We quorate and, therefore, business will begin.
The Chair of the Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations. Are you ready to move it?
I am ready, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I beg to move that the Foreign Service Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 8 of 2021), be now read a Second Time.
As a way of introduction, this is a Committee sponsored Bill whose principal objective is to provide for the establishment, management, administration, accountability and functioning of a professional Foreign Service of the Republic of Kenya and for connected purposes.
Any Member of this House who has served previously in the Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations – and I see my senior Hon. Keynan who ably served as the Chair of the Committee before - will attest to the various promises made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the formulation and tabling of the Foreign Service Bill was at an advanced stage. “Advanced” and yet, the Bill has never seen the light of day all the while I have been a Member of this House. So, I really want to congratulate the Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations for having burnt the midnight oil until they brought the Bill before this august House.
We resolved, as a Committee, to formulate the blue print for the administration of the face of this country abroad. We all know that Foreign Service is the face of any country abroad. In this regard, therefore, we broadly consulted with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the development of the Bill. We also consulted other stakeholders, whom I will mention later, through the required public participation. Members are aware that Article 94(5) of the Constitution provides that it is The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
only Parliament that is mandated to make laws that govern this country. That is what we are doing as a Committee of this House.
The Foreign Service of a country is a very critical tool of securing security of a country and its prosperity and development. Indeed, they say that any war represents a failure of diplomacy. They always say that diplomacy is the first line of defence. Therefore, it is of great importance that the “Service”, as defined in the Bill, is staffed with skilled and professional diplomats. That is what we are trying to do as a Committee: to have a Foreign Service that is equipped with skilled professionals who can represent this country anywhere in the world.
The qualification, professionalism and calibre of the people we send to represent Kenya abroad matters just as much as the quality, strength and sacrifices required by the people we choose to defend our sovereignty and to keep us abreast of any local and foreign threats in the armed forces. This is Committee of Defence and Foreign Relations. Therefore, Foreign Service and diplomacy go hand in hand with defence and the intelligence service. We oversee all defence, foreign affairs and intelligence and cushion the country against threats that are within and outside the country. The Committee sought to answer the critical questions that only become relevant when something goes wrong in Kenya’s diplomatic relations. The questions we are trying to answer through this Bill are: (i) What informs the foreign policy of a republic? (ii) How are our diplomats recruited? (iii) In what manner and where and in what subjects are they trained? (iv) What room for career progression exists for a diplomat? (v) How do we ensure allegiance of a diplomat posted abroad to a country’s interests? If we could answer the questions in the Bill, then we would have achieved the objectives of the Bill as shown in the Memorandum of Objects and Reasons. These are hard questions for which no legal framework or policy currently exists to the satisfaction of this Committee. There is, therefore, need to formulate the Bill. The Committee noted that other jurisdictions have taken the legislative route to provide a blueprint on how they would want their foreign services to be run. For example, we have the United States of America, India, Philippines, Canada, New Zealand, and most recently, in 2019, the South African Republic. In line with our recent election, as a country, to the United Nations (UN) Security Council, international best practice calls upon us to streamline the Foreign Service to enable the country to achieve its foreign policy objectives. This country is represented in many international bodies. The recent one is the one I have just mentioned; that is, the UN Security Council on a non-permanent basis. The others are the African Union (AU), the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) as well as the East African Community (EAC) where our President, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, is the Chairperson. We normally say that the number one diplomat of any country is the President. However, those others who are posted in those international bodies represent the face of this country, not to mention the ambassadors, high commissioners, heads of missions and also consular representatives wherever they are in the globe. Drawing from the issues I have highlighted, the Foreign Service Bill, 2021, provides for the establishment of the Foreign Service, its composition and functions of the Cabinet Secretary (CS) and the Principal Secretary (PS). These are actually contained in Clauses 3 to 7. Specifically, Clauses 5, 6 and 7 try to define the functions of the CS and those of the PS in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in relation to the Foreign Service and Kenya’s foreign relations. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
The Bill also contains the provisions on the staffing conditions of the personnel of the Foreign Service. The Bill further contains provisions relating to the appointment and termination of the high commissioners, ambassadors and other diplomatic and consular representatives by the President. This is highlighted in Clauses 23 to 28. Therefore, under Clauses 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27, the Bill also provides for matters relating to accreditation of appointed diplomats and the appointment and functions of honorary consular representatives.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, there is a lot of interference by the Member for Mwea.
Actually, I am not even concerned about the Member for Mwea. I am more concerned about the sitting arrangement by those particular Members who are not keeping social distance. You can speak across the aisle since it is not safe yet. So, we probably need to observe that. Proceed, Hon. Chairperson.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I was talking about the appointments of people to the positions I have mentioned of the high commissioners, ambassadors and other diplomatic and consular representatives. They are referred to in the Bill as Officers of the Foreign Service. I will highlight that later on. The Bill also provides for the establishment, the function and administration of the Foreign Service Academy. In the Bill, there is an academy called the Foreign Service Academy with its functions that will be highlighted. That is under Clauses 31 to 46. This Foreign Service Academy is charged with training and conducting other programmes in ensuring skills, capacity and professionalism of officers in the Foreign Service. This is an academy or an institution that will be tasked with training and doing capacity building of the officers who will serve in the Foreign Service. Its day-to-day affairs will be run by a director-general. The academy will be administered by a council. After the Bill was referred to the Committee to facilitate public participation, the Committee invited submission of memoranda through the print media. I would like to mention that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development and the Kenya Law Reform Commission are the only ones that submitted their memoranda on how to enrich this Bill. Of course, the Office of the Attorney-General agreed with the Memoranda by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The proposals by those stakeholders were well received by the Committee. The Committee has considered and applied the submissions to enrich the Bill as shown in the Report that the Committee tabled last Thursday. Therefore, in the next stage of the Bill, as a Committee, we will be proposing amendments that will accommodate the views from the above stakeholders. Some of the amendments that we will be proposing were given to us by those stakeholders to bring clarity on the definitions of some of the officers who will be serving under the Service, like the so-called attachés. In the missions abroad, there are several attachés such as trade attachés, defence attachés, National Intelligence Service (NIS) attachés etcetera . So, some of the proposed amendments were to bring clarity of those attachés as opposed to other officers in the Service. Others are going to be amendments to clearly define the difference between career diplomat and others – the so-called political appointees. Others will be amendments to define what is called tour of duty for those who represent the country in our missions abroad. It will give the start and end dates of tour of duty and what happens in between or thereafter. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
As I said, there are so many officers who will be serving under this Foreign Service. Therefore, there will be need to define all those officers because there are those we call ambassadors, high commissioners, consular, honorary consular and others. In the next stage, we will be moving amendments to bring out the clarity between those definitions. The definition of the Service will also be part of some of the amendments that we picked from the public participation. Another one entails clear functions of the CS and PS in relation to the Service. Others will be to streamline the functions and operations of the Foreign Service Academy. Therefore, I do not want to take much time because I can see many Members have copies of the Bill. The Report of the Committee was also tabled here last Thursday. So, I just want to move the Bill and request Members of this House to support this Bill and also try to enrich it through their contributions and proposed amendments, should there be need for them. This is because it is going to be the first Bill of its kind in the management and operation of our Foreign Service. Hon. Deputy Speaker, I beg to move and request you to allow Hon. Charles Kilonzo to second.
Hon. Kilonzo, you have the Floor to second.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. The need for this Bill is as a result of many visits by Members of this Committee from the 9th to 12th Parliament. I sat in the same Committee in the 10th, 11th and the current Parliament. In those visits and, of course, from interaction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, Members realised that there is need to professionalise the activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Just like any other Ministry, you cannot run the Ministry of Foreign Affairs without an Act of Parliament and claim to be professional. The Ministry of Agriculture is guided by several Acts, among them the Agriculture Act (Cap. 318); the Ministry of Water is guided by the Water Act (Cap. 372); the Ministry of Defence is guided by the Kenya Defence Act, 2012; and, the Ministry of Health is guided by so many Acts. As the Mover has said, the key aim of this Bill is to professionalise the Foreign Service. Kenya deals with the outside world through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We cannot afford to have quacks, improperly trained personnel or people without the necessary skills engaging the international community. For that reason, after giving the Ministry very many opportunities from the 8th to the current Parliament, this Committee felt it is necessary to take it upon itself and engage the Ministry and the Attorney-General’s Office. This Bill has a lot of input by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Attorney-General’s Office. Later, after public participation, other stakeholders came on board. Briefly on the Bill, Part II contains provisions for the establishment and composition of Foreign Service and the key functions of the Cabinet Secretary and the Principal Secretary in relation to Kenya’s foreign missions. I remember one time we had a very interesting case in the 10th Parliament. Because of lack of legislation, a High Commissioner was appointed to the UK and he could not get instructions from the Minister. He was saying: “Look, I am an appointee of the Head of State and, so, you cannot talk to me. I can only get orders from the President.” This was a clear indication of lack of enough legislation. So, this Bill is going to solve some of the problems that the Ministry has experienced in performing its duties. Part III of the Bill outlines the relationship between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and overseas missions while Part IV talks about staffing of those missions.
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Hon. Deputy Speaker, there are loud consultations over there.
Incidentally, it is by your own Chair. He must be lobbying more Members to support this particular Bill. So, just proceed.
Part IV of the Bill provides for staffing and conditions of the personnel we post out there. Staffing is very important because we give a free hand to the officers we send out there to conduct recruitment without following any particular law. A simple case is during the 10th Parliament. This Committee visited our High Commission in Canada. It was very embarrassing because the staffing did not reflect the face of Kenya, but the face of one community. This Act intends to ensure procedures are laid out on how to recruit and post personnel to a mission. Part VIII of the Bill sets up an academy. This is a profession. If we are going to have professional people engaging the international community, they must be adequately trained and prepared. The Foreign Service Academy will adequately prepare staff to engage the international community. After engaging again with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Trade and Industrialisation and the Kenya Law Reform Commission during public participation, we came up with very many amendments which we will move at the next stage. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs feels that with the amendments, the Bill will be able to serve the purpose it is intended for. With those few remarks, Hon. Deputy Speaker, I wish to second.
I will start with the Member who is top of the list, Hon. Keynan, who is an insider-cum-outsider.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I want to record my appreciation to the Chair and Committee members of this very important Committee which I had the privilege of chairing in the 10th Parliament. I also want to appreciate that this is one of the things that we intended to. I am glad to see Hon. Charles Kilonzo, who was and remains an able member of this Committee. In any civilised country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the interface between it and the world. For the first time since the promulgation of the Constitution, we have a written foreign policy. Among other pillars, the emphasis of the policy is economic diplomacy.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, Members are still consulting loudly.
I do not know whether this Bill is a bit too much interesting that you have to consult everywhere. Order Hon. Members. Please take your seats. The consultations should not in any way interfere with the Member contributing.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I hope you will compensate me the time taken in calling Members to order. This Bill ought to have come a long time ago with the promulgation of the Constitution. It is a Bill that will help us to professionalise the activities of this key Ministry, which is not only an interface between Kenya and the outside world, but also a critical member of the security sector. This country called the premier Republic of Kenya requires well-trained and well-prepared diplomats to take care of not only its political interests, but also its The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
economic interests. Times have changed. Over the years, diplomatic representation was equated to political representation. Today’s emphasis in any diplomatic engagement is economic diplomacy. Take Kenya as a very important economic and diplomatic hub. We have the UN office here, the only one of its kind in Africa. Kenya as a premier Republic requires talented, well-trained and well-prepared diplomats to take care of the economic, political and security interests as a responsible member of the international community. That is why today we are a member of the UN Security Council. That comes with other responsibilities. Kenya is a member of the African Union. Kenya is basically the only country in the region that has never gone through some sort of military rule. And we are proud. Whether elections are free or not, we have had election every five years since we got our Independence. This Bill comes at a time when this country requires the services of those special officers. I must admit, along what Hon. Charles Kilonzo has said, that this sector is not regulated. Officers are appointed haphazardly. At times, preference is given to political appointments, leaving our professional officers in the cold. This has created some sort of a rift. This Bill will take care of political appointees and the professionals in the Ministry. There is a provision for the establishment of an academy. There is a provision on how representatives are going to be appointed under different cadres. The cadres include high commissioners, ambassadors, diplomatic and consular representatives, honorary consuls, special envoys and attaches. Each one of them has a unique role, and the Ministry especially, needs to appreciate them. We have had that challenge and I hope in the amendments, you will have it addressed. Kenya, as a country, will continue to exist and we will continue to have diplomatic representatives. It is high time this country made deliberate investments - just like Rwanda has done - to invest in acquisition of properties for our missions abroad. The amount we have spent on rent in our mission in Tokyo can buy us missions for the whole of Africa and the only thing we need to do is to plan. Rwanda now owns properties and I do not want to demean any country. It owns properties in Kenya and the entire East African Community and that is one way of reducing costs. It may be expensive in a short while but cheaper in the long run. I urge the Chairperson and the Committee to include that particular provision. We will ever be in the United Nations. We never have a representative in the United Kingdom and United States of America or any other leading nation. It is high time we made deliberate investment to ease our work. Hon. Deputy Speaker, I am sure you have seen people bash the late Idi Amin when you go to New York. If you go to the corridors of the UN, there is a Uganda House. The proceeds, rent or income from that particular building takes care of the Ugandan missions in many other jurisdictions. Therefore, when we dismiss Idi Amin as not having contributed to so many things, then you should know that, that is one of his products. He had the foresight. For us, some of the properties that we have acquired in Nigeria, Tokyo and a number of jurisdictions are by corrupt and ill-intended individuals. I hope part of this is a recovery mechanism within this Act, that those who play with our diplomatic engagements must face severe punishments. This is the only way we can project and promote ourselves and protect this premier Republic. My friend, Hon
Hon. Vice-Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Tong’i.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker for giving me the opportunity to also speak to this Foreign Service Bill. For the longest time since Independence, as a country, we have been shooting in the dark. We have never had a Bill explaining the procedures, processes and management of Foreign Service and yet, we know Kenya as a country has gained immensely from Foreign Service institutions. I want to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Committee, to appreciate the Chairman, Hon. Katoo for the leadership that he has provided in ensuring that we have come up with this Bill. From those of us who have been members of this Committee, they have said it has been in the works for the longest time. It has been work in progress for the many years that I have served in that Committee. Now that we have come to this stage, it can only explain one thing and the Chairman and his long experience in Parliament has come in handy to help us establish this Bill, which is going to ensure that, going forward, we are able to account for our foreign service operations. In management they say: “Which cannot be measured cannot be rewarded.” We believe that having this Foreign Service Bill, we are going to establish the management and administration system which is more accountable to the Kenyan people who are the beneficiaries of the Foreign Service engagement. The Bill also makes an attempt to separate the functions of the CS and the PS. As we speak, sometimes, we have had experiences where the CS has conflicts with the PS. This is all because none of them knows where to stop. But we believe that by having this Bill, we will be able to The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
separate their functions so that, at least, each one of them will know their limits and what it is that they are supposed to do. Staffing has been one of the previous challenges that we have experienced. Some of the embassies abroad are employing people who are handling critical issues of the country and yet, they are not Kenyans. We are proposing that in those countries, if there is an opportunity to give a Kenyan who is a citizen in that country an opportunity to serve, we will be able to achieve a lot more not just in terms of service, but also in terms of having a loyal person who is patriotic to the country and who is willing to die for Kenya because of his inheritance and where he has come from. Honorary consulars have been appointed in the past without having any system in place because all it takes is the PS, CS or whoever is concerned to say that we have appointed one. However, we know the functions of honorary consulars are critical in a country that if you do not have them evaluated and appointed in a clear way, then they are going to cause confusion. This is because they will be protecting Kenyans in a different way from what we want us to be known for. Kenya has a tradition, values and systems which define it. If we are going to appoint an honorary consular, it should be a person who understands what we stand for as a country. We have never heard of an academy. It is meant to help train our children and our candidates who are going to be the next ambassadors. Therefore, we are proposing in this Bill that the Foreign Services Academy will be established to take care of the training of the professionals whom we are going to rely on going forward and from among whom we are going to appoint as ambassadors and the high commissioners to serve Kenya. As I finish, there are many countries relying on lobbying for international jobs. We believe that by having the Foreign Service Bill, it will attempt to explain how Kenya can also lobby for those opportunities. There are countries which, to a large extent, rely on foreign currency. This is because they have managed to lobby for international jobs and, therefore, when those people earn their income and send money back home, it becomes useful to the economy and makes a huge difference. I know there are many of my colleagues who would like to speak to this Bill. I want to stop at that point. I support it and think it is going to be a game-changer and make Kenya a better country to live in moving forward.
That is very good of you Hon. Tong'i. Being the Vice-Chair, you have saved five minutes for your colleagues. Hon. Maoka Maore.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, at the outset, I am a member of the Committee and I also support the contents enumerated in the Chairman's presentation and also in the Bill. Many people will remember that when you are picked as a diplomat, there are those insinuations that you do not need training. However, if there is a delicate job that you really need training, it is that of a diplomat. The proposal that there is a Foreign Service Academy in the Bill is a milestone. We need to support it and ensure that the curriculum being taught there and the contents of the service are enumerated. As you have heard in modern diplomacy - unlike the olden days where you just went there and became a party person for cocktails and other events - we have issues to do with trade and commerce. The world over, modern diplomats are the main trade ministers or ambassadors. Moreover, on top of that, Kenya has been unique for many years for the last nearly 30 years. We have had our soldiers serving in UN Missions. Those people have actually been serving as our diplomats even though the commander of the team has the rank of a General; they are usually trained in very serious diplomacy. In essence, the entire team that happens to participate in those foreign missions happen to be our diplomats. If we could have the issue of recruitment addressed... I remember when we had the last batch of diplomats, and several of them were retired public servants. I did hear some quarters The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
complaining that we are having many retired people in their 60s. This one, we will need some young people. Hon. Deputy Speaker, it is not that there is no room for the youth in diplomacy. There is a lot of room in diplomacy. However, when appointing an accredited ambassador, very few countries will take those who are under 40 years. Many of them decline. For that reason, when you find mature people... I think that is a better word to use. When you find mature people being picked, that is a plus because you are not going to have to explain why you are having someone young. When he or she goes there, you will have issues with them clubbing and other issues related with youth in digression. Therefore, it is good that we have a Bill defining who we are going to send out there as our diplomats. Moreover, we need to understand the diplomat is not just the ambassador, but it is the entire staff. Whether it is the immigration officer you have sent there, the trade attaché, agricultural attaché or even a cultural attaché, they will be representing this country. For instance, when they want to send their spies, you will hear many countries calling them cultural attaché. Therefore, when you hear cultural, you do not even associate that person with having a bigger role or assignment than the ambassador. However, that is how countries operate. When we get into this, there are times when even our ambassadors have failed us. I am an example myself in the year 2000 when a young man was caught up in the miraa business in Tanzania. He was picked and sentenced to life imprisonment. Therefore, the only issue that came up there was that of negotiation. You have to negotiate and get out of the mess that the man found himself in. In November 2000, the East African Heads of State were signing a protocol. Therefore, when they were having a small briefing in the morning, the President was being told: “Your Excellency, there is a young man here who has been caught up in this maneno ya miraa. Therefore, the only thing was that the President only threw his hand to tell that Ambassador: “You can get lost!” Now, luckily, in the same year on the first week of September 2000, I happened to meet the then Minister for Foreign Affairs in a Durban Conference and we had shared a table for a week. Therefore, in that week, I took my time to explain my predicament and when we came back - by then it was His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete - I managed. Three weeks later, after the Late President Moi had told off the Ambassador, we managed to get the young man out of Tanzanian jail. This is how even citizens can participate in diplomacy, but which is crude. It is not refined. However, we need a refined way. This is such that even when you have Members of Parliament, you can have them participate in claiming in diplomacy. This is because you will find many of these trips that Members of Parliament take abroad; there are incidences where some of them have really transgressed. It is not out of their wish. It is because they are not aware that when you are at the rank of a Member of Parliament, or a certain civil service, you are a top diplomat in your own way. For that reason, that this is the right time. It has taken long, unfortunately. However, this is the time when we have this Bill which has come up and we ask Members to support it so that we can move forward as a modern country. We can move forward in this area of diplomacy and also we can stamp our authority even in training diplomats from the rest of the East African region. This is because it may not be exclusively for us. Therefore, Hon. Deputy Speaker, with those few remarks, I support.
Very well. Thanks for saving two minutes. Top on the list is Hon. Sankok. There is a seasoned Member, but also here is a practitioner. I am just following the list, but he is now second on the line. We can save minutes so that we can give our colleagues opportunity. I can see there is a lot of interest in this one.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I am always nominee 001, therefore, being on top on the list is normal. I start by saying that I support this The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Report on the Foreign Service Bill, No.8 of 2021. Hon. Katoo ole Metito is a well-known diplomat having been the Chairman of this Committee, but also having been a Minister for Foreign Affairs and Internal Security at one time. He has been in this House for the past 24 years. This will be a game changer, economically speaking, if the House becomes serious and pays much attention to the Bill in the Second Reading. In the Third Reading, once Members have paid enough attention, they will inject some other new ideas in terms of amendments in the Third Reading of the Bill. Hon. Deputy Speaker, diplomats are not only ambassadors, but also consular and heads of missions. That is their work there. They are the link between Kenya and the outside world. The world being a global village, it is very important for us to have people who are patriotic enough. That is why I want to discuss with the Committee Chairman, so that we can ensure that one of the trainings that will be done in that academy is patriotism, so that people can love their country and we can market our country. There are many opportunities outside there. If we have good and patriotic diplomats in certain countries of the European Union (EU), we will get job opportunities for our people. There are 35,000 Kenyans working in a tiny desert Peninsula called Qatar. There is an ambassador there by the name Paddy C. Ahenda. He tried so much to ensure that he competes with the Philippines to take Kenyan immigrant workers there and protect them while they are there. We visited that country courtesy of the Departmental Committee on Labour and Social Welfare, and there are a lot of job opportunities there and we can get them for our youth.
There are some things we need to correct. Did you say there are many opportunities outside the world?
There, because that would mean something else. Proceed.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker, you are always very attentive. That was a slip of the tongue. I apologise to the House and withdraw. I like it when the Speaker is not just sharp, but attentive. Being a lawyer, I know you are very sharp. Hon. Deputy Speaker, there are also markets for our products outside Kenya. So, if we have diplomats who are patriotic and remember their country, we will create markets for our produce. We need markets for our livestock and agricultural bi-products. This is only possible when our foreign missions are well trained and people are not only appointed because they are politically correct, but because they understand their role.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, protect me from Hon. (Dr.) Pukose. He is becoming a prefect in this House and I have always told you that. Allow me to finish, you will have your own time.
Proceed, do not get distracted.
Yes, Hon. Deputy Speaker. Outside Kenya, we can get investors who can create job opportunities for our youth and steer our economic growth. Do we even know that Kenya is the greatest democratic country in the whole world, but our foreign missions are not marketing us? It is only in Kenya in the whole of Africa where we have had elections and had democratic handing over of power without any bloodshed. The late President Moi handed over power diplomatically. It is an unheard of in the whole of Africa. He went home to look after his goats. Hon. Kibaki handed over power diplomatically and went home. In 2022, we are hoping that there will be handing over power without any blood shed because Kenya is an The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
island of peace in the Horn of Africa. In other countries, there has always been guerrilla war for people to ascend to power. We have never heard of such thing in Kenya. So, this is something that our diplomats should be highlighting, so that we get more United Nations (UN) headquarters. The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) headquarters is based in Nairobi and we need more to grow like Geneva, which depends on all those foreign bodies. We also need to know if politicians can be good diplomats because they are very good in public relations, so that even while training, we can ensure that we have politicians being part of foreign missions and ambassadors. When we appoint people anyhow, you know what happened to our Embassy in Tokyo. Somebody went there, we did not do a background check on their corruption level and they swallowed our campus. Therefore, I support and request that Members support and we bring some amendments in the Committee of the whole House, so that we can include having persons living with disabilities represented in, at least, a percentage of them as per Article 54 of our Constitution. I support.
Let us have Hon. Wamunyinyi. We saved two minutes which is good. It is not normal.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker for the opportunity to also contribute on this Bill. This is one of the greatest things this Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations has done to this country. From the outset, I would like to commend Hon. Katoo ole Metito for steering this process and ensuring that this Bill is before the House. I had the opportunity to serve in this Committee before and we attempted to introduce this Bill as a Committee, but it was not possible because the parent Ministry and the Attorney-General were said to be working on the Bill, but thanks to Hon. Katoo for the move he has taken. Hon. Deputy Speaker, Kenya is a member of the world community and being what we are.
Hon. Wamunyinyi, even as you proceed, the mask is for the nose and the mouth. You do not need to cover the eyes. So, proceed.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. It is moving up and it is also irritating. I persevere to have it on. As a member of the world community, we live among others, and we have other countries as members of the world community. Each of us have their own interests. The people that are hired and deployed in foreign services are such important cadre that not only advise, but also protect the interest of our country. So, for them to effectively undertake that function, they must be well equipped with the necessary knowledge and expertise. This Bill will establish and put in place standards and trainings required for the foreign service, appointment of diplomats, procedures to be followed and even the functions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We have gone to some foreign countries where our representatives and ambassadors did not conduct themselves in a manner that we were happy about.
Clearly, this Bill will be handy and help our diplomats across the world to work towards the desired goals of our country. As Members of Parliament, I think Hon. Katoo obviously targets the foreign service, I think it is important that we find a way in the spirit of parliamentary The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
diplomacy of ensuring Members of Parliament are also equipped. We are involved in matters that push us to be diplomats for the country. When a delegation goes out of this country, Members need to understand that they are diplomats of this country, whether you are in opposition or whatever party. When you go out representing Kenyan, you remain Kenyan and are a Kenyan diplomat. I am aware of some training organised by the National Defence College on Security, Accountability and Defence, which I know the Deputy Speaker has attended. We also need to equip Members with the requisite knowledge and expectations, so that when they go anywhere, they understand they are diplomats. This Bill clearly provides the policy which must be understand, in terms of what Kenya stands for. We must understand who we are, our status, our security in terms of interaction with other countries, our economic standing, whether we mind about our economy compared to others, whether we protect our borders, and how is the protection of our borders. We should also understand the contribution we are making as diplomats given that all of us are diplomats. In conclusion, so I can allow others to speak, this Bill provides clearly the kind of training diplomats will go through and how they will be appointed. Most importantly, is the fact that our already appointed diplomats will not be abandoned in the missions and left on their own. They will be prepared for the mission, will receive guidance and operating instructions. This will benefit them a lot in terms of ensuring that our interests as a country are protected. Hon. Keynan has mentioned Kenyan’s position in the region. We must not forget that we are a leader in the region, but slowly we are sliding back. We must reclaim our lost glory and space and for us to do this, we must have sharp diplomats at all levels in leadership from Parliament to ministries and departments. People must understand what our foreign policy is as a country and what they are expected to do.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I am aware that many Members want to speak and having said that once again, I want to express my support for this Bill. I am sure we will do more to enrich it when it gets to the next stage. So it is better and serves us all. With those few remarks, thank you again for giving me the opportunity. I support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Let us now have the Member for Kamukunji
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I support this timely Bill intended to streamline, regulate foreign service and transform our diplomatic service to a highly agile and effective project for our country globally. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is, indeed, the most global agency in the Kenya Government. It is represented in the whole of Africa, Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia, Australia and the Pacific.
We live in a very complex and rapidly changing global landscape. We are witnessing the dying of the old-world order and the birth of a new-world order centred in global service. We, therefore, need to strategically position ourselves, so that we can take advantage of this transition. That is why we need sharp diplomatic service officers, who can meet these new global challenges using smart power and soft balancing to protect, defend and advance our national interest in the international arena. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Men and women who are experienced and well trained with new capabilities and multiple skills are needed in the new global environment. The old skills are useful in some ways and we have very good old professionals in our foreign service, but we need new specialised knowledge in negotiating bilateral and multilateral agreements and arrangements. We need people with area specialisation, cultural and linguistic skills who can handle complex issues that will come up in the new environment. Representing one’s country is indeed one of the highest callings. Fortunate public servants who are chosen for this pivotal work to represent the State and the citizenry of Kenya are the face of our country. That is why we also need to have a representative in the foreign service. It is absolutely necessary that the men and women selected for these tasks are not only well trained, highly experienced and have the right expertise, but are the best that our country can produce and deploy. Therefore, this Bill will help to strengthen our foreign service and lay the foundation for the professionalisation of our diplomatic service. I think this is the first Bill that regulates our foreign service. I want to say that this is a remarkable achievement for the Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations, which I had the privileged of serving in the 10th Parliament, the 11th Parliament and the current Parliament. The Bill provides for the establishment of clear and effective management, administration, accountability mechanisms and measures for the foreign service. It envisages a foreign service which has specialised professional services consisting of political and technical offices. For example, we may take the Ministry of Foreign Affairs services or functions for granted, but in this Bill, looking at Clause 5(a), it emphasis that we will regulate the establishment, promotion and maintaining of goodwill relations between the republic and other States through this Ministry. This Bill will also help us in having effective foreign policy objectives. It will also help us, particularly the offices and Government officials who were given this task in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to develop and pursue economic, social and political interests of our country. It is not just diplomatic services and attending meetings. It is more than that. It will also actively help to seek bilateral, multilateral and international assistance to support national development goals of our republic. It will provide representation for our country as a regional and international organisation. It will also help the promotion of Kenya as an international investment destination. It will centre the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an agent of all other ministries and State organs in the country. Furthermore, it will help in managing official communication of foreign affairs and global issues and facilitating Kenya’s migrant labour.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Order, Hon. Sankok! Hon. Yusuf, just a minute. I can see Hon. Sankok and the Member for West Pokot County. You seem to be performing some rituals in the House. Member for West Pokot County, you need to clarify what you and Hon. Sankok are doing. Is that part of consultations? I just want to make sure that there is nothing aggravating that Hon. Sankok is imposing on you. Okay, it seems to be a friendly consultation. So, it is okay.
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Hon. Yussuf, go ahead.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. It also demarcates very clearly the respective roles of the cabinet secretary and the principal secretary. This has been alluded to by other Members. This is an issue. At the moment, there are no clear clarification between the roles. This particular Bill will help in creating a harmonious and a well-functioning Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Passing this Bill will empower the foreign service to represent this country more effectively. Also, as has been mentioned, we are the most important diplomatic hub in Africa and, indeed, in the global south. We are hosting the headquarters of two UN agencies, namely, the United Nations Environmental Programme as well as the UN Habitat Human Settlements and we have over 50 regional centres of UN agencies, international organisations and NGOs. We must leverage this particular diplomatic power that we have for the articulation of our own national interest. We must also develop partnerships. We live in a very complex environment. Without partnerships in the East African Community, in the African regional organisations, the Horn of Africa, the European Union, the Caribbean Region and in the United Nations, we will not go far.
This Bill has also entrenched the role of our foreign services as the principal representative of our country abroad. We do not want to have hydra-headed diplomatic efforts. We want to see a coherent foreign service leadership under the direction of our President, which represents us as one and with one voice. I think we also need to harness the smart powers that I have mentioned here by engaging skills, bringing new people and new blood that can truly represent us. When you have well educated and well trained people, you also get the respect from your interlocutors. We become effective interlocutors rather than people who do not know what they want in their foreign policy and what they want in terms of their interests. Therefore, with those remarks, I support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Member for Suba North, Hon. Millie.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity. I support. In supporting, I want to say that this is a noble idea which is long overdue. I just hope I am wrong that it has not been brought because of Mwende Mwinzi that we harassed on the Floor of this House. Even if it has, it is a good reason. It articulates and ensures professionalism in the foreign service. One of the things I like is that it also goes beyond the issues that we know ordinarily for foreign missions and it ensures that we look out for the Kenyans who are abroad. It also acknowledges career diplomats that sometimes we forget and we relegate when we are giving political appointments. It is very discouraging for people who have committed their time and passion for the country. Our missions require professionalism. I just want to give an example that I think I heard a Member saying, that sometimes we go to missions and you find that there is a mission where people can speak in one mother tongue. Even though Members have spoken and even the Seconder of the Bill, in the Bill, that is not very strongly provided. We cannot be talking to other races, but in the same office, we cannot speak in Kijaluo. That is not representing Kenya. I am also happy that we can also acknowledge people who do extremely well. I would have given an example of one of the diplomats, but recently, I spoke to one of the women in the public service called Muthoni and I congratulated her for the good work she did on the Floor of the House without talking to her. That was actually her Bill. I am told: “Why is Hon. Millie, who is a Luo, supporting you?” That is how ridiculous we have become in this country. Because of that, I will not say which ambassador it is, but one time we went to Zambia with Hon. Martha Karua and what I discovered is that people The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
across ethnic lines were very happy with this specific ambassador and this is what this Bill seeks to do, to ensure that kind of professionalism. I will not say which other station we went to, but we were Luo, Kalenjin and Kikuyu and the ambassador in that area did not realise. I think they only realised one of the two ethnic communities and started, in our presence, badmouthing the third ethnic community in my presence. It was extremely embarrassing for us. So, when you have professionalism infused even for the political appointments, then we will be doing the country proud. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I will highlight one or two things that I will be raising concerns on. Before I raise that, I just want to say that I am very happy that in this Bill, we are recognising children, spouses and children with special needs for those who are on missions. However, I am concerned about the definition of “spouse”. A spouse cannot be as defined by the officer. I have an ongoing case right now where there is a woman who is married and her husband has included the other woman as the wife and has excluded the wife who has a special needs child. The husband is the one who is defining who the spouse is. The law of Kenya defines who a spouse is. So, by this law, we cannot be amending the Marriage Act indirectly. If we want to amend the Marriage Act, we must say so clearly, but if we are not, then we must follow the Marriage Act. The other issue that I would also be bringing amendments on is that we must ensure gender and regional representation, representation of youth and persons with disabilities. In Clause 1(b), we are making reference to the people, but we need to be very clear that in that case, we are talking about people or staff who are locally engaged. I want to pitch for persons who are in foreign missions. I have no relatives, so I have no interest. I have no relative I know of, but the way the men behave, you may never know. You might be thinking you have no relative and maybe your brother and your uncles and fathers, have children in the missions abroad and you do not know. I have no known relatives in missions, but I would want to pitch for those that are in missions. We are saying that when they are returning, they will only be allowed one vehicle. When they are outside, if it is a man, he probably has a wife and if it is a woman, she probably has a husband. Let them come back with two vehicles, not one because we should not make it difficult for them to serve. Of great concern to me is Clause 23(3)(a) which is on dual citizenship. I will be looking at the constitutional provisions and if it is not against constitutional provisions, then we will be suggesting what we should preclude you from serving in the country that is directly of interest to you. For instance, I am married in Zimbabwe, if I was to be an ambassador or a high commissioner, then I should not be posted to Zimbabwe, but I can go to the UK.
The reason I am saying this is because it is the women who tend to be affected much more. You saw the case of Mwende here that was quite big. On the academy, it is a very good idea, but we have not included that the academy should have the face of Kenya. I would also want to say that I will also be bringing an amendment in the Schedule that whenever a vacancy is created, it should not be because a person has absented themselves without permission of the chair. That is high school orientation where you say, Mr./Madam Teacher Sir, can I, please, have your permission to go? At this age, you cannot be getting permission from your chair, you can notify your chair. I wish we could adopt this in all our pieces of legislation on notification. Finally, I would want to bring an amendment to ensure that in the Schedule, there is a zebra approach in the election of the chair and the vice-chair, so that where the chair is a man, the vice-chair is a woman and vice-versa.
Finally, I want to encourage Nominee 001, that when he was speaking, I was very silent and I listened to him. Even though he rigged his position, I listened very carefully to him. He The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
should also learn to listen to other Members when they are speaking especially at 8.30.p.m. Otherwise, I support.
I have already spoken. There is no need for a point of order.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): The Leader of the Majority Party.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I wish to begin by declaring that I support this Bill and commend the Committee for not only coming up with the Bill, but also subjecting it to extensive consultation within the Ministry and all the other stakeholders, so that we will look at the Report in terms of the amendments that we anticipate, and this Bill will be far much enriched as we go through it.
Generally, it is a very well drafted Bill. It just shows the quality of the thinking that has gone into it, which brings it into focus. Members may remember one of the best ambassadors and leader, the late Hon. Bonaya Godana, who once stated that the foreign policy of a country is a combination of principles and norms which guide or determine relations between the State and other States or bodies in the international system. Consequently, the path that each State decides to follow in world affairs depends on its capabilities, actual or potential and its assessment of the external environment. That kind of summarises and I heard the Mover, Hon. Wamunyinyi saying that we need to be thinking of our foreign policy as part of advancing our own national interest onto the global stage. In the spirit of this statement, I think this Bill is obviously timely and fit for the purpose that has been designed.
We agree, foreign policy is a critical component of the growth of our economy and the protection of our national interest. When you look at the interconnectedness and commitment among States, then you realise that this is pivotal in respect to both international trade, goods and services and also the interaction between the people of different places. This becomes much more important when you look at where we are globally with the advent of globalisation like two decades ago. It is a challenge now because of COVID-19 and has been tested in terms of how you look at the world from a village perspective. For instance, manufacturing tyres in one country, the key in another country, the bonnet in another country and bringing all those parts together to create a car. With COVID-19, it has brought all those challenges. The supply chain has been affected by the lockdowns. Noting that we are living in this global village, then our ambassadors become the focal point or the entry point through which we interact with the rest of the world. If you are not good enough or you do not have the policy or the backing of the law to sustain and make sure your work is good, then we will not benefit from the advantages of this globalisation and the global economy.
I believe that one of the things that is being underscored by this is the whole issue of appointment of professionals into the diplomatic service, which becomes inevitable. I know at some point we went to Singapore. Singapore is often quoted as one of the examples of countries that have really developed. I believe it is one of the rare countries where its ambassadors do not live in the countries where they represent. The ambassadors reside in Singapore, but represent Singapore in countries outside Singapore. You will find yourself in a very strange situation when there is an issue, except in a very big market. So, you will not find a Singaporean Ambassador to Kenya in Kenya. He is actually in Singapore. They adopted that situation of where they want to focus. You are looking at your country using technology. I hope one day, we will get there as part of cross cutting measures and doing things in a different way aside from the limitations in terms of physical movement. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
I like the issue of professionalism backed by the creation of the Foreign Service Academy, which is already there. At least, it has some grounding, a leeway section under the law, when you look at the whole idea of the scholarship and getting to trim the ambassadors. Much as I am not opposed to the appointment of politicians and non-ambassadorial people who may go through that career path, I am not exactly opposed to them because they have some value. I also know it kills the morale of people who have dedicated their career in serving the country, in building their career in diplomatic circles and all over sudden, they find that they have been waiting, mark-timing to be the next ambassador and somebody just comes, who has absolutely no idea what diplomacy is all about. Other countries, for example, the US, have been clear because they have had their Foreign Service Act since 1980. It is very clear who can be and who cannot be a member of the service. They have to be qualified. It also gives some responsibilities to the ambassadors in terms of accountability and declarations, so that they get people of high integrity. They must even report any contributions received. To my mind, this helps even in vetting processes within the Senate in the Congress to get the best candidate to represent the foreign interest of their country. I am sure we are doing the same here to ensure we have people of quality to represent us.
I also believe that we are looking for people who are multifaceted, so that when we send them out there, they understand trade, management, public relations and all manner of interaction because we do not have resources to have every department represented. Basically, they are our salesmen and saleswomen who should be taking it. We have seen this in some of the good ambassadors. When we go to a mission, you can see an ambassador or high commissioner who believes in Kenya. As you talk and walk into the office, you can see where they are put. Others are a joke and they do not care. I remember in those days when our passports required that when we went to any country, we were supposed to report at the nearest embassy in that country. I remember at one time reporting in London and talking with the chap there through a window. We could not be allowed in. When I said that I had gone to report, I was asked, una shida ? That question put me off. I got to know the people who were involved far much later when we worked with them and they regretted and said they were very sorry for that. We hope some of the lessons have been learnt because that could put Kenyans off from visiting their embassy. But in some other embassies, it is very good. I do not want to name the missions that have been very good for purposes of not disclosing the others that are bad. Generally, I am happy that Hon. Millie Odhiambo has raised the issue of exclusion of certain citizens on account of holding US citizenship which we encouraged, fought for and we brought into the Constitution, but it is used against some people. I am happy that the Committee has picked it up as one of the recommended deletions through proposed amendments to stop the discrimination of people on this account. We encouraged this within our Constitution. A Kenyan can become a citizen of another country and remit your diaspora income. We cannot then come back and punish the same people who we are happy to receive billions of dollars from what they remit on a monthly basis, but when it comes to opportunities, we are the first ones to deny them. I am happy that will be sorted out by the Committee. Otherwise, I would have joined Millie Odhiambo in proposing amendments, not because of having anyone in mind, but just as a matter of principle.
A good thing does not require a lot of talk. We will look at it in detail. Fortunately, we have three weeks during the break to come up with any amendments to make it even better. It is the kind of thing you want to do and make it better and get done, so that the image of Kenya can be at the very best. When we see what people see out there, like the Kenya House in London, or go to The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
an embassy in a foreign country, you reflect whether the people who have confidence to come to Kenya have confidence to do business with Kenya or whether they have confidence to come for holiday in Kenya. We need to make sure that we are represented by the very best and depict Kenya in the very best way in the way they behave and in the way they interact with foreigners.
Once again, congratulations to the Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations for a good job. I hope and trust the Members will support them, so that we have this Bill passed as quickly as possible immediately we come back from our break, and it becomes law and we implement it.
With those rather many remarks, I beg to support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Member for Vihiga.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for according me this opportunity to support the Bill. From the outset, I congratulate the Committee for having come up with this good piece of work. Foreign service is a very important aspect of how we relate with other countries of the world. This Bill is aimed at streamlining how the foreign service of this country will work. It is also an attempt to bridge the grey areas that we have witnessed in the operationalisation of our foreign service.
One of the most important clauses that attracted my attention is the definition clause. This is a very important clause. In it, the Bill has defined many things that were left vague which are very important. For example, a simple matter like the “tour of duty” was never clear. Nobody knew when a tour of duty would start and end. This Bill has made a very good attempt to clarify that. One of my colleagues talked about issues of spouses. That is very important because within the service, we have issues to do with privileges. It has also tried to define who a dependent child is clearly. I am sure after all the amendments all the grey areas will be tackled very well.
The other aspect of the Bill that I want to speak to is the geographical footprint of our country in the world. In Africa alone, it is sad that there is a big segment of this continent where we do not have footprints at all. Until the other day, in the whole of North and West Africa, we had only two missions, namely, Abuja and Algeria. This is a vast part of our continent. On the other hand, we had concentrated our footprints either in Asia or Europe. This Bill makes an attempt to clarify and give guidance on when we open missions.
Another aspect in the Bill is to do with what one of my colleagues touched on, the face of Kenya. It is true that some of us have travelled in missions abroad and we have seen what they are. We do not only have ambassadors and officers from Nairobi, but we have people called local staff who are recruited in the foreign countries. When you go to a foreign country, you find that even the local staff engaged in that mission are, probably, from one community that resides in that country yet we know that all Kenyans are represented in all these countries that we go to. So, it is a very good attempt at giving guidelines on how to show the face of Kenya outside there. The Bill also touches on issues of secondment of officers. We know that in the missions abroad, apart from the mainstream officers, we have others – the ones we call attachés. This Bill attempts to give guidance on the relationship between the mainstream and the so-called attachés. As much as we know that these attachés functionally report to their parent Ministries, for example, immigration or education officers report to their respective Ministries, but administratively, they actually report to the head of mission. So, we must have some way of making sure that, that relationship bears fruit. There have been issues about the duration of tour of duty. Currently, it is well known that it is normally four years. However, we have had cases where an officer or even a head of mission’s The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
tour of duty comes to an end, but he or she does not want to come back home. In this Bill, we have defined very clearly what a tour of duty is and the process of termination and all that to bring a lot of clarity. Lastly, I want to touch on the issue of privileges. We know that, out there, these are diplomats who have various privileges, but sometimes these privileges have been abused. I recall there was a period in time when some of our officers were required to get married before they could be posted. This was coming out of some indiscipline that was taking place. So, the Bill has very clear provisions on what the privileges are and the consequences of abuse of those privileges. As we know, there will be quite a few amendments that will come up, and I believe that with those amendments, this will be a very good Bill to guide our Foreign Service. I support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Member for Endebess.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for allowing me to contribute to this very important Bill. Michael Jordan once said that talent wins games, but intelligence and team work win championships. I congratulate the Hon. Chairperson for giving good guidance to his team and for coming up with this Bill at this time in history. Apparently, we have good and bad people within our foreign offices. However, as currently constituted, our foreign officers working there have done a commendable job in most cases wherever we have been. Even when you go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here, you find that the people working there are very courteous, welcoming and are willing to give you advice. Another time when I went there to follow up on the passport for my son who is studying in Canada, I got a lot of overwhelming support both in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here and also in our Embassy in Canada. I appreciate the good work that some of them are doing. This Bill is very timely because it is putting our Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a more professional way. It is laying down a law on how people even the ambassadors are going to be recruited as well as the staff and those who are going to be seconded. Some of our people who have worked in the foreign offices have had very bad experiences. More often, you find that when regimes change, even those who work as ambassadors in some of the foreign countries, after the expiry of their appointments, some of them end up being left out without good payment packages. Some are posted in other places after serving the country diligently and faithfully. You find that somebody has been an ambassador in a foreign country, but when regimes change, this person is just recalled and left out depending on who his or her godfather is. That kind of culture has to come to an end. This Bill will make sure that we have a way of addressing the issues faced by our officers within the foreign offices in various embassies. When they are called back, where are they going to be placed? That is a very important thing. The Bill outlines those who are going to be the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and how they will be placed. If somebody is going to be an ambassador, he or she will have to go to the Foreign Service Academy. They will be taught for a certain period of time. We have seen in other countries where this is happening. People are going to be placed based on their performance. They will have some kind of code of conduct in as far as foreign offices are concerned. To me, this is a Bill that will streamline our Ministry of Foreign Affairs and make sure that it is run professionally and in the best interest of the country. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Hon. Members, we have 12 Members who are interested in contributing to this Bill. The time allocated for each Member is 10 The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
minutes which we cannot alter. However, out of benevolence, you can speak in less time so that all of you can contribute. I am getting a lot of pressure from everyone wanting to speak. So, please, take care of yourselves. Member for Kajiado Central.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity. For the benefit of other Members, I will try to take just two minutes. Let me start by congratulating the Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations of which I am a Member. I also thank the Chairperson of that Committee for his very good leadership. This was a Bill that the Committee put a lot of effort to come up with. It is a historic Bill because, despite the importance of foreign relations to a country, we do not have legislation to guide this very important Ministry. A lot has been said by my colleagues. The importance of foreign relations to a country cannot be underestimated. Let me quote Lee Hamilton, a former US Congressman, on the importance of foreign relations: “You need to have a strong military and be prepared to use it on occasion as a last resort. But you certainly have to have a strong diplomacy. Almost all of these problems that we are dealing with, I think all of them, ultimately have a political solution. You do not get that kind of solution through military action; you get it through diplomacy, negotiations, consultations, endless meetings and conversations of all kinds with your friends and your enemies. We need a strong diplomatic effort in order to advance our interest in the world.” This statement speaks to the position that Kenya has taken with its neighbours. In many instances, Kenya has had to play a lot of diplomacy in dealing with its neighbours. I happen to lead a constituency that borders another country. In many occasions we have seen potential conflicts between our people in trying to do business across the borders and in many other aspects. Most of the time we call upon the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to come in, in a way. But this is an area that is not guided by legislation. It is a grey area. This Bill seeks to bring in a lot of guidance. It seeks to speak to a lot of these issues. My colleagues have spoken to aspects of professionalism in Foreign Service. This cannot be underestimated. As long as we have a Foreign Service that is run professionally and as long as we have trained our personnel, our image will be carried by those who represent this country out there. I have heard a Member saying that she hopes this Bill does not concern a particular ambassador. I want to assure this House that this Bill has not come about because of anybody. It has come about because of lack of legislation in this area. We also know that laws do not apply retroactively. So, if we had made certain mistakes, the Bill does not seek to affect anybody. So, I support the Bill strongly and urge this House to do the same and to enrich it. Let Members give their views. We will have time to go through the whole Bill. Let Members give their contributions and propose amendments so that we enrich this Bill for the future of this country. Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Hon. Ogutu Zadoc.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for allowing me to contribute to this important Bill. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the face of this country globally. It needs to have the capacity and diligence it requires to be able to market our nation to other nations. It is for that reason that I stand to support this Bill. Unless as a nation we are visible out there, it will be very difficult for the world to know The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
that we exist. I know we have come a long way as a nation through various activities that have sold the country globally. One area that we have championed so much is tourism. As much as we continue focusing on tourism, we also need to explore other areas. It is for this reason that I find this Bill timely and I support it. While I support it, I have a number of reservations. One is that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not have the capacity it requires to deliver the image of the country out there. I would imagine that the best we must think about is to boost the capacity of this Ministry so that it is able to deliver the aspirations of Kenya as a nation. I also want to look at the way the Ministry has handled affairs of Kenyans out there. We have had many deaths. We have also had many people jailed illegally. The activeness of the nation in trying to help such Kenyans in one way or another has been very poor. Kenya has a number of people trained in various fields. I would want to see Kenyan missions staffed with skilled people, many of them qualified in emerging areas like ICT and actuarial sciences, so that they can bring a difference in the way Kenya interacts with other countries. In that regard, the Bill proposes a number of requirements on staffing to ensure that professionalism is guaranteed. If this can be followed, then we will have missions that have the capacity required to make the change that Kenya needs to have in the global village. With those few remarks, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I stand to support this Bill. Thank you.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Member for Mwingi Central, Hon. Mulyungi.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I rise to support this Bill. I thank the Chair and his Committee for coming up with this innovative idea. Currently, appointment of foreign mission staff is not only haphazard but also very indiscriminate and political. This Bill will go a long way in not only regulating and streamlining appointments in Foreign Service but also in guiding the procedure of appointment, in creating fairness and equality and in rewarding competence and performance. The Bill provides for the duration and procedure of termination of service, so that one’s service cannot be terminated because somebody does not like their face. It also highlights the functions and duties of the appointees. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, the Bill also creates a foreign policy which was not clear before. From what I read, this policy will be highly publicised. It will be put in the Kenya Gazette, websites and dailies. The Bill will also create a training institution, the Foreign Service Academy to train diplomats because diplomacy is a profession. If a diplomat is not well trained, she or he can cause us embarrassment, hatred and worse of it, war. Training therefore is paramount and this Bill has done a good thing. We have seen a lot of infighting in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs necessitating transfer of Cabinet Secretaries or Principal Secretaries. This Bill now separates their roles to avoid conflict, infighting and promote harmonious working relationships to improve performance. Finally, and most importantly, the Bill provides for appointment of both career civil servants and politicians so that as I stand here, in the future if I lose my seat, I will still stand a possibility of being appointed as an ambassador thus getting another additional title of “His Excellency”. With those few remarks, I support. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Member for Tinderet, kindly have the Floor.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I rise to support this Bill. I also want to congratulate the Chairperson and the Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations. As it has been said, this Bill seeks to right the wrongs that have been in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations for quite some time. It is known that in the community of nations, it is very important to have clear professional, foreign relations service for betterment of services for our citizens and relations in the international community. This Bill therefore, seeks to establish a very clear professional functioning foreign relations. In clauses 3 to 7, it looks at the functions of the Cabinet Secretary vis-à-vis the functions of the Principal Secretary. For smooth foreign relations, it ensures that nation’s projections in the community of nations are upheld. Today, a number of countries in the world flex their muscles through proper projections of their foreign images. This Bill does so through a well established diplomatic system, well planned structure of foreign relations and this requires a very competent staff, well trained ambassadors, high commissioners, attachés and even junior staff who are able to project a nation’s image properly. A nation’s image is very important internationally, especially because it has influence on matters that affect her and her interests globally. A case in point is that even within international organisations such as United Nations, African Union, regional bodies such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and East African Community, a well-organised foreign service is able to take the image of a country to the next level. This Bill looks at a number of issues. It first looks at the staffing of embassies. It has come to the notice of this House and even at times Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker that even some members appointed as ambassadors are politicians. Some of them do not even have the requisite skills to project our image abroad. You realise that even qualifications for attachés have clearly been put. Moreover, even qualifications for members of particular specialised ministries and agencies are clearly stated. A trained attaché needs to have a lot of knowledge on negotiation skills in trade, education, military, and many others. Therefore, it is quite important. Additionally, it has also come out how to appoint honorary consuls who are going to assist nations in many other areas. Therefore, this is quite important, I support the Bill, and this is actually the right way to go. Thank you, I support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Member for Kwanza, Hon. Wanyonyi.
I want to take this opportunity to first of all thank the Chairman of this Committee for having this Bill come to the House with clear objectives and reasons which have made everybody to support it. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I want to also take this opportunity on my own behalf to say that we want to have foreign missions with sharp and well-trained personnel. I have been in this country longer than most of the people here. I am bit disappointed. I do not even know when the rain started beating us. Kenya was a big brother in the region but I can tell you because of poor relations and in fact Hon. Kimunya said it… I went to a mission where staff there did not even take me as a Kenyan. There was a Kenyan who asked me ' unataka nini?' This is how it is. Therefore, I believe this Bill will introduce training of our people so that the image of our country can be better than it is today. I do not know when the rain started beating us. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
On that note, Chair, I want to address you on the serious problems in the Middle East. You have heard that our children, because of lack of jobs here, have been going to look for jobs in the Middle East and you can see what has been happening. I personally went to the Middle East and I want to say that I have bought property there. They came here and we went there. I can tell you our officers in the foreign mission in the Middle East are sleeping on the job. This is because those children who have been killed there, no one has raised a finger. In fact, you do not get a statement from the mission because our people are not trained.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Hon. Wanyonyi, just address the Speaker. The Chair...
No, I am only saying because the Chairman is here...
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): No. You are not supposed to address the Chair...
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I am referring to you as I refer to him. I want to say that as a patriotic Kenyan, I am a bit disappointed because our staff out there in the mission has not been trained. Look at say, 10 years ago. We had a lot of tourism in this country which was a major foreign exchange earner, but what happened? Today, we cannot get a quarter of what we used to get because our missions are not good. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, if you ever worked for Kodak, a multinational corporation then, and you told people that you were from Kenya, they would get excited and would want to hear more about Kenya. People were so interested in this country. Today, I can tell you we have done nothing and it is because we have poor representation and poor embassies. Before somebody is appointed to go to a certain nation, they must have an orientation of almost three weeks so that they understand their vision. So, I thank the Committee for having come up with this decision. In the Third Reading, we will enrich this Bill so that people understand. We must market our country. We are all asking when the rain started beating us.
Lastly, I also take this opportunity to say one thing about our appointments. Please let us not go political. Let us choose the right people to go to those places and sell the image of our country. My brother here said that when he fails to go through the next election, he might be appointed because his party would have formed the government. We want people who have been trained and who are professionals to be the diplomats for this country. It is so that they can market this country. With those few remarks, I support. I hope this Committee will come up in the Third Reading to enrich this Bill.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Member for Njoro.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for giving me this chance to contribute to this Bill. First, I congratulate the Committee which is led by Hon. Katoo, for finding the gap in legislation in relation to this Foreign Service. This concept gives me an opportunity to say our national image is always having a global impact. Therefore, we are here to support the good proposals. The good practices being proposed in the entire document are going to improve the sector. A matter was raised in relation to the specific functions between the Principal Secretary and the Cabinet Secretary in the relevant Ministry. It is very crucial because it will lead to a smooth flow of the daily running of affairs. The majority of Members have talked. They have said many The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
issues. Mine was just to say that, with regard to staffing, our main concern is to include youth, women and people living with disabilities. Another good concept that was introduced is the Foreign Service Academy. It gives trainings and programmes that are required to enhance skills for the entire team. I support this great Foreign Service Bill. I do not want to take much time because my colleagues are also interested in contributing. This law is going to put our country in a better position. The representatives of this nation abroad will also put us in a good position. Thank you very much for this chance to support the Bill.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Member for Matungulu.
Thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I want to thank my colleagues for agreeing with the Committee on this Bill which gives a clear guidance on the kind of Kenya we want to be known out there. With these guidelines most embassies will be put on notice that they cannot operate as kangaroo embassies.
I want to put it very clearly that this Bill addresses most of the gaps that we found in the Foreign Service in the Ministry starting with staffing, conduct of officers, secondment of officers, training and local agreement. More importantly, it also gives power to the missions to do their best in the globe. We realised the biggest gap was the code of conduct of our officers out there. Surely, you are appointed as an ambassador and when you go to a foreign country there are no guidelines. As Parliament we are putting foreign affairs in order so that we do not lose any more trade and our image out there. I believe Members will support us. This is because we are already working on the best regulations to ensure Kenya gets the best face in the globe. Also, to get the image we are looking for to market this country and get back the lost glory. I support and believe this will be the guiding principle for all missions and officers seconded from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Hon. Mutunga Kanyuithia.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for giving me an opportunity to also add my voice to this Bill. It has come at a time when we need to sort out many things and needs in this country, concerning our foreign offices. Kenya is important in the global world not only in terms of diplomacy but on issues of foreign relations and participation in the global economy. Therefore, this comes in to shape the method of doing this.
I have a few issues which I hope have been captured in the Bill. First and foremost, I hope we have captured well how to open up missions based on their importance and minimise staffing levels. When we have a consular for a foreign mission, what should be the minimum? Diaspora has been complaining a lot whenever we go out there. They call us for meetings and the only thing raised is they are not significantly recognised in terms of recruitment. There is need to consider Kenyans living in those countries, who have qualifications when recruiting in our missions.
The issue of separation of powers is key and we need to throw caution to it. When powers duties, roles and responsibilities are defined, it is important for those who have been given those roles to stick to them. We have seen some of them surpassing their responsibilities and overshadowing others. The final thing I want to highlight is the academy which is supposed to train our staff in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign missions are not only ambassadorial or consular but there are many others set out at departmental levels. We have offices in Washington, Geneva, Rome, South Africa, United Kingdom, name them. These are people who are representing us in various The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
ways. So, as they go out, we need a curriculum to train them on how to behave or conduct themselves in a manner that is commensurate to the standards we put as Kenyans. When it comes to the staffing of these foreign missions, we have a serious shortage especially of the commercial attachés and these are the ones who sell Kenya as a brand and also sell products from Kenya and negotiate for these other countries. We need to look into that. I support.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): We have 10 minutes to go and I have three requests. So, if you can accommodate each other, the better instead of sitting here the whole afternoon and you do not speak. Member for Bonchari.
Thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I also rise to support this Bill. This Bill can be improved to be much better than what we have. First of all, I think the Kenya has not performed very well in terms of ensuring that our international interests are safeguarded. I would like to highlight a few shortcomings that I feel have not gone well in recent history. One case in point is the negotiation between Kenya and Uganda on the crude oil pipeline. The fact that we are mixing career diplomats with people who have no idea of what a diplomat is, is actually doing a big disservice to this country. Therefore, the need to have a balanced approach to ensure that we have career diplomats doing the job that they have been trained on is important for this country.
Number two example is the dispute between Somalia and Kenya. I will say that our diplomats let us down. This is something that should have been resolved by the experts before it reached the level it reached. There are many other cases where we have heard our Kenyans who are out there either looking for gainful employment or doing something else, have actually been harassed, arrested and tortured in a bad way. Therefore, this Bill comes in handy to make sure that we have a structured approach and order and have professionals in the Foreign Service. I would also want to highlight Clause 23(2) which talks of a fair balance between career diplomats and other appointments. It refers to the Constitution of Kenya where His Excellency the President has powers to appoint. I will be proposing amendments in the Third Reading where we need to define what fair balance is. Do we have 99 per cent appointed by the President and 1 per cent appointed from career diplomats? This is a very vague way of presenting a Bill. It needs to be very clear. If the country is comfortable with 20 per cent, then say the President can appoint 20 per cent and not fair balance. Fair balance means nothing. Therefore, I will be proposing amendments to this to make sure that we have a clear defined way.
I also wish to recognise that the Bill has provided for a foreign academy. That is a good thing. However, we need to look at whether we are replicating institutions in this country. We have the Kenya School of Government that has the capacity to do all manner of trainings and that was specifically created to make sure Government employees are well catered for. I will propose that creating this academy is actually a clear burden on taxpayers. We are complaining that all our revenue collections are going to paying people. I do not know whether we still want to create parastatals while we have the Kenya School of Government.
I will also want to propose amendments to Clause 37(1) which talks about the Director- General of the academy. The Director-General has also been given a responsibility of being the secretary to the council. To me, that is dual responsibility. The secretary, who is the CEO of the council, ideally should be somebody who has training in taking minutes like the certified public secretaries. Therefore, I will be proposing amendments to this to ensure that there is separation. Nowadays, we have professionals who do this. I will try to expedite. There are also ways which cover Section 44 on the financial year. I think this is provided in the Public Finance The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Management (PFM) Act where it is very clear. I do not know whether we will want to provide for financial year that applies to Section 45 (1) where we are talking about annual estimates. Section 45 (3) is talking about budgets. That is the role of the National Treasury which is clearly defined in the Act. Because of time, I will also be bringing amendments to Section 46(2) which talks about accounts. That is covered in the Public Finance Management Act, so that drafters refer to the relevant Acts of Parliament that have been passed to deal with those issues.
With those few remarks, I support and we will be bringing amendments in the Committee of the whole House. Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Very well. Member for Dadaab. Hon. Duale Dahir.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Chairlady for giving me this opportunity. I will start by thanking the Chairman of Defence and Foreign Relations Committee for coming up with this Bill. I want to say that indeed, this country is famous for many things including the great people of this country, the athletes, those who work in agriculture, tourism, flora and fauna of this nation. What we want the Foreign Service to do, is to represent us internationally in all the aspects of this country, in countries they represent us from. I think it is also important just to mention that migrant workers, students and people who are getting jobs elsewhere should have a place where they can also be represented and their issues can be taken care of. Sometimes it saddens us to see Kenyans die in foreign countries. Sometimes we feel that there is lack of representation.
Finally, I think that as a country, we are part of the international community. Some of the ways we relate is through adoption of international laws and going for foreign trips. We want to have a Foreign Service that is well trained and one that is going to guide Kenyans who are going to represent this country in international affairs. With those few remarks, I support the Bill.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Member for Gichugu.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I echo my colleague’s sentiments in support of this Bill. I will be proposing amendments in their definitions. There are some terms that have not been well defined. The Bill needs to be clear and understood by even lay Kenyans. Terms like “ambassadors”, “consular”, and those kinds of definitions need to be captured. I will also be proposing that diplomats have at most two terms, just like any other area of service in this country. Having been appointed with approval of Parliament, I think it is also important to include instances when and why their services should be terminated. So, all in all, I support this Bill. Thank you for that chance.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Hon. Katoo as the Mover, you have one minute to reply.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I want to thank the 23 Members who have contributed on this Bill and I promise that at the Committee of the whole House, we will take very seriously their proposed amendments because they are meant to enrich the Bill. I beg to reply.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): We will have Question put on this business when it comes next in the Order Paper. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
(Hon. (Ms.) Soipan Tuya): Hon. Members, the time being 9.29 p.m., this House stands adjourned until Thursday, 8th July 2021 at 2.30 p.m.
The House rose at 9.29 p.m.
The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.