(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Hon. Members, I order that the bell be rung to ensure that we get the requisite quorum for us to start the business of the day.
Hon. Members, I can confirm that we now have quorum. Therefore, we can start the business of the day.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): The first Notice of Motion is by Hon. William Chepkut.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I beg to give notice of the following Motion:
THAT, aware that Kenya has excelled in sports in the world, particularly in athletics; further aware that most sportsmen and women participate as national representatives at the local and international stages while still very young, inexperienced and with little income; deeply concerned that despite bringing glory and acknowledgement to the country over the years, there has been minimal short and long-term recognition and rewards from the Government; further concerned that many of the sportspersons often retire in abject poverty due to among others, lack of/or support, poor financial and personal management skills; cognisant of the fact that reward and establishment of a fund would among other things provide supportive means for sportspersons upon retirement; this House urges the Government to establish an Athletics Remuneration and Endowment Fund for purposes of pooling resources for rewarding and supporting sportspersons.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Very well. The other Notice of Motion is by Hon. Walter Owino. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I beg to give notice of the following Motion:
THAT, aware that sugarcane production in the country has declined significantly in the past few years due to the numerous problems facing the sector including high cost of sugar production, cane poaching, low productivity and heavy indebtness on the publicly owned sugar milling plants, imprudent business decisions and corruption; concerned that the drop in the sugarcane production has resulted in shortage as well as high cost of sugar in the county; noting that traditionally, the Kenyan cane growing model has operated on an out-growers model whereby farmers are supported to grow cane on their farms and in turn, they are expected to supply the cane to the millers who facilitated cane development where the cost is recovered; further noting that in practice, development of own cane by millers, commonly known as nucleus estate as well as having contracted farmers as a precondition for licensing of cane millers is no longer adhered to, thereby creating wrangles in the cane growing zones as new millers are licensed, but do not have adequate cane to run their factories leading to encroachment on already contracted cane established by existing millers; cognizant of the fact that the genesis of cane poaching is attributable to weak and non-adherence of regulations regarding licensing of new factories and failure to honour contractual agreements by both the millers and farmers; this House resolves that the State Department of Agriculture through the Kenya Sugar Board review regulations regarding licensing of new sugar factories to ensure supply contracts are provided as proof of availability and adequacy of sugarcane supply and as a precondition for licensing of cane millers, and that contractual agreements by both millers and farmers are honoured.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): The third Notice of Motion is by Hon. Simon King’ara.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I beg to give notice of the following Motion: THAT, aware that Article 37 of the Constitution guarantees every person the right, peaceably and unarmed, to assemble, demonstrate, picket and present petitions to public authorities; noting that there is need to guarantee that the enjoyment of rights and fundamental freedoms by any individual should not prejudice the rights and fundamental freedoms of others; noting that demonstrations and picketing in cities and major towns in the country, particularly in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu have on many occasions resulted in destruction, loss of live and property, public disorder and creation of an unfavourable business environment; noting that the rights and freedoms are not unconditional because the Government has a duty and responsibility to ensure maintenance of peace and public order and protection of rights, life and property of all its citizens; this House resolves that the Government designates and gazettes specific areas and streets for demonstrations and picketing with a view to ensuring that individuals enjoy their rights and freedoms as enshrined in the Constitution without infringing on the freedoms and rights of others. Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Next Order!
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I beg to move the following Motion:
THAT, aware that Article 42 of our Constitution accords every person the right to
a clean and healthy environment and that Article 69(1)(d) mandates the State to
encourage public participation in the management, protection and conservation of the environment; further aware that deforestation is one of the main contributors to climate change; noting that Kenya has not been spared by the effects of global warming and climate change as a result of deforestation amongst other aspects; deeply concerned that this has adversely affected the agriculture sector which is the backbone of the rural economy, and also led to severe drought being experienced in all parts of this country; this House urges the Government to introduce compulsory tree planting programmes in all learning institutions and individual households. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, this Motion of compulsory planting of trees in all institutions and our households is very necessary because in 1963, our forest cover was 13 per cent. Deforestation and cutting down of trees has really affected our environment. As I speak to this august House, our forest cover stands at 1.7 per cent. You all know that forests are key. They provide food, firewood, wood for furniture and shelter, just to mention but a few. So, I urge all of us, as Members of Parliament, to pass this Motion so that all pupils in schools, students, teachers, administrators and parents can plant trees even on their own farms. We must plant trees on 10 per cent of our total land mass for this generation and the generation to come. We have three classic examples. The second President of the Republic of Kenya in 2002 started Egerton University Botanic Gardens and planting of trees. In 2011, the Ambassador of China to Kenya started herbal tree planting in Egerton. Another classical example is here in Ngong in Kajiado County. The Kenya Reinsurance Corporation in its corporate social responsibility is planting trees. I urge Members that when there is peace, let institutions such as the National Youth Service (NYS) and the Kenya Army go and plant trees in our forests. In Mau Forest, Mount Kenya, Aberdares and even Kaptagat Forest in my home area, people are cutting down trees without planting others. This happens even in Nandi and Kericho. A classic example again is Unilever, which has tree nurseries and are planting a lot of trees. We have really destroyed our forests. Trees provide both herbal and convectional medicine. I urge the Members of this 12th Parliament to support this Motion so that it becomes compulsory that we all plant trees, especially in the Mau Forest. In the Mau, the NYS can be deployed to plant trees. There was the Forest Act of 2005 that mandated the management and conservation of forests in our country to the Kenya Forest Service (KFS). As Members of Parliament, I want us to move with speed. I want the KFS to plant trees. Raiply Kenya cuts down trees, makes a lot of money and it does not plant more trees. I want bamboo trees to be planted in our forests. In our homes, I want our school children, parents and all of us to plant trees in 10 per cent of the land we own. I urge all of us to support this Motion. With those few remarks, I beg to move and request the Member for Bomachoge Borabu Constituency, Hon. Zadoc Ogutu, to second the Motion.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Very well. Do you have a seconder? Let us have the Member to second. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I second this Motion that has been moved by one of our independent Members. He has clearly put the matter to this House in a very humble manner on the need to increase forest coverage in our nation of Kenya. Globally, each nation should have 10 per cent of its landscape covered by forest. Currently, Kenya has about three per cent of its landscape under forest cover because of the challenges we have had over the years. Now that we do not have space to increase tree planting in forests, we are left with very few options. Learning institutions and individual farmers become the better option as we start reclaiming land that has been lost to agricultural activities through illegal means. I support this Motion because of many reasons. One is that schools and learning institutions, universities included, remain part of the spaces where we have plenty of land. The initiative to plant trees is not new. The Mover has already alluded to the situation in Egerton University where we have a botanical garden that not only caters for research in the university, but also for the aesthetic and beauty of the institution. It also serves as a source of seedlings to adjacent communities. I also want to acknowledge that Kenyatta University also has a botanical garden for learning purposes. The trees are imported from various parts of this country, including dry lands and creates a conducive environment for the growth of indigenous trees which are secured in those institutions. Increasing forest cover not only safeguards the medicinal industry, but also provides a link between learning and realities in communities. When our students and pupils engage themselves in tree planting, they develop a sense of ownership and likeness of the environmental matters and conservation. We want to leave a generation that respects the environment. It is unfortunate that some of us have not been very concerned with the role of the environment in our lives and yet the nation of Kenya is a signatory to many conventions including the Convention on Biological Biodiversity and a global strategy to plant trees for conservation. Many of us come from areas where the landscape has already been destroyed and forest cover has been reduced and yet we know that the need for trees in the rural areas stands at the top. The increasing factories in the sugar and tea industries require a lot of trees. Schools can also engage themselves in tree planting for commercial reasons, but also individual households can also plant trees to earn money. Engaging in tree planting creates challenges in terms of competition for other land uses, but we can always target trees that are friendly to farm activities. These trees have already been identified. We should confine school environment to a mixture of exotic and indigenous species. I do not want to emphasise the value that trees play in the environment. We know that trees contribute to soil formation and cleaning of our air and water systems. This Motion is quite timely when the United Nations (UN) is at Gigiri discussing environmental issues.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): The Member who is just walking in, you do not just cross the Floor. Can you go back and do what is necessary so that we can have some decorum in the House?
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. The Motion has come at a good time when the global community is meeting at Gigiri to discuss how to deal with environmental issues. It beats logic for us to engage in this discussion and give directions on how best to involve our institutions and individual households in tree planting. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Finally, in promoting tree planting programmes at institutional and household levels, we will help the dreams of some of our heroes and heroines in this country, including Prof. Wangari Maathai. In one of her speeches, she said that if we destroy nature, then nature will destroy us. In her lecture in Oslo sometime back, she noted the significant role the youth can play in the environment, which cannot be questioned. She said: “To the young people, I say, you are a gift to your communities and indeed, the world. You are our hope and our future.” We want our children, individual communities and households to appreciate the value of trees as environmental ingredients, components of nature and as a source of income. I second the Motion.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Order Members! Hon. Member, when the Speaker is upstanding, you freeze, Professor.
Put your card at the intervention slot, Leader of the Minority Party.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to contribute. Before I support the Motion, allow me to take one minute and make a correction of what I have seen on the front page of the Daily Nation today regarding why this House is asking the Procedure and House Rules Committee to increase the membership of committees from 17 to 19. The newspapers or at least the Daily Nation got it wrong. I want to say that we support the freedom of the media. I do not want to attack the Daily Nation. Probably, we did not explain the reason properly. Remember the membership of committees used to be 29 in the last Parliament, but we brought it down to 17. After calculations, we realised that a good number of Members of Parliament will sit in two committees, but another good number will sit in only one committee. That will create a problem to the leadership, especially the Whips where some Members find themselves in two committees and others find themselves in one committee. It will create a class system in the House. Some Members may even blame the leadership for discriminating against them. That is the sole reason. It has nothing to do with extra allowances for Members of Parliament. If anything, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) capped allowances of Members of Parliament who are sitting in committees to seek allowances to utmost 16 sittings in a month. Even if you have one committee, you will most likely sit 16 times in a month. So, my friends in the Nation Media and a good friend of mine, Mr. Ngirachu, got it wrong on that. I wish he called me for clarification. I wanted to clarify that.
I want to support this Motion which was moved by the Member for Ainabkoi. I have realised that the Member for Ainabkoi, Hon. William Chepkut, is fitting in the shoes of his predecessor very well. I remember Hon. Chepkong’a was a very vibrant legislator in this House. When we were sitting in the House Business Committee (HBC) yesterday, I was impressed to see that this is the Member who has proposed more Motions than any other Member in this House. I want to start by saying kudos to Hon. William. You have started on the right footing, and your constituents are looking up to you. The quality of the Motion that you brought this morning needs support from all of us. The weather changes and the reduced rainfall that we have seen in this country are directly attributable to the reduction in the forest cover that has been systematic from Independence to date. I will not repeat what my colleagues have said, especially the Mover and the Seconder, Prof. Ogutu. They have ably put it that our forest cover is about 1.7 per cent. This is a shame and a disaster. As a country, we need to ask ourselves fundamentally The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
why we are killing ourselves and future generations. When you destroy the environment and the forest cover, you are definitely creating a danger to future generations of this country. The future generation will hold us accountable and responsible. We may not be there, but they will blame us. None of us wants to see his descendants suffering because of some of the mistakes that we make.
I support fully that one of the steps that we need to take is to encourage our institutions to plant trees. There is no better starting point than our learning institutions. We can start by encouraging our learning institutions and even make it compulsory for every school to have a certain minimum number of trees from primary and secondary schools, technical training institutes, colleges, universities and all other learning institutions. We need to make it a policy in our public institutions, starting with Parliament. We need to find a way of ensuring that there is some forest cover in Parliament. If we have some minimum percentage of forest cover in all the institutions in the country, it will go a step forward in realising the desired forest cover that we need. I support fully that we need to encourage public institutions to plant trees.
We can also encourage households to plant trees. I do not know whether it is necessary to make it compulsory because we want Kenyans to enjoy their freedom. I do not want to see the old style where chiefs come to our homes and start caning people and arresting them for not planting trees. It should be inculcated. It should be a principle. It should be something that we embrace willingly as a country and society that we have to plant trees in our homes. In fact, it is even decent when you have tree cover in your home. The home even becomes more decent and good to live in than if you stay in a home where there are absolutely no trees. We need to encourage people as opposed to forcing them, but we can make it mandatory for our public institutions. We can force them to plant trees.
The problem is not about planting of trees, but protecting our forests. I was discussing with my friends here and we tend to agree that a lot of environment conservation is a devolved function. However, if you do it in places like schools, that is still the national Government function. The gazetted forests in this country are a national Government function. We have enough gazetted forests in this country. We are failing in planting trees in those forests and protecting them. In fact, I want to encourage the committee which will look into this matter to go a step further and ask the employees that we are paying every month as forest warders and people who are supposed to protect forests whether they are doing their work. For example, if you come to my constituency, I have one of the biggest forest covers in this country. I have the Gwassi Forest or Gwassi Hills. When I was growing up, the people who protected forests used to have their offices and residences inside the forest. Nowadays, you find a forest officer living 20 kilometres away from the forest that he is supposed to protect. How would one protect a forest from 20 kilometres away? They hardly visit those forests in the first place. They wait for people who have burnt charcoal and arrest them in market centres and claim to be protecting forest cover. When they arrest them, they never reach the courts. They arrest them, get bribed and then they let them go. So, it is a double jeopardy for our people. First, the forest is being destroyed. Secondly, out of ignorance and poverty, our people have burnt trees to get charcoal and then get money. They are again fleeced and they even get poorer.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, my thinking especially for the Departmental Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, which we are going to form next week, is that they should move a step forward with this Motion and find out what the members of staff who are employed to protect our forests are doing. If we do not have enough staff, we need to get more and they should live in the forests to protect them. We should have clear demarcation. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Gwasi Hills, which I talked about is 4200 hectares in size. The boundary demarcation is invisible. At times, the forest department extends its boundaries by moving the beacons and sometimes they reduce their boundaries by moving the beacons again. So, our people do not know the boundaries of the forest. So, they cannot be blamed when they encroach into the forest.
This is a timely Motion. I plead with the Departmental Committee on Environment and Natural Resources and the Committee on Implementation not to let this Motion remain as it is. It needs to be followed up. The Committee on Implementation that will be formed - and I am happy the Chair will come from the Minority side - I ask whoever will be lucky enough to be elected by the Members to chair that Committee to make sure that this Motion is implemented this time round so that in five years’ time, we can realise even 5 per cent forest cover in this country. Many of the problems that we have shall have been sorted out.
There are very clear examples. Some of us who came to Nairobi earlier saw Uthiru through Kangemi area as you come to town being bare. There were no trees at all. In a period of just about five years, you can now see trees on both sides of the road. That demonstrates that if we are concerned on planting trees and protecting them, within a maximum time of 10 years, this country will be forested in a way that everybody will be happy about. When we go abroad to countries that take environmental issues seriously, we see how they treat issues of tree planning. In Kenya, we have a big problem. There was a time, in fact, we had left recreational parks like Uhuru and Central completely neglected. I am not saying that they have now reached the level we want them to be.
Finally, I plead with the county governments to allocate a bit of money for environmental protection. I do not see why they cannot even have a target of planting one million trees. If that happened in our 47 counties, within five years, there will be a change in the forest cover in this country.
With those many remarks, I support the Motion moved by Hon. William Chirchir. It is a good Motion and I urge the House to support the Member for Ainabkoi very strongly. Thank you.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): The first Member on my request list is the Woman County Representative for Isiolo, Hon. Jaldesa Dida.
Thank you Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this very important Motion. I also take this opportunity to thank the Mover of the important Motion.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Order Members. We have to listen to the Member. Her contributions will be listened to without disturbance. Let us have some decorum.
Thank you Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for protecting me from my male colleagues. They like intimidating women. I appreciate.
I thank the Mover of this important Motion which seeks to make tree planning compulsory. Of course, environmental protection is important to our lives. This is not the first time this initiative has been started. When I was growing up in the early 1980s, I remember the famous slogan by the former President of the Republic of Kenya, Daniel Toroitich Arab Moi,
It used to be taken as a joke in our community because saying kupanda miti meant climbing trees. He was very popular. Because of that, to date, most of our very dry remote areas The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
still enjoy some level of forest cover. I am very saddened that, that initiative many years down the road has not borne the kind of fruits we would have wanted to see. It is for that reason I passionately rose to support this Motion.
Afforestation or tree planting is the effort of planting a tree on a barren land so as to create a forest. Our earth has constantly been trying to cope with the ways human beings use natural resources such as trees and clearing forest land for development has been given undue attention compared to the importance trees bring to our lives. Cutting down trees has led to contamination of air, land and water. It has polluted the environment which has resulted to global warming. The impact of global warming cannot be over-emphasised. It affects our ecosystem, our water resources, has created food shortages, brought health problems, widespread poverty including drought and floods. To give an example, Isiolo County which I represent has, for the last three years, experienced severe drought which has left 80 per cent of my constituents poorer than they were before. Up to the end of this year, we have lost close to 10,000 head of cattle which is the main source of livelihood for my community. Even when we got rain, due to global warming, we experienced the worst floods when the Ewaso Nyiro River burst its banks and displaced more than 1,800 people in Isiolo North Constituency. It is for that reason that I strongly feel that if we had enough trees, they would have controlled the impact of floods.
The importance of afforestation cannot be over-emphasised. It helps resolve the impact of climate change as I have just explained and prevents soil erosion. It also beautifies the environment. Therefore, I will not only support making it compulsory to plant trees, but we should even go further and think of how to ensure it becomes sustainable.
The Mover could incorporate the element of incentive as a way of making it sustainable. I remember during the Moi days when we were in school, if you planted a tree and it grew, you would be given more Nyayo milk than other pupils. Households which planted enough trees used to get more relief food than other families. Those are some of the very good measures that worked. That is what we miss at the moment. As I conclude, I want to echo the contribution of the Leader of the Majority Party when he says that the departments, especially the Forestry Department, need to take their responsibilities seriously. If we did that, we would not have talked about afforestation at this level. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Member for Igembe Central. I encourage the Members who have not made their maiden speeches to press the intervention buttons. We are many in the Chamber.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this Motion. I support the Motion as moved by my colleague, Hon. William Chepkut. I remember in the 11th Parliament, we had a similar Motion. Despite not being in the same wordings, every speaker was over-emphasising the need to do afforestation in our country. Trees have been destroyed wantonly by human beings because of the growing population. I strongly believe that we have mechanisms and technology to stop the destruction, but it has gone on unabated. I feel tormented and disgusted when just a Motion is brought to this House whereas we have KFS officers who are running up and down in very big vehicles. The officers have very big offices, but they do very little to conserve our forests. I was born next to Nyambene Forest in Meru County. When I was a young boy, if you entered that forest, you could not see sunshine because of the canopy. Today, it is like a playing ground like Nyayo or The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Kasarani stadiums yet there are officers housed there. They have vehicles and guns. They patrol the forest every now and then, but the best thing they do is wanton destruction of the forests. They work in cahoots with their seniors and use the local community to destroy our forests. Every night, you see lorries driving out of the forests carrying tonnes of firewood and timber. Tree nurseries which were there when we were young have already been destroyed. This is a wakeup call from this House to the Ministry concerned, that they should encourage tree planting and conserve the forests that are already there. Even if we go out planting trees in schools and other institutions, like it has been said, which I really support, and we continue to destroy our indigenous trees, we would be doing nothing. Therefore, there should be a double-edged exercise by the Ministry to ensure that, at least, we replace all the trees which have been cut down or have dried naturally and put punitive caution on people who fell down trees. If you kill an elephant and you are caught with the ivory, count yourself in jail for over 10 years or more and hefty fines, but if you cut down a tree, which has been there for 80 years and you carry the wood, nobody asks you anything. We are destroying our environment. The Ministry concerned should take heed immediately and do what it is required to do. On top of that, we have trees like eucalyptus which are said to drain our waters and rivers. It is said that it sucks a lot of water from our rivers. This one has gone unheeded. You find people planting these trees deep into the riverbeds. Most of our rivers are dry. We are told that we should plant indigenous trees in such places so that we can conserve the little water that we have. These trees should be planted far from the rivers. Where we have rivers, we need to plant indigenous trees. This will help in conserving our environment. Once our forests are destroyed, you find tonnes of soil on our roads which has been swept from hilltops and from our shambas and other places. This is because the top cover has already been eroded by this wanton destruction. Therefore, I strongly support the Motion. Before I end, let me echo the words of the Leader of the Majority Party. I am pleading with the members of the Fourth Estate to be objective in their reporting. Let them not look at the wrong side of the coin. Once our reporters hear something about Parliament, they put it negatively. I do not know why they hate us that much until they write what was not said. Being a Member of two committees does not add a lot of money towards one’s salary. On top of it, once you sit in a committee, you sit once. You do not double sit. Even if you are a Member of 10 committees, you will just sit in one committee at a time. That may just be one day. So, with due respect and humility, I ask the reporters to report objectively. They should not just look at the wrong side of the coin or report what they feel they are happy with. They are hurting those they report against. I support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Member for Wajir East. You can confirm it and also tell us your full name.
I am the Member for Wajir East Constituency. My full name is Hon. Rashid Kassim Amin. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this important Motion. This Motion is particularly important for areas that are prone to desertification. Emphasis on tree planting is critical. Institutionalising forestation is important. To further the progress of reforestation and institutionalisation of reforestation in our schools, I recommend the purchase of water tanks in arid and semi-arid areas (ASAL). As much as we encourage tree planting in schools and institutions in those areas, acquisition of water tanks and creation of water reservoirs The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
should be encouraged. Schools should store water so that children can water the trees as required. The other thing I can recommend to further the progress of this institutionalisation of forests is identifying the trees that mature early and those that can be compatible with the environment. Some of the neem trees which you see mostly in urban areas are quite useful and can grow very fast. I suggest that the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) should collaborate closely with the KFS to ensure that the appropriate trees are identified for those localities so that they can do well in this afforestation programme. One other thing I will suggest is that the KFS and KEFRI should work in tandem so that the institutionalisation of forests can become a reality. One thing I can remember very well during the Moi regime is that a lot of emphasis was put on afforestation particularly on forest conservation and growth. Today, even that institution for conservation of soil and water has not been forthcoming. One thing I have realised is that the Grand Coalition Government of Hon. Kibaki did not emphasis much on soil conservation and afforestation as compared to the former regime of Hon. Moi. We have seen in previous Governments a lot of deforestation particularly in the Mau Forest. As much as there is a commission for the Mau Forest, most of the water towers have been destroyed thus negating our goals as a country to have a 10 per cent forest cover. So, I suggest that this country and the Government of Hon. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta should learn lessons and ensure that the lessons we have learned in early 1970s and 1980s are brought forward so that we can enforce forest covers and conservation on this land. One other thing that we have realised over the years is that the poverty index in our areas has increased. People are resorting to forests as a source of livelihood. They are eking their livelihoods from forests, cutting down of trees, getting charcoal from trees and selling it. The Government should have elaborate poverty reduction strategies so that people do not resort to cutting down of trees as a source of livelihood. These are issues that we need to put forward as a recommendation particularly to the Committee on Implementation so that we can advance this Motion from an actual Motion to one that can elaborate key indicators for growth to realise an initial increase of forest cover of up to 10 per cent. Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Well spoken. Hon. Members, those who have amendments can approach the Clerks-at-the-Table and owner of the Motion, Hon. William Chepkut Chirchir. Hon. Member for Seme, Nyikal Wambura.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to this important Motion. Let me also congratulate the Mover for bringing this Motion to the Floor of the House. The value of trees and other plants in conservation of and sustenance of the environment cannot be overstated. If we think about it just for a minute, the earth is inhabited by animals and plants. That is basically it. There is a clear balance between animals and plants on how they operate on earth. That is what will protect the earth. If there is an imbalance in any way and if the animals, for example, do away with the plants like human beings do, then, obviously, that imbalance will mean that the earth cannot exist. It is as big as that. Trees are the lungs of the earth. They actually take up the carbon dioxide that animals bring out when they breathe and, actually, replenish the earth with oxygen. Without those two, The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
there will be no life on earth. We all know it is the trees that are the carbon sinks. If we are industrialising like we all intend to do, like what has happened in China, without trees, we will be in a complete mess. China is experiencing that with industrialisation and without proper planning for tree cover, you actually mess the environment. You get fogs and people get sick. So, we must preserve the carbon sink. Therefore, as many trees as possible should be planted. This Motion urging schools and individual homes to plant tree covers is quite in order at this time. But I think the Mover can extend this to other institutions, particularly institutions that, by their activities, affect trees. Like he indicated, for companies that cut down trees, there should be a law that says that if you cut down a tree, you must replace that tree. In some countries, it is compulsory that pictures and data are taken before you undertake any activity in the environment. When you complete your activity, the environment must be restored to what it was before. This will move us in the same direction. It is obvious that the climate change that we are all worried about is basically because of the balance of vegetation or trees and that of animals; the flora-fauna balance. We are already seeing that climate change in some places. It comes as drought in some places and as floods in some places. If there is no vegetation cover and the rains come, obviously, the water will run back to the ocean in the fastest way possible. It will come through floods. It will not be conserved. On the other hand, trees are the water catchment for the rains that we get. This balance is so delicate that if we do not look at it, obviously, we are going to have a problem. We know areas that are facing this. We have just heard the Mau issue where there is very clear deforestation. What is happening along the rivers that are fed by Mau Forest or for which Mau is the catchment area is being seen. If we do not conserve trees, we are definitely going to interfere, very adversely, with our food production. If there is no water catchment and no rains, you cannot have proper food production. If the water that comes is not conserved and you have floods, we will not have adequate food production. Even on health, if we do not have a clean environment and I have just indicated of the fogs that will occur if you have industrialisation without the carbon sink working properly, the health impact is quite big. Respiratory illnesses, waterborne diseases and all these are things related to that. Therefore, we cannot say, even discuss or even argue whether we should plant trees. We should only say that the Mover should look at how we can get more institutions to do this. Let me say that we have had Motions in this House for the last five years and we really never see anything happening. I think it is for two reasons. One, we all come up with Motions that end up by saying “urging”. If you urge the Government, it has been urged. It is very difficult to implement a Motion that ends with urging because nobody has been put to task. It has been urged. So, there is nothing you can follow up on and nothing is done. It is, therefore, important that these Motions should state that “the House resolves”. If the House has resolved, the Government is put to task. I think that is something we should look at when we have such important Motions and say that the House has resolved. More importantly, it should be followed up with Bills. You can have a Bill that makes it mandatory that this is the forest cover we expect in schools. When you put up homes, it is expected that your home should have trees just like they are trying with latrines in homes for health purposes. This is equally important. I, therefore, want to urge the Mover that since this Motion is going to pass with support, we should follow up with a Bill that looks at areas where people can be forced. It The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
should not necessarily be a money Bill. There are certain Bills that can be implemented without spending money.
The other point I would like to talk to before I end is that towards the end of the last Parliament, we saw a little activity of the Implementation Committee. It was not enough. I think that the implementation Committee should take up these Motions and more so Bills. In cases where they have come as Motions that are urging, the Implementation Committee can move to change them into Bills or to change them into Motions that are resolved in the House so that they can be implemented. That Committee should be a lot more active. We should have a data base and that Committee should use it to say that these are the Motions and these are the Bills that were resolved in the House and put a timeline for their implementation. It is only in that way that our discussions here will be fruitful to the people we represent. Otherwise, the House will be passing Motions and Bills in vain.
With that, I support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Before I come to the Deputy Minority Whip, let me have the Member for Nandi County.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I rise to support this Motion. We know that deforestation has a lot of side effects. We know about climate change. Kenya is a signatory to Kyoto Protocol. We have to follow and adhere to what we sign. I, therefore, support this Motion. Global warming will be an issue of the past if we plant trees in our learning institutions. We know the results, for instance, flooding in our coastal towns. We have to engage our students in our universities for internships and county governments can pay them. We will therefore be creating jobs for those who are learning in our institutions of higher learning. The other issue is talent identification. When we engage the youth, we will know their areas of expertise and we will locate them wherever they are. We know most of our youths are doing tree planting. When we venture into this, they will engage in income generating projects because they will have a place to sell their trees. We also know agriculture is the mainstay of our economy. When we engage in deforestation, there will be ozone depletion and there are many side effects, one of which is that we will get a lot of diseases and we will use a lot of funds to treat the sick in our hospitals. So, we have to rescue the situation by planting trees. One issue is that there will be depletion of fauna and flora and we will lose because we have a lot of tourists coming to our country. So, we have to plant trees in our institutions. We have quite a number of women and youth groups who engage in planting of seedlings which they can sell to us when we engage in tree planting. I, therefore, support this Motion so that we can have a serene environment in our homes. There is a lot of stress around and when it happens, you can just sit under a tree and you will feel happy. So, I really support this Motion. We want to have beautiful homes and schools. We want our children to be engaged in our schools. We want our children to be engaged, it is not a matter of doing the theoretical bit, but also the practical bit. I support the Motion and I call upon our county governments to set aside some money for the environment sector so that they can use it to purchase seedlings from our youth groups and enable them to have a source of income.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Hon. Members, I have an amendment to this Motion by Hon. Baya, Member for Kilifi North. I will allow him to move the amendment. That will not limit you from contributing to the Motion.
Thank you very much Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I wish to introduce an amendment. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I beg to move: THAT, the Motion be amended by inserting the words “and fund” immediately after the word “introduce” appearing in the tenth line.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): What is the import of your amendment?
We are introducing compulsory tree planting. If you say compulsory, it means you need to introduce tree nurseries, purchase seedlings and all these things. To say that learning institutions should do it compulsorily, they will need to spend money to do that. Schools and other institutions have budgets that are given to them to expend. Therefore, it is important that they look at those budgets and allocate certain funding to be able to actualise this very important aspect of the life of a Kenyan. Therefore, I urge the House to adopt this amendment and the words “and fund” be introduced in the Motion. I ask Hon. Chris Wamalwa to support
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I rise to second. The gist of the word “fund”, is that you can only spend what has been budgeted for. This House has passed so many Motions before, but unfortunately, they are not implemented. When you put the word compulsory, if schools are to plant trees compulsorily, they must be capacitated and funded and that is the importance and the import of that particular amendment. The Motion by Hon. Chepkut is very important and is in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We want to salute the late Prof. Wangari Maathai, may her soul rest in peace. She said that if you do not take care of nature, nature will destroy you. Where I come from, the planting season is known.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Hon. Chris, although this does not limit you from contributing to the main Motion after adoption of the amendment, please…
I will speak to it later. For the purposes of this, I second.
Put the Question?
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Is that the feeling of the House? Do I put the Question so that we can speak to it as amended?
Yes, so that we can speak to it as amended.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Let me see those who want to speak on the amendment. The amendment is to add the words “and fund”. Hon. Kimunya.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I wish to, unfortunately, oppose that amendment because it kills the spirit of the original Motion. The original Motion is very clear that the Government should introduce tree planting in learning institutions and households. The moment you say it should also fund, you are limiting the Government to introduce and fund tree planting. So, nobody else should be funding it. You are closing the door and window for other people to fund tree planting in learning institutions and households, including the owners of those households. You are limiting it to the Government. The Motion was already good. It does not stop the Government from funding. The Government cannot introduce tree planting in learning institutions which are owned by the Government and not provide funding. In any case, it is this House that provides funding for The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
projects, including the NG-CDF, which has up to 2 per cent that can be used for environmental purposes including in those learning institutions. So, let us not kill a good Motion that is well intended to promote tree planting in learning institutions and households by limiting it to be funded by the Government. I am not even sure that we can actually introduce Motions that have monetary implications without first of all figuring out where that money will come from. Then the Motion will be dead ab initio . The spirit is for compulsory tree planting in learning institutions. Once we have that, let us then come to this House. We are the ones doing the budget and allocating money. How much do we allocate through the NG-CDF? How much goes through the school systems? How do we enable households to plant trees? When you limit to introduce “and fund”, you close the door to others. With those few remarks, I hope I have been clear enough and I beg to oppose. I would wish that the Mover of that amendment reconsiders it so that we can go back to the Motion in its original, very elaborate form. Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Hon. Leshoomo Maison. It is a House of debate.
Asante sana, Mhe. Naibu Spika wa Muda. Yangu pia nashukuru Mheshimiwa ambaye ameleta Hoja hii, kwa sababu kile tunapigania ni mambo ya misitu. Kwa ukweli…
Hon. Leshoomo, I wish you restrict yourself to the amendment. We will still debate the Motion.
Asante, Mhe. Spika wa Muda. Marekebisho ya pesa ni sawa. Inafaa pesa zitengwe za kuhusika na mambo ya misitu kwa sababu zinapitia vitengo vingi. Kama inawezekana, hizi pesa za misitu zingewekwa katika NG-CDF. Hiyo asilimia mbili katika NG- CDF ni kidogo sana kwa misitu. Misitu lazima tuzingatie. Hiyo misitu ndiyo inasaidia wafugaji kama sisi wenye ng’ombe na mbuzi. Hiyo misitu ikiisha, hata nyasi hatuwezi kupata. Kwa hivyo, NG-CDF ingeongezewa pesa zaidi ya hiyo asilimia mbili ili misitu isaidike. Pia, hatuelewi watu wa misitu wanachunga nini kwa sababu hao ndio wanamaliza misitu. Sio wananchi ambao wanamaliza misitu. Watu wa kuchunga misitu ndio wanamaliza misitu. Wakipata mtu ana makaa, mbao ama miti, wanamnyang’anya na wanampeleka kortini na hiyo miti au makaa haionekani tena. Wao wenyewe wanauza hizo bidhaa. Kwa hivyo, lazima kazi ya hao watu wa kuchunga misitu ijulikane. Wao ndio wanamaliza misitu. Asante, Mhe. Naibu Spika wa Muda.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): One or two more Members, because the amendment is straightforward. It is just to add “and fund”. Hon. Sankok.
Thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I rise to totally oppose the amendment. If we introduce the element of funding, as Hon. Kimunya has just said, we will restrict ourselves to planting trees only in schools, because the Government cannot fund homes and private institutions and companies that get their raw materials from forests. We were targeting such institutions. When we say that at least 10 per cent of school compounds should be covered by trees, we know what we mean. We already have a forestry department that is in charge of seedlings. What we need from schools is the labour force. The schools should marshal their students and teachers to plant trees.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): So, you oppose the amendment? The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): You will still have time to debate the whole Motion.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, because I was on the queue.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): Let me have the last one from the Member for Kangundo. Restrict yourself to the amendment.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I will go to the amendment. The first thing we need to understand here is the difference in the English version. From the word “introduce”, it should be “introduce regular funded programmes of tree planting in all institutions and households”. I am proposing a further amendment.
(Hon. (Ms.) Mbalu): The Member for Kangundo, you cannot introduce an amendment to another amendment without following the right procedure. So, if you have an amendment to this Motion, consult the Clerk and the owner of the Motion so that you can come up with an amendment. Members, I can see the mood of the House is that I put the Question of the amendment and then we can go to the Motion as amended or as it was before.
So, now we are going to debate the Motion as it is in the Order Paper. The Deputy Whip of the Minority Party, you were the next on the list.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I rise to support this Motion by Hon. William Chepkut. Before anything, I want to salute Hon. Chepkut and congratulate him for doing this. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, as you know, Hon. William Chepkut, the Member of Parliament for Ainabkoi is a first-time Member and a fast learner. Indeed, when you go to the Table Office, he is among the first-time Members who have introduced many pieces of legislation. It is my humble request to other Hon. Members and particularly the first-timers to follow suit. I want to tell the people of Anainabkoi that they never made a mistake. I know the former Chair of the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, Hon. Chepkong’a, was also a very active Member of Parliament. As a matter of fact, he was rated second to me because I was the best and I can see Hon. Chepkut is following suit. The Motion at hand is very important because it is taking care of tomorrow. Before I say anything, I want to quote the famous words of Abraham Lincoln. Abraham was the 16th President of the United States of America (USA) and he said that you cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. It is our responsibility to preserve tomorrow by supporting this Motion. When we were growing up under the Nyayo era, we used to hear that if you cut down one tree, you should plant two. We used to hear good policies like Mmomonyokowa udongo. If we do not preserve the environment today, tomorrow it will, indeed, destroy us. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
The recommended percentage of forest cover in this country is supposed to be 10 per cent. It is very shameful that we are doing 2 per cent at the moment. Where is the Ministry and the KFS when all this is happening? It is the responsibility of the KFS as per the statute to provide seedlings to schools so that they can plant trees. This House is a budget-making House. When you look at this Motion, the way it has been clearly outlined here by the Mover and the Seconder, you realise that we are now heading to the right route. If you look at the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the current sustainable development goals, their emphasis was on the environment and climate change. When the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, was here he was very passionate about the environment because it plays a critical role for tomorrow. That is why as legislators we must put pieces of legislation in place to be assured of tomorrow. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, this House has been passing laws, but they are not implemented. Parliament cannot legislate in vain. A Motion like this must be implemented to the letter. I want to thank the 11th Parliament which changed the Standing Orders.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, you were the Chair of the Committee on Implementation in the last Parliament. I did not know you were coming to that seat. However, we know the challenges we had when it came to implementing Motions. It is good the Chair is coming from the Opposition because maybe at that time when you were in the Government side, implementing resolutions of Parliament was difficult for you. You will agree with me that you had a lot of challenges. We were passing legislations, but they were not being implemented by the Executive. However, now that the Chair is going to come from the Opposition and I saw Hon. Onyonka smiling here because he says he wants to be the Chair of the Committee on Implementation Committee, we must ensure that whatever Parliament passes must be implemented to the letter. They should start with this Motion. I am very sure this Motion is going to pass. I do not expect any Member to oppose it including Hon. Sambu who is my elder. We know why he represents Pan Paper Factory and for it to survive, we have to use trees. For Pan Paper to continue working optimally, trees must be planted. We must pass this Motion to be assured of a good environment tomorrow. We know that forests play a critical role as far as the ecosystem is concerned. It is key that the Departmental Committee on Environment and Natural Resources follows this Motion up to the letter, but the challenge is in implementation. I want to say something about the Mau Forest. We know that it is the one that feeds Nairobi as far as rains are concerned. Some areas of this city experience water rationing because the water we get is not enough. For us to be assured of enough water, we must do afforestation. This is what the Motion is actually going to address. For us to have enough rain and water, we must ensure that our forest cover is 10 per cent and beyond. When I was growing up, I used to hear something called “water for all by the year 2020”. Today, we are almost in the year 2020 and we are still not assured of water for all. Water is only assured for a few. In the Bill of Rights, we are assured of access to water. This Motion will play a critical role in this. Trans Nzoia County, where I come from, feeds this nation, but when you The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
look at the way rain comes and goes, the trend is actually changing. Our forefathers used to know of a specific timeframe when they would plough. They knew that rains would be coming during certain months. This enabled them to extrapolate and know that by April or March, they were going to have rains. Of late, the trend has changed. You can prepare your fields very well for planting and come that month, there are no rains. It is not accurate the way it was. We have some aspects of climate change and these changes are as a result of forest reduction in this country. Also, on the issue of the circumcision ceremony and particularly in our areas, you can see why we are trying to change the election date. This time we had elections in the month of August which was raining almost everywhere. It was very difficult for voters to move. Again, in the same month, people are very hungry because at that time, they have not yet harvested. Campaigning is very expensive and that is why we should do it in December when people have harvested and have plenty of food. The climate is also very good during this time and conducive for voting. Again, it affected the calendar of education. Examinations were affected this time because of elections and that is why we want to take it back to December because of the traditions and the merits that are there. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I read today’s Daily Nation newspaper and it is saying that Members are putting themselves into committees for purposes of increasing money in their pockets. It is very shameful because when these legislators go to their committees, no allowances are paid to them. The SRC has brought disaster. I do not see any value Sarah Serem and her Commission has brought. We are saying goodbye to Sarah Serem because she left without any salary policy for this country.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Order, Hon. Chrisantus Wamalwa! You are a very senior Member of this House. Please, stick to the relevance of the Motion. I think that is very important and obvious.
I want to bring in the context on the relevance of what I am talking about. It is allowed in a Motion in one way or another to mention something of national importance as you go on. I am speaking as a very senior Member of this House. That is why I can easily comment in this Motion that SRC, led by Sarah Serem, messed up and has left without any remuneration policy for this country. It is one Commission that brought more chaos than order. It is good riddance. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I request the Members to support this Motion so that we can plant as many trees as possible. Thank you and I support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Well, I will not restrain Members from ventilating and engaging in the debate of the Motion as long as you do not take advantage. Hon. Wamalwa, the correlation between trees and SRC is nil. You cannot bring them together. Hon. Lomorukai Ekamais, the Member for Loima, the Floor is yours.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. This is my first term in Parliament. I am the Member for Loima Constituency. I have already made my maiden speech and other contributions as well. I support this important Motion brought by my colleague, friend and neighbour in the North Rift. I come from a dry county; a semi desert. I see the importance of this Motion. It will benefit a county like Turkana. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Trees help much in climate control. It will be prudent to have more trees so as to moderate the effects of the scorching sun. The sun has ravaged trees in ASAL areas. So, planting trees will help such counties to have more trees in the entire belt. One challenge that I foresee in implementing this Motion is lack of water in our counties. That is why I am asking this House to do something about it. Down there in our counties, members of county assemblies (MCAs) have no budget line to implement projects while the priority problems that we have in ASAL areas is water. Therefore, we need to provide water. We must ensure that every Government institution that is funded through taxpayers’ money gets its priorities right. The element of providing water is crucial so that we can get space to implement the tree planting programmes. Trees give us some commercial value. We used to benefit from wild fruits, but that is now very difficult. We cannot get fruits in any season. By planting more trees, we will be bringing back the life that we saw in early 1980s. We need a good forest cover that will give us commercial value. It is very important that we plant trees across the country so that we can promote the livelihoods of Kenyans. Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Let us have Hon. Ibrahim Abdisalam, the Member for Wajir North.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I support this Motion. I was worried when an amendment was introduced by one of my colleagues. The intention is to inculcate a culture in schools that will help every child understand that trees represent life and hence the need for every child to plant and take care of a tree. In my community, there is a saying that goes: “One that will have the fruit must climb the tree.” It means that if anybody would like to enjoy the shade, medicine and the beautiful scenery of this world, he must plant trees. The fruits, the medicines and the shade that we enjoy are from trees that have been planted by somebody. We must leave a legacy behind by planting more trees. The fact is that all over this country, specifically where I come from, trees play a key role. We depend on livestock as a source of livelihood. Without trees, our livelihoods will be greatly affected. We depend on agro-pastoral livelihood. It means that the small-scale farming that we do at our end must be supported by trees. I am saying this because if we do not plant trees, we shall have a lot of soil erosion and the small-scale farming that we practise will end. If we do not protect trees in our environment, our livestock will cease. It means that we are under obligation as an agro-pastoral community to inculcate a culture of tree planting wherever we come from. That way, our children will see the importance of trees. As has already been mentioned by another Member, trees provide oxygen. Otherwise, we would not be alive. As somebody said, the carbon dioxide that we emit is absorbed by trees during the process of photosynthesis. In the same way water is life, trees equally support life. We spend a lot of money buying air conditioners, but if we planted trees, it would be cool. This is simple information that needs to be cascaded to our children. We always complain of drought. We can deal with this problem by planting trees. If this culture can be inculcated in every household, no doubt, drought will be no more. It is only forested areas that receive the highest level of rainfall. The ASAL areas may not receive the required amount of rainfall because we do not encourage tree planning. We must see this as our key responsibility. The other thing I have realised is the high level of flooding. If we only planted a good number of trees in the hilly areas we hail from then most definitely flooding will come to an end. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
This will not require a culture where we need to pump money but one where we inculcate this kind of teaching to our children in our institutions and households. That way this will become a function which will cut across all departments and not only the Kenya Forest Service but also Provincial Administration so that chiefs in their performance will target tree planting as a must in the villages and sub-locations where they hail from. We should give incentives to those who practise tree planting in this country and not only congratulate them. We should also encourage the non-state actors in this country to play a key role in informing, educating and supporting tree planting in this country. I strongly support this Motion. Thank you.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Hon. Wanyonyi Wetangula.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for giving me a chance to also support this Motion. Way back in the 1980s when I was in primary school there was a special day set aside to plant trees in schools during the era of President Moi. This day was crafted with a very special message, that when you plant a tree it is life. We were made to understand that if that tree dies, then you also die. We made sure we took care of the trees until they grew. This activity has since disappeared and died.
If you want to know the seriousness of deforestation in this country, just fly in a helicopter over the Mau Forest. You will see how dangerous deforestation is. The only natural forest which still exists is the Kakamega Forest and maybe a few others in other places. That forest is still intact and I must congratulate the people of that area for conserving it. We should be encouraged to plant trees so as to save our environment. The late Hon. Prof. Wangari Maathai used to say that there is nothing as unforgiving as nature and when you destroy nature, it will destroy you. Therefore we must take care of environment.
The Western countries have polluted the universe and they are now using money to protect themselves and are pushing this agenda to us in Africa. Africans must rise up and must not allow this to happen. These people are coming to Africa and descending on the Congo Forest which is the only remaining rainforest in Africa and destroying it at an alarming rate. We must now borrow a leaf. We heard from the Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai about taking care of our environment and this has not reflected on us. She used to campaign and tell us that we must plant trees. At one time she wanted to plant several billions of trees across the continent. Therefore, this Motion is important and timely and all of us must support it.
When the former Right Hon. Prime Minister, Raila Odinga came up with a plan to save the Mau, he lost support from the Rift Valley region. This is because the Members of Parliament from that region did not support that idea, because it would affect the people who had settled in the Mau. Sometimes, we must make drastic decisions when we want to save the environment. We should look at how we should protect the Mara Wildlife Conservancy because river Mara water towers are being destroyed. Looking at Nairobi, part of it is well covered by trees and the other part is not and is like a desert because it is extremely hot, whereas the other side is extremely cool.
Trees are life and we must invest heavily in them. Anywhere in the world, nowadays taking care of the environment is the big thing. It is even bigger than investing in other sectors of the economy. We must give the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resource enough money and especially the National Environment Management Agency (NEMA). This is because people are destroying our wetlands. Development in Nairobi is haphazard and everywhere you go there is construction on riverbeds and waterways. We should look for ways on how to protect our ecosystem so that we do not lose our way. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
I support this Motion and we should introduce a Bill that will become an Act of Parliament or even amend the Environment Act to make sure that this matter is taken seriously as it deserves and tree planting becomes a way of life. Thank you.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Hon. Wetangula, I am sure you know that it is still within the powers of this House to augment this into a Bill. I believe that Members can take this as an option of this very important matter of public interest. Hon. Ekomwa, do you have an intervention?
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker that was a way of catching your eye because I have waited for long to speak.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): You have really pushed it, Hon. Lomenen because you have an intervention and you name is also appearing on the request list.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, let me just contribute. I did not want to disturb you because I was seeing some Members coming to your Table. I encourage Members to be patient and if you come late you must wait for your time.
I stand to support this Motion because it is very important. I heard some Members introducing amendments and knew many of them have been supporting this initiative of ensuring that we plant many trees and protect our forests and the environment. For most Members of Parliament during their leisure time they prefer to go to a hotel with a good environment and has many trees. This is a very important Motion. I want to commend the Government because when I was in my second or third year in the university, the Constituencies Development Fund used to allocate some money for tree planting. This was to ensure that schools in the constituencies took affirmative action of tree planting. Therefore, if we pass this Motion, the Government will ensure that each Ministry will put aside funds for tree planting and this will go to learning and public institutions. Let us not even go to the learning institutions. When there were riots by the National Super Alliance (NASA) supporters in this town on Uhuru Highway just next to Parliament, you saw what happened. When they threw teargas, it came directly to this House. Those who were seated in this House suffered from the teargas, and they were Members of Parliament. Why? It is because we do not have trees around the House. If we had trees, we would not have suffered. Therefore, we must start from the House of Parliament by ensuring that we have enough trees so that we, Members of Parliament, can also be saved from the consequences of some things that happen in this city.
I come from Turkana County, which has suffered desertification. Even if the other counties will not make it mandatory, I would like the Government to make it compulsory for Turkana because if we do not take affirmative action to such counties, we will not have the next generation. People believe that areas that have deserts are areas with oil. I am opposed to that notion. We have to ensure that we have trees in public institutions. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, we share some values because you come from the Maasai community while I come from the Turkana community. In my community, trees are regarded to be holy. There are trees under which elders sit and make important decisions, on behalf of the community. If we do not take care of trees, we will not maintain our culture. That is not enough. The other value we share is that most of our elders and communities do not like going to hospital. They like herbs, which come from trees in the forests. So, by us pastoralists ensuring that we have trees in place, we will be maintaining our dignity, culture and integrity in terms of our values. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Some of us have been brought up in societies that love trees. Schools in pastoral areas lack one important thing. Even if we pass this law, if we do not have water in our schools, we will not enjoy the impact of this Motion. We will soon have to bring a Motion here that says water must be available in each institution in this nation. When we start to implement this Motion and water is not availed in all schools, children will have to travel five kilometres to fetch water. At what time will they travel to fetch water? When will they have time to be in class or do their private studies if there is no enough water in their institutions? I urge Hon. Chepkut to urge the National Government Constituencies Development Fund (NG-CDF) committees and the county government Executive Committee Members responsible to ensure that all learning institutions are provided with water so that we can implement this Motion and make this nation more beautiful. Provision of water is a must as water is life. There is no way we can implement this Motion if we do not have water in learning institutions. What comes first is water. We must have water in institutions of learning. It is a must that we should have water. If we pass this Motion and we do not have water, we will not achieve much. Therefore, I urge that the way the Motion...
On a point of order, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): What is out of order, Hon. Nkatha?
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, when you came in, there were so many Members in the House. However, at the moment, one is leaving because we have no drinking water in the House and yet we are talking about water. Through you, Hon. Chair, can we have some drinking water please?
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Hon. Nkatha, your request has gone into our record. The Members concerned with issues of welfare need to take action. Indeed, it is a serious issue. Go on, Hon. Lomenen.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I also thank the hon. Member for supporting me more in my contribution because that affirms that water is very necessary. As I finish my contribution, I wish to urge the Members who are here and my able Government to appreciate, as we pass this Motion, that it is very costly to implement the resolution that we are about to make while we do not take care of the forests that we have. I have been walking around. When I travel from here to Turkana, I cover a distance of over 1,500 kilometres to my constituency. I observe so many things. When I started to travel from Lowdar to Nairobi at the beginning of my first term as Member of Parliament, I used to see a lot of forests but nowadays I do not see forests on the sides of the road. I do not know where the forests went. I think that is where we are supposed to start. Some people in this nation have changed forest land into their personal land. We have to save forests from corruption. People are “planting” more corruption than planting more trees. It is the role of this House to ensure that we make Kenya and our public institutions beautiful by ensuring that the laws we pass in this House are implemented. I call upon the Committee on Implementation to be more serious this time round. With those remarks, I support.
On a point of order, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Hon. Lesuuda, are you on a point of order? The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I am rising on a point of order to request that we reduce the time to five minutes because we can see that many of us would like to comment on this issue.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Hon. Lesuuda, according to our procedures, that is a Motion that should have come before the debate started. So, we cannot execute that Motion at this point in time. However, Hon. Members, noting the interest that this matter has attracted, we can decide to be fair to ourselves. Please try and take three minutes so that we can give chance to as many Members as possible to contribute to this Motion. We cannot go back to reduce the time of the Motion at this point. Members, be considerate to others. Take as little time as possible so that we can have as many contributors as possible. Hon. Kevin Wanyoyi.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for this opportunity. I thank Hon. William for coming up with this Motion. I can assure him that we will support it to the end. We will make sure that the Committee on Implementation has it implemented. It is important. Those of us who were in the last Parliament partly talked about this Motion but we did not get anywhere. Thank you for coming up with this Motion. We support it. Some of us have travelled. I travelled to Romania last year but one and I was amazed that Romania, as it is, has 27 per cent forest cover. From what the Member has said, in Kenya, we have 1.7 per cent forest cover. It is a shame. We are in a tropical area so we should have more forests. But now we have 1.7 per cent forest cover compared to a country in the northern hemisphere with 27 per cent forest cover. As mentioned - and many people have contributed the same - first and foremost, is that this is causing us problems such as climatic change and problems with seasons. I come from Rift Valley in Kitale, Trans-Nzoia, where in the past we could predict when it would rain. Today, we do not even know when we will have the second rain pattern. We knew that by October we would be having light rains; in December we would be preparing our farms and in March we would be planting. Today, we do not even know when the rains will come. It is so haphazard because of the changes in the climate and because of our own stupidity of cutting trees. As somebody said, we should revisit this issue. I hope that somebody will redefine the job description of the forest officers and those in charge of the forest department such that apart from just arresting people who burn charcoal and collect firewood, they should not allow people to encroach into the water towers such as the Mau. I come from the slopes of Mt. Elgon. I can tell you that when I was still a young man, I would see the forest from far. Today, you only see stones because the people who are given the responsibility of looking after our forests engage in business and allow people to encroach on forest land to graze their cattle or to cut trees and sell them. Just like the Mau Forest, Mt. Elgon is no longer a forest area. That was a source of rain in the North Rift. Today, we do not have that. In 1980, we had the Tokyo Carbon Credit. This was an encouragement for people to plant trees. Therefore, in the later stages of this Motion, we will reintroduce that proposal of putting more emphasis on the Tokyo Carbon Credit where you are given more money if you engage in more afforestation. That is with regard to the Government and it trickles down to the people so that they are encouraged to engage in afforestation. I do not want to take up too much time. I like the way the Mover of this Motion came up. We need to encourage our youth because we will not be here forever. For prosperity purposes, we should encourage our youth to take part in afforestation. Let them soil their hands to do that. You do that by giving them incentives so that you have a lesson specifically set aside to plant The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
trees such as on a Friday. For example, in our area we did not have concrete floors so we would engage in mudding the floors to avoid jiggers. Therefore, we would designate a day where the students or pupils in various institutions could take part in about two hours or so engaging in afforestation. That can help us achieve our targets. Lastly, the emphasis now should be on protection of what we have. For you to conquer, you need to protect your staff. Other than encouraging the planting of trees we should also encourage protection of the current forest cover and have stiff penalties for those who are found cutting trees in this country. That way, we will be able to protect the little forest cover we have of 1.7 per cent, as the Mover mentioned. This will enable us to even have timelines that six years from now, we should have 10 per cent, 5 per cent or 3 per cent forest cover. That way, we will be able to encourage our country, youth and farmers such that if one has a ten-acre piece of land, they are encouraged to set aside two acres to plant trees and pay for it through the Tokyo Carbon Credit. That will encourage us. Otherwise, the trend at which we are now, we are heading to a bad future. Those in this House will be blamed for not doing anything to protect the forests in this country because it is heading to a very bad stage. As somebody mentioned, there used to be forests in Trans-Nzoia. Today, even in my own area, I ask the chief why people are cutting trees for charcoal. There is no law. Therefore, we should change the wording of this Motion. Rather than urging the Government, we should resolve as a House that the Government should introduce compulsory tree planting. We are just urging. We have to resolve in this House. I am told that the Committee on Implementation is now on the side of the Opposition. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I was with you on the Committee on Implementation and I did very well. So when it comes to voting, give me your vote so that I can lead that Committee and implement this very important Motion. Heko, my brother for having tabled this Motion. You are very new. We encourage those who have come to think outside the box and move in the way we have. I support the Motion.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Hon. Wanyonyi, you are now eligible to become chair of this Committee by virtue of it moving to the Opposition. You can work hard on your campaigns, if you will be in that Committee. Let us have Hon. David Sankok.
Thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. All the speakers have emphasised a lot on the importance of forestry so I do not need to emphasise again. From the word go, I support this Motion. First of all, we understand that Kenya is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol. We have the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters here in Kenya. At one time we were the holders of the Nobel Prize for environmental conservation through the late Hon. Wangari Maathai, may her soul rest in peace. We really need to conserve our forests. I come from Narok County which is the host of Mau Forest. As you know, there has been a national outcry because of the destruction of the Mau Forest. But as much as we emphasise on conservation of our forests which may not increase the forest cover to the intended target of 10 per cent, we also need to increase our forest cover in our private land and in our institutions. It is very important that we introduce a provision - as the Mover Hon. Chepkut has put it clearly – that 10 per cent of our private and institutional land be forest cover. We can even introduce penalties for those who do not plant the trees. In Kenya, as most Hon. Members have said, if we only urge the Government and we do not introduce incentives or penalties, then the implementation part of it will not see the light of day. It is important for us during The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
implementation - and the Committee on Implementation is on the Minority side of the House - to introduce penalties especially, for those who do not plant trees. These penalties can be in cash or kind. It should be a collaboration between the national Government and the county governments. If those penalties are collected, we can use them to pay the youth especially those in the National Youth Service (NYS) to plant trees in our riparian areas and road reserves. As an Hon. Member had mentioned, if you travel from Limuru to Nairobi nowadays, you will find that most of the road reserve there has a lot of trees, courtesy of the Coalition Government led by His Excellency Mwai Kibaki. It is very beautiful and attractive. We have seen an increase in rainfall here in Nairobi. We can also introduce planting of trees not only in our institutions but also on our riparian areas because 15 to 30 metres from every river is public land. For everybody whose land extends to the river, then there is a riparian area there. They should plant trees. If you do not plant trees, then we will impose penalties on you. We will engage our own boys and girls to plant those trees and pay them from the penalties that you have paid.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, as many speakers have said, if we destroy our nature, then it will destroy us. As we know, nature is never forgiving. I come from Narok and we have seen a lot of floods simply because of the destruction of Mau Forest and the forest cover. If we can concentrate on institutions as well as riparian areas and road reserves, I am sure we will attain the 10 per cent target of forest cover. At the moment, we are at 1.7 per cent which is very shameful, considering that our country has highlands as well as grasslands where trees do very well. We have a forestry department that has been researching which trees do well in our arid areas, semi-arid areas and the highlands. It is also important for us to advise our communities. For instance, I can give an example of Mau Forest in Narok which is a highland. We have concentrated so much on a certain ranch called Purko Sheep Ranch. It is a big chunk of land but we have concentrated on rearing sheep and livestock but that place is not very conducive for livestock rearing. It can be more conducive for tea planting which is another type of forest cover that will bring more rain. Tea factories will require trees. It will be mandatory for people around the Purko Sheep Ranch to plant trees, so that they can feed the tea industries.
We also need to advise our communities on what they should do in specific areas. As Maasais, we are used to cattle and sheep rearing but if we are advised well, then Purko Sheep Ranch will be the best for tea planting. Hence, forest cover will automatically increase because of the need of the tea factories.
Thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I want to congratulate the Mover of this Motion because it is the greatest Motion I have heard ever since I came to this House. Congratulations Hon. Chepkut. I have heard that you are a mono. I am not a mono but I have been monolising you. You are very good. This Motion is very important. I strongly support it.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Members, we have slightly under an hour to contribute to the Motion. We have agreed that we try and take as little time as possible so that we can have as many of you contributing.
Hon. Sheikh Mohamed
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I stand to support this Motion that is quite invaluable. Having said that, it is very important that we understand that tree planting is a key thing for our society. It is also important that we understand that we will use that opportunity to ensure that our children are regarded as responsible children, and our citizens are regarded as responsible citizens when they contribute to the environment by The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
planting and caring for trees and plants that are important in our environment. Let state what my constituents have been facing over the issues of environment. Environmental degradation has indicated that the society has suffered considerably. Climate change has not occurred overnight but over a long period of time. Degradation has happened as we watched. It is time to go back to the society to advise them on the values of the environment and planting of trees. We need to understand that the world is a global village. We have been observing the ice that is melting around the world and places where there has been a lot of ice and cold. That reflection tells that the people who come from semi-arid and arid regions have been facing the brunt of climate change. Therefore, it is time to make a difference to our communities.
Let me also say that Wajir South Constituency is a host community to refugees who have been living there for nearly 30 years. You can imagine a population of over 6,000 people. That is nearly a million people who are living on that land. They need vegetation for their shelter, livelihoods, firewood and charcoal. Over that period of time, we can imagine and appreciate that the environment has been facing the brunt of this population surge that occurred within a short period of time. The arrival of refugees has made environmental degradation to be too much. I have had an opportunity to talk to the representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Dadaab that is bordering my constituency. We have clearly explained to them that we cannot accept the environmental degradation that is being looked at with a blind eye. We must focus on the support our society requires to ensure that a healthy environment continues to stand. Given that case, we have asked the UNHCR to ensure that they intervene and support rehabilitation of our environment. That has been looked at with a blind eye and deaf ear. It has not been considered at all by the responsible UNHCR which has brought refugees to our land.
A couple of weeks ago, young men from my constituency decided not to sit back and watch as their environment was degraded and trees burnt to make charcoal. The photographs are there to show that. I should have brought them to this House to show the challenges that we are facing. Refugees are burning trees that have been there for over 200 years. These are very important indigenous trees. We cannot accept to see the trees that are irreplaceable being burnt to charcoal. I do not know whether any of my current generation will ever live for 200 years. We cannot accept to see indigenous trees that have lived for over 200 years being cut, burnt to make charcoal and used as fuel and are never replaced. I say this to the UNHCR while I have this opportunity. They should consider putting in a lot of effort in ensuring that Wajir South and other constituencies that host refugee are given opportunity to plant trees to support them.
Trees are important in our lives. I suggest that while I support this Motion, I wish Hon. Chepkut could listen to me clearly since he introduced the Motion, it is important not to plant trees that are not indigenous on our land. We have seen the mess the Mathenge as it is called, has caused on our land. It has not only affected the landscape but also our livelihoods. Therefore, I emphasise that I will follow up this Motion to see that it is implemented. If the House could agree with me the trees to be planted must be indigenous or trees that can give livelihood to our communities and not trees planted just for the sake of greening our lands. We are not there for that. We want these trees to be beneficial to our future generations over the years. I mind my colleagues who want to support the Motion, so I will shorten my time of contribution. The House should take it upon itself and consider the future our next generation. I support this Motion. Thank you very much Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Hon. Osotsi Godfrey. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Thank you Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for giving an opportunity to contribute to this very important Motion on tree planting. This is a very good Motion that all Members and even the Government should support. I wish that we focus on commercial tree planting because it is becoming the norm globally so that we can address not only desertification but also food security.
I also want us, as much as we push for tree planting, to go for trees that add value, for example bamboos. The bamboo tree is a very environmentally friendly species of a tree. For example, it can aid in soil conservation and help in water purification in water catchment areas. It is also a major source of income. For sure I know one professional who resigned from a well- paying job to start a bamboo tree planting project in Vihiga County. He now makes up to Kshs1 million a month. This is a project if we advised our people to venture into, will make money and address environmental conservation.
Tree planting will also help us to achieve the 10 per cent forest cover by the year 2020 as envisaged by the Government. At the same time, it is estimated that if we achieve 10 per cent forest cover, it will contribute up to 3.6 per cent from forests.
We also need to find ways of involving private companies on environmental conservation and tree planting. We have corporate social responsibility. How can they be involved in this process? The Mover of this Bill should probably look at involvement of private companies through corporate social responsibility on tree planting.
We also need to find a way of improving coordination of all State organisations involved in tree planting. I am aware for instance that the Lake Basin Development Authority in 2016 introduced a bamboo tree planting programme in the Western Region. But clearly this programme has not been coordinated well. We have State organs like the Kenya Forest Service and regional development agencies and National Youth Service. How can they be coordinated so that we have a coordinated tree planting process? As we look for possible amendments to this Motion, I request that we look at the possibility of introducing an incentive scheme so that schools will have the capacity to achieve what we have proposed in the Motion.
With those few remarks, I beg to support the Motion.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): I will now give the Floor to a Member who is yet to make her maiden speech and also in the interest of gender balancing. Let us have the Member for Rangwe, Hon. Gogo Achieng’. You have the Floor.
(Hon. (Dr.) Lilian Achieng Gogo)
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Hon. Gogo, I did not want to interrupt you on your maiden speech, but you have one second to conclude.
(Hon. (Dr.) Lilian Achieng Gogo): Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. There was quite a bit of time. I am timing myself. I am about to finish. I want to mention something on the things that bind us together as a nation. We have symbols of national unity. One of them is the Coat of Arms. Another one is the National Anthem. We also have the Presidency. The Kenyan flag has been voted the best in the world for the content of its colours. Nobody has ever questioned our Coat of Arms, but we have issues with the Office of the President, irrespective of who is occupying it. When will the Office of the President of Kenya ever unite the people? I am making a special appeal to the hon. Members of the 12th Parliament that, as we engage to put Kenya in a different level; as we engage to put Kenya where it belongs, and we engage to make Kenya a hub of reference for other developing countries, we must look at our unity. Thank you.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Well said, Hon. Achieng. Next time, you need to be looking at the Table to be able to manage your time well. Hon. Njiru Muchangi.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me an opportunity to add my voice to this very important Motion by Hon. William. No one in this House or elsewhere cannot underscore the importance of trees in our lives. We need to support this Motion because for the longest time that I have been working around my constituency, I have come to realise that some of the rivers that were at one time very big are now very small streams. I remember, as small boys, we could go and swim in those rivers and do some fishing. We can no longer do that because they are very small streams. There is always a correlation between afforestation, deforestation, soil erosion, productivity and food security. When we cut down our trees, we expose our very fertile soils to erosion. These soils can no longer be productive. So, we compromise our food security as a nation. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
I support the Hon. Member in this Motion so that we have a way of increasing trees in our institutions and even in our households so that we can conserve our environment more. We are about to form committees. Even our President, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta is about to constitute his Cabinet. I am looking forward to a time when the agencies that will be charged with ensuring that our environment is okay will institute mechanisms of ensuring that we have weeks of tree planting in this country. Those of us who are alumnus of Kenyatta University (KU) can remember that there were days we used to have culture week. We would spend the whole week celebrating our culture. We would have environmental weeks. We would spend the whole week talking and thinking about our environment. I also believe that, in the coming days, we also can institute such ideas and mobilise our people into the idea of planting more trees in our homes and institutions noting that our public institutions have a limit to which they can plant trees. So, involving people in our homesteads to plant more trees will be a very good idea. I am in full support of this idea. Just before I finish, I also take note of the fact that we have companies in this country which are the biggest consumers of our trees. It is also important we also compel them into making serious contributions to afforestation. It is because they really consume our trees. Where I come from, we also have factories that consume firewood. I see them setting aside some budget and providing residents with trees so as to do afforestation. If we will have many companies that consume trees give back to the community by donating or setting aside some money to buy seedlings, that would also help us in afforestation. With those few remarks, I to support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Hon. Oyioka Oroo.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I was almost giving up. Thank you very much. From the outset, I would like to congratulate the Mover of this Motion, Hon. Chirchir and the Seconder and my student, Hon. Prof. Ogutu. Very many issues have come up in the House this morning. The problem seems to be implementation of what we discuss here. Very many things come through this House. Recommendations are given but there is always a problem at the implementation stage. Coming to the Motion, we entirely rely on good environment and the rainfall patterns to survive where I come from. I come from Kisii County where, in 2009, the density of population was 975 people per square kilometre. It has since gone beyond 1000 people per square kilometre. Survival has been entirely on good rainfall patterns because we are able to plant twice a year. We, therefore, harvest twice a year. But, time has come when we do not know when to begin preparing the land and when to plant. You could sometimes prepare the land, plant and then the rain fails. In the past, it was never like that. We grew up in that area. We knew exactly when the rains would come. This has come about because of the degradation of the environment. Planting of exotic trees which is very prevalent in Kisii County has terribly affected the water catchment areas in that area. The so called eucalyptus trees suck up a lot of water. I recommend, as we endeavour to plant more trees, we should look at the indigenous trees – trees that are friendly to the environment; trees that are going to retain water instead of sucking it up. Those are the trees that can assist us. When I grew up in those days, soon after Independence, the Government set aside hill tops and the swampy areas. The hill tops were used for planting trees. We even took part in planting them. But, those trees have since disappeared in most places. We have gone back to hill tops without trees. The swampy areas have been reclaimed and used as farming areas instead of The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
staying as catchment areas. I remember, in those days, River Mara used to be a very big river. River Kuja which drains into Lake Victoria used to be a very big river. Nowadays, when rain fails for one to two months, River Kuja becomes a rivulet; a very small stream. The same happens to River Mara. The water disappears. I think we can reverse these adverse effects by planting trees. These trees will enable the land seepage to be better than it is now because they will stop water from flowing fast into the rivers, seas and lakes. We need to look into that. It should be made compulsory for institutions - not only schools – to set aside a kitty or a fund, a revolving kind of fund that can always be used year in, year out, to plant trees. I remember the days of His Excellency Daniel arap Moi the saying was: “Ukikata mmoja, pandamiwili.” We are not doing that nowadays. People are cutting trees left and right, without replacing them. We need a policy that can capture this issue and make sure trees are always planted. On the users of these trees, I have in mind companies like Raiply in Eldoret. Their business depends on transportation of wood. I have in mind a company like the Pan Paper Mills in Webuye. These companies and others which use wood from our forests should be encouraged or ordered to also set aside a kitty for planting trees, even if it means that they come up with tree nurseries from where our people can get seedlings which they can eventually plant so as to alleviate the calamity that we are getting into. This is the second time I am here. I was here briefly in the 11th Parliament. I might not be quite conversant with what goes on here because I was here for only six months. Fortunately, I am back again, I am still learning on the job. This Committee on Implementation should have people who have background knowledge on implementation. People who will understand exactly what should happen so that what we discuss here should not just go to waste. This is 6th December, 2017. We should not have the same scenario when we come to the end of the session in 2022. Thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for according me this chance.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Member for Nyaribari Masaba, Hon. Ombaki Machogu.
Thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this very important Motion. All of us know that years back, Kenya had a good percentage of forest cover. Today as we move from Mt. Kenya to Aberdare Forest to Kakamega and to Mt. Elgon, all that is gone. We know that the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources in their vision and mission have a target of ensuring that we get back the forest cover at 10 per cent. The issue is that the effort and the initiative they have made in order to ensure that the country gets back to where it was do not seem to be adequate. As the Mover rightly said, our forest cover is 1.7 per cent, which means we have a shortfall of 8.3 per cent. How do we cover that? There has to be a very deliberate measure in order for us to get that particular target. I support the Mover that in our schools and other institutions, we have to make it compulsory for our children and institutions to engage seriously in the planting of trees. In 1980 and in the 1990s, the top leadership of this country engaged seriously in conserving the environment and in tree planting. Each and every season right from the provincial level to the district, division and locational level at that time used to seriously engage in tree planting. A number of trees that we are able to see as you go to various areas in the country are those that were planted during that particular time. We know that there has been a lot of human interference both in cutting of trees and also settling people in water catchment areas; our water towers. We know water is life. As we move around in each and every part of the country, we are aware that water is diminishing. The biggest rivers we had are no more. The The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
water sources are not there anymore. So, we have to indulge in planting indigenous trees that will bring the situation back to normal. Martin Luther King once said, even if you know that the world is ending tomorrow, one thing that you should do is plant a tree. The Chinese also said, if you want to be remembered 100 years from now, plant a tree. So, I am sure that once we indulge our schools to engage in planting trees, it will inculcate a culture in our children such that they will plant trees not only in schools but will take that culture back home to their homesteads where trees will be planted. It is also necessary that as we do this, when we move to our counties and constituencies, you will get that we do not have nurseries where we will get seedlings for planting. This is something that needs to be encouraged because unless the Kenya Forest Service gets back and ensures that there are tree nurseries in each and every constituency or there are adequate seedlings to plant, it might be difficult to plant trees. We should make it a culture that as one goes to school in class one, he or she is encouraged to plant a tree, one that they will nurture and take care of until they are out of that school. With those few remarks, I support this very important Motion.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Member for Isiolo North, Hon. Hulufo Oda.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for the opportunity to contribute to this Motion. I would like to support the Motion. From the very start, I would like to say that trees are like lungs to our environment. We all appreciate what deforestation and destruction of trees in our water catchment has done to our nation. Our rivers, as various speakers before me have indicated, are drying up. Rivers which used to be permanent like Ewaso Nyiro North have become seasonal and it has worsened the impact of climate change and resultant drought on our people. I would like to thank the Mover of this Motion, Hon. Chepkut Chirchir. It is very timely. There exists funding stream which we can tap into. For example, under the National Government Constituencies Development Fund (NG-CDF) Act, the committees are allowed to use two per cent of NG-CDF for environmental issues. The 11th Parliament enacted Forest Conservation and Management Act which has a provision for establishing forest conservation and management trust fund. I am sure that if as Parliament we will allocate enough resources to that fund, implementing the initiative for compulsory planting of trees in our schools will be very easy. The Forest Conservation and Management Act, Section 21 outlines the role of county governments in environmental conservation. Part b, obligates or makes it compulsory somehow for the county governments to contribute towards afforestation activities. Section 37 requires our county governments to actually make it compulsory for those companies which are involved in establishment of estates to set aside five per cent of their land as greening zones. In as much as we say this Motion is important, we already have existing laws which enable adequate implementation of planting of these trees. If you look at our Constitution, which we promulgated in 2010, we set for ourselves a target of 10 per cent of our landmass to be under forest cover. Unfortunately, as we speak, it is only 1.7 per cent of our land mass which is under protected forests. Therefore, for us to achieve our goal of 10 per cent forest cover as a nation, we have to make sure that we enforce this. Once the committee responsible is set up, they should follow up with the Kenya Forest Service after allocating them adequate resources. Sometimes we blame Government institutions which are mandated to carry out certain functions when we do not The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
allocate enough resources to them to execute their mandate. I think the starting point is to make sure that we allocate adequate resources for KFS and then we make sure that the resources that are allocated support compulsory planting of trees in learning institutions and other public institutions. To give opportunity to my other colleagues to contribute, I would like to say that I support this Motion. Hopefully, my colleagues, inasmuch as we do not have a direct management role in NG-CDF, let us encourage our committees to use the 2 per cent to ensure that our public schools and other learning institutions in the constituencies use that provision to implement what this Motion is all about. Thank you very much.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Hon. Nkatha, what is your point of order?
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I stand under Standing Order 95. I can see the mood of the House, everybody is willing to support and nobody is opposing. So I would request that you call the Mover to reply because time is moving fast. Thank you.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): I will give opportunity to one Member. I have heard you, Hon. Nkatha. Let me give Hon. Sheikh. Time is almost out for the Motion anyway.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I have patiently waited for this opportunity; I came as early as 9.30 a.m. I think next time it is good to follow the queue. First of all, I wish to thank the Mover of the Motion. It is an important Motion. It talks about trees and forests. Currently, Kenya is at 3 per cent forest cover. The minimum should be 10 per cent. So we are far much below the required standard. By bringing this kind of Motion, we are trying to catch up with other parts of the world to ensure that we have trees and forest cover. I do not want to reemphasise the importance of forests and trees. It has been said what forest cover does and what would happen where there is no forest cover. Making this programme compulsory especially in learning institutions is very good. I come from an area where water is a scarce commodity, so I would equally impress upon the Government and all other agencies that as we make it compulsory, water provision in our place should also be made compulsory. Schools cannot plant trees without water. So it will go hand in hand, especially for my people in Mandera North, that the programme will be made compulsory as well as ensuring that water availability is made compulsory. As we plant trees, there are some that are cut. Various institutions contribute to the cutting of trees. Parliament itself is no exception. Every day the number of papers printed is voluminous. Why do we not have a system where these things are posted on tablets or online for people to go through? We cannot be here talking about conserving the environment and the number of reams of paper that are printed on a daily basis by Parliament is huge. Why do we not go green? We pass very good Motions that even us at the local level in Parliament do not implement. You are told to submit three copies of tender documents. Why do we not do these things on a portal? Each institution that tenders should do it online through the portals. We will save the environment. As we plant trees, we will not be cutting them. I want to urge Parliament; let us start it here. Please, let us see means and ways of ensuring that we do not have a number of papers printed every day, because this paper has come The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
from a tree. No doubt about it. I would urge Parliament and all other institutions to, please, go green. Sometimes it is good to borrow. During Moi’s time, every function he attended there used to be a tree planting session. I want to urge the legislators and all leaders, as you go back to your constituencies and counties, every function you hold, please ensure you plant a tree in that venue. It will help. That way you symbolise that tree planting is compulsory. Also you become a good ambassador for this kind of initiative. I want to thank the Member for bringing this Motion. It is very important. I did not want to dwell so much on what has been said, but to urge that institutions using trees in terms of paperwork should cut them down and should embrace digital, everything to be online. I want this to be started in this 12th Parliament. It was also started in the 11th Parliament. Let us go green and ensure that we do not cut a lot of trees by having less paperwork. Mine is very brief. I support the Motion. Thank you.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): We have three minutes before I call the Mover to reply. I will give the three minutes to Hon. Sophia. The rest of the Members, you can start cajoling Hon. Chepkut to donate to you some minutes. Hon. Sophia.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this time. This is a very important Motion knowing that we are faced with a lot of challenges in this country. Particularly, climate change is a disaster that is stressing the world. With a population of 40 million and estimated one million every year, we have a responsibility as a country to grow more than 100 million trees each year. If we compare with the 10 per cent forest coverage, then we have a responsibility as a nation to grow more than seven billion trees. With that estimate, I come from the home of Boni forest. I come from a county that has hosted refugees for more than 26 years. Over 500,000 refugees have been in our county for more than 30 years and firewood is the basic fuel source that they have. Do not even include the residents and people of Garissa County, start from 500,000 people cutting trees every day, then you can see the kind of disaster we are in as a county. I was on record the other time we had a Motion here and I talked about existing laws. If you look at the Forest Act, 2005, it provides for sustainable management of the forest resources for socio-economical empowerment and development of this country. That has covered institutions. I can see the red light is on, my time is up. I respect that. I am just saying that because of the short time even though I had a lot to contribute. Kindly Mover, look at the existing laws so that we can strengthen them and whatever is not in that law, we would be able to add and strengthen it. With those few remarks, thank you again for giving me this chance.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): We will now have the Mover take over.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, in the interest of time, I will donate some minutes to Hon. Members of Parliament. However, I thank you for supporting this Motion. I request Hon. Zuleikha Hassan, Member for Kwale County, Hon. Beatrice, the Member for Tharaka-Nithi County, Hon. Yussuf Haji Ahmed and Hon. Janet, if you allow, to take one minute each. I can also give a chance to one Member from NASA.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Very well. I think we can go in that order. Hon. Zuleikha Hassan, the Member for Kwale County, the Floor is yours. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Asante sana Naibu Spika wa Muda kwa kunipatia nafasi hii ili nichangie Hoja hii inayohusu ulazimishaji wa shule na wananchi kupanda miti. Mheshimiwa Naibu Spika wa Muda, mwanzo, ningependa kumpongeza aliyeleta Hoja hii, Mhe. Chepkut. Kaunti ya Kwale pia imeadhirika sana. Kuna watu kama wawili katika kila eneo letu la Bunge ambao wamekuwa wakipata shida ya njaa. Kukata miti kunapoteza maji maana mizizi ya miti haiwezi kuweka maji kwa muda mrefu. Ukosefu wa maji unasababisha ukosefu wa chakula. Mwaka uliopita kuna sehemu zilikuwa na njaa. Ukosefu wa maji pia unasababisha upungufu wa miti shamba inayotumika kwa kutengenezea dawa ya kienyeji. Hii ni dawa ambayo wananchi na madaktari wamekuwa wakitumia tangu enzi. Ukosefu wa mvua umesababisha upungufu wa aina hii ya miti inayotumika kutengeneza hizo dawa. Iwapo upungufu wa maji utazidi, itakuwa vigumu kuregesha miti ya aina…
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Hon. Nkatha, the Member for Tharaka-Nithi County, the Floor is yours.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for this opportunity. I want to thank Hon. William for giving me this chance to contribute. Much has been said by many Members. I would not repeat. However, I would like to say that it is important that we make it compulsory to plant trees in our institutions and homes. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Article 42 of our Constitution accords every person the right to a clean and healthy environment. As we support this Motion, we are also supporting our Constitution. I also want to say that this can be a project to help our youth. They can form groups and sell trees to our institutions and homes. We need trees, water and life. Trees give us the fresh air that we breathe. I really support and thank Hon. William.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Who is the next Member on line? The Member for Mandera West Constituency, the Floor is yours.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker and the Mover of this Motion for giving me a minute to articulate this Motion. I support but the issue of making it compulsory is what I have an issue with. If you make it compulsory, in law it means that whoever does not do that must somehow be forced to do it. In some areas, circumstances might force people not to be able to do this. While they are willing, let us remember that some of our rural areas like where I come from, water is very critical. Sometimes, you may not even get water to wash your face the whole day and then there is a tree there which is must be watered. Which priority do you start with? Is it to water the plant or wash your face? Instead, let us come up with ---
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Your time is up. Please, make use of your time. I think Janet Sitienei is the next one. No, it is Hon. Ahmed who has the microphone.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I did not expect that my first time to contribute in this House would be on donated time. I waited for that moment. Allow me to send my message of condolence to the people of Kitui West, the family and friends of Hon. Francis Nyenze who has just passed on. My constituency is 95 per cent desert. The Kenya Forest Service has not even told us the right trees to be planted. We need to have a soil analysis done on all regions and constituencies so that we know what type of trees to plant. We also need to appreciate the type of water that we The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
have in our various constituencies. All the underground water in my constituency is saline. That is important but because of time...
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Let us hear Hon. Janet Sitienei.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker and Mover, I support this Motion. It is a very noble Motion that will go a long way in afforestating this country. It is going to improve the agriculture sector in this country. I thank the Mover for bringing it to the House. He can also look at the Acts that deal with river bank protection so that we can protect the rivers that are drying up. This Motion will enable the youth to learn to protect our environment in a sustainable manner.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for giving me this opportunity. I have been sitting on the right side of this House, and equally on the left side. Today, I decided to sit at the centre with an attempt to catch your eye. It is very unfortunate that I have never had the opportunity to catch the Speaker’s eye. However, having been given this opportunity to contribute to the Motion brought by Hon. William Chirchir, I hereby welcome the idea to plant trees throughout the country in order to improve our environment. Those of us who are from the ASAL areas understand the importance of trees. I support.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for giving me this opportunity. Trees are like the lungs of the planet, breathing in carbon dioxide and breathing out oxygen. You can imagine how important they are to our lives. I support the Motion.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Hon. Chepkut, were you done?
It is only the Member for Rangwe who is remaining.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Hon. Member for Rangwe, you have spoken already. Let us have Hon. Chepkut.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I humbly thank you and the Members of this House for supporting this Motion. I beg to reply.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Hon. Members, for reasons best known to all of us, we shall defer putting of the Question on this one.
(Hon. (Ms.) Tuya): Hon. Members, the time being 1.00 p.m., this House stands adjourned until this afternoon at 2.30 p.m.
The House rose at 1.00 p.m.
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