In my opening remarks, I said that energy is a security issue. It is actually primary to the development and security of any country. Therefore, we should not leave the development of hydro-power in this country to international cartels which have no basis coming here to do small hydro-electric projects. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, let me turn to the issue of oil in this country. I want to say once again, that we should not sit here and imagine that Kenya will only develop when there is oil. Kenya should be able to develop whether there is oil or not. We are all aware that getting oil in a country is not the final solution to its problems. We have seen countries that have discovered oil deposits, and because of the poor management, it ends up to be a curse rather than a blessing. We should look into ways and means of developing Kenya. We have enough water and sunshine if we are not just looking for gigantic problems. Our universities should not just be conducting research on things that are in chemistry books. They should direct their energy towards the things that affect the society. I think that the Kenya Power and Lighting Company, KenGen and the Ministry of Energy should by now be linking up with various local universities. These universities should conduct research as per their requirements. Instead of putting money in the exploration of oil deposits, let us look at our neighbours who have discovered oil by chance like Southern Sudan and see whether it is feasible to run a pipeline from the border of Southern Sudan into Kenya. These things have been talked about. The fact that we hosted Southern Sudan peace talks and played a good neighbour to them, I think we should explore the possibility of getting oil from there. That is where there is cheap oil on the surface. Let me come back to the issue of the Kenya Pipeline Company and the Kenya Oil Refineries in Mombasa. I started by saying that energy is a national security issue. These State enterprises should not be handed over to some foreigners just like that. Kenyans have shown that there is idle capital in this country. Every Initial Public Offer (IPO) has been oversubscribed. Could this Ministry come up with a system where Kenyans would invest in the Kenya Pipeline Company by buying shares? That way, we will be shareholders of mali yetu ! When we invite foreigners to buy these State corporations, we could end up having terrorists owning those parastatals. That is not right. Kenyans have idle capital, why can they not buy the Kenya Pipeline Company and the Kenya Oil Refineries? If we need managers, let us go to the best managers in the world and pay them well so that they manage the enterprises for us. I want to say Kenya is for Kenyans. That is what Mzee Kenyatta believed. I have also said earlier that Kenya is for Kenyans. Also, President Roosevelt believed that America is for Americans. We do not want to hear that some negotiations are going on to handover the Kenya Oil Refineries and the Kenya Pipeline Company to so-and-so from another "satellite". This is very important. Africans need to reawaken. We are handing over Africa to foreigners. In the eastern belt, we are handing over Africa to foreigners. We need to be a bit more serious. The resources of a country should be owned by her people. There is a difference between July 30, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2247 management and ownership. When you buy a car, you can give it to anybody to drive and maintain it. However, the car is yours. Mkikosana anaenda zake. Unatafuta mwingine. Si hivyo? The same thing applies to a country. These are basic things. I am stressing this---
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I think it is good to observe the rules of the House. With due respect to Mr. Maina, mixing of languages is not allowed.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am not aware of any language that is unpalatable---
Order! Order! Mr. Maina, you were communicating and your contribution was in English Language. Could you continue with English Language until you complete your contribution? That is the order!
Your time is up!
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this chance to contribute to this very important Motion. First of all, I would like to join my colleagues in congratulating the Ministry for doing a pretty good job in ensuring that the energy resources are managed properly in our Republic. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in particular reference to provision of electricity, I would like to thank the Ministry for the efforts that they have so far made to ensure that even the rural communities benefit from the provision of electricity. In appreciating this effort, I would like to urge the Ministry to be a little bit considerate in ensuring that the rural population benefit immensely on issues of electricity within their homes. It is important to note that despite the fact that we have so much presence of electrical cables and wires within and around the communities in the rural areas, connectivity still remains a very difficult thing to achieve. Currently, the rates of Kshs34,000 for every connection in the rural homes is still very high. I would like to urge this Ministry to consider reviewing the rates with at least some affirmative action to the rural communities if they want to see the benefits of having electrical power. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like also to say that the Ministry of Finance should, through the Ministry of Energy, increase money availed for rural electrification. In this years's Budget Estimate, however, it is important to note even the Ministry of Energy has given us the estimates they intend to utilise for rural electrification in this financial year, 2008/2009, Kipkelion District has not been captured. I want to say that Kipkelion District is one and half years old. I have seen in the list of the Estimates that some of the districts that were created even towards the end of the year have been factored in. I want to urge the Ministry to consider Kipkelion District because it has not benefited much from the Rural Electrification Programme. It is also important to note a division in that district, which falls within my constituency, called Chilchila Division, to date, has no single wire of electricity when in about three kilometres away in Muhoroni Constituency, we have power. I would like to urge the Ministry to move with speed and, probably, give an affirmative action to rural districts, so that they can get even more projects being funded under the Rural Electrification Programme (REP). Currently, REP is only funding about five projects within a constituency. I want to ask the Ministry to consider increasing the number of projects being undertaken in constituencies that have not benefited before under REP. I have in mind Kipkelion Constituency. I want to appreciate the fact that some multi-national companies, especially in Kericho, Kipkelion and Bureti districts, do generate some electric power. I do not know how much it would cost us to ensure that energy that is being generated by the multi-nationals within the community is shared with the community. I think it should be within their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) 2248 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 30, 2008 to ensure that they do not only share labour with the community, but they should share other benefits of development like electricity. We have James Finlay Kenya Limited which generates electricity. We also have Unilever Kenya. They generate power and use it for their own benefit. I want to ask the Ministry to ensure that such companies share that energy with the rest of the Kenyan community. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, with regard to the failure of some areas to get electric power, which has been blamed partly on the issue of the Mau Forest, I would like to say that, while we concur with everyone that Mau Forest needs to be conserved, it should not be used as a scape- goat by the Ministry of Energy to tell us here that electricity has been affected, when we know that Sondu Miriu, the only power generating plant within the rivers of Mau, has not yet been commissioned. In that regard, I would urge the Government to commission the Sondu Miriu Power Project because, to our understanding, it is capable of running turbines. I think there was a visit by a Parliamentary group to that plant. We are satisfied that Sondu Miriu Power Project could actually be commissioned so that, as we continue with the issues of saving the Mau Forest, we are actually beginning to reap its benefits. At the moment, no one is disputing the feeling that we need to conserve Mau Forest. There needs not be a big debate. What we are only saying is that the Government must, definitely, be able to deal with the problem and nurture what we call a community-based approach towards the issue of the Mau Forest. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, with those few remarks, I beg to support the Motion.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this chance to also contribute to this Motion. I am also grateful because it happens to be the first time that I am talking in this House. As such, I would like to take this chance to thank the people of Kitui West for electing me to this House. Indeed, that is something that I have talked with them. It is not late because I have been on the ground with them. They know that the promises we made are going to be kept and they will have no regrets. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I must also say that for me to contribute when this Vote is being discussed is also strategic for some reasons that I am going to mention. It has been said by other hon. Members that, indeed, this Ministry is one of the Ministries which are clearly being felt round the country, particularly in the rural areas. I must admit that most of us went to school when we were using some make-up of light to read. But in the same places where we were using those crude modes of lighting, now there is electricity. It is because of the efforts that this Ministry has made over the last several years; to take power to the people. Indeed, it was impressive when the Minister was presenting his budget. He talked about the number of customers that have connected, which is comparable to what has been done in the last 100 years. It is my hope that the Ministry will keep on doing that good job. As far as the budget is concerned, this is one of the Ministries which has been given quite a big budget. But I would say that, that still does not suffice. Energy is the engine of economic growth and development. We are talking a lot about Vision 2030 and, if there is any critical component in what we envisage to achieve in Vision 2030, this Ministry will play a critical role. I am happy that it is in safe hands. Of course, money will never be enough. What they have been given is not enough to do what we want. As we move ahead, it is also important for this Ministry and its organs to look for alternative ways of raising money other than relying on the Exchequer. There is a lot of money around us and from our development partners, which can be used to develop energy resources. I urge the Ministry to take advantage of whatever is available, rather than just relying on the Exchequer. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in my constituency, like I mentioned earlier on, a lot has been done. I must, at this point in time, as I congratulate the Minister and his officers, at least, there is one lady whom I want to acknowledge for the job that she is doing. She is one Mary Njiraini from Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) Office in Thika. She has done an July 30, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2249 exemplary job in my area. However, in as much as she has been able to do a lot in terms of surveying and what is required to give us power, I see a situation where all those efforts are going to get wasted. I am talking about that because of the issue of connectivity. Yes, we have done a lot of survey and we intend to do a lot more with the people, but the cost of connectivity, particularly, when we are talking about rural areas where the income levels are very low, still continues to be very high. Something has to be done in terms of not only making connectivity affordable to the consumers, but also on the issue of electricity charges which currently, as we all know, have gone up tremendously. Whereas we do appreciate that the Ministry, in terms of providing energy, is also dependent on oil which is subject to international prices and other factors, honestly, something has to be done. I believe the Ministry has got the capacity and the people who can think outside the box and come up with solutions in terms of how we are going to reduce the costs of not only connectivity, but also the consumption charges. Indeed, if we do not do that, we will not be able to enjoy the fruits of most of the good things that we are talking about like Information and Communication Technology (ICT), providing youth with employment and encouragement of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). That is going to be a big hinderance to their progress. Indeed, even the established industries are going to be really affected by this cost. I happen to be a Member of the Parliamentary Committee on Energy, Communications and Public Works. When we were going around with the Minister inspecting the pipeline, one of the biggest cost components we were talking about was electricity. Honestly, if something is not done, they are going to grind to a halt. Basically, I am saying that it is not just the rural folks who are affected. It is all of us, even in our own houses. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, indeed, a lot can be done in terms of making the cost of electricity come down. There are issues of alternative sources of energy. The Minister alluded to this when presenting the budget. Along these line, honestly, I would have wished to see a lot of money going into the development of renewal sources of energy. That removes our dependency on hydro-electricity. We have done this since Independence and we know where it has taken us to. Indeed, the issue of coal deposits is well known. It is something which has been talked about for quite sometime. It is high time that something was done so that it can supplement our sources of energy. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I come from an arid area with a lot of free energy in the form of solar. However, we are not able to exploit that freely available energy because the cost of solar components is extremely high. If you compare the cost of components you need to light a simple house in this country and in a place like Dubai, honestly, you cannot understand the difference in costing. I thought that, in the budget we would see some efforts from the Ministry in trying to make some of these sources of energy like solar a lot more available to our people. Indeed, I do not know whether it is the question of our capacity to absorb the production if we were to establish our own factories for producing our solar panels. I am sure the Minister will address himself to that. What I am saying in a nutshell is that, we need to see some practical action in the Ministry in terms of diversifying energy reliance in this country from hydro to other sources. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if I have to talk a little about my constituency which I have said we have done a lot to connect electricity to many points, I would not be fair to talk about the so many voters who voted for me and the other candidates. Many residents of Kitui West always complain to me whenever I go round that, "yes, electricity has been connected" but they only see power lines passing over their heads. It is my humble request that something is done particularly on the cost of transformers so that instead of having these many kilometres of lines just flying above people's homesteads, we get to connect them. Whenever we talk to them or when they try to come together the issue they raise is the cost of transformers. Honestly, we need to do something and particulary for the rural areas. 2250 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 30, 2008 In my constituency and particulary one division, there is the issue I have just raised of many lines passing through it. I have two divisions; Mutonguni and Matinyani. In the division I come from, at least, I am happy that we have seen the first fall of electricity wires. However, that only takes about a kilometre in the division which is about 80 kilometres long and 40 kilometres in width. We are talking about quite an expansive division. It is my humble request that as the Ministry allocates its resources, let us be very fair to some of these divisions. Indeed, I know it is not the only division. I know there are many others. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I stand to support this Motion on the Vote of the Ministry of Energy. As my colleagues have said in this House, energy is the engine of development in any nation. I must commend the Ministry of Energy through the stewardship of the Minister and his staff for the amount of work they have done over a couple of years that have gone. I believe that if they continue like that, we shall light this nation. Most of you have seen the map which says: "The globe by night". Africa is really a dark continent. You look at it from Durban all the way to the north and compared to India which has lighted its nation very much, we are still quite far. However, with the current pace of development in terms of power and distribution, we are going to go far. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, having said that, I would like to talk about a business person. The cost of energy in this country--- Most people look at electricity alone. However, I would like to combine it with fuel. The cost of energy is driving business people out of this country. We have lost quite a lot of flower growers from this nation because the cost of business has gone up. It has reached a point where most of them are mechanising in terms of grading. The cost of production in this country has become very high. I would really like to plead with the Minister to go to our neighbour Ethiopia where they connect many of their people with free power. In terms of cost, if they buy their transformers, at the end of their business, they are given the transformer back. It is then treated as an asset within their own company. It is important to compare so that we do not continue saying that we are moving forward yet we are losing many people in terms of business who go and create employment in another country. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, let me turn to one point that is dear to me; theft of transformers. Last week we lost a transformer next to a dispensary. I think the people who are stealing the transformers have no mercy. I know the Minister has issued a ban on export of electrical goods, but I think there should be an enforcement wing of the Government. They should check contractors. A contractor comes and steals Government equipment and makes it their own and sell it to the Government. That is an issue that must be looked into. A human being that can go and steal a transformer outside a dispensary must have some ulterior motives. I would like to request the Government to make sure they find out what is happening in terms of the issue of losing transformers. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also like to say that these power lines that the Minister has given us, when brought to your constituency the people's expectations go very high. However, because they are high voltage lines and you go there as a Member of Parliament and tell them they cannot be connected just because the voltage is very high, we get very demoralised. I would like to request the Minister for Energy that as these high voltage lines pass through various areas, let it not be like the water that comes from Nyandarua goes to Nakuru then Rumuruti but the people surrounding that area never get it. They get so demoralised because they are told to plant trees so that we get more water just to feed residents of Nakuru, Rumuruti and Naivasha and yet they themselves go without water. Let electricity be an exemption. Where the power lines pass, the communities should benefit. That is one of the issues that I have been fighting. When I go to my constituency and tell July 30, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2251 people that they cannot get power, the first thing they show me are the power lines. They, normally, tell me those power lines were not meant for birds to be landing on, but they are meant to supply us with electricity. I have come to the conclusion that when I was working in the Government and elsewhere, the emergency section of the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) was fantastic---
Order, Mr. Mureithi! It is now 5.10 p.m. and I would now like to call upon the Mover to reply.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, let me take this opportunity to sincerely thank my colleagues for giving our Vote their total and unanimous support. You have noted that every hon. Member who spoke on this Vote spoke in support. This is unprecedented and we sincerely thank hon. Members from both sides of the House.
Hon. Members have made various valuable comments during their contributions and I promise, as a Minister, that we are going to take those comments seriously. We will build them into our policies, programmes and into the design of our projects. Although I may not respond specifically to each and every contribution, we have taken copious notes and my offices who are there will incorporate them into a document which will be used to guide our operations in the Ministry. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, allow me to respond to a few of the common issues which have been raised by hon. Members. I think the last hon. Member to speak is among the hon. Members who touched on solar energy. The Ministry is aware of the enormous potential that is available in this country in the area of solar energy. The Government is already on the ground and we have decided to connect all public institutions, that is, schools, dispensaries and DOs offices in areas that are far off the grid. As I speak now, we have connected most of the schools in North Eastern Province, northern Kenya, including Turkana and so on. We intend to intensify this project. As I said, we have Kshs300 million in the current Budget. I am consulting with my colleague, the Minister for Development of Northern Kenya and Other Arid Lands so that he can give me priorities for areas where we should invest. We are also aware that one of the hindrances in our moving faster on solar connections is the fact that the solar panels and other components are quite expensive. We are looking for investors, both local and international, to invest in the manufacture of solar panels and other components so that they can be cheaper and, therefore, made accessible to the people of this country. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, hon. Members, including the Prime Minister also requested the Ministry to look at the issue of nuclear energy as an alternative source of cheaper electricity for the country. I agree with them that time has come for this country to think outside the box. Nuclear energy is being used in developed countries such as Canada, France, the UK and others for electricity generation. Even South Africa is now introducing nuclear energy to its energy needs. I do not see any reason why we in Kenya should be shy. While we were out there in the UK, I appealed to investors to come forward. We are thinking of a project which will cost about US$1 billion and it will generate between 500 megawatts and 1,000 megawatts. That will double the country's electricity needs. As a Ministry, we shall aggressively pursue this line. As soon as we get any experienced partners, we will come back to Parliament so that we do not make any mistake in the selection of this partner. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the question of high cost of energy was acceptable to me. I pointed it out in my opening remarks that, indeed, the high fuel cost in this country has also led to high electricity costs. If you look at your electricity bills, there is an element there called 2252 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 30, 2008 "Fuel Adjustment Costs". That is what has driven the electricity bills very high. Right now, we are not able to do very much about it because the Government is only subsidizing. If you look at the Budget, we are giving KenGen about Kshs4 billion this financial year as our own subsidy to the fuel that they use to generate electricity sometimes through the Independent Power Producers (IPPs). So, that one represents the tax elements of fuel. If we did not give that subsidy, electricity costs would be much higher than it is today. So, we are doing our best and we hope that when we adopt other strategies of reducing the fuel costs, electricity cost is also going to come down. However, I do not want to cheat you that we have answers already or that we will do it tomorrow. This is a project that we have to work on. An hon. Member raised the issue of ownership of the power stations currently being managed by KenGen. I would like to state categorically that all the power stations in this country, especially the hydros, are owned by KenGen. They used to be owned by those regional authorities like TARDA and so on, but now they are owned by KenGen. Any disputes between the regional authorities and KenGen--- There are many disputes regarding some contributions which KenGen should be making to the local authorities for what we call "catchment protection". KenGen should be making contributions to TARDA so that it can manage catchment protection in areas where there are dams. It is the same thing with the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA). So, the disputes are mainly with regard to those contributions. I have talked to the management of KenGen, the Managing Director is here, and they have told me that they are up to date with those payments. So, there is no question about disputes regarding ownership of the power stations because they belong to KenGen. Indeed, if there are any issues, we should sit down with the Minister in charge of local authorities, who is my colleague in the Cabinet, to resolve these issues internally within the Government. We are not two different Governments. With regard to coal exploration, it is true that we need to enhance that in our country. The Government has been doing this for the last six years, but progress has been very slow. That is why during the financial year 2007/2008, we made a policy decision as a Ministry to involve the private sector in coal exploration and exploitation. As I talk now, we have floated an international tender to get some experts who will help us determine the quality and the extent of the coal reserves within the Mui basement in Ukambani. This is not the only basement where there is coal. We suspect that there could be coal in areas like Chalbi Desert and Taru Desert. With time, we shall also be exploring those areas. As of now, we have intensified our drilling in this particular area. The area is 400 square kilometres, which is about 120 acres of that area. So, there is a lot of scope for private sector involvement, and we believe that we should generate sufficient electricity from the coal reserves when established. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, hon. Members asked why we have not been able to discover oil or gas in Kenya. It is true that there was neglect of the upstream oil and gas sector in this country for some time. Only 31 wells have been drilled since last year. We drilled another one well off Lamu, which turned out to be dry, last year. We expect to drill some more oil wells nest year. The country has been divided into 38 exploration blocks. We have given out 14 of these blocks, and we are inviting international companies to come so that we can allocate the remaining block, so that the entire country can be under exploration. Regarding the Rural Electrification Programme, I said that we have a very ambitious project. We want to do, in the next five years, what this country has done in 110 years since 1897. I need all your support. We have been allocated sufficient funds in this Budget to enable us to connect 200,000 households this year. So, we will be pushing the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) and the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) to make sure that we have presence in every constituency, and that we enhance what we have already been doing. Hon. Members have already indicated the areas and our design engineers are on the ground. We hope that by July 30, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2253 September, we shall know which projects they have selected and how much they cost, so that we can start. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to request hon. Members to assist us through the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF). Sometimes you have our conductors passing over your schools or market. A transformer costs only Kshs300,000 to Kshs400,000; so, maybe you could also support so that we can drop electricity in some of the areas. We hope to meet with you and we also want to create a matching fund between hon. Members and the REA, so that if you produce Kshs1 million, the REA supports you with the same amount to encourage hon. Members to invest more CDF money in rural electrification. So, we hope with all these projects we should do much better than we did in previous years. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, regarding geothermal power, I would like to inform hon. Members that, indeed, in the world Kenya is the second in terms of geothermal reserves. New Zealand is the first! We estimate that we have geothermal reserves to give us 4,000 megawatts of electricity. Right now the whole country is surviving on 1,100 megawatts. So, we can produce four times the electricity we are producing today from geothermal source alone. We have identified various geothermal sites, like Menengai, where we can produce 800 megawatts; Bogoria area, 476 megawatts; Baringo, 1,046 megawatts; Korosi, 700 megawatts and Paka can produce 800 megawatts. All these sites are within the Rift Valley. We are happy that the Government has given us, during this financial year, Kshs4 billion to enable us enhance geothermal exploration within these areas. We are going to drill 12 wells between now and December, and we hope that from 2012, because it will take some time to get the steam out of the ground, we will start generating 70 megawatts per year for five years from between 2012 and 2013 from that area. So, we are also encouraging the private sector to come and team up with the Government, because enormous resources are required to exploit this resource. We expect plenty of activity in geothermal source in the Rift Valley at this particular time. On the other alternative sources of energy, we are now at the top of Ngong Hills. There is money and there is money in this Budget, Kshs300 million, to enable us put a wind plant at the top of Ngong Hills. We expect to generate another 300 megawatts of wind generated electricity at Marsabit. We are also at Kinangop, and we are doing a wind map for the country to enable us to advise the private sector on which areas to invest in wind energy. We are also looking at small hydros and there is money for a feasibility study for various small hydro sites. We are also hoping to attract the private sector investment to small hydros for between one megawatt and 50 megawatts. We have published a feed-in tariff to guide investors on what we shall pay them, because we are going to purchase all electricity which is generated by the private sector through the wind projects and small hydros. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, Mr. Mungatana surprised me when he said we did not have any project in his district, because I knew we put in about Kshs100 million in Tana River District last year. But I asked which district he had in mind and then he told me about the Tana Delta District. These new districts have not been gazetted. Indeed, there are some which the Ministry is not aware of, because even the Office of the President has not circulated to us the list of the new districts. I would like to appeal to hon. Members that if you come from a new district where we do not have any projects, please, either write or come to us and advise us that your district headquarters, or any other public institutions within the new districts, are not connected to electricity. The Ministry is going to consider the proposal and, definitely, we are going to move there. We want to be present in every inch of this country. Regarding refinery processing fees, which Mr. Kiunjuri talked about, it is true that we have three top oil companies, which have refused to pay the refinery processing fees. We have been very hard on them. We got them excluded from the oil importation and refining, but we have been taken to court. My Permanent Secretary has been served with orders threatening to commit him to prison 2254 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES July 30, 2008 for contempt of court, and we cannot discuss this further here, because the matter is pending in court. But we have a struggle with them; we want to level the playing field, so that all the players in Kenya are treated equally, and that they also pay the processing fees to the refinery. So, it is not that we are treating some animals differently from others. As far as the Ministry is concerned, all animals are equal. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, finally allow me to take this opportunity to most sincerely thank my staff in the Ministry, led by the Permanent Secretary who has been in the Ministry since its inception in 1980s. I would also like to sincerely thank the Chairmen, Board members of the various parastatals under the Ministry, the CEOs and the members of staff for their team work and tremendous support that they have given to this Ministry. It is for this reason that my Ministry was ranked fourth by the performance contract evaluators last year. We hope to work harder this year, deliver more services and move from fourth position to a higher position. With those few remarks, I beg to move.
Madam Temporary Deputy Chairlady, I beg to move:- THAT a sum not exceeding Kshs11,266,328,995 be issued from the Consolidated Fund to complete the sum necessary to meet the expenditure during the year ending 30th June, 2009, in respect of:- Vote 30 - The Ministry of Energy
Hon. Members, we are now moving to the Development Vote. VOTE D30 - DEVELOPMENT EXPENDITURE SUB-VOTE 300 - GENERAL ADMINISTRATION AND PLANNING
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am directed to report that the Committee of Supply has considered the Resolution that a sum not exceeding Kshs11,266,328,995 be issued form the Consolidated Fund to complete the sum necessary to meet Expenditure during the year ending 30th June, 2009 in respect of Vote 30 - Ministry of Energy, and has approved the same without amendment.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution.
(Mr. Keter) seconded.
Hon. Members that marks the end of our business for today. The House is, therefore, adjourned until tomorrow, Thursday, 31st July, 2008 at 2.30 p.m. The House rose at 5.45 p.m.