Hon. Speaker, this man has been chased from the bedroom. He should leave me alone because I still hold my bedroom.
Hon. Speaker, I beg to lay the following Papers on the Table of the House today: (i) Financial Year 2019/2020 Supplementary Estimates I (Programmes Based Budget); (ii) Financial Year 2019/2020 Supplementary Estimates I (Recurrent Estimates); (iii) Financial Year 2019/2020 Supplementary Estimates I (Development Estimates) Vol. I and II; and, (iv) Memorandum on Financial Year 2019/2020 Supplementary Estimates I. (v) The Reports of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements in respect of the following Institutions for the year ended 30th June, 2018, and the certificates therein: a) Kenya Tourism Board; b) National Environment Trust Fund; c) Kenya Utalii College; d) Kenya Water Towers Agency; e) Export Processing Zones Authority; f) Kenya Forestry Research Institute; g) Kenya Industrial Estates Limited; and, h) Kenya Bureau of Standards. Thank you, Hon. Speaker.
The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
The Chairperson, Select Committee on National Cohesion and Equal Opportunity.
Hon. Speaker, I beg to lay the following Paper on the Table of the House:
Report of the Select Committee on National Cohesion and Equal Opportunity on the vetting of persons nominated for appointment to the position of Chairperson and Members of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC). Thank you, Hon. Speaker.
Hon. Speaker, I beg to give notice of the following Motion: THAT, taking into consideration the findings of the Select Committee on National Cohesion and Equal Opportunity in its Report on the vetting of persons nominated for appointment to the position of Chairperson and Members of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, laid on the Table of the House on Tuesday, 12th November 2019, and pursuant to the provisions of paragraph 9 of the First Schedule to the National Cohesion and Integration Act, 2008 as amended in 2019 and Section 8 of the Public Appointments (Parliamentary Approval) Act, this House approves the appointment of the following persons as Chairperson and Members of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission: (i) Rev. (Dr.) Samuel Kobia - Chairperson (ii) Mr. Samuel E. Kona
- Member (iii) Hon. (Eng) Philip O. Okundi - Member (iv) Ms. Peris W. Nyutu
- Member (v) Hon. Abdulaziz Ali Farah
- Member (vi) Dr. Danvas O. Makori
- Member (vii) Ms. Fatuma S. Tabwara
- Member (viii) Hon. Dorcas L. Kedogo
- Member I thank you, Hon. Speaker.
The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Hon. Speaker, I rise to ask the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government the following Question: (i) Could the Cabinet Secretary explain the status of investigations into the road accident involving a motor vehicle registration number KBM 881V, Toyota Prado (also Reg. No. GKB 214E), assigned to the Office of the Deputy President and a motor cycle of registration number KMCT 356V, which happened along Kismayu Road near Mustaqbal Filling Station in Garissa County on 9th February, 2015, leading to the death of one Patrick Mutia Muthui of ID No. 29726448 as reported in Garissa Police Station Occurrence Book No. 07/09/02/2015? (ii) When will the family of the deceased be compensated for the death caused due to negligence of the driver?
The Question is referred to the Departmental Committee on Administration and National Security.
Hon. Speaker, I rise to ask the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works the following Question: (i) Why is the Government yet to compensate individuals whose land was acquired by the Government or adversely affected during the construction of Kiriaini - Kairo Road in Mathioya Constituency over ten years ago? (ii) What measures is the Ministry putting in place to ensure that those households are compensated without any further delays?
The Question is referred to the Departmental Committee on Transport, Public Works and Housing. The next Question is by the Member for Sabatia, Hon. Agoi.
Hon. Speaker, I am trying to log in but this system is hanging.
As you fumble through that one, let me go to the next Question, which is by the Member for Magarini. He has given authority to Hon. Baya to ask on his behalf.
The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposes only. Acertified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Hon. Speaker, I would like to ask the Cabinet Secretary for Education the following Question on behalf of the Member for Magarini, Hon. Michael Kingi Thoyah:
(i) Could the Cabinet Secretary explain the steps taken by the Ministry to investigate the demolition of Kadzuhoni Primary School in Gongoni Ward, Magarini Constituency by unknown persons as reported to Cabinet Secretary’s Office vide a letter dated 13th July 2019 and received on 15th July 2019?
(ii) What is the status of investigations into the demolitions and steps taken to apprehend the perpetrators?
(iii) Are there plans to rebuild the demolished classrooms and further secure the school land to deter similar incidences in future?
The Question is referred to the Departmental Committee on Education and Research. Next Question is by the Member for Moyale, Hon. Wario Gufu.
Hon. Speaker, I rise to ask the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government the following Question: (i) Is the Cabinet Secretary aware of increased incidences of insecurity in Moyale Constituency of Marsabit County in the last few months that have led to loss of life and property; including the loss of the lives of five people and several livestock? (ii) What immediate steps has the Ministry taken to end the continued killings and attacks and enhance security in Moyale Constituency? (iii) What measures has the Ministry put in place to ensure that residents of Uran Ward, Moyale Sub-County, Marsabit are provided with security considering several insecurity lapses from June to October, 2019?
The Question is referred to the Departmental Committee on Administration and National Security. Next Question is by the Member for Tharaka.
Hon. Speaker, I rise to ask the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries the following Question: (i) Could the Cabinet Secretary confirm the existence of a national policy for the protection of donkeys, noting that the animals have been predicted to be extinct in Kenya by the year 2022 in light of the establishment of donkey abattoirs in the country? (ii) Could the Cabinet Secretary further confirm whether the establishment of several donkey abattoirs in the country, including M/s. Goldox, Starbrilliant Limited, Silzha and Fuhai, Machakos Trading Company Limited have attributed to declining numbers of donkeys nationally, as they have been trading in donkey skins that are in high demand in particular foreign markets for cosmetic value addition? (iii) What measures is the government taking to ensure that the donkey population in Kenya is protected, the slaughter of donkeys is regulated and that theft, rustling, smuggling and other vices against the animals are eradicated?
Very well. The Question is referred to the Departmental Committee on Agriculture and Livestock. Let us go back to the Member for Sabatia. Have you now been able to log in, Hon. Agoi?
Thank you, Hon. Speaker. I got a solution to the problem. I rise to ask Question No.482/2019 directed to the Cabinet Secretary for the Interior and Coordination of National Government. (i) Could the Cabinet Secretary state whether there are any plans by the Government to compensate or assist all victims of terrorist-related acts in the country, specifically victims of terror-related attacks at the Dusit D2 Hotel which took place on 15th January, 2019, the Westgate Mall attack of 21st September, 2013 and the terror attack at the United States Embassy in Nairobi on 7th August, 1998? (ii) When will the Government fully compensate the said victims?
The Question is referred to the Departmental Committee on Administration and National Security.
Let us now have statements. Let us have Hon. Ichung’wah, Chair of the Budget and Appropriations Committee.
Thank you, Hon. Speaker. The Leader of the Majority Party has just tabled the Supplementary Estimates for the 2019/2020 Financial Year. From the information already available, it is noted that these Estimates are likely to have a very huge impact on the approved budget for the 2019/2020 Financial Year. It is important to know that these Supplementary Estimates are coming at a time when the House is set to go on recess.
Hon. Speaker, could you protect me from the very loud consultations? These Estimates are coming at a time when we are set to go on recess on 5th December this year. We will have very limited time to process them.
Order, Hon. Members! Those who are walking out may have forgotten What the Leader of the Majority Party has tabled before the House sets of Supplementary Estimates. The Statement being made by the Chair of the Budget and Appropriations Committee is with regard to how you will process those Supplementary Estimates. Some of you have already finished their work for today. You have gone away. It is a problem. People do not find it easy to remain in the Chamber!
Thank you, Hon. Speaker. I was just noting that the time that we have between now and when we go on recess on 5th December, 2019 is too limited for us to process these Estimates. As I had indicated earlier, from what the Leader of the Majority Party has tabled, these Supplementary Estimates are likely to have a very huge impact on the Budget as was approved by this House. Therefore, it is recommended that the Departmental Committees be briefed by the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO), meet with their ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), prepare and adopt their respective committee reports and submit them to the Budget and Appropriations Committee by 22nd November, 2019. It is important especially for the Chairs of Departmental Committees to take note of the timeline. The Budget and Appropriations Committee is ready to start briefing committees as early as this Thursday. We expect that they will meet with their MDAs and prepare their reports - hopefully by Wednesday this week - so that we shall be ready as a Committee to listen to any Chair during the Thursday morning hours who will have his report ready by Thursday next week, as much as we are talking about 22nd November. We will only have Friday to meet all Chairs. Therefore, as I indicated, the time is very limited. It is good that the Chairs liaise with the PBO to have their briefs ready. It will enable the Budget and Appropriations Committee to carry out other engagements. Hon. Speaker, as you are aware, as the Chair of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), we must also meet with the PSC to review the Supplementary Estimates for the PSC and Parliament. We intend to have a comprehensive report back to this House on Tuesday 26th November, prepare the Appropriations Bill and have it approved by 5th December 2019, as the House goes on recess. In this regard, I encourage the Departmental Committees to undertake thorough sectoral reviews and come up with feasible recommendations. As such, the Budget and
Appropriations Committee will be interested in the outcome of the engagements between the Departmental Committees and their MDAs on the 1st Quarter Performance Report for each of their MDAs. The Budget and Appropriations Committee will also be looking forward to receive the views of the Departmental Committees - through their Chairs - on the impact of Supplementary I Budget Estimates on the Medium-Term Government Agenda, the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, Vision 2030 and the Big Four Agenda. In particular, the Budget and Appropriations Committee will be interested to understand the affected programmes and their outputs, pending bills and subsequent impacts, any new projects introduced in this Supplementary Budget among other arising issues that the Committees will find pertinent as they engage with their MDAs. Therefore, I urge all Committees to move with speed to ensure that the House finishes its undertaking in the timeliest manner possible. I plead with the Chairs of Committees to finalise on this. I can see a number of them are here. I can see the Chairs of the Departmental Committees on Agriculture and Livestock, Communication, Information and Innovation and Energy are here. Even the Chairs of the Departmental Committees on Transport, Public Works and Housing and Trade, Industry and Co- operatives are here. I encourage them because we may have a little less than 20 minutes to listen to their proposals. If you are able to complete even before the 21st like on Wednesday 20th,, we can avail time on Thursday morning with the facilitation of the Clerk of the National Assembly to listen to those Committees that will be ready on Thursday 21st - even within the precincts of Parliament - so that on 22nd we can allow those that will not be ready to have a little more time than the planned 20 minutes. Therefore, I urge our Chairs to help and co-operate on that matter.
I also see - not seated too far away from you - the Chair of the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs and somewhere at the back, the Chairs of the Departmental Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, Constituencies Development Fund Committee, the Departmental Committees on Lands, Agriculture and Livestock and Communication, Information and Innovation. What do you mean the Chair of hecklers? There is no such committee. What is important is the message. Let us have Hon. Mbarire.
Thank you, Hon. Speaker. Pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order No.44(2)(c), I wish to request for a statement from the Chairperson of the Departmental Committee on Agriculture and Livestock regarding the declining prices of milk and milk products in the country. Dairy farming is becoming highly unsustainable as a result of milk and milk products’ price volatility where the cost of production continues to increase while prices of raw milk are ever declining. Dairy farmers have been counting losses for the last one year following the
falling of prices of raw milk by about Kshs14 - that is from Kshs35 a litre and currently retailing at Kshs25 a litre, something that is being witnessed in most parts of the country. It is unfortunate that our farmers are not protected from such challenges where there is failure to regulate milk prices as well as controlling the importation of milk and milk products into the country that has flooded the market thus exposing local dairy farmers to unfair competition and exploitation.
Hon. Speaker, it is against this background that I seek your indulgence in referring this matter to the Departmental Committee on Agriculture and Livestock to inquire into it and report soon on: (i) The cause of the declining prices of raw milk in the country for the last one year from Kshs35 to the current Kshs25. It has gone as low as Kshs20 in some places. I have been told that it is Kshs17 in Kisii County. (ii) How the importation of milk and milk products into the country from Uganda, that has exposed local milk farmers to unfair competition, was authorised. (iii) The measures that the Government is putting in place to cushion local milk farmers from declining prices of raw milk, unfair competition arising from importation of milk and milk products, the high cost of production mainly due to high cost of dairy feeds and artificial insemination products.
I want to request that you consider that this Statement be taken as a full inquiry by the Committee and, probably, even bring onboard the Departmental Committee on Trade, Industry and Co-operatives because of the trade issues between us and Uganda.
With those remarks, I beg to request for the Statement.
Given that the Leader of the Majority Party has just tabled the Supplementary Estimates and that Committees will be quite busy, I want to hear from the Chair of the Departmental Committee on Agriculture and Livestock on how much time he needs to make the inquiry.
Thank you, Hon. Speaker. I agree entirely with the Member on the problem in the dairy sector. The way the Statement is phrased requires a full inquiry into the dairy industry. I want to go by the 60 days like the way the petitions are usually handled so that within that time, we will come up with a proper and full inquiry into this case.
Hon. Members, this is a request for a Statement. It is between the Member and the Chair of the Departmental Committee on Agriculture and Livestock, which is a Committee of the House. The Members in that Committee might as well be the Members in the Departmental Committee on Trade, Industry and Co-operatives. So, they are equal to the task. They should address the issues that have been raised to avoid a situation of two committees sitting to do one thing which causes confusion. It is too big. The Member who raised the issue, Hon. Mbarire, the Chair has said that they want 60 days.
Hon. Speaker, I want to indulge your guidance here that you re-consider that we not only have the Departmental Committee on Agriculture and Livestock but also the Departmental Committee on Trade, Industry and Co- operatives because there is a serious trade issue here that is affecting the entire market of milk products in Kenya. In as much as you feel that it is a bit too much for two committees to sit, it is
such a grave matter that needs serious attention by the two Committees. Please, re-consider your decision.
Whoever will appear before that Committee will give information just in the same way he will give to the other committee. If we consider that it is not a matter that falls in that Committee, then we will just take it to the Departmental Committee on Trade, Industry and Co-operatives. There is no point of two committees sitting to discuss this issue. They will be unwieldy and you will run into problems of quorum. Hon. Members, I do not want Committees which are supposed to take evidence from the public going to take it in hotels. Remember that Parliament is a public place. When you hold sittings and take evidence in hotels, the public is not always invited there. The management of those hotels reserve the right of admission. Inquiries like these should be done within committee rooms of Parliament, but not in some places which access can be limited by other forces outside Parliament. If you strongly feel that this matter should go to the Departmental Committee on Trade, Industry and Co-operatives, there is no debate on this matter. This is a request for Statement. I am unlikely to get further advice on this, unless you have not looked at the Standing Orders clearly.
There is nothing to clarify in a Statement. Any Member of this House can sit in any Committee. The Members who sit in the Departmental Committee on Trade, Industry and Co- operatives have not acquired some expertise in trade matters. You will go and get evidence from others. You do not sit in that Committee because you necessarily have the expertise in trade matters. Otherwise, you would be sitting in the Cabinet or other positions in the Executive but not in Parliament. Hon. Haji, you have the Floor.
Hon. Speaker, I want to echo your sentiments. Looking at the spirit of the Statement, the Member wants to see the best way we can help the farmer. The Departmental Committee on Agriculture and Livestock is the best suited to deal with farmers’ matters. The product is on the consumer side. I do not know what the Member had in mind, or what the spirit in which she wrote the statement is. If it is about helping the Kenyan dairy farmer, then the Departmental Committee on Agriculture and Livestock is the best suited to deal with this matter. Thank you.
The Chairman of the Departmental Committee on Agriculture and Livestock will bring the Statement after the inquiry. The Member for Molo wants to raise an issue about a Statement he sought.
Thank you, Hon. Speaker. On 8th August this year, I asked for a Statement pursuant to Standing Order No.44(2) on the issue of 528 employees of Timsales Limited who were dismissed just because they protested against their salary delay. In your wisdom, you referred the matter to the Departmental Committee on Labour and Social Welfare. I have been following up the matter with the Chair of the Departmental Committee on
Labour and Social Welfare. He told me that the request is yet to reach his Committee. So, I am seeking your indulgence and a ruling into this issue because it is now almost three months from the time I sought the Statement.
I thank you, Hon. Speaker.
The Table Office should ensure that the request is presented to the Committee latest by the end of business today because it was made here. Hon. Kanini Kega, you have something about your Statements.
Thank you, Hon. Speaker. I rise to bring to your attention and that of the Members to some of the tribulations that we, Members of Parliament, go through while executing our mandate. I have an office at Kenya International Convention Centre (KICC). I think more Members have offices there. From yesterday, we have been unable to access them. The more we insist that we are Members of Parliament and that we have nothing to do with the conference – that we just want to access our offices – the more those officers become adamant. We have been told that we will not access our offices until the conference is over. That is by the end of the week. It means that I will not be able to access my office. I will not be able to access my office as a Member of Parliament (MP) and also as the Chairman of my Committee. We tried to look for accreditation and we did so over a month ago, but it was declined. I do not know the reason because other people have been able to access their KICC offices, save for the MPs. I am seeking your guidance as to how we shall proceed for the next one week because we cannot operate without going to our offices. We have absolutely nothing to do with the conference. In fact, I am not interested in going to the conference, but I should not be denied my right to go to my office. I am seeking your guidance as the Chairman of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) that employs us and also gives us facilities as to how we shall operate.
Thank you, Hon. Speaker.
Well, the Clerk is directed to sort out that matter. We pay for those offices for Members. They are not for free. So, the Clerk is directed to follow the matter with the management of the KICC today. That is to ensure Members are not in way hindered from accessing their offices. We have not received any communication forwarding back the rent that we pay. So, we are still entitled to use those facilities. Members do not go to where the conference is. There should be no reason why any Member should be denied access into their offices at the KICC. Is there something else you wanted to say?
Thank you Hon. Speaker for your indulgence. The second one is on a Statement by Hon. Alfred Keter, the MP for Nandi Hills. He was talking on behalf of so many other Members who had asked Questions to this Committee. We had forwarded the same to the CS for Trade, Industry and Co-operatives but he was unable to appear before us. On 5th November 2019 - this month - the CS wrote to you and it was also copied to us that he would appear before us - this Committee - tomorrow. That is so that he would answer the many Questions that we have and the many issues in the country, including that of aflatoxin and all those things. The information that I have is that the CS, again, wants to reschedule the meeting from tomorrow to 27th November 2019. These are some of the tribulations and challenges that we go through when we are having conversations with CSs. They are not willing
to appear before committees. The Leader of the Majority Party has just tabled a Supplementary Budget which is supposed to be processed by the end of the month. I know the CSs will be available to come and answer questions to do with the Supplementary Budget. But when it comes to Questions and issues that have been raised by Members, they are busy and not available. I do not know how we are going to proceed because Hon. Ichung’wah here, who is my good friend, has said that we need to give a report by next week. The same CS is supposed to appear before us before next week. I do not know how it is going to be possible if he has said that he will only be available on 27th November 2019. So, I am just saying some of the issues and tribulations that we are going through. In fact, I am happy that the Statement about milk has not been directed to my Committee. It is because of the same challenges. I am happy that my good friend, the Chair for the Departmental Committee on Agriculture and Livestock was very categorical that the issue should be prosecuted by one Committee. Moving forward, we do not want to have two committees prosecuting a matter. It is because, if you remember, I was left alone on the issue of sugar. I wish him all the best. We will try to chip in on the issues they will want us to. However, the point is how we proceed if the CSs are not willing to come forward and respond to issues that are pertinent to Members and the public. Thank you, Hon. Speaker.
On this, the CS himself wrote and suggested tomorrow’s date. So, it cannot be possible that, again, he is requesting for a further adjournment. Parliamentary business cannot be at the mercy of only one CS. So, we expect that the CS will appear tomorrow as you have scheduled. There is no reason he can suggest a date and then change it without even consulting or appearing before the Committee to explain why he is not able to respond to the Questions. Indeed, you will have to deal with him during the issues of the Supplementary Budget Estimates. So, as far as we are concerned, that is the date. I am sure you had also diarised it as, indeed, he also diarised. So, the Members who have Questions should appear before your Committee. Committees should be able to deal with those CSs, as you find appropriate. The Chair, Departmental Committee on Lands, you have the Floor.
Thank you, Hon. Speaker. I would like to read a response to a Statement that was sought by Hon. Yusuf Hassan, MP, Member for Kamukunji Constituency. It was sought on 30th October 2019. May I just read? I do not see Yusuf in the House. You may give me guidance.
Well. Since he sought the Statement, you can read the answer to the Statement and then table it. The Member will then pick it from there.
Thank you, Hon. Speaker. The Statement is on encroachment of land by Kenya Airforce in Kamukunji Constituency. Reference is made to
a letter REF/NA/DC-LANDS/2019-110 dated 8th October 2019. The Committee requested the CS for the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning to provide a Statement on the following: (i) Whether the Government, through the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning, and the National Land Commission have undertaken a comprehensive survey and a thorough audit to clearly determine the borders and limitations of the Moi Airforce Base in Eastleigh. If not, when this will be urgently undertaken; (ii) The remedial interventions, including putting a stop to any further demolition pending the aforementioned survey as well as consideration of compensation and resettlement; and, (iii) What the Ministry of Defence is pursuing in addressing the plight of Kamukunji residents who have been displaced or evicted from the usual dwellings? I would like to respond as follows (I am reading on behalf of the CS): According to our records, the Moi Air Base in Eastleigh is registered under LR No.36(II)1050, LR No.210364. The Airbase measured approximately 482.2 Ha. The boundaries of the airbase are delineated as per D-Plan No.429861. A land title search and map of the parcel is attached as Annexure1A and Annexure1B. The Kenya Airforce at the Moi Airforce Base sit within their boundaries and have not encroached on any land. National security is paramount. Structures encroaching on military flight paths need to be demolished. Compensation and resettlement are not warranted to persons who have been in illegal occupation of military land. Hon. Speaker, this was signed by the CS Farida Karoney on 30th October 2019. Thank you, Hon. Speaker. I hereby table the response.
Very well. You can table the Statement.
Hon. Members, before we proceed, allow me to recognise the following visitors in the Public Gallery: Visitors from Kibliochi AGC District Church Council, Bomet Central Constituency, Bomet County and pupils from Nyali Primary School, Nyali Constituency, Mombasa County.
I can see some Members have placed interventions, like the Member from Marakwet East. Let us have Hon. Kandie.
Thank you, Hon. Speaker. I sought a Statement on 20th of September, 2019 concerning special needs schools in Kenya. You directed it to the Departmental Committee on Education and Research. However, up to now, I have not received any communication.
Chairperson of the Departmental Committee on Education and Research, Hon. Melly. The Vice-Chairperson. Hon. Angwenyi to take up the matter.
Hon. Kandie sought a statement about special schools. The request for the statement was referred to the Departmental Committee on Education and Research on 20th of September.
Hon. Kandie, what this is all about is that you sought a statement and the Chairperson of the Departmental Committee on Education and Research is not in the Chamber, and neither is the Vice-Chairperson. So, the matter must go to the leadership to intervene. Hon. Jimmy Angwenyi, can you respond to that?
Hon. Speaker, I undertake to seek a response and clarity on the matter on behalf of the Committee.
Very well. Next Order!
Hon. Members, the debate on this Motion was concluded last week. What remained was for the Question to be put, which I hereby do.
Again, Hon. Members, the debate on this Motion was concluded last week. What remained was for the Question to be put, which I hereby do.
The Hon. John Mbadi.
Thank you, Hon. Speaker. I beg to move:
THAT, the Parliamentary Pensions (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No.45 of 2019) be now read a Second Time. The history behind this amendment is long. Sometimes back, towards the end of the 8th Parliament, there was a concern among the Members of Parliament and the general public that Members of Parliament (MPs) salaries and other allowances were not commensurate to the kind
of work that MPs performed. Parliament, which is supposed to be an independent arm of Government, independent from the Executive, was under the control of the Executive. Members of Parliament were not getting good remuneration. Therefore, a Commission was formed by Parliament at that time and it was chaired by Rtd. Chief Justice Majid Cocker. It was supposed to look at terms of service of MPs. However, when the Commission was in Meru when it was going around the country, members of the public who spoke did not just address the plight of the sitting MPs then, but they went ahead to talk about the retired MPs. They spoke so passionately about the plight of a former MP, Hon. Bernard Mate, who was a former MP from Meru region. They said that, apart from considering the sitting MPs and future MPs, there is need to also address the plight of former MPs. When the same Commission – whose terms of reference did not include former MP’s plight, went to Kakamega region, the Chairperson of the Commission asked where a former MP, who he knew well, called J.D. Otiende was. He was told that the MP was somewhere in the remote areas of the current Kakamega County. When the Chairperson of the Commission, Rtd. Chief Justice Majid Cocker sought to know if J.D. Otiende would appear before his Commission and express the plight of former MPs, he was told that the mzee could not afford transport. I was told that they immediately organised a harambee and raised Kshs10,000 that they gave to someone to take to Hon. J.D. Otiende. When Hon. J.D. Otiende received the Kshs10,000, to him, it was like the angels had descended from heaven. He decided to take Kshs9,500 and keep it under his mattress and remained with Kshs500 that he used as his transport to go and address the Commission. From the Report, it is clear that the Justice Cockar Commission which was looking into this matter expressed that when JD Otiende appeared before them, even Cockar who knew him very well could not recognise him. He wanted to adjourn the meeting to a later date, waiting for Otiende. He was told ‘Otiende is already here’ and he could not believe his eyes that this was the same JD Otiende who was a very prominent personality in the country. This led this Committee to include this matter of the plight of former Members of Parliament, which was not within their terms of reference. Apart from recommending enhanced salaries and allowances for Members of Parliament, which we currently enjoy… That takes me to addressing this issue of salaries of Members of Parliament. I have heard Kenyans complain a lot about our salaries, forgetting that this salary was a recommendation of a commission from what the public said. In fact, if you look at the Report of the Justice Cockar Commission and the next commission which I will talk about, the Akiwumi Commission, you will realise that majority of Kenyans wanted Members of Parliament to be remunerated properly. As to whether we were given too much, that is a debate for another day. The Justice Cockar Commission made a recommendation about the plight of former Members of Parliament. Among the recommendations that they made was that former Members of Parliament should be paid an ex-gratia allowance of Kshs1 million for each Member of Parliament who served before 2002 when they were doing this Report. When this recommendation went to the Parliament’s management then — because it is this commission that brought about the Parliamentary Service Commission — it was decided that there were some Members of Parliament who served between 1984 and 2002 when the 8th Parliament was adjourned and they were pensionable. The Members who served before 1984 were not
pensionable because the Parliamentary Pensions Act was not in place. So, those Members of Parliament who served from Independence to 1984 were paid Kshs1 million as ex-gratia payment, in line with the recommendation of the Justice Majid Cockar Commission. The rest of the Members of Parliament who served between 1984 and 2001 could not be paid ex-gratia because they were now covered by the Parliamentary Pensions Act of 1984. The recommendation in that Report was that those former Members of Parliament were earning peanuts in form of pension. I checked and found out that some of those former Members of Parliament are currently earning Kshs6,000. But I am told there are some who are earning as low as Kshs2,000. This is because the pension of Members of Parliament is pegged on salary. And the salary then was too low that applying the percentages and the ratios to that salary to give as pension to those Members of Parliament is as good as giving them nothing. If you pay a former Member of Parliament a pension of Kshs6,000, that will be taken up by bank charges. Someone cannot move from rural areas to come to Nairobi to collect Kshs6,000. The recommendation was that the pension of those Members of Parliament needs to be enhanced to be in line with the changes in the economic environment, but this did not happen. In 2009, when I was already a Member of Parliament, and I remember very well, another commission was formed when the PSC was being chaired by your predecessor, Hon. Kenneth Marende. The Akiwumi Commission was formed and it held too many meetings. I personally appeared before that Commission at the KICC. Apart from looking at the welfare of Members of Parliament - because the questions then were about taxation of Members of Parliament, which was a very hot topic; whether Members of Parliament should pay taxes on the entire emoluments or if only their basic salary should be subjected to taxation… Remember up to 2010, Members of Parliament were paying taxes only on the Kshs200,000 which was the basic salary. All the other allowances were tax-free. That changed with the 2010 Constitution. However, there were other matters that the Akiwumi Commission was looking into. Besides that, the plight of former Members of Parliament again became an important issue of discussion. Former Members of Parliament presented themselves before the Akiwumi Commission and expressed their frustrations. The Akiwumi Commission literally agreed with the Cockar Commission and the former Members of Parliament that paying a pension of, say, Kshs2,000 or Kshs6,000 or Kshs10,000 to former Members of Parliament was like an insult to those senior citizens of this country. That is when again it was reinforced in the Akiwumi Report, which was adopted by the PSC. It was even brought to the plenary and we debated that Report and adopted it. It was recommended that what they called a living pension be given to those former Members of Parliament. The figure that was recommended was US$1,000 per former Member of Parliament who is earning less than US$1,000. If you change this figure into Kenya shillings, it comes to about Kshs100,000. Because we cannot legislate in US dollars, the figure can safely be said to be Kshs100,000. Therefore, the Akiwumi Commission recommended that those former Members of Parliament who were earning less than Kshs100,000 as pension should be paid Kshs100,000 so that they can also age graciously and take care of their day-to-day needs. Since that Report was adopted in November 2009, no action has been taken. The reason no action was taken is because we have to legislate. The pension is based on the Pensions Act. A report of Parliament, even if adopted, cannot amend the law or give the legal basis to pay those
former Members of Parliament. The immediate former Member of Parliament for Rarieda, Hon. Nicholas Gumbo, attempted to bring an amendment to the House to amend the Act to allow the former Members of Parliament, who were numbering around 500 then, to get, at least, Kshs100,000. Unfortunately, Parliament was adjourned before this Bill was debated. When we resumed in the 12th Parliament, I was approached by those former Members of Parliament. Because this is something I have been following, I accepted to sponsor this Bill to the House. I want to mention the following. Looking at the numbers when this debate started, around 2009 when the Report was being adopted, we had close to 500 former Members of Parliament. I hear as we speak today that number is less than 200. In fact, it is being said that the number is about 150, meaning that those former Members of Parliament are dying at a fast rate. One of the reasons we are seeing a high rate of death - even though, yes, some of them could be aging - is because of the suffering that they are going through. Some of those former Members of Parliament cannot even afford medication. I have seen some of them. Someone like Otieno Mak’Onyango, if he did not get the payment from the Government following his torture, I am sure we would not have him today. Hon. Otieno Mak’Onyango has really suffered. He has been ailing but for him to buy medication, he needs something. The list is long. I cannot mention them by name. However, there is a former MP from my region who is unfortunately and sadly so, the late. The former MP served between 1997 and 2002. There was a time when he came to our area for a fundraising. I could see the way he was treated. We were expecting a senior Kenyan to come and grace an occasion in our place. We were prepared and people sang for him. One day, as I was driving along Uhuru Highway just at the junction of Uhuru Highway and Haile Selassie Avenue, I was stopped there by the traffic lights. There was a matatu and a gentleman was getting out of it. You know how matatu crews behave. They kept on telling him to disembark quickly, and the former MP got out of the vehicle. I saw him walk across the road. I could see that he was tired. I saw poverty. I am not saying that those are the only people who are suffering economically in this country. Many other Kenyans are also suffering. This tells us that we need to think seriously about the plight of our aging population. Everywhere in the world, people think about their senior citizens. In fact, they are so recognised and treated with dignity that you would think they own the country. However, in our country, the only thing we have succeeded in doing – and I think it is also because we have not managed our economy well – is to give a stipend of about Kshs2,000 to those who are 70 years old and above. It is high time we seriously thought about former MPs and gave them something so that those who are still alive can also appreciate that there are some people who know that they made a contribution to this country.
Hon. Speaker, some of them will tell you that they more or less served this country for free. They are unlike us. We are at least lucky as MPs even though there is too much demand on our salaries and allowances. At least, there is something you can go home with; something you can talk to your constituents with. In those days, some of the Members we are talking about would even sponsor Bills using their own money. Hon. Njeru Kathangu once told us that he had to use his money to sponsor a trip to go and look at some issues around coffee.
Hon. Jimmy Angwenyi is shouting loudly. I know I am not supposed to have heard him but he is saying he sponsored the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Bill with his own money. By the way, in those days, there was no CDF. So, MPs, with their meagre resources, doubled as CDF. One may ask why July 1984 to 2001? The explanation is that before 1984, the Parliamentary Pensions Act was not in existence. So, you cannot amend an Act of Parliament to bring MPs to benefit when the law was not even in place. That is why ex-gratia payment was made to MPs who served before 1984. After 2002, MPs’ salaries were enhanced and so the calculation on pension has gone up. Before 2001, MPs were earning very little amounts of money hence, the pension they are getting is meagre. In fact, once you become an MP, you are a leader and people respect you. When you get out of office, you turn from a leader to a beggar and it is frustrating and an embarrassment to society. It is something that, as leaders, we need to look into.
Hon. Speaker, being an MP has been criminalised in this country. Once you become an MP, even if you are very educated and a professional in an area, no one would believe that you have brains. You hardly see former MPs getting jobs. In fact, from the time we passed the new Constitution, we decided to criminalise the work of MPs. If you look at the BiIl that created the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA), you will find that one of the disqualifications for being a member of CRA is having served as an MP, even though CRA membership is purely political. It is political parties which nominate members to CRA but, again, you find a provision within the law that says you must stay out of Parliament for at least five years before you can be a commissioner with the CRA. You ask yourself what happens to one who becomes an MP! Do we lose our intellectual capacity or do we become so criminalised that we have to serve some probation period out of Parliament to be inducted or reintroduced back to the society? We have been making mistakes. Former MPs and current MPs are Kenyans. The CVs of some current MPs are very impressive. We now have a Parliament that is intellectually endowed. Once you get into Parliament, the next thing is that you become a former MP. We are all candidates for being former MPs. The only thing we do not know is when. Some of us, like myself, are nearing that time very dangerously. Others are also following. For those who will be here for a while, we thank God and pray for you to continue being here so that you can continue to deliver services to the people. However, those of us who will walk out should not become a laughing stock to be ridiculed.
Hon. Speaker, the victims of this situation are not just former MPs. Former councillors are miserable. How I wish part of the monies we waste in our counties – the monies that governors and the people who work around them embezzle – could be appropriated for former councillors. I wish former councillors could be given even Kshs30,000 for their medication. When it comes to giving out money that would add value to some lives, we are always quick at saying that we do not have money. However, public monies are embezzled and used to put up buildings, buy houses and hotels in the middle of nowhere. I do not know who lied to Kenyans that the most lucrative investment is hotel business. In the counties, all the thieves have hotels. Some of them lack suitable areas. So, they put them in villages where no one even goes. Somebody in my place went in the middle of nowhere and built a hotel which, in my estimates, costs not less than Kshs100 million and yet, his monthly gross salary is Kshs96,000. There are
no roads to that place. Sometimes, I wonder whether the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) ever see such things. I know they are making good efforts. I do not want to scandalise their work, but they need to go and arrest those people. They do not even need much investigation. How can you, for example, explain how somebody earning a monthly salary of Kshs96,000 – and who sits in the office from 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. – can invest Kshs100 million in three years? It does not make sense. You do not even need any investigation. You simply need to go and arrest people and ask them to justify their wealth. If we had that kind money, Kenyans would not be complaining. Hon. Speaker, when we pass this Bill, the next analysis you will see is how taxpayers’ have been pushed to pay for the lifestyle of former MPs. But there are people who are stealing taxpayers’ money in billions. An individual putting up 40 units of apartments in two or three years and yet, his/her salary is known and I have never seen a proper analysis. Why not expose those people and have them arrested so that they can answer to their sins.
Hon. Speaker, I do not want to say more about this Bill. This is because I am sure this is very straightforward to all the MPs here. Either, we say yes, we are giving those people the Kshs100,000 before they die wakule or eat... Sorry, Hon. Speaker for mixing languages because it is out of order. But the point is either we decide to give them or reject. I want to repeat again that all of us are former MPs. It is just about time. It is as clear as our death whether you like it or not or are scared or not, you will die. The only thing you do not know is when and how. So, Hon. Speaker, you will be a former MP and I do not want you to be an ex-MP. We know we will exit this House and we thank God there are no by-elections and petitions anymore. But Parliament is coming to an end in 2022. The figure has been that around 70 per cent will not come back. Just by looking at 10 people around you, seven of you will become former MPs. Only three will come back and if you are lucky, you will be among the three. If you are not lucky, you will be among the seven. Thank you, Hon. Speaker. I beg to move and ask my friend Hon. Makali Mulu to second this Bill.
Dr. Makali Mulu.
Thank you, Hon. Speaker. Let me start by thanking Hon. Mbadi, the Leader of the Minority Party, for bringing this Bill to this House. At the outset, I support it and to me, it should have been passed along time ago. Before I put my points across, I want to appreciate all the initiatives that have been taken by earlier commissions and other people who have been considering this matter. I want to appreciate the Cockar Commission which recommended that former MPs who were in this House before 1984 be given a one-off payment of Kshs1 million. I also want to appreciate the Akiwumi Commission which said we needed to enhance the pension paid out from 1984 to 2001. That was basically because their salaries were low, just as Hon. Mbadi has said. Hon. Speaker, the recommendation of a living pension of Kshs100,000 is very important. I think Hon. Members in the 12th Parliament do not need to be told about the plight of former MPs. We interact with them daily. Some come visiting and when we go to our constituencies, we meet them because some are still alive. It is an open secret that our colleagues who served this
country before us did a very good job. But when you look at their living conditions, you ask yourselves questions as to whether you really want to be in this House or not. I think this is the driving force behind this Bill. It is proposing that since those MPs cannot earn a living pension of Kshs100,000 because of lack of a legal framework, as Hon. Members, we are being requested to pass this Bill so that it can become an Act of Parliament. By doing so, it will pave way for payment of that living pension of Kshs.100,000. So, it is important for us to support this. Some former MPs have made presentations in the Budget and Appropriations Committee. Every time you listen to them, you appreciate the need of having this law in place. We have been informed that when this Bill was first thought out, we had about 504 MPs. But now they have reduced to about 200. A quick calculation shows that we require about Kshs20 million per month to meet the living pension of Kshs100,000 and per year, that is about Kshs240 million. This will ensure the former MPs who served this country faithfully are able to live well. I think there is no Member in this House who will go against this Bill. I am just imagining because as MPs, we realise that all our salaries, allowances and other resources are no longer private resources, but public resources. So, we use our salaries to meet the needs of our electorate and, as a result, the period you are in Parliament, whether you serve two or three terms, you are unable to make serious savings. This is because you spend your money to meet the needs of the community. As a result, you are likely to get out of this House without any investments which can enable you to get a monthly income. On the basis of this argument, it is important for that living pension to be paid. Also, it is said that MPs should not work after leaving Parliament. We have condemned ourselves to a situation whereby after leaving Parliament, it is like you cannot get employment. I want to urge Hon. Members that, as we look at this Bill which cuts as from former MPs, we need to review all the other pieces of legislation stating that a former MP cannot go back to employment. This is because, as time goes by, we are getting very qualified and experienced people with the right papers coming to Parliament. It will be very unfortunate that after Parliament, one cannot use that knowledge to work for Kenyans. So, I want to urge Members to think about reviewing some of the existing legislation to ensure that former MPs can go back to work after completing their term. This will enable them to improve their livelihood. Hon. Speaker, I want to congratulate you for allowing this to happen. Former MPs have formed an association which is catering for some of their social needs. I think we need to encourage those associations so that, after leaving Parliament, one can join a group to share experience and, at times, even share about social life with colleagues who appreciate you. Hon. Speaker, it is very difficult when you go down to the rural setting and your former MP… I am sure none of us as former MPs will borrow money from people who have never been MPs. You will be ridiculed and people will talk ill of you. You will realise that when you go out there, you become very lonely. That is why to me this living pension is important because MPs will meet their basic needs without borrowing money from individuals or going to shylocks who will make it worse for them.
Since the former MPs are our colleagues, we need to get this law passed as soon as possible, so that they can start benefitting. That is because the element of age is making most of them get into a situation of very poor health. Some of them are dying and it is not good when the sitting MPs cannot help their colleagues who are out there. Some are even dying and it will not be good for us, the sitting members of Parliament, not to help our colleagues who are out there. They might want to benefit from this even as they live their last days in this world. I urge our colleagues and say that since the Cockar and Akiwumi commissions recommended that they be paid, it is our duty to make sure that this Bill becomes an Act of Parliament and then get our former colleagues paid.
As I conclude, when you look generally at the way we use our resources as a country, there is so much which is going to what I call wastage. Examples have been given. When you look at the kind of money going to areas which are not priority areas in terms of corruption and misdirection of resources, I think demanding only Kshs20 million to cater for our colleagues who served this country faithfully is not demanding too much. We really need to support this Bill. I remind Members that all of us are going to be former Members of Parliament at some point. We are lucky now that our pension is not very bad for those who serve two terms, basically because the salary was enhanced as it has been reported. However, even as you do that, with time, even such amounts will not be much in terms of taking care of the economic needs of an individual. It is important for us to keep on reviewing these figures as time goes. With those many remarks, I support this Bill and urge all colleagues who are sitting Members of Parliament to support it so that our former colleagues can actually benefit from this living pension. I second.
Let us have the Chair of the relevant Committee, Hon. Limo.
Thank you, Hon. Speaker. I rise to support this Bill which is intended to assist former Members of Parliament who are all over the country and who served this country diligently during their time and right now, because of the change of time, the pension they are earning does not really support them well. So, they are in real trouble. Once this Bill was tabled in the House on 3rd July 2019, it was committed to the Committee and in line with the requirements of the Constitution; we did public participation by putting the advert on the media on 18th July 2019. Thereafter, we received memoranda from 12 stakeholders. The ones who really participated so much are the former Members of Parliament.
On 26th September 2019, we called them to appear before us and I confirm that among the memoranda we received was one from the Former Parliamentarians Association of Kenya (FOPAK). There was also Hon. Mary Wanjiru, Hon. (Dr.) Phoebe Muga Asiyo, Mr. Jackson Oyoo Odeng, Mr. Elijah Odhiambo, Mr. Ted Abala, Mr. Jackson Otieno, Hon. John Kiplang’at Cheruiyot, Hon. Pamela Moro, Mr. Moses Otieno, Mrs. Elizabeth Aloo and Lawrence Otiende. On that particular day, we received a delegation representing the FOPAK who appeared before us and they told us a lot of stories. Unfortunately, most of the stories are very sad. During the
meeting, there were several Members who were not able to come. In fact, we were told that this is a repetition of the story which was seen during the various stakeholder consultations during the Akiwumi Commission sittings. When they went all over the country, there was a time the former Members of Parliament could not travel from their market places to reach the nearest county headquarters and then district headquarters because they did not have fare. That is why we plead with members of the public. As we present this, we do not want stories tomorrow that Members of Parliament want to increase their pension. We are not talking about ourselves. We are talking about former Members of this House who are currently in trouble. When they appeared before us, in fact, they surprised us. They told us the public does not differentiate between Members of Parliament who are currently in position and former members. People in the villages come to their houses and tell them: “ Mheshimiwa, we have a problem. Please help us resolve it.” Most of these problems revolve around money. Given that they are not able to fund it, they actually get more stressed. They told us this: “Why do you not help us to get something while we are still alive instead of waiting for us to go then you come to our family and say ‘pole’ and then you contribute money which cannot help us?” In fact, one of the biggest strains they have is medication. Currently, because of their age, they spend a lot of money buying drugs and they rarely afford even a pain killer like Panadol. Sometimes they want to visit the nearest dispensaries to even ask for painkillers. They cannot afford fare of Kshs50 to board boda boda . Most of them earn between Kshs2,000 and Kshs8,000. When you hear the sad stories, you do not want to really imagine that it is you. I want Members of this House to listen. In fact, they told us that during their time, they did not anticipate that there would be a time when they would not afford a single meal. The public thinks that we are highly paid, but remember, income and expenditure have to be balanced. In most cases, Members of Parliament run on deficit because the demands are so high. In fact, people in the villages do appreciate. The only problem is a certain provision in this Bill which they do not understand. We are expected to fund projects which, practically, are not funded by the national Government. Of course, there are certain social responsibilities, including building of churches and funding members who, unfortunately, lose their relatives like in funerals. The problems Kenyans are facing currently are too much. Mostly, they revolve around medical problems. That is why if this programme of universal healthcare, which is one of the pillars of the Big Four Agenda, can be enhanced that will lessen the burden which Kenyans are facing. If Kenyans have a medical bill, they come to Members of Parliament. If they lose one of their own, they want Members of Parliament, MCAs and any other elected leaders to help them during fundraising. Most of us have that responsibility. Given that we are Africans and we always work together, we are required to help them. Therefore, when we retire, we should be in a position to get something which is able to sustain us. The report by Akiwumi proposed that from the year 2010, the minimum a former Member of Parliament should earn is Kshs100,000. If we support the proposal of former MPs earning Kshs100,000 per month, the total for the whole year will not be more than Kshs200 million. That amount compared to our current budget of Kshs3 trillion is a drop in the ocean and it is affordable. I urge MPs to support. If we support the issue which was recommended by the
Akiwumi Commission that we backdate to 1st July 2010, the country will be required to fund it to a tune of Kshs1.7 billion for a one-off payment. Effectively, if we assume that we implement it, in the first year we will be required to use around Kshs1.7 billion to clear the arrears, then continue to pay for the current year and subsequent years which will amount to almost Kshs200 million. That is affordable. It is not more than Kshs20 million per month, but we will have enabled former Members to live a decent life. On the same note, there was a feeling that there is some discrimination. When it comes to payment of pension in this country, we criminalise MPs saying that they should serve two terms while in other sectors, as long as you have completed six months in employment, you are entitled to pension and you will be pensionable when you leave employment depending on the number of years you have worked. There is no problem in allowing that even if you have served for one term. That pension is pro-rated and you are paid according to the length of time you have served in this House. If we criminalise it and insist that one must have served two terms, it is discrimination and not in the spirit of the current Constitution. The current Constitution does not allow any member of the public or Kenyan to be discriminated against in terms of age or whatever condition which limits you. If everybody is required to serve three months, let it be three months. If it is six months, let it be six months. It should not be five years, yet it is contributory. We are punishing MPs for nothing. We are our own enemies. One of the former MPs who appeared before us told us that he was in a key position in Parliament then. He did not know that he would be a victim. All of us are very sure we are coming back. But you never know. You do not know what the members of your constituency are thinking about. Therefore, you are not in control. Whatever you do, do it for posterity. Therefore, I urge you to support this Bill. We will propose certain amendments which I urge MPs to support because they are for the good of the country. On the same note, there are also other people who served this country before and they appeared before us one time when we were talking about pension. They boarded buses from wherever they came from and appeared before us. We had nothing to tell them then because we did not have any business which was covering former councillors. Former councillors play a key role in the villages. When we are not there, they address meetings. They assure the public that everything is good. They are not Members of County Assemblies or MPs but they did not get anything. They had brought a petition to the Senate but as you know, the Constitution states that Money Bills are only transacted in this House. In case the matter lands in this House, let us help former councillors. Even if they get a one-off payment, it will help them prolong their lives or start small businesses. Even if they start kiosks, it is better than having nothing, yet they always receive visitors in their houses. They are still called councillors. People go to them when they have a problem and ask them to call their MPs. You will find that sometimes they do not have airtime. I will end by saying that this is a good Bill. Let us help our former MPs who have always been here with us. They take tea with us and you think they are happy. They are not. They are only resilient. Otherwise, they are in trouble. The earlier we help them the better. Let us help them to get something so that they can have something to smile about when they are with their
families and helping us by addressing barazas. People in the villages think that they have resources, yet they do not. They dress well by the grace of God. I urge MPs to support this Bill. It is very good and will help former MPs.
Given the nature of the Bill, let us have the “Father of the House”.
Thank you, Hon. Speaker for giving me a chance to contribute to this very important Bill. This Bill should have been brought to this House 10 years ago. Maybe you and I would have benefited when we were kicked out of this House. You and I have been former MPs. We have experienced what one goes through as a former MP. Actually, you are not even a former MP; you are called an ex-MP for people to degrade you. During those days, those patriots served this country at very low wages. I remember the first time I came to Parliament the salary of an MP was Kshs23,000 per month. We used to go to the Office of the President to queue so that we can be paid cash. Apparently, banks were not very effective at that time. We used to queue. Finally, MPs were determined to improve their welfare and that is how they established the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC). The Speaker was key. I am not praising you because you gave me a chance to speak. He played a very key role for us to achieve the PSC as a leader in Kenya African National Union (KANU). In those days, whatever KANU said was what would happen in this country. Somebody referred to those days and said that if you brought a Private Members’ Bill, you were to pay from your own pocket. I remember when Hon. (Eng.) Karue brought a Bill on the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF), he asked me to second it. I did not know I would get into trouble. I seconded the Motion first. When we were developing the Bill, we had to fork out money from our own pockets to have that Bill prepared and presented to Parliament. Although at that time the President could not assent to it, the next President assented to it and we got the CDF which we enjoy today. I experienced part of it. During those days, MPs just worked as patriots of this country. Let us support this Bill which has been discussed by the Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning, knowing very well that one day in 2022, 2027 or whatever time if you stay here as long as I and the Speaker have, you will need it. Maybe it could even be very soon because 70 per cent of us could be kicked out during the 2022 elections. The remaining ones will be eligible for being sent out during the next elections. Let us provide for ourselves and our people who have served this country with patriotism. There are always people who say that MPs have saved themselves. There was one time when we were attacked that we had given ourselves very huge house allowances and nobody defended us. I told my constituents who are professionals that they ask me to contribute money to build a church and towards a bill for a person who has been in the hospital for two months, but when we were attacked, nobody came to our defence. They said that they were sorry and they made a mistake. They told me that I should remind them next time.
When you go out of this place, nobody wants to look at you. I experienced it. My friend, Hon. Kiraitu, and I am sorry to mention his name here, appointed me in two boards and then I looked like I had not been removed out of Parliament. People thought that if you are a director of two boards, you must be a senior person. Therefore, they respected me a little. That is why
maybe they returned me to Parliament at the end of that term. Let us support this Bill and approve it. Let us assist those people who are still alive. Maybe, we can prolong their lives.
With those few remarks, I support the Bill.
Member for Wajir East.
Thank you, Hon. Speaker for giving me an opportunity to add my voice in support of this timely Bill. It is a tribute to all former Members of Parliament who served Kenyans in this august House. I want to mention Hon. Diriye Amin who is my elder brother who served in this capacity as the Member for Wajir East and Hon. Khalif, and their families. Hon. Khalif was a former Member of Parliament who died in the Busia air crash after 2002. There are other Members of Parliament and their families who served in this House. There are many of them but quite a number of them have died.
This Bill will benefit 290 former Members of Parliament. However, nearly 130 of them have been deceased so far and their families will benefit from this Bill which is very timely. It will serve Members of Parliament because once a leader, always a leader. Once a Member of Parliament, always a Member of Parliament. The responsibilities that have been bestowed on Members of Parliament; whether in the House or outside, is on each one of them. For those Members of Parliament who served and are still in the midst of our society and they provide leadership roles, I am aware that they are still being burdened with the contributions and support which are required from them by the society. Because of their meagre income, they cannot even afford a meal; their transport and school fees for their grandchildren today. They live in abject poverty. They cannot meet their basic needs, including medical care. This Bill will give each Member of Parliament Kshs100,000 and 55,000 to the families of those who are deceased. This is a great contribution which this House is likely to enact.
As I support this Bill, the salaries of the elder brothers whom I have associated with who were Members of Parliament was less than Kshs5,000. For those who became Members of Parliament in 1974, their income was Kshs2,000. When they came back in 1988 to serve their second terms, their salary was only Kshs5,000. All the family members and other people whom they served in the society who came to Nairobi for further education were housed in their respective houses. They could not afford rent of their rental houses. As Members of Parliament today, we have a mortgage scheme which we can use to buy a house. They did not have it those days. They took African Retail Traders (ART) loans to buy household goods to furnish their houses. Many of you may not understand this. You could give them your payslip and get household goods like sofa sets, refrigerators and televisions. Those are the issues which were there in those days. Those Members of Parliament could not afford those things. What do you expect when they leave the House? When they leave the House and they are still in the midst of the society, they cannot meet their obligations. When they were Members of Parliament, they could not afford them because their income those days was so little that they could not afford paying school fees for their children.
Today, we, Members of Parliament, need to look at ourselves in the mirror and see how lucky we are. Certainly, at one time or the other, we will be like them. I want to thank the Leader of the Minority Party who brought this Bill. I want to thank him for looking at the eyes of those
former Members of Parliament and seeing their predicament and the squalor conditions that they still live in.
I support this Bill. Thank you very much.
Member for Igembe Central.
Thank you, Hon. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this Bill. At the outset, I support it. I believe my colleagues will also support it. As the Mover said, this Bill came to the House in the last Parliament through Hon. Gumbo but we did not dispense with it. When we left for elections, we met our colleagues who left the House and are out there with the public and communities. They asked us why we left the House before completing this noble task. It was their prayer that those of us who get to the 12th Parliament will do the same. I am happy because the Bill has landed into the 12th Parliament. Let it go into the history of our Parliament that this 12th Parliament approved what our brothers and sisters who left this House years back have been craving for.
I strongly believe that our electorates out there should understand that we are not talking about our welfare, but that of the former Members of Parliament who are already with them in the villages, market places and towns. They know the lives they live, the abject poverty they are in and their age. I am sure that they also sympathise with them out there. Whoever is listening to our debate here today is applauding or commending us because he or she knows that we have Members of Parliament who are out there who ask for transport from their electorates. This is not an expensive thing for this country to do. As it has been said, these citizens whom we are talking about are very few and are decimating as time goes. Moreso, there is that nostalgia. If you were a Member of Parliament, despite being in the employment bracket, you might not get employed. We have examples of young parliamentarians who left this House in the 10th Parliament. There are many of them whom we know. There are those who left in the 11th Parliament who are young. Some of them were below 45 years old, but they cannot get employment. Once you go to look for employment, you find that nobody is ready to employ you in his or her company or firm because you were a Member of Parliament and a politician. They say that you will be conducting strikes or demonstrations. We are viewed negatively.
All my colleagues here will agree with me that we are darlings of the people because of the engagements we have with them. That is when we go out there to campaign. However, you are a villain immediately you are sworn in here. Pockets of people form to remove you in the next five years. So, campaigns with your opponents start immediately. There is a lot of pressure as you continue working. Therefore, you cannot even do your things. Many of my colleagues will attest to the fact that they have retained what they had before they came to Parliament or they have it dilapidated. It is because they do not even have time to make their savings. They are not able to build themselves, their companies or their properties in any way. Every day, you are either in Nairobi, here in Parliament, or out there with the public solving their problems or attending to their problems or visiting the sick, assisting the poor and doing every other core thing.
We are in several churches every weekend. Some of us have even forgotten our original mother churches. We trot from church to church. We go all over, contributing and assisting people. Therefore, we have no time to even do things for ourselves. Once you leave this House, you will find that you have nothing. You cannot say: “This is what I built from the effort I put when I was in Parliament.” Therefore, we should reward these citizens because they sacrificed between five and 50 years of their time serving this country. At the end of the day, they are languishing in poverty. Let us reward them with the token that was approved. I really support the Akiwumi Commission, which approved the token. It is unfortunate that we have been sitting on it. Let us be seen to have passed this Bill today. Let it be approved and assented to. Let these senior citizens of ours get the benefits. Let us not pay them posthumously. Let those who are alive benefit immediately. On the same note, as it has been mentioned by one of my colleagues here, we have councillors who are in a worse status. Therefore, the Bill which is in the Senate, when it will come to us, I also ask Members to support it. Even the Bill which will be brought – I believe we have one around the corner – to cater for one-term Members, should be passed. We should pass it so that, at least, even those who manage one term are paid. It requires quite an effort to become a Member of this august House. Therefore, even five years’ service should also be rewarded. With those few remarks, I support the Bill.
Member for Kisauni.
Asante sana Mhe. Spika, kwa kunipa fursa hii nichangie Mswada huu muhimu. Mengi yamezungumzwa na viongozi Wabunge kuhusu suala hili, ambalo ni muhimu sana. Limewaumiza Wabunge wa zamani, wale waliotoa huduma katika Bunge hili. Walihudumia Wakenya katika nyanja tofauti tofauti. Kama tujuavyo, Mbunge akishatoka katika Bunge hili kwa njia moja au nyingine, ni vigumu kuajiriwa katika shirika lolote. Hata hivyo, tunashukuru korti zetu kwa kupitisha, juzi, ile sheria kwamba unaruhusiwa kuajiriwa au kupata kazi katika kamisheni ambazo ziko katika Jamuhuri ya Kenya, hata kama mtu ni Mbunge. Hilo limesaidia kwa kiwango kikubwa. Hata hivyo, jambo muhimu ni kwamba sisi ndio adui wa Wabunge kwa sababu sisi ndio tunatengeneza sheria lakini sheria hizi zinakuja kutuumiza. Hii ni kwa sababu jambo kama hili lilistahili kuwa limeshughulikiwa miaka mingi iliyopita. Lakini leo sisi ambao tumekuja katika Bunge hili la Kumi na Mbili ndio tumepata fursa ya kulishughulikia. Nawaomba Wabunge wenzangu, kwa sababu kama tulivyoambiwa, ukiona mwenzako amenyolewa tia kichwa chako maji. Kwa hivyo, na sisi siku moja tutakuwa Wabunge wa zamani. Tutaitwa Wabune wa zamani pale nje. Tunavyojua Mbung ni kama askari, mwalimu na daktari. Ukishakuwa Mbunge, wewe ni Mbunge mpaka siku utakapotiwa kaburini. Majukumu hayakukimbii. Majukumu yanabaki palepale. Utakuwa unaalikwa na wakazi uliowahudumia kule mashinani na nyanjani kila wakati. Wao wanakutambua kama kiongozi: kukiwa na mazishi utaalikwa; kukiwa na mchango wa kanisa utaalikwa; kukiwa na mchango wa mambo ya masomo utaalikwa. Wale waliokupigia kura au uliowahudumia hawajui kama wewe huna uwezo kama uliokuwa nao wakati ulipokua Mbunge. Kwa hivyo, wanatazamia kila wakati unapohitajika utafika pale kuwahudumia.
Hesabu imefanywa hapa. Tumeambiwa Wabunge wa zamani ni kama 200. Ikiwa kila Mbunge atapewa shilingi 100,000 kwa mwezi, ni shilingi 20,000,000 kwa mwaka mmoja. Hizi ni pesa kidogo sana tukiangalia hali ya jinamizi la corruption ambalo linaendelea katika Jamuhuri ya Kenya. Pesa nyingi sana zimeibwa; pesa nyingi sana zinaliwa kila siku. Ikiwa pesa hizi zitatengwa kuwahudumia Wabunge wa zamani, zitawasaidia katika njia moja au nyingine. Tumekuwa na Wabunge wengi ambao wamepitia pale ninakotoka katika eneo la Kisauni. Wengi wamehudumu muhula mmoja. Wengi wako kule nyanjani. Kuna Mbunge ambaye ilifikia wakati hawezi kulipa kodi yake ya mwezi na ikawa ni aibu alipokuwa anatolewa na mwenye nyumba alimokuwa anaishi. Haya ni mambo ambayo ni lazima tuyahudumie. Nawaomba Wabunge wenzangu tuipitishe hii Hoja ambayo imeletwa mbele yetu kwa kishindo kikubwa. Hii Hoja si kuhusu wewe. Hoja hii si kuhusu yule Mbunge wa zamani. Hoja hii ni ya kuendelea kwa sababu sisi tutaondoka kesho na watakuja Wabunge wengine. Ni muhimu Wabunge wale waweze kuishi maisha mazuri watakapotoka katika Bunge hili wakati Mwenyezi Mungu atawajalia kwenda pale nje. Kwa hivyo, naunga Hoja hii mkono kikamilifu.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Hon. Bowen Kangogo. He is not in the House. Hon. Waluke.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for also giving me a chance to speak on this Motion. It is important for us, as a House, to note that former MPs are really suffering. We have witnessed, seen and met them out there. We needed to pass this Bill like yesterday. Leadership comes and goes, but the country remains. Members of Parliament also come and go, but this House will remain. This Bill is very important to all of us, not only for the former MPs, but for all of us, even those who are sitting MPs. It has been long. We failed to pass it during the 11th Parliament when you and I were here. It came late. Otherwise, we would have passed it because it affects us. Life out there is very difficult. Former honourable Members are always called when anything is in the villages they come from. They are always called for harambees, to participate in the development of the nation, yet they have nothing. They just struggle. Some of them sell a goat to take money to harambees. So, it is important and urgent that we pass this Bill so that we accommodate our former colleagues. We are not necessarily doing this because we are also going there tomorrow. We know we are, but before we leave, we must make sure that we pass this Bill for the future of other Members who will also be called “former Members of Parliament”. With those few remarks, I support this Bill.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Let us have the Hon. Member for Kangundo, Muli Fabian.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to join my colleagues in debating this Bill. It is not only the former MPs who have economic challenges, but all Kenyan citizens. The economy of this country is moving faster than money in our pockets. Money in our pockets does not have value, but the economy is demanding value. It is important to realise that the value of Kshs100,000 that is proposed for former MPs is not the same with that of Kshs2,000 that was passed in the 1980s. The Kshs2,000 that was passed at that time had value. After 30 years, it will be the same case for this amount that we see has value today. There is a challenge in the frequency of doing analysis of our Kenyan system of remuneration. The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has failed this country. It has failed to give proper statistics and analysis on how to value salaries of people, how to give them pension and the number of people in this country who need to be paid a salary. With this, the country will have a challenge. We are not only talking about former MPs, but we have former teachers, nurses and doctors as well. The value of the salary a Kenyan citizen gets is not equal to the service he gives. That is why the duty of SRC is to value job groups properly every time. The money a former MP earns today is money that is not supposed to be earned by any citizen in this country. The economy is moving in such a way that the SRC needs to be giving a report on the amount of salaries that citizens need to be paid every year. I thank the Leader of the Minority Party for bringing this Bill. I wish it addressed all Kenyan people. It should have talked about job groups for everyone. We would have got salary values that are commensurate to services provided. If you work for one day or one hour you have a right to be paid for your service in this economy. I support this Bill with the understanding that once it is passed, it will be applied. This House has passed many Bills for the citizens of Kenya. Our people should be enjoying many of them. The country is asking if some of them were passed and they are there. We look like a country that has a lacuna in laws. This House has passed important Bills and Motions, but we do not know where they go, once they have been passed by this House. I support this Bill as it will help my former MP who is my voter. My understanding of equitable distribution of resources is that every citizen should be compensated for their work as per the current value of the currency. The value of the currency now is not one that you can pay somebody Kshs2,000. So, I stand with my fellow Hon. Members in supporting this Bill. Thank you.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Hon. Member for Tigania West, Hon. Mutunga Kanyuithia. Sorry about the mishap. There was some switching of names.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to this Bill. I was supposed to be given the floor much earlier, but my microphone went on at the same time another microphone went on. I, therefore, lost my position. So, thank you for considering that. I appreciate the Mover, Seconder and Hon. Members who have spoken to this important Bill. The Parliamentary Pensions (Amendment) Bill which is supposed to be an Act of Parliament in 2019 has come at a time that we ought to reflect, as MPs, on the circumstances that we will go through after Parliament, like what former MPs have and are going through. I want to
also appreciate the commissions that looked at what ought to have been done to look after the life of an MP, after he or she leaves Parliament. This Bill is important because it is coming at a time when there is need to harmonise treatment between MPs. Those MPs who served between 1984 and 2001 are suffering in silence. Even if we are told that they have an association, that association does not necessarily represent them at levels where they can lobby for their issues to be heard. The Mover of this Bill and those of us supporting it, speak to the fact that matters of these important Members – who are voiceless – need to be considered. They did not get into those circumstances because they wanted. Once an MP, always an MP and once an hon. Member, unfortunately always an hon. Member. It is unfortunate to note that honour is linked, to a certain extent, to the status of life one is leading. If you are extremely poor, people fear to call you an hon. Member. I am sorry to use the word “ Mheshimiwa.” It fades away sometimes. Somebody will mention it then they take a breath. What does that tell us? Most of the MPs who served at that time are living through poverty. Poverty, as it has been described in many contexts, is unjust and it does not bestow respect on anyone. It degrades one, it devalues status and it degenerates into everything. So, generally, poverty is what these former MPs go through. It is a state that makes them lose their identity as hon. Members who served their people diligently. Many people go into positions of leadership or seek them for various reasons. There are those who come in diligently prepared to represent their people and change their lives. There are those who come in because they have realised that there are certain things they can do or they have certain qualities that they would like to try out and, therefore, enhance the ability of their people to become better. Most of the Hon. Members who were there in the past – we know them – have represented constituencies in this country and they have done developments that we can see. This Parliament never looked at how they lived as it does now. It is those former Hon. Members who have been able to voice the fact that we need to change the circumstances of former MPs and how they live. That is why we are where we are now. Being in this House of honour, we need to sustain that honour throughout. Therefore, it is important that this amendment goes through, so that we can have, not only harmonisation, but reduce the biases that have been created. These former MPs appear marginalised. We will also be former MPs. I do not want to belabour on that point because many speakers have alluded to it. Something to note is that, former Mps represented a wider geographical area than we do and they had more challenges than we do. We had less tarmacked roads, fewer schools, intense poverty and more people who were needy than we do today. So, they need to be honoured with this pension, so that they can live a decent life in their last few days. Their numbers are also going down fast. If you look at the statistics that we have, we are seeing a rapid change in their numbers. What that tells us is that they are leaving this world very fast. Before we lose all of them, it is important for us to look at how we can enable them to live better in their last days. If you look at a house of an MP, it is a house for everyone. They are forced by circumstances to be hospitable. So, they are people who lived a life of being hospitable. Once a Member of Parliament is not able to offer hospitality, they even suffer psychologically. It is because they are not able to give what they have always been associated with. Earning a salary of
Kshs2,000 or Kshs5,000 or even Kshs20,000 is not really commensurate to the level of needs in those particular houses and, therefore, the need for their terms to be improved. These people have suffered because before they became Members of Parliament, they spent most or all of their wealth trying to secure these positions. When Members of Parliament secure these positions and then they become the impoverishing factor, it is only fair for us to give them some support through some consideration as this particular Bill proposes. I support this particular Bill, realising that Kshs100,000 is significant. I looked at it from the view of the fact that whether it is then or now, it is a significant figure because it gives somebody a minimum of about Kshs3,000 a day. With Kshs3,000 a day, the lives of these people will be fairly comfortable. As many of us have alluded to as they spoke to this Bill, they will always have demands from people who have formed friendship with them and those who have known and entrusted their lives on them. Therefore, they will always be able to support them. Retirement age for a Member of Parliament is not something that is definite. Some of us are here and are fairly young. We have people who are 23 years-old and others who are 28 and so on. When Members of Parliament retire, irrespective of the level of professional capacity they have, they are rarely considered as capable of doing good business out there. There are even those who come here as consultants; they are rarely consulted after. They rarely get the jobs they used to get when they were in private service. So, it is good for us to consider some of those factors as disadvantageous to them and therefore give them this pension so that they are able to live a life that is commensurate to the level and status that they have experienced through the elevation of becoming Members of Parliament. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, without belabouring the point, I would like to also add my voice to those who have spoken to the fact that there are councillors out there who have already had consultations and meetings. I remember about three weeks ago they had a meeting here in Nairobi and they made some resolutions. Their Bill is in the Senate and it will be coming to this House. I urge my colleagues to look at that Bill and support these honourable members as well, so that they will be able to live a life of dignity and that supports their status as it were. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I support. Thank you.
Let us have Hon. Wanyonyi Kevin, Member for Kwanza.
Thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I want at the outset to say that I support this Bill. It is pathetic. Last weekend I went to a funeral and two ex-Members of Parliament were trying to greet me and yet I did not know who they were. It is so pathetic. And I said: What mistake did I make to be a Member of Parliament. They looked so pale and so worn out. The guy I was sitting next to told me that the two guys were Members of Parliament at some point. I do not want to mention the constituencies. We should do something about it. I was just talking to my colleague here and I am convinced that even Kshs100,000 is not enough. When we get to the Committee of the whole House, I am going to propose that we make an amendment so that at least we talk about Kshs200,000. These people come over here; you look at them and wonder whether you are part and parcel of the so-called Members of Parliament. So, at the Committee of the whole House on this Bill, I am going to urge Members
of Parliament to at least raise that figure. Compared to what the Executive is paid, compared to what public participation does with the money that you and I pay in form of taxes, the money that is wasted out there… I am talking with passion because we have done a lot of injustice. The Akiwumi Commission did very well. I remember I was in this House when this matter was proposed but time was not in our hands, we could not do anything and it lapsed. I suggest and I want to make it very clear that when it comes to the Committee of the whole House, we should do something about the figure of Kshs100,000. Today, as somebody mentioned, most of these people have very rich educational backgrounds and experience. They are very exposed. That is why some of them make it the second or third time. But I can tell you once you leave this place, you cannot get a job. Because of the pressures that we have today, I want to speak for myself, the pressure that I undergo at home—and I am not saying for selfish ends—I do not think I have done anything yet in the last eight years that I have been a Member of Parliament, because there is too much pressure. Of course, I am doing my second term so I will be able to get pension but those of you who are doing the first term and are going home, sorry, you will not even get employed anywhere. It is just not easy, because they look at you. And you can see... Even as we debate something that is very important like this one, the Press is going to take it differently: That look at them, they are now increasing pension for themselves; they want to stay like lords. We should do something on this because we have to prepare some of our colleagues who are going to leave this place and go home and will not have any pension. They spend so much money to get here. It is not easy to get here. As one of the Members mentioned, to get here is an issue. To maintain your seat in the 2022 elections is also going to be an issue. Therefore, it is not too much asking that given the wastage we see out here, the Executive moving from country to country, and I am afraid I have to mention it here—I have that privilege of mentioning it here—we get people moving from one country to another, wasting the little money that we get here. Today we want to borrow up to Kshs9 trillion. Already the World Bank is saying that is too much. Therefore, just making sure that our colleagues… As mentioned by the mover of this Bill, there are about 200 ex-Members of Parliament who have died. Even the ones I saw the other day are just on death row; they are going to die any time. Given that kind of thing, my brothers and sisters here, let us be sympathetic and even increase that little money to pay our friends. In fact, two weeks ago I was out there and an ex-Member of Parliament asked me for as little as Kshs500 to be able to go home. In fact, he was going to a rented house, not a home. So, what is Kshs100,000? I want to ask that we do something about it and when it comes to Committee of the whole House we increase the amount. I am going to propose that amendment so that it is Kshs200,000. That way, we will help our brothers and sisters. The condition of former Members of Parliament out there is pathetic. Most of them are now grandfathers. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, my predecessor’s children are not going to school. They came to me for help but because my constituency has been split, I told them I will convince their MP to give them bursaries. They were not even prepared to take care of their grandchildren and so it is time that we passed this Bill.
When it comes to the Third Reading, we should do amendment. I do not want to talk much but that is important. Our MPs who are serving their first terms will be as badly affected as
those who were there between 1984 to 2001. So, I support this Bill and hope that we will amend it when it comes to the Third Reading. When I bring my amendment, it will not be from the blues but it will be because of what we have seen out there. People ask you for as little as Kshs 500 and they are not even driving. They used to have the Peugeot 504s but not anymore because they are parked. I remember in one of the homes of a former MP from Bungoma, I saw two Peugeots - the old models - parked and beyond repair. The former MPs are now using motorcycles which are prone to accidents. You can see the kind of hospital bills that we pay.
So, with those few remarks, I support this amendment Bill and look forward to amending it to have additional money when it comes to the Third Reading. I thank you.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): You will definitely have a chance to prosecute your amendment at the next level. I see you are already pre-empting a third term for yourself which is okay. Let us have the Hon. Member for North Hor. Hon. Ganya Chachu.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for the chance to support this very important Bill.
At the outset, I thank Hon. John Mbadi, the Hon. Leader of the Minority Party of the National Assembly for reintroducing this Bill which was there before, courtesy of the Hon. Member who is no longer in this House. This Bill should have been with us many years ago. It is in the 10th Parliament that the Akiwumi Commission was tasked and a report was delivered to this House and we were to make a decision. For one reason or the other, we did not do so. It was raised again in the 11th Parliament and we did not conclude that business and again this Bill is before us.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, as a Member of this House, I do not know any business that could be of such high priority and importance than this Bill that has taken us two years to conclude this issue which is really concerns the former MPs. These are men and women who have served in this House, some for one term and others for more than one term and they made serious sacrifices. Leadership in itself is a sacrifice and to be a MP and take the risk of running and winning in elections is not a small thing. It is for such reasons that these Hon. Members should have been appreciated long time ago for the services they rendered for this great nation of ours. This is their right and it is not a privilege. Our Constitution is very clear that anyone who has served in any form of employment is supposed to be accorded his pension depending on the years they have served in that organisation. Someone who served for two years will be compensated for the two years he has served and if one has served for 10 years, it is equally so. These Hon. Members served in this House and we are being told they are living poor lives.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I support this Bill in absolute terms and wish it can be made a serious priority for this House so that we can conclude with this business as soon as possible.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, the Hon. Members who will be covered by this Bill are those who served in this House between July 1984 to January 2001. We have a Pensions Act for the Hon. Members but before then we did not have one.
However, there are Hon. Members who are still alive who served in this House before that period. In Marsabit there is Hon. Elisha Godana who served in the First Parliament in 1963
and is still alive. He still came back and served between 1974 and 1979 in this House. He will surely not be covered despite the fact that he did serve this House at a very difficult period being one of the pioneer Hon. Members right after Independence and even served as an Assistant Minister during the late President Kenyatta’s first Government.
Equally, there are former councillors who have served this nation in our respective local authorities who deserve to be compensated in one form or the other. We ought to look at this issue holistically so that all these Members who have served whether in local authorities, in our Parliament including former Senators at Independence be considered. We can do one after the other. We cannot achieve everything at one go in one day but having sorted this first bunch who served between 1984 and 2001, let us see how we can take care of the few who are still alive and who have served in this Parliament during other periods that have not been covered. There is an example I gave from my county of Hon. Elisha Godana who was here at Independence in 1963 and from 1974 to 1979 and is still alive. Thank God his family is in business and he is fairly okay but it is his right and he should be compensated.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I just learnt a few weeks ago that you are also a daughter of a former MP. I do not know if Mzee is covered under this. If he is not, it is his right and he should be covered. We should look for a way to ensure that all of them who have served in this House for a certain period deserve the honour to be compensated.
With those few remarks I support the Bill
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Let us have the Hon. Member for Nambale.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I have been looking forward to speaking. Those who saw me walk in might think I have just arrived, but I have been here. I rise to support this Bill which I think is extremely important in terms of its intent given the dire need of the target group. The only one thing which bothers me is that since I came to Parliament in 2013, we have had such suggestions but they seem to be kneejerk reactions. We have a Bill which covers one section and then it goes away. I think we need a general rule given the sentiments I am hearing. If we will have to look at it since Independence, let us do so once and for all. This should affect not only the people who have served in this House but also include those who get special pensions. For example, each Parliament does a presidential retirement package which is different from the other. We need a general rule where all people can fit in. It should not be tailored to any one particular person but a group with clear definitions and rules. This should not be revisited every so often because there is risk of manipulation so that, the package favours an individual more than others. I think we should get a general rule on how this will be applied. I support the intent and it is true that former MPs are living very difficult lives. I have a case in my county from Teso North Constituency of Hon. Oduya Oprong who just passed on a few months ago. There were attempts many times to have former MPs get medical cover. He was shot when he was an Assistant Minister and lived with a bullet in his head for 25 years until he met his death. Apart from the fact that the Government facilitated an overseas trip for treatment which did not include removal of that bullet because of the sensitivity of where it was located, he lived
a life of great difficulty. There were many promises which all turned out to be false. I am sure he died a very bitter person in this respect. But this is because we are doing things in an ad hoc manner. Let us have a general principle embedded in law so that people can know how they will benefit irrespective of whether you retire while in good books of Government or bad books of your party or whatever the case might be. I think this is useful because the net cost of things like these is not just the amounts you have disbursed - there is some recovery when the net goes to the economy - it is what is paid out less the taxes paid in direct and indirect taxes. So, it is not as heavy as it seems in a nominal way when you look at the figures concerned. People are living longer and I want to say with confidence that the parliamentarians who have served recently may live a bit longer. We are urging youth to seek elective offices. They will come in their 20s and exit in their 20s. They may live into their 90s and they may be paid pension for 70 years. This is possible because unlike earlier years when life expectancy was short, people live longer. I am proud to say that among the very first MPs of the First Parliament, Hon. James Osogo is still going relatively strong with a lot of medical challenges as one would expect. There is also Hon. Philip Masinde. These are older people getting towards 90 years and are still alive and active. So, this is a good thing which will help. Not all are needy, but if they are eligible, they should get this benefit. So, I urge the House that as we propose this, let us get a general principle which will not be subject to the goodwill or generosity of any other Parliament after this Parliament passes it into law. There is a risk since people end up living lives outside Parliament which may annoy others in this House or the Executive. You can find one frustrated for one reason or another. So, if we will have one for former MPs let us do so. Then, we should have a general principle for the Executive side so that it is not a matter which we will be revisiting every time. Today, we are dealing with this Bill which I consider very important. We should also see how we can handle medical insurance. I am a retiree of another organisation and were it not for their medical cover, I would have great difficulty. Their outpatient cover is very low. Medical cover is very important, but medical insurance for the old is perhaps more important than food. They may get a meal or two a day but fail to get medical cover because it is very expensive. So, we need to see how we can include all this. The level of compensation should not be considered as generosity, there needs to be a formula. For example, as is now agreed sitting Members will receive pension at a certain rate. Then, what should happen is that other Members who are retired must have terms that are analogues to what MPs will get in retirement. It should not be that each cohort decides their own benefit package. It must be interlinked. In my case there are those who retired 30 years before me and this means our retirement levels are linked by a certain index so that, as you pull up the subsequent retirement levels, you pull up the older ones as well. Otherwise, they will be killed by inflation and all the pension will be wiped out. If we have former Members who are getting a pension of Kshs2,000, motorbike ride from one corner of my county to collection centre is Kshs.500. If you collect and return home, it is Kshs1, 000 and if you buy lunch of Kshs400 your pension goes. So, it is not worth going to collect it unless you happen to be going for other business. So, this is a just a pittance.
I know salaries were low compared to today’s salaries. So, in addition to what we are attempting to do, I would recommend that if it is feasible, we should do an amendment by way of indexing it to the current pensions. That way they will move up. For example, in the presidential retirement package we should say the salary should not be less than 80 per cent of the current sitting president’s salary. This way, they can fight inflation as they go on. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I am convinced this is a fair proposal. Let us discuss it broadly. If we take the general rule, I am suggesting we shall have ring-fenced it from the politics of the day which can be quite destructive sometimes. As I have said, you can find you have fallen into disfavour and therefore they think you should not be included. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, with those few remarks, I strongly support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Very well said. Let us have the Member for Turkana County, Hon. Emanikor Akai.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for giving me this chance. I rise to support this Bill and appreciate the Leader of the Minority Party for bringing it. It is a shame that we serve this House and once out of here you go back to a lifestyle that is worse than where you were before coming to Parliament. It is a shame not only to former MPs but to this Government because as Hon. Members of this House we deserve a life of dignity within Parliament and outside. The nature of our work is philanthropic. Our salaries are public and it is no wonder everybody knows the salary of an MP because it is all over. When we have the money, it goes to everyone in terms of school fees, burials, fundraisings in church and other places and medication. So, by the time you leave this House, as my colleagues have said, you have nothing completely. We know of former MPs who have died in abject poverty. I know of a former MP from my county who committed suicide and killed his wife as well. It was because of depression because he was used to supporting people, he was out of Parliament and had people with problems and was unable to help them. When you are out of Parliament, you have people with problems, but you are unable to help. You go into depression. I know of a former Member of Parliament from Turkana. He is called Emanuel Imana. He helped so many Turkana people – today, it is who is who in Turkana County – in terms of education. All the big people in Turkana went through his hands and pocket, but now he has nothing. I thank the Jubilee Government for remembering some of them and putting them in parastatals as directors. However, this cannot be sustained. We know the current debate in this country where the young generation is agitating saying that the older people are taking their jobs. So, what is sustainable? It is this pension that we are giving them.
I know of a former MP in my county who has many children in university. He has to run around and beg for school fees and bursaries, as if he never worked and yet he was a big person. They have a lot of work as former MPs. They have children to take to school. They have people who are sick in their families. They themselves are vulnerable given their age. Therefore, I really support this Bill. I know what the media will publish. On 10th July this year, The Business Daily Africa reported that the 375 MPs had increased their pension by Kshs100,000. They were actually referring to us. It should go out clearly to them that we are not talking about the sitting Members of Parliament. We are talking about the
former Members of Parliament, whose number has shrunk. They are only 200. They will not cost the taxpayer a big amount. This is worth it because they are still useful in the society. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Let us have the Member for Siaya County, Hon. Oduor Ombaka.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity. This Bill is very humane and friendly to humankind because it touches on the lives of those who have served this nation very well. It is about leaders who have been in this House and who have performed very well during their times. They have left this House with a lot of distinction and credibility. They are leaders we respect, and who will be remembered in the history of this country. It has been observed across this country, including Nyanza and Siaya, where I come from; that the lives of those who served this House in the past have been very miserable. They lead very poor lives. They live below the poverty line. It is a big shame for leaders to live such a life, especially leaders who have been national leaders – those who were considered to be role models, who will go into the annals of this country’s history. I support it because pension generally is meant for the old and those who have served for a number of years. If pension is not there at all, or if it is there, but it is too little to have any meaning in the lives of those leaders, then it is our responsibility, as a House, to come up with such a Bill. That is why I acknowledge and appreciate my party leader, Hon. Mbadi, for having come up with a Bill of this nature. It is very responsible. It is a humane Bill. However, beyond the leaders who have served this country, I keep thinking of those who are being employed on temporary or part time basis. Recently, it was reported in newspapers that in future, nobody will be employed on permanent and pensionable basis. This will include teachers, professors and lecturers. As I stand here to speak, I know of my colleagues who teach at the university, who have been employed on part-time basis for so many years. What will happen to them when they grow old and retire? Will they have any pension? I am beginning to worry about those who are employed in other sectors, who will be growing old, but they are employed on temporary basis, getting gratuity here and there, but having no pension at all at the end of their working life. There are so many professionals we will have to consider as we think about parliamentarians who have served this House. So, while this is dedicated to the people who worked in this House, let us just deal with it right now. We must be prepared to handle other similar cases, where people serve this nation faithfully for many years, but when it comes to retirement, they have nothing to take home. Having served as temporary workers on part-time basis, such people will have no pension to take home. Life is so expensive today. If somebody is going to give you pension, it had better be something substantial. What happens with pension in this country is that apart from the fact that people get their pension, it is far too little. Secondly, it never comes on time. We need to dig deep into what is pension. How do people enjoy it at old age? How can we do it better so that at old age, you do not suffer so much? That is when diseases come. That is when you grow old and you need money to support you. That is why many people say that when you retire and go home, you go home to die. I will never forget that statement. Many people have said that when you go
home after retirement, you are simply going home to die. It is so bleak to talk about dying when you retire. I want to think of retirement as a time after you have done your best in life – when you enjoy your last years living a comfortable life, eating better food and having access to medical care. It is necessary for us to consider parliamentarians who served here in the past and who live below the poverty line. I know many of them. I can mention them. What is so pathetic is that they live a pathetic life. When you use the word “pathetic” for a leader who was once a hero, then those of us who are here begin to worry. We have to begin to mirror our lives with the lives of those who were here before us. If they are suffering, how about us as life continues to become more expensive every single day? Even the pension we are so sure of getting may be too little when we eventually retire. I support this Bill. It has come at the right time. It is very humane, sympathetic and caring. Therefore, I salute the Mover of this Bill. I support it very strongly because very soon we shall be there ourselves. Thank you for giving me the opportunity.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Hon. Yussuf Haji, Member for Mandera West.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity. I also rise to support this Bill. I think it is very timely. I sincerely thank the Mover. The kind of life that some of our former Members of Parliament lead out there is very pathetic. Everybody knows that to become a Member of Parliament is not an easy job. You sacrifice and spend all your savings and ultimately, when you come here you spend all your income again trying to support other people. When you leave parliament, you go into abject poverty. It is very unfortunate indeed. I know a lot of them. Apparently, I come from a family that has produced a few former Members of Parliament. They are a big burden to us, particularly in terms of their medical bills and upkeep, because they almost have nothing. Therefore, I particularly pity the young parliamentarians in this House because after you are out of Parliament, you are not employable. Once you are a parliamentarian in Kenya, you rarely get any other opportunity for employment even if you are young or have all the education that is required. Just because you have been a parliamentarian, you are condemned to unemployment. For those young parliamentarians who are now with us, the future is not that bright, hence it is very important to make sure that once you become an Honourable Member, you should continue to be honourable until the D-Day. Otherwise, it is very unfortunate if you become honourable for a short while - maybe for two or three terms - and then you end up losing all your dignity and honourability. That is also one reason why some parliamentarians would not like to retire. You are here for two or three terms, but you want to continue to be a parliamentarian just because you know the future ahead of you is very dull or dark. Therefore, it forces current parliamentarians to continue sticking to that seat for as long as it takes. That means the younger generation cannot replace you that easily. Some of them die very fast after serving in Parliament because of stress and lack of support and being unable to support themselves. They die very fast.
On the other hand, I support my colleague, Hon. Wanyonyi, that the figure of Kshs100,000 is very low looking at today’s economy and the value of our shilling. He promised to propose an amendment that will increase it to Kshs200,000. I will be the first one to support it. It is not just the pension, but we also need to include a medical cover. The biggest problem that former parliamentarians have is getting medical cover. Many of them are old and have lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure or chronic diseases that require constant medication. Without a medical cover, that becomes a big problem. Even if you give them Kshs100,000 or the Kshs200,000 we are suggesting, without a small medical cover, that money will go to their medicine for the first few days of the month and thereafter, they remain the same. My colleagues have already said that as soon as we go out of this House this afternoon, the Press will talk of Members of Parliament increasing their pension by Kshs100,000. We want to tell the Press very categorically that we are talking of the past. We are not talking of the present Members of Parliament. The present Members of Parliament are already contributing to their pension. Let the Press hear this. We are contributing to our pension. Hence, when we leave, we know we will get a pension because we have been contributing the entire time we have been here. What we are talking about is the past. It is the old men and women who are out in the field and were once honourable Members. When we were young and in school, they were the role models in the community. Today, nobody wants to face them. With those few remarks, this is very timely. I support the Bill.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): That is well said, Hon. Haji. I did not interrupt you. Next time, you only address the Speaker. Let the Press write what they want. When you rise to debate, you only address the Speaker and not the Fourth Estate. They are at liberty to make their wayward statements, but make yours clear within the House by addressing the Speaker. On this side, let us have the Member for Nyando, Hon. Okelo.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to delve into this matter on the Parliamentary Pensions (Amendment) Bill. I rise to support it. The absurdity of this House is that at one particular time, the inevitability of becoming a former Member of Parliament is so well-pronounced - dead or alive - that we just have to look at the welfare of those who already have the tag of “former Member of Parliament”. All of us here are heading there. Therefore, despite serving this nation with great dedication, we have continued to see some Members of Parliament languishing in abject poverty. Just as my colleagues have said, most of them are not even in a position to afford aspirin when they have a headache just because the only mistake they made was to become Members of Parliament. That cannot be acceptable. Many have died quite miserably. It is very strange that each time a former Member of Parliament passes on, you have to go deep into the pages of our local dailies and just one paragraph is apportioned to their deaths. Firstly, it becomes very difficult to even know that we have lost a former colleague. Even if you have the tenacity to go through the newspaper and find it deep down there, the former accolades that they enjoyed while alive all of a sudden diminish and are vanquished into oblivion.
Therefore, it behoves all of us here to take an in-depth look at the welfare and success of those who have stepped out of this House. Even if one serves for one term, I would be in great support of looking at their service gratuity together with their monthly pension. Just as my colleagues have said, no employer in this world would give a former Member of Parliament any kind of job unless it is a presidential appointment. Not every former Member would have their political parties ascending to power. Therefore, to a greater extent, we are confining them to fate which, at the end of the day, can be very punitive. We have seen quite a number of our former Members of Parliament going through very difficult moments in their lives. We have heard how some of them commit suicide. They also commit homicide where they kill some of their family members. Therefore, it is a wake-up call. Something must be done quickly to turn the tables around. Therefore, when we serve as Members in this House, it is true that whatever we earn is shared by the electorate out there, either out of empathy or as a forceful act where you just have to do it in order to remain afloat. It is interesting that once you become a former Member of Parliament, the same people who perhaps you spent so much to assist would be so quick to say, “Look at that. He used to be a Member of Parliament. Alikuwa anaringa hapa, now he is in our league.” This is because we did not put in place safety measures and nets for them to be successful in whatever they are doing.
We heard very sad testimonies of former Members of Parliament when they appeared before the Committee that is pushing for the Bill. Even though some of them served for two terms many years back, to date, they have not accessed their pensions. Therefore, when we come up with this law, let us go deep down and look at those who are still alive. For instance, in my constituency, I still have two former Members of Parliament who are alive, namely, Hon. Otieno Karan, who served in this august House in 1992/1997 and Hon. Eric Nyamunga, an engineer who served between 2002 and 2007. They are still there. Therefore, when we will be coming up with this piece of legislation, let us see how far deep down we can go to alleviate the suffering of the most valued members of our society and get them from this immense poverty. What we are doing here today is in line with the recommendations of the Akiwumi Report, which was done in 2009 and published in 2010. We are not going out of the realm of what our Constitution prescribes on pension matters. It is also very much in line with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s proposal on remuneration as a way of thanking those Members who have served before. Therefore, I support this Bill. I look forward to see it into its full fruition, so that our former Members will not languish in abject poverty.
I thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Member for Bumula, Hon. Mabongah Mwambu.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for giving me this opportunity to contribute. From the outset, I wish to support this important Bill. From the history, the Bill has been in this House for quite some time. Whenever a commission is appointed to go out and get findings, it is important to look into their seriousness. We live with all these former Members. All Members agree that old age is a very
sensitive phase in life. Whenever you meet former Members in the society, you may be sitting with community members or family members, but I assure you these people are very lonely.
These are Members who have served this nation with a lot of dedication. All of us are former Members of Parliament. As many Members have alluded to, it is just a matter of time. The former Members of Parliament laid a foundation for us. We are standing on this very foundation as we debate here. So, this is a very important Bill which will ensure that we take care of former Members of this House. I have about four or five former Members of Parliament in my county and whenever you meet them, you will be surprised that some of them cannot afford to take their children to school. Whenever most of them have health issues, they run to us to fundraise to ensure that they are taken care of. It baffles me at times. The Member for Nambale raised something about the former Member of Parliament for Teso. I remember when he died, people raised a lot of money to send-off the great man. When we wake up, we hear every day that billions have been stolen in this country. When they recover the same money, it is not brought back to us to see where to allocate it. You do not know where the money is taken to. I have been looking at people who steal billions of shillings and I did a simple arithmetic here. While former Members of Parliament and other senior citizens of this country are suffering because we cannot take care of them, somebody who has taken a billion from public money needs roughly 30 years to finish it, if he or she spends Kshs100,000 every day. I think that is not just stealing. These people have a mental problem. They need to be checked. When people are suffering and you see people pocketing billions from public resources every day, it is worrying. We must come up with a comprehensive principle that will cover former Members of this House. We are here today and we are smiling because we have a good life. However, money for a Member of Parliament rarely stays in the pocket. Whenever we share, you realise that Members take bank loans to satisfy the voters. So, it is important that when you leave this House, you are taken care of by the same people you served. An idea was raised by the Member for Kwanza that Kshs100,000 may not be enough because we see former Members of Parliament and we know what they go through. It is a very difficult life. It is sort of discrimination. We have even seen some young professional former Members of Parliament who served in this National Assembly, but they cannot be accommodated anywhere. They are also not accommodated in universities because it is alleged that they will take politics there. Some of them abandoned their professions and have nothing to do. We need to think seriously on how we should accommodate former Members of Parliament. It is happening to them today, but it will be all of us tomorrow. It is almost going to 10 years since the Cocker Commission came up with this idea and we need to look at the challenges of life today. The proposal before the House may not be sufficient to the former Members. We should not sit here and have the idea that when somebody dies, we raise billions and bury him in a cemented grave and yet he has been living in a semi-permanent house. He could not even afford a vehicle and then you see a fleet of vehicles escorting the same dead body. This is a very important Bill. I wish to agree with the amendments that will be brought by the Chair. We need to also look at the Members who served for one term. A Member of Parliament does not choose to go for retirement. You are forced to do it. So, it is important for us to look into these issues
holistically and ensure that we have a general principle that will cover all the former Members of Parliament, so that outside there, when we are talking of former Members, they are able to meet their basic life needs outside there. With those few remarks, I support this Bill.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Member for Bungoma County, Hon. Wambilianga, Nanjala.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for giving me this chance to contribute. I also rise to support this Bill which is proposing to give pension to former Members of Parliament. Like other Members have already said, it is clear that Hon. Members who were here before us do not live a befitting life. Luckily enough, there are Members who have already spoken who come from my county and the testimony is the same.
When you meet former Members of Parliament, especially in my county, they are in pathetic state. When you look at the mode of transport that some of them use, they have gone as low as riding bicycles. One wonders whether they were once Members of Parliament or they are like the rest of the retirees. That alone has made the former Members lose the dignity they deserve in society. The society will at all times view a former Member of Parliament like a sitting Member. The common visitors that we get are similar to what former Members get. People believe that former Members still have something. Unfortunately, it is pathetic. The former Members of Parliament cannot even afford to sustain giving a cup of tea to the visitors. I will go further into details because I know how they even appear. I have seen former Members of Parliament wearing pathetic suits. You meet them in faded suits. Some are in old shoes and one will always wonder. It is high time this House passed this Bill, so that former Members have something extra to sustain their former lifestyles. The pension that has been proposed here, with the changing economy, is honestly very little. I wish the Member who proposed to have it amended brings the amendment to this House. I urge Members who are here and those who are not here to look at it critically. It is not that anybody is going to enjoy that money. Part of it will go to many other things that can help former Members to sustain their livelihoods. Most of the former Members left with a lot of debts which they are still paying. Some of them still come to our offices asking for even as little as Kshs5,000 for bursaries. That means that most of them cannot even afford boarding schools for their children, especially those from areas where people lead polygamous lives. From their young wives, they have very little children and as many as 10 or even 15, who are from a number of wives. When they come to our offices like the County Woman Representative’s office, our bursaries are so limited. But because you know this is a colleague, somebody who has been there before and somebody who was respected, you are forced to give them as little as Kshs5,000 just for them to go and reduce their debts or pay school fees. It is high time the House passed this Bill. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Let us have Hon. Sir Murugara Gitonga, Member for Tharaka.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
It is Hon. 001 trying to say it is his turn when it is not.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Nominee 001 wants to confuse the Speaker that it is the Leader of the Majority Party seated there. For your information, it is only the Leader of the Majority Party and the Leader of the Minority Party who have priority to speak. Go on Hon. Murugara.
This is absolute impersonation. You are impersonating. Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. We have passionately debated this Bill. It is simply because it is not touching so much on us. In fact, it does not. This Bill touches on former Members who sat here between 1984 and 2001. I believe none of us was here at that time. For purposes of posterity, since we are now going back a little bit so that we can cover this, it is important for us to thank Hon. John Mbadi for having brought this Bill. Also, he has for the first time disclosed his third name. He is actually called Ng’ongo. So, we will be referring to him by that name, so that it suits our circumstances. I contribute to this Bill with a heavy heart and wonder why this Bill was not brought to this House even at the promulgation of the First Parliament at Independence. What we have witnessed and the testimonies we have listened to point to one thing; that our former Members of Parliament live in abject poverty only receiving peanuts. Most of them have succumbed to the vagaries of life such that we have nothing much to talk about them. We have nothing much to write home about them apart from to mourn, whine and cringe that they have lived their lives when Parliaments have been coming and going.
Madam Speaker, this country is today reeling from vices such as corruption. Sorry, I did not look up. Sorry, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, a great son of Kenya. I mentored him when he was in Form One and you can see where he is seated. That is the advantage of life. You can see where he is and where I am. Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir.
It is okay, Hon. Gitonga Murugara. It is true Hon. Murugara was one of those captains at Kabarak High School who were very kind to us as Form Ones, monos at that time. He took me under his wing. I still learn a lot of things from him. Proceed, Hon. Murugara.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. Thank you for those accolades. Yes, now he is my boss. That is good enough. Life is like that. I wish this Bill was brought at that time because what comes in mind are my first two Members of Parliament who served from 1963 to 1988. As expected, these were arch rivals in politics. They could not see eye to eye because they were competing for the seat until they interchanged it between themselves. However, what brought my curiosity is their sunset days. They were best of friends. In my estimation, what brought them together was nothing to talk about except poverty. These people were poor. The two of them would come to Nairobi, I think to chase small paltry allowances here. Eventually, as young men who were working that time, we would contribute money for them to go back home. The first one, Hon. Njeru Gituriandu, died because he could not afford to live a decent life while his predecessor, Hon. Njagi wa Kiondo, died from an ailment which could have been treated if he had a proper medical cover. So, this is what we are saying should be avoided. It should be avoided at all costs, so that former Members of Parliament who are alive and have not been lucky enough to get jobs, either in politics or something different, can get something. I am happy that wa Kiondo’s predecessor is today a deputy governor. I revere him. I adore his style. The one who succeeded that present-day deputy governor is a practising advocate and he lives a decent life. They lead decent lives. As we debate this Bill, and as Hon. Ferdinand Wanyonyi has proposed, I think we should look at the spouses left behind by former Members of Parliament who have since transited to the next world. We may make provision for the living spouses of deceased former Members of Parliament to be considered for some form of pension. A pension is always a lifetime gain such that when the earning spouse dies, the surviving spouse earns until his or her demise. This is what we should be looking at. Most importantly, Kenyans are one of the best payers of taxes. In as much as we complain that we pay high taxes, we have to ask ourselves whether we cannot afford a portion of the taxes to former Members of Parliament, so that they can also live decent lives that are beneficial to them. Otherwise, we have people who earn from our taxes and sometimes they work with impunity. I have in mind what I witnessed yesterday in terms of police officers, on whom we have entrusted our faith and our trust, meting out extreme violence to innocent students. Students may have been committing acts of hooliganism or whatever it was, but they do not deserve that kind of treatment. We must condemn it in all terms. Why do we call for some payment to former Members of Parliament in the form of pension? One, the money they get will possibly lead to better lives for them such that they have a better plate of food on their tables and can get better clothing. They come to visit here and we see their manner of dressing, which makes us quite anxious. Secondly, we were told that there are former Members of Parliament who cannot afford rent wherever they have rented houses in
towns. Those living in rural places may be living in deplorable state of shelter. Medication is important for them. These are people who are advancing in age and require frequent visits to hospitals and doctors and have a big expense to incur. Commuting is important because they have to go and collect this money. Former Members of Parliament are part and parcel of our lives as they are inseparable from harambees . We have been going to harambees . When you get kicked out of Parliament, you can no longer afford to go for harambees . You feel it is mistreatment because people do not regard you anymore. Even when they want to have a drink, let them have a decent one as it happens to current Members of Parliament and not go to
dens or places where they brew karubu and such other funny drinks, which are cheap and dangerous to their health. Finally, former councillors are another crop of leaders that we have neglected, as a country. We will go down the annals of history that we do not treat our former leaders properly. Until the other day, we had no pension or retirement scheme for our former Heads of State and former Vice-Presidents.
Your time is up, Hon. Gitonga. I hope you have completed your contribution. You will have a minute and you will be the only one to have this minute. The rest will not. Proceed. Give Hon. Gitonga one minute.
Thank you for the one minute. On the former councillors, whom we have actually neglected, we are informed that their Bill is in the Senate. As the National Assembly, we call upon the Senate to fast-track that Bill and bring it here, so that we can pass it and provide for some pension for the former councillors, who are living in abject poverty. They are looking upon us to come to their aid. With those remarks, I support this Bill.
Hon. Murugara, you also forget that you negotiated my first job after I finished university to go and work for Hon. Marangu Mwenda, who had come to this Parliament.
He is a practising advocate and living a better life today, but he is also going to benefit from this Bill.
When he came to Parliament, he left me his firm in Meru and I was happily running it for him as my first job.
These Members appreciating all this now they know. Thank you.
We shall have contribution from Hon. Mwangi Mburu and then the Leader of the Majority Party, who I can see has come.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. You also forgot to tell Hon. Murugara that he was also my senior. We were in the same school. I appreciate when he speaks nicely here. I was in school with him. I am talking about the former Members of Parliament. One thing I have to mention is that we only appreciate the people who went to Lancaster by word of mouth. We only praise them on
the streets that they made the law for us and nothing got into their pockets. The same thing goes for former Members of Parliament. These people are suffering. These people have no healthcare. These people have no food on the table. We need to give them some pension, so that they can have better lives as they age. They can then age gracefully and we can appreciate that they did some good work for this nation. Most of the former Members of Parliament did not retire willingly. Most of them were chased out of Parliament by force, maybe by the younger generation like us. It is not that you retire willingly. That is why you would wish to take more than 10 years in this Parliament, but circumstances do not allow sometimes. Because you contributed so much to this nation, you need to be taken care of by the same nation. It is the laws they made that have made our country to reach where it is today. You have to be treated the same way by the same country, so that before you escape to the next world, you can have a better life than you do today. Also, we know that once a teacher, always a teacher. Former Members of Parliament wake up politics, sleep politics, stand politics and also do politics of serving the people. They are always serving the people at their localities. They will serve the people even with their last coin. We can only do better if we gave them something for pension, so that they can be well taken care of. As we talk about former Members of Parliament, there are those who served for one term of five years. As I have said, they did not leave that job willingly. They need to be considered in the same bracket. As we give pension to former Members, those who served for one term should also be given pension even if they served for one term or half a term. As long as you served in Parliament, you have to be given some pension. That should be enough to make them have something to eat. We should also remember that former Members of Parliament lived a very busy life in this House. No one had any time to even do a side hustle or business. When you live a very busy life serving people, you find that by the time you retire, you have nothing to fall back to. That is why I support this Bill. They must be given pension. I am also looking forward to the Bill on councillors that will come from the Senate and the one on MCAs, because they have also been serving the country. They need to get pension. They are aging in a very poor way in the villages. Most of them have no food. They cannot even go to hospital. Recently, I visited a former councillor, and I was touched by his seats, which are worn out because he bought them when he was a councillor in Kiambu County Council. Today, he cannot even afford to buy seats for his house. It is reasonable enough to consider them when the Bill gets to this House. With those few remarks, I support.
Leader of the Majority Party.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I rise to support this Bill, which has come at the right time. The objective of this Bill is to raise the amount of pension due to former Members of Parliament who served between 1st of July 1984 and 1st of January 2001 to a minimum sum of Kshs100,000.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I was watching from my office and it looks like Members have not understood this Bill completely and that is why I had to come back at this hour. It is very specific. It is not talking about councillor. It is not talking about a blanket thing. It says Members of Parliament who served between 1st July 1984 and 1st January 2001 to get a minimum of Kshs100,000. That is the matter before this House. It is disheartening to hear that former Members of Parliament are languishing in poverty. Surely, there is need to take care of their welfare, but how many people are languishing in poverty? Kenyans are languishing in poverty. There are thousands and thousands of Kenyans in our constituencies who are languishing in poverty. This House was not meant to discriminate. It is a House that represents the people of Kenya. So, when you talk about poverty, there are many Kenyans who have no shoes. People think they forgot their shoes at home, but they cannot afford them. There are some who cannot cook and some people think they have forgotten to cook or they do not have time. So, we have to be very careful about this Bill.
I got worried when I wanted to join politics in 2007 because I was doing very well working with an NGO and doing some business. When I looked at former Members of Parliament in that region, I was worried. My close friends asked me to look around at the people who retired from politics and wondered whether I wanted to be like that. So, this is about planning. That is why as we speak, I have 180 camels with about 40 kids lactating. Today, I saw Hon. (Ms.) Mbarire bringing a statement on the prices of milk. Today, the most sought out milk is camel milk and I sell the milk from my farm in Garissa at Kshs180 per litre. So, you can leave cows and start rearing camels. I also started a beef feed lot not because of anything, but because I am preparing for exit. You ensure your children go to school, get good jobs and you remain with your old lady.
On a point of order.
What is out of order? We are not in the bedroom. We are in the august House.
The Member for Kisumu, what is out of order?
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I apologise that my gadget was not in order. I rise on a point of order to question the Hon. Leader of the Majority Party. He has already stated how poor Kenyans are. Is he in order to stand and taunt it on us and brag about how rich he is in the face of such poverty amongst all Kenyans? I thank you.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, the richness is in the heart. I said I am preparing myself. So, you should also go to Kisumu, get part of the lake and rear fish for your retirement. As for me, I will go back to Garissa and rear camels. The 180 are modest. My father had 500 camels and that is prestigious.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, the story of the bedroom is over. So, let us have free conscience and discussion in the House. I want to indicate that this is the first time I am not in agreement with the two proposed amendments by the Finance and National Planning Committee to this Bill. I support the Bill by Hon. Mbadi. However, I am going to oppose two of their amendments
First , it states:
“The Bill be amended to include Members who served from 1984 for only
one term to be paid pension.”
That is not the intention of what Hon. Mbadi wanted. That is not the intention of our current status. If you serve for one term, you will have no pension. For you to get pension, you must serve for two terms.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, this will have a very huge financial implication to this country considering the fact that money has not been catered for in the budget. We have just tabled a Supplementary Budget because the economy is not doing very well. So, where do we get the money? I think the Finance and National Planning Committee will oppose that amendment The second amendment, which I am going to oppose from the Finance and National Planning Committee states:
“That the Committee proposes that the pension be backdated to 1st July 2010.” This is almost 10 years. When this becomes law, the likely cost is approximately Kshs1.7 billion in the first year of implementing the Bill including arrears from the effective date. The Government could pay between Kshs15.075 million per month to Kshs180 million annually.
So, the purpose of Hon. Mbadi’s Bill is very good, but the amendments by the Committee are far a wretch. This House is supposed to discuss laws in a very sober way so that we can help Kenyans. The reason we brought this law is that former Members earn Kshs6,000. Of what value is Kshs 6,000? This Bill is taking it to Kshs100,000 and that is what we must focus on. We cannot backdate it. If we do that and we start introducing other things, the President, because of the state of the economy, might exercise Article 115 of the Constitution and reject it. That way, it will be subjected to the two-third majority here. So, let us not pollute the good Bill of Hon. Mbadi. They are currently earning Kshs6,000 and he wants them to earn Kshs100, 000. Such money in rural Kenya such as in Tharaka and Garissa, is good money. If your children have gone to school and you are only with your wife and you are retired, Kshs100,000 can buy you food, pay your bills, buy newspapers and follow what is happening. The genesis of it is: How does a former Member of Parliament get Kshs6,000 as pension? That was ridiculous. It was shameful. So we have increased it to Kshs100,000. Let us not dilute the Bill. Let them get the Kshs100,000 for those who served between 1984 and 2001. They must have served for two terms. That is the rule. So, whether they are your former teachers who left the law firm to be the substantive Speaker, that is not the issue.
Here we are making laws for the whole republic. We must consider pension for teachers, nurses and civil servants. If we go this route, tomorrow we will be in the headlines and they will say that we are “greedy legislators,” who have now brought on board those who lost. So, let us not pollute the environment. Let Kenyans hear that today former Members of Parliament are earning Kshs6,000. Such money is not even enough for bus fare form the rural parts to Nairobi and accommodation. So, we are increasing it to Kshs100,000 to sustain that respect and ensure they can fuel their cars.
However, the two amendments by the Committee, the one trying to bring on board Members who served from 1984 for only one term is not proper. I will oppose it. The other one is the issue of backdating the pension. If we backdate it, the amount will be too much. Right
now, we have a Supplementary Budget and I scanned through it and noticed that even the National Government Development Constituencies Fund is losing Kshs1 billion. The problem in this House is that people do not read. The only Members who read seriously are Hon. Wamalwa, Hon. (Ms.) Shamalla and Hon. Jude Njomo when it comes to interest rates and my good lawyer. I have tabled the Supplementary Budget and the NG-CDF is losing Kshs1 billion and the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) is losing a certain amount of money. Tomorrow, they will come here and pass. So, let us not pass laws which cannot be implemented. Right now, I am telling the Members in the NG-CDF Committee that in the Supplementary Budget, we should not touch the Development Vote. Let us deal with the Recurrent Vote. Even if there is Kshs1 billion for Parliament for travel, we better cut it, but not the NG-CDF. I think this is the agreement.
Going forward, as a Members of Parliament, you must plan your life in threefold. You must leave a legacy for your constituency, so that people will remember when Chris Wamalwa was the Member for Kiminini, this road and health centres was built. You must also have a plan for your family and life. You must have a plan for your children and life after you leave politics. You must also have a plan for life after. Those of us who believe in the living God, you must have a plan. You will not go to heaven if you have no plan. You will end up in hell. So, there are former Members who did not have a plan. Those who are in this House must plan for their constituency. If you are a professional, you must plan for your life and that of your children.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, just to juggle my memory, apart from Tuesdays like today because of the House Business Committee (HBC), every day by six o’clock, I am in my house. This is not because I have nothing to do, but because I want to sit with my children and see their school books. The small one cannot go to bed before seeing me. So, this is about planning. My neighbor, Hon. Jude Njomo, can tell you. So, even those who are seated here, we will not pass another pension Bill. You must plan your life.
Hon. Munyaka, you must plan and start reopening your veterinary shops which were doing very well before you joined politics. If you are in information and communications technology (ICT), you must plan your life. If you do not plan for the year after, your family and constituency, you will suffer. You will leave the august House and a Bill or Motion must be remembered because of you. You know for two-and-a-half years, there are people who have never talked in this House. Even after changing the Standing Orders to Kiswahili.
The Members need to support this Bill. I can see some former Members are here. The import of Hon. Mbadi’s Bill, which I support, is to increase the Kshs6,000 they are earning to Kshs100,000. That is the story we have today. But MCAs have their own pension’s scheme which we passed here called the County Governments Retirement Scheme Act. So, do not talk about MCAs. This Bill is not talking about councilors. We do not have time for them and it cannot be amended. How do you bring councillors because their views were not captured? The Report of the Committee does not capture councillors. So, let us support the item that former Members cannot earn Kshs6,000, but Kshs100,000.
I beg to support.
Very good contribution by the Leader of the Majority Party. I think that correction needed to be made to give a clear
direction. The reckoning of the pension is dependent on the term which the Member served and is a contributory scheme. So, when you serve for only one term, probably the contribution is not sufficient to sustain the payment for the rest of your life. That is why there is a limitation that you have to serve for at least two terms. That was a good contribution. Let us have Hon. Tuitoek Kamuren, the Member for Mogotio.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
Hon. Members, I am following the list the way it is here as Members have keyed it. Proceed the Member for Mogotio.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I rise to support the Bill. It was interesting listening to the Leader of the Majority Party. I was actually amazed that he does not really care about Members of Parliament after they have left Parliament. He is actually preaching to us what we should be doing as we prepare to exit this august House. All we are saying is that if you look at the lives of former Members of Parliament, they are generally in a bad state. We are also saying that if you look at all the other sectors of the economy, people enjoy pension. I think Members of Parliament have put the bar too high for themselves. When they say you need to have served for two terms so that you can benefit from pension that is a little bit too high. We all know how difficult it is to come to this august House. When a Member comes here and spends five years serving the constituents in many ways, most of the time as you have heard from other Members of Parliament here, he puts most of his or her resources in supporting the constituents. We go to many Harambees. We pay schools fees and hospital bills. We even participate in assisting families when they lose their loved ones. Members of Parliament spend a lot of their resources in helping the constituents. I even do not know where the Leader of the Majority Party thinks that you can get extra money to start serious businesses. He may be lucky to be rearing camels, but in many other areas, people do not have time to do businesses. This Bill addresses the fact that former Members of Parliament served this nation over a long time and did not have enough time to do extra businesses. The amendment which is being brought by the Committee to include even the one-term Members is a way of saying that even by serving this nation for five years, you are entitled to some sort of protection after you leave Parliament. We know that almost 70 per cent of the Members of Parliament do not come back in every election. Therefore, if we leave these people to poverty, what will happen to them? They served this nation honourably. When Members of Parliament do not succeed to come back, they start looking for jobs as directors. We have even seen the President appointing people who are 70 years or 90 years old and leaving the young people in their 40s and 50s. I think a better way is to provide a safety net for our former Members of Parliament. They should be honourable. They should not be left to languish in poverty. This Bill is overdue. We should also include a provision for medical insurance. I think the sum of Kshs100,000 may not be adequate to cover medical costs. I suggest that an amendment be brought, so that we can include medical insurance for the former Members of Parliament. At old age, there are many diseases. You encounter many diseases as you get older. Therefore, most of the former Members of Parliament from the said period of 1984 to present are in their 60s and 90s and they need medical cover. Getting another employment opportunity is
very difficult. Most of us have professions which we can go back to, but you may find that when you try to go back to some of these professions, like teaching at the university, you are no longer attractive. People may not be attracted to give you jobs. They may find even doing business very difficult. They may not have capital. They cannot compete effectively in the market. So, this particular way gives them a safety net. We should even consider making pension tax free, so that they do not pay a lot of money to the Government. Actually, the Kshs100,000 is a minimum amount which can make them at least live a decent life. Their spouses should also benefit even in the event the former Member is deceased. I even suggest that it should be comprehensive, so that if the Member becomes deceased, then the spouse should benefit. We should also remember that it is honourable to make sure former Members of Parliament live a good life. It is a sad scenario when you see them in the village and people say that these were our leaders at one point and they cannot afford to buy some tea in the market. I think this Bill which has been brought by our Leader of the Minority Party, is timely. I beg to support.
Very well spoken, Hon. Member for Mogotio. It is a challenge to all of us as Members of Parliament. Looking at this and knowing from the past that when you leave here, you literally become unemployable for many reasons, one of them being because of the way we carry ourselves when we are Members that we are of a different class from the rest of the people, it is our duty to go back and carry ourselves in such a way that the society will consider us as honourable people and we can re-integrate into society. It is a challenge to the sitting Members to carry themselves in such a way that society will consider them as honourable Members even after they leave, so that they give them positions in society. Let us have Hon. Oyoo Onyango, the Member for Muhoroni.
Thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for your consideration. From the outset, I support this Bill. I thank the Leader of the Minority Party, Hon. Mbadi, for coming up with this very necessary legislation. As I sat here, I heard the Leader of the Majority Party espouse a lot of confidence on how he wishes that the Bill is debated and carried forward. I advise him that this is a House of debate and records. The people who are desirous of bringing amendments are very right. When such amendments come, we will consider them in the light of the diverse lives that people lead. While I believe that this is very necessary, as Members of Parliament and responsible leaders, we need to ask ourselves why people become so poor after they leave office as Members of Parliament, after two terms or more. What is the cause of escalating corruption in our society? The single reason why there is a lot of corruption in Kenya is insecurity. People feel that because good enough arrangements have not been made for their lives after serving in office, they have to use their positions to amass all manner of wealth to help them when they eventually retire. In Parliament, we know that after five years, we do not retire, but we are retired. You can be retired, but how will you live after that? This amendment Bill comes in good time. We should support it
by all means and make sure that if relevant amendments come, we consider them in the light of what we are going through. It is unfortunate that after somebody becomes a Member of Parliament, you naturally adopt the term “ Mheshimiwa ” or “Honourable”. That title should not go away. In Kenya, that title is in tandem with wealth. When people in the constituency call you “Honourable” or “ Mheshimiwa ”, the next thing they want is to articulate to you their problems which you must address by giving them money. If you do not have money, you have problems with them. Even after you leave office, so many Harambee requests will still be addressed to you. Many of these people still see you in the light of what you once were. It is a good thing for any responsible Member. Let us not take this Bill as a joke. We are all serving Members. Tomorrow, we will not be here. I am not going to be very savoury to you and tell you that you will retire. You will be retired. After you have been retired, will you patiently wait for the same people who are singing songs of your praises to throw tirades at you? I have heard people debating outside here. The Press is waiting. Each time parliamentarians talk about their salary reviews, they want to compare us with the developed world. They say that Kenyan legislators will earn more than their British and American counterparts. Do we know that the role of a parliamentarian in Kenya is to legislate, represent and oversee? Legislation is easy. I am currently doing my legislative duties. There is something called oversight. About 80 per cent or most of the representation is done in the constituency. Our voters have been made to believe that representation can only be done by helping them with their challenges.
When there are funerals, they know that the Member of Parliament has the solution. When there are school fees challenges, the same case. That also informs me that I should ask Members to come up with proper legislative programmes for making sure that if the Government of Kenya will provide free education, it must be free. We should not have free education with 100 per cent transition, but classrooms and teachers are not there. In the absence of proper classrooms, they first start with the NG-CDF, whose amount is inadequate. It cannot provide all the required classrooms. Then they start with various Harambees. You find that in every month, there are about 10 or 12 Harambees that need your hand because you are invited. What will you do? I will not say that Members of Parliament should not invest. However, I can only warn you that against the income of a Member of Parliament, and I know the maximum that a Member of Parliament who relies on his salary can get, it is not possible to invest. If somebody is lucky to invest, the much I heard as was expressed, then he must be in a privileged position where you can do some kind of horse-trading to make extra money. If it is from the salary, it is not even possible for a Member of Parliament to buy two grade cattle per month. Otherwise, you will be near losing your job at the altar of getting your voters to start shouting at you all the time.
I want us to look at this Bill very well in the light that we are talking about Members who left Parliament between 1984 and 2001. Then there is the new lot who were in Parliament whom we removed. There is also the lot that is in Parliament today that includes me and you, who are here. If we cannot do anything for the people who left here in 1984 up to 2001, then I want to assure you that we are certainly forgetting to do something which is very valuable for the people who are in Parliament today including yourself. I looked at the lifestyle that my predecessor led
and the people I saw in my infancy, as they were working and growing old and one man inspired me to be who I am and where I am today. He was the Member of Parliament for my constituency from the early 1980’s to 1988, when multi-party democracy came. Before he went to Parliament, he was a blossoming young man who was active, driving his good cars and donning the best suits and jackets. When he came to Parliament, he was a very vocal parliamentarian. His presence was pronounced everyday in Parliament. He walked everywhere. People saw him in the manner he addressed, talked and behaved. They knew that, that was so- and-so and was christened “ Bwana Sukari”. After he left without a pension, life changed a bit for him, but he is a courageous man. We do not want to see people like that taking the image of a squalor when they were active men. When he was in Parliament, he was vocal. He put the Government on its toes and many of the bad things that would have happened did not happen because of him.
While he was part of the Government, he did his best to make sure that there was a contribution to the Government. The Government agenda was driven forward. We want to open up this debate and make sure that if there will be amendments, we will look at them rationally and check whether these people really need Kshs100,000. If we do not make it better for them, then we will be missing an opportunity to do anything better for ourselves. I am not saying that we must make everything better for ourselves. I am only saying that we need to be safe and make sure that when we are not in Parliament tomorrow, we can still take an image of an honourable person out there. There is no life that you can lead out there and within this House that is honourable without money.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, with those remarks, I thank you for your consideration. I also want to thank the Leader of the Minority Party, Hon. Mbadi, for coming up with this useful piece of legislation at this relevant time. I support the Bill.
Hon. Nkatha, the Member for Tharaka-Nithi.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for giving me an opportunity to support this important Bill, which was brought to the House by Hon. Mbadi. We have former Members of Parliament who served this country diligently and efficiently, but at the end of the day, they walked away without anything. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, we have public officers who are cleaners, clerks, cabinet secretaries and even former presidents of this country. They earn a pension. Then you wonder why it is not the case to former Members of Parliament who served this country with all their energies. We have seen them outside here and even in our counties. You will only sympathise with them. Some are not even able to feed themselves, leave alone their families. They are not even able to take care of their medical expenses. They had vehicles when they were in this House, but how do you maintain a car when you do not have anything at the end of the month? They end up riding bicycles and motorbikes. Some even walk on the streets. We have seen them. They need to be treated decently, so that they can have a life after this Parliament. I know some people are going to say that we have today added ourselves some pension of Kshs100,000, which is not true. We are not talking about the sitting Members of Parliament. We
are talking about the former Members who served between 1984 and 2001. These are Kenyans who served the country and should earn a decent pension. When the Leader of the Majority Party was in this House, Members were suggesting or proposing that even those who worked after that, if they were not getting a pension, they should be paid. We are also proposing to pass the Bill which is in the Senate which is considering councillors, when it comes to this House. These are also Kenyans. They served Kenyans, this country and their constituencies at that particular time. So, I really support and urge the Committee on Implementation that when we are done with this Bill, they should see to it that it has gone through and the dues are paid on time. The other issue is about the National Treasury. When you walk to the National Treasury, you will find queues of former workers, who are never paid their pensions on time. Some come from very far and do not even have transport to bring them to Nairobi. Some even die before they get their pension. Why, yet there is money in this country? If their money is not there, we have borrowed Kshs3 trillion, Kshs9 trillion, for this country from other countries. Let us serve our Kenyans as they are supposed to be served.
On a point of order.
There is no point of order. I am saying that we should pay our former workers as long as we have the money in the country. We cannot say that we do not have money. We need to pay our pensioners as is required.
Just hold on, the Member for Tharaka-Nithi. Hon. Wamalwa, what is out of order?
The point of order is this: Is the Member, a good friend of mine, Hon. Beatrice, in order to mislead the House by saying that we have borrowed Kshs9 trillion? I think this House increased the ceiling to borrow to Kshs9 trillion. We never borrowed Kshs9 trillion. Please, that is just a matter of correction.
Hon. Chris Wamalwa, you are quite on point. The Member for Tharaka-Nithi, we have not borrowed Kshs9 trillion. We only raised the ceiling to a possibility that we may allow the Government to borrow up to that level, but we have not borrowed. Honestly, I do not think we are going to borrow money to pay pensions. I think he is quite on point that we have not borrowed to that level.
What I am trying to say is that as long as we have the money, because I know we have it, we should pay our pensioners. They cannot continue suffering, Hon. Chris - I am sorry to address you. I am addressing the Temporary Deputy Speaker. I am saying that we need to pay our pensioners. We cannot keep them begging, asking for tea here and asking for Kshs5 or Kshs10 to travel back home. Surely, let them get their dues. That is what I am saying. I support the Bill by Hon. Mbadi.
The Member for Emuhaya, Hon. Omboko Milemba, you have the Floor.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. From the onset, this is a good Bill. It was moved when I was here and the target group is very clear, which is from 1st July 1984 to 1st January 2001. When you look at this team of
people, even those who served earlier between 1963 and 1984, they never got anything. But this particular group is suffering and needs to be considered. I do not find the Bill extravagant because the Mover came up with the figures as they are. He stated that they are about 500 persons. I also listened to Otieno Mak’Onyango, the Secretary of FOPAK, which we are all headed to sooner or later. He was very sentimental when he said that many Members leave Parliament worse than they came. And that is true. For that reason, this Bill is worth supporting. Remember we are making this law for people who have already exited. So, we are not benefitting. Again, it is good for me to remark that this is not money that will go to sitting Members, but to Members who served in previous Parliaments. It is also remarkable to note that they earn between Kshs2,000 and Kshs8,000. Possibly, that is why other speakers have put it at an average of Kshs6,000. This is way below what such dignified people should earn. This law is not extravagant because if you take the recurrent wage bill for the former Members, if we were to pay them Kshs100,000, we will only spend about Kshs250 million per year. That is really manageable given the kind of extravagance that we see in the Government and the corruption that follows that extravagance. If we solved the issue of corruption, we can support many families. I wish, on this early advent, to differ with what the Leader of the Majority Party said, that he does not want any amendments to this law. This being a House of debate, we have the right to bring amendments. We can either win or be defeated by the House. Later on, I wish we could include the spouses of former Members of Parliament who are still alive because those are the desperate families we see in the villages. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, you and I come from a shared vicinity and you know the families of the late Asala, Sande Mukuna, Muhanji and Muchilwa. Those are people you know very well and who served in this House. Those are families that need to be supported. This Bill is on point. It goes beyond honouring former Members of Parliament and looking at the economic trends and addressing the question of inflation and inflationary trends on pensions that they are given. Such pension was pegged on their salaries which were small. As a House, we must consistently consider the inflationary trends that bite pensions over the years. This is in line with the labour argument of the consumption price index (CPI), which we use many times to negotiate for salaries, as a seasoned trade unionist. Therefore, this Bill is trying to put in place what the pension should have been at this time in relation to the inflationary trends. That will help determine what they should be earning presently. Therefore, without much ado, I want to support the Bill. We shall be supporting any good amendment that is brought to the Bill, including, but not limited to, former councillors who are languishing in poverty in the villages.
Let us hear Hon. Chumel Moroto, the Member for Kapenguria.
Asante sana Mheshimiwa Naibu Spika wa Muda kwa kunipa nafasi ili pia nichangie Mswada ambao uko mbele yetu. Ninashukuru Mheshimiwa ambaye aliketi na akawaza na akaleta Mswada ambao tunaongea juu yake.
Sisi wengine tumetembea na tumeona mengi. Ninatoka Kapenguria. Ukisikia Kapenguria, kuna wale wanaongea kuhusu “Kapenguria Sita”. Wakati niliingia katika Bunge la Nane, nilipata Mzee Mheshimiwa Paul Ngei akiwa anazunguka hapa akiwa kwa ile baiskeli ya
kuzungushwa. Wakati unamtazama na ukiangalia historia ya Kenya kuhusu wale ambao walipambana mpaka wakafika pale, alikua mmoja wao. Baadaye nikaona Mheshimiwa Ochieng Oneko na Hayati Kenyatta. Ni jamii moja inayojulikana lakini wale wengine watano hakuna mtu anayetaka kuongea juu yao. Kwa hivyo, miongoni mwetu, kuna wale ambao hawajui bei ya petroli kwa sababu wanabebwa kila mahali na wengine. Wengine wetu hapa wanafanya biashara na Serikali na kuna wale ambao wanatoka hapa na kuenda kuhudumia watu wao. Sasa tusifike mahali pa kusema kwamba mtu aende ajitengenezee kwa sababu wengine tumefika hapa hivi. Kusema hivyo, kwa njia nyingine, ni matusi.
Hivyo basi ninataka kuunga mkono na kusema kwamba wenzetu ambao wamekuwa hapa wamekuja kutusikiliza. Mimi nilikuja hapa katika Bunge la Nane na mshahara ambao nilianzia kulipwa ulikuwa Kshs150,000. Wengine waliniambia kuwa nilikuwa na bahati kwa sababu mshahara ulikuwa umeongezeka. Watu walikuwa wamefurahi sana. Ukitaka kuchukua mkopo hata wa kununua gari au kujijenga au kusaidia familia yako ama waliokuchagua, ilikuwa ngumu. Sisi kama Wajumbe ambao tuko hapa, Mungu ametupenda na akatuleta hapa, na watu wetu pia Mungu akawasababisha kutuchagua, tusije tukaweka wenzetu vibaya. Leo ni wao na kesho atakuwa mwingine hapa hivi.
Mimi pia wakati mmoja sikuchaguliwa Bungeni. Nilikuja mara mbili halafu nikabaki nje. Niliona kwamba kubaki nyumbani ni shida. Wakati watu wanaongea, wengine hawaelewi na hawajaonja shida ya kuwa nje na wananchi hawajali. Wanafikiri kuwa wewe bado uko sawa. Mwingine anasema wewe ni wetu.
Nafupisha kusema kuwa niko katika Kamati ya Huduma ya Wabunge. Nimeenda India, na ufikapo huko, yule Mjumbe wa zamani, anapewa tikiti mara nne kwa mwaka ya kusafiri mahali ambapo anataka akitumia ndege. Anapewa karibu mara kumi na tano kwa kusafiri kwa reli. Pia, anapewa matibabu kwa jamii yake. Sijui ni nini inayofanya tusiwaangalie wenzetu jambo hili linafanyika kwengine. Nimeenda karibu nchi tatu na wanajali wenzao waliotumikia watu mbeleni.
Wanasema kuwa yule ambaye amechaguliwa na amekuwa mwanasiasa hakuna kampuni itamuajiri. Wakati umetoka Bungeni, unashukiwa sana na hivyo ndivyo ilivyo hapa Kenya. Kwa hayo, ninaunga mkono. Kwa hivyo, tuunge mkono na tulete amendments nzuri ambazo zitasaidia wenzetu na jamii zao.
Asante sana, Mhe. Naibu Spika wa Muda.
Hon. Oduol Adhiambo, you have the Floor.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for the opportunity to contribute to this extremely important Bill. From the outset, I would like to thank the Leader of the Minority Party, Hon. Mbadi, for bringing this Bill because it speaks to a very significant aspect. I support it. I would like to start by recognising that leadership is what Members of Parliament do. This includes those who served from the period the Bill is mentioning, namely, 1st July 1984 to 1st January 2001, those who continue to serve from that time and those who will serve later.
Leadership is influence and is truly a mark that makes a difference for all members of our society. This is when we would like to ensure that our young citizens, namely, our children,
aspire and recognise the need to take positions, be of influence and make a difference. It is for this reason that I support the Bill. We see there is a clear need to ensure the dignity of the leaders who serve as Members of Parliament. By their positions and engagements, they influence a lot for the interest of the citizens who need support. So, we have to ensure that they maintain that image.
As has been indicated, Kshs6,000 truly cannot be sufficient. Also, I have noted that as we talk about ensuring this pension is commensurate to the work the Members of Parliament did, we are doing so by benchmarking in many other countries. So, as we seek to provide pension to former Members of Parliament, we would like to have a guideline or basis that will ensure it is done well. It is clear that we are looking at parliamentarians and their length of service. I heard the Leader of the Majority Party indicate that we need to remember that it is not right to think of those who served for only one term, but those who served for two terms or more.
As I support this Bill, I see it needs a framework which will look at the length of service. Also in a way we recognise that Members of Parliament who serve do not necessary volunteer to stop the service they were engaging in. But it is because of the decision of the voters after having a committed submission not to elect them again. I would like to emphasis that I agree with the Members who have submitted before that former Members of Parliament end up living in abject poverty and experience difficult circumstances.
I would like to indicate that it might be important for those of us who serve at whatever time to improve the infrastructure and experiences of citizens. I am in particular thinking of health services and agree with the Members that one of the key challenges with regards to…
Hon. Oduol, I am sorry to interrupt you, but time has caught up with us. You will have a balance of five minutes when this particular debate is again scheduled for consideration.
Hon. Members, the time being 7.00 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Wednesday, 13th November 2019, at 9.30 a.m.
The House rose at 7.00 p.m.