I order that the Quorum Bell be rung for 10 minutes.
We may proceed now. Sergeant-at- Arms, I direct that the Bell be stopped.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I beg to lay the following Papers on the Table of the House: 1. Reports of the Auditor-General and financial statements in respect of the
following institutions for the year ended 30th June 2022. (a) Management and Supervision Fund – State Department for Co- operatives; (b) Kenya Transport Sector Project – Kenya National Highways Authority; (c) State Department for Fisheries, Aquaculture and the Blue Economy; (d) Revenue Statements for the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning; (e) Integrated Health and Environment Observatories and Legal and Institutional Strengthening for the sound management of chemicals in Africa – Ministry of Environment and Forestry; (f) Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation; (g) Africa Centre of Excellence in Sustainable use of insects as Food and Feeds – Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology; (h) Eastern Africa Regional Transport, Trade and Development Facilitation Project – Kenya Revenue Authority; (i) Improvement of rural roads and market infrastructure in Western Kenya – Kenya Rural Roads Authority; (j) Kimira Oluch Small-holder Farm Improvement Project – State Department for Regional and Northern Corridor Development; (k) Multi – National Rural Livelihoods’ adaptation to climate change in the Horn of Africa – State Department for Crop Development and Agricultural Research;
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(l) Instruments for Devolution Advice and Support – Ministry of Devolution; (m) Kenya Cooperation and Partnership Facility – Ministry of Devolution; (n) Support to enhancement of quality and relevance in Higher Education, Science and Technology – State Department for University Education; (o) State Department for Vocational and Technical Training; (p) Global Fund – to accelerate the reduction of TB, Leprosy and lung disease burden through provision of people-centered, universally accessible, acceptable and affordable quality services in Kenya Program – Ken-T-TNT, GA 1548 – the National Treasury; (q) Global Fund – to reduce malaria incidence and deaths by at least 75 percent of the 2016 levels by 2023, working towards a malaria-free Kenya – the National Treasury; (r) Global Fund – to reduce morbidity and mortality caused by malaria in the various epidemiological zones by two-thirds of the 2015 level by 2020 – the National Treasury; (s) Global Fund – to contribute to achieving vision 2030 through universal access to comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment and care – the National Treasury; (t) Global Fund – to ensure provision of quality care and prevention of quality care and prevention services for all people in Kenya with TB, leprosy and lung diseases – the National Treasury (u) Petroleum Development Levy Fund (Holding Account) – the National Treasury; (v) NEMA – GCF readiness and preparatory support: NEMA capacity strengthening programme towards accessing climate finance from Green Climate Fund – National Environment Management Authority; and, (w) NEMA – GCF project preparation facility: devolved climate change Governance to strengthen resilience of communities in target counties - National Environment Management Authority.
Waheshimiwa, Hoja hii ilikuwa imemalizika katika kipindi cha mazungumzo ya Bunge. Sasa ni kuleta Swali hili muamue na nimethibitishe kwamba kuna akidi kwa minajili ya Bunge kuamua.
Hon. Abraham Kirwa, Member for Mosop. He had nine minutes left. He is not present. We can give another person the opportunity. The Member for Buuri, Hon. Mugambi Rindikiri.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. First, I want to thank my neighbour, Hon. Jane Kagiri, for bringing this Motion on the reduction in cost of electricity in the country. It is true that all of us receive electricity bills every month either as industrial consumers or as individual consumers. In that bill, you will find items that customers are charged. One of them is the cost of diesel because Kenya entered into an agreement with private energy producers who have installed generators in many parts of this country to feed power to the national grid. The cost of diesel is very high and it has continuously been passed to the consumers. Time has come for the Government of Kenya to relook at all the private arrangements that were entered into long time ago that continue to cause suffering in terms of payment of bills to the population of this country. The cost of electricity is high because there is a lot of operational expenses incurred by more than five corporations. They are charged for the generation and distribution of power in this country. My point is that the Government of Kenya needs to relook at the viability and effectiveness of all these State corporations. We have the Geothermal Development Company (GDC), KenGen, The Kenya Power and Lighting Company PLC (Kenya Power), Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Limited (KETRACO) and private power producers. Time has come we started looking at the viability of all these corporations and asked ourselves whether they are necessary. Can they be consolidated? Can we reduce operation costs? The cost of maintaining some of these corporations is what is causing power bills to go up. My point is that the energy sector needs to be relooked at afresh. We know there is a lot of solar energy in this country; free sunshine. I ask the Government of Kenya to turn around and start looking at renewable energy as alternative
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sources of power because hydro-energy is becoming very expensive. We need to relook at the budgeting of all these State corporations and start redirecting their budget towards renewable energy because the Kenya Power, KenGen and the KETRACO can do it. I was very happy to note that they are on top gear on nuclear energy, but they are looking at the long-term. For now, we need to address the issue in the shor-term because Kenyans are suffering. As we speak of high costs of living, we are also speaking of high costs of energy. The country has reached a point where we have to be sober. We have to start deliberating on the key issues affecting the citizens of this country. It is very important that we impress upon the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum to relook at the policy on energy. As I said, this is a very important Motion and we all support it. However, we ask that the policy on energy be relooked at afresh so that we can fully address this matter. We should not address it in piecemeal and only the reduction of bills, but also the cost of generating power in this country, so that we can start directing our resources to the cheapest and most viable sources of electricity. I thank you.
The Member for Endebess, Dr. Robert Pukose.
Thank you for allowing me to contribute to this Motion on reduction of the cost of electricity. You know that the cost of electricity has been rising. If you buy tokens and compare them with the ones you bought last month at the same cost, you will find that they are different. They are less tokens compared to what you bought last month. Sustaining very unfair contractual agreements has necessitated this. This county has more than 280 megawatts of energy. Our consumption is around 220 megawatts. We have more energy power yet our consumption prices continue going up. The cost of electricity even for people to put up business within our country is quite high. That is why companies are even running away to other places with cheaper electricity. It is high time the Cabinet Secretary for Energy and Petroleum looked at these costs of electricity and remedied the situation. The power purchase agreements the Government has entered especially with independent power producers are quite unfair. Diesel generators started some time back entered into agreements lasting close to 25 years. If the Government has to terminate them, compensation is very high yet we continue investing in cheaper sources of energy like geothermal power. We also continue investing in hydropower and solar. We are even in the process of investing in nuclear energy that is even cheaper. It is very important for the Departmental Committee on Energy to look at certain items. We have institutions funded by public coffers for many years. For instance, the GDC. It has had programmes and projects that have not matured. Look at a project like the Silale Geothermal Station that has gulped and gobbled many resources from the Government yet we have not produced a single megawatt of energy up to date. This is the case and yet we continue funding the GDC. It is high time the value for money is looked into. We have other institutions like KenGen that have been doing very well. The KenGen set up hydroelectric power station, produces power and even produces power at a lower cost in neighbouring countries like Ethiopia. This is a Government institution that sells power at a lower cost compared with the high-cost diesel generators and the high cost of other forms of energy like wind energy which gobbled up money. We have Lake Turkana Wind Power Project in Loiyangalani that gobbled a lot of money. If you look at the Auditor-General’s Report, it reports that there was a signed contractual agreement in such a way that the Government compensated contractors at a loss. The Auditor-General has pointed out this, but nothing is yet to be acted upon. It is very important for Government agencies to act and recover where we have losses.
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Looking into all this, our country has not suffered like other countries. Look at the Republic of South Africa which has a lot of energy production but it is always experiencing power rationing. We have not had serious power rationing within our region. However, we have had transformers being stolen or faulty ones. Yesterday, I heard the Head of State and the Prime Cabinet Secretary making statements that government officers will be held liable and responsible. That is the right direction this country should go so that any government officer who purchases faulty transformers, or makes the taxpayer lose money should be held personally liable. If we close up these areas, we will make power sufficient in our country. We will also utilise power at a lower cost and make sure that we spur industrial development within our region. With those few remarks, I support.
Thank you. The Member for Langata, Hon. Phelix Odiwuor.
Thank you for this chance to contribute to this Motion. I wanted to put it differently from the people I represent; people who live in the slums. We have several slums in Langata. There is Highrise Ward, Kijiji, Bangladesh, and Kowinda. As I speak, these people cannot afford electricity and this leads to illegal connections. It is dangerous when we have illegal connections. That is why we have had more than 15 fire cases in the constituency in the past few months. Illegal connections caused that. If the cost of power will be reduced, people living in slums will afford electricity and we will do away with illegal connections. Apart from that, Kenya Power has taken away more than four transformers which they claim are illegal connections yet we have people in the slums who can afford electricity. I am here to request the Managing Director, Kenya Power or whoever came to Highrise Ward and uninstalled transformers in the name of illegal connections to return the transformers before we have discussions so that the people can have electricity. It is very sad that in the City of Nairobi, people still use paraffin for light when we are able to have everybody connected to electricity. I support this Motion and I want to really appreciate Hon. Njeri for bringing it here for debate.
The Member for Baringo County, Hon. Florence Jematiah.
Thank you very much, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I join my colleagues in supporting this Motion. I also want to thank my colleague from Laikipia for bringing this timely Motion. I also want to add that this country should decide and have more ways of producing power, otherwise, electricity bills are going to skyrocket because we have no other way of producing power apart from hydro. We have several, but they are not well managed, for instance, solar. We have the Rural Electrification Authority and the Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC) which are supposed to manage green power and help us to produce extra power and probably, synchronise it to the main grid. If you look at the production levels, it is not enough for the consumption of this country to the level that we are able to minimise our bills. There is a lot of negative effect due to the high electricity bills. When we depend mainly on hydroelectricity, it means that we can only produce enough when there is sufficient rain, and that affects our production in our industries to the extent that every product that is produced in Kenya today is very expensive. We are not able to produce more because of the cost. The cost of living is very high. In my house, for example, if I have two or three gadgets that use electricity like an iron box and a water pump, it will cost me too much. Considering the fact that the cost of living is very high, electricity in this country must be managed by all means. We should also develop many other ways of producing power. I encourage the
Government through the Ministry of Energy to look into this. We also need to produce more wind power, tap into it, synchronise it to the main grid, produce more of geothermal power and make sure that Kenyans get value for their money. It is one thing for us to use this power and another, for all of us to be struggling to survive because of the high cost of electricity bills. This is a discussion that should be brought forward, and the Ministry should take up the challenge by making sure that the cost of electricity is brought down by all means. Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
Hon. Andrew Akuome, Member for Karachuonyo.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. What we are discussing today is very important in the sense that for the last two weeks, we have been discussing the cost of living. The high cost of living is partly caused by the cost of energy. The high tariffs that we have have many negative effects to our economy and to the people living in Kenya. We all know that the cost of business and the cost of manufacturing has risen too much that the prices must also respond to that high cost of electricity.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, because of this high cost of business and production, and in particular manufacturing, a number of business people and industrialists have migrated from Kenya to other countries. This has resulted in dangerous results that will cause us to lose employment and cause us to transfer potential employment that we would have had to other countries. It is important that all efforts must be made to reduce the cost, and because of this, I highly support the Motion. I heard one of my colleagues referring to illegal connections. That is a direct result of the high cost of electricity. If you want electricity but it is purposely made impossible for you to get it, you are a human being and you will do whatever is possible to get it. Those who have illegal connections are doing so because they want to live like any other person. Let me also draw your attention to the independent producers of electricity. I am beginning to wonder whether these people are useful to Kenyans in the manner we expect, and in the manner they supply their energy to the national grid. We are told that these people are paid highly, but do they have their payments commensurate with what we get from them in terms of the energy they add to the national grid? It is important for them to be investigated in relation to their cost and benefit to this nation. This could be part of the high tariff costs that we are paying because the energy producer, Kenya Power, needs to recover its cost. Hon. Deputy Speaker, I highly support this Motion and thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute.
Hon. Stephen Mogaka, Member for West Mugirango. He seems not to be here. Oh, I can see him.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy for this humble opportunity to contribute to this Motion. I thank the Member who has brought this Motion at a very timely moment, and on behalf of the people of West Mugirango, I support. Hon. Deputy Speaker, electricity or energy is everything, and the driver of our economy. Unless the cost of energy is tamed, the cost of production and consequently the cost of living will be unaffordable. To achieve this, it is, indeed, important that we evaluate the production chain to ensure that there are no leakages or ‘haemorrhage’ that is transferred to the ultimate cost of electricity. It is true that Kenya Power being a monopoly has been entering bilateral agreements with independent power producers. First, it prefers purchasing the expensive energy at the expense of the cheap, clean green energy or geothermal power generated by the KenGen, and wind power. So, the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum needs to rise to the occasion. We cannot be relying on hydropower which was brought to this country during the colonial era. Fortunately, Kenya sits on the equator where we enjoy 12 months of sunshine.
So, as a country, it is important for us to consider a radical shift from relying on hydropower only and lay emphasis on solar energy. So, we need to amend the construction laws in this country so that every unit that is constructed should have provision for solar panels that will provide sufficient energy for the household as well as release the excess power to the national grid. In this country, we must migrate from relying on these giant power producers and move towards small-scale power production where every household harvest energy using solar panels, utilises what they need and sells the excess to the national grid. This way, we will convert our current power consumers to producers. It is important for a country that is 60 years old to look for ways of producing cheap power for driving the economy. You will notice that we have a crisis in the rural areas particularly West Mugirango, where I come from. There has been large-scale theft and vandalization of power transformers. Why is this happening? Obviously, it is because there is a market for the oil in the transformers as well as second hand transformers. Who are the consumers? I suspect some of these illegal stolen transformers and oils are being recycled and sold to the same people supposed to procure new ones. Therefore, the cost of all this is transferred to the poor consumers. This country should do whatever it takes to reduce power and energy tariffs. Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker for this opportunity. I support.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity. I want to make my contribution on the Motion brought by Hon. Jane Kagiri on reduced cost of electricity. I think there is no shortcut on this because it is quite critical, urgent and clear that all stakeholders in this field need to look into this, beginning with the Managing Director, Kenya Power. I want to strongly urge the Departmental Committee on Energy to call upon all those who are involved in this so that the cost of living can come down. First of all, the Members I have listened to have talked about industrialisation with regards to the effects and impact the cost of increased electricity has on production. They have also talked about investors in the country not wanting to continue investing because of the high cost of living. I want to make my contribution in support of reduced cost of electricity on the following facts, namely, security, education, human resource, the local juakali artisan, and economic enterprises in our counties. I am talking specifically about Homa Bay County. We know there are issues that have not been addressed. As a country, we cannot keep talking about continued increased cost of living without addressing the prerequisites underlining what is causing the problem, for example, in terms of the jua kali artisans. Has Kenya Power tabled or made known the reasons why the cost of electricity continues going high? In the 13th Parliament, the manifesto given by the Government was to ensure there is sustainable economic empowerment of our youths and this has not been realised. I am looking at the barber shop or kinyozi boy who wants to be empowered in what he is doing, yet the units he gets once he purchases electricity are too few. Are we going to realise what we are talking about ‘youth empowerment’? This is crazy. Looking at the fishing industry, there are people who can afford to buy big tracks with ice coolers. We are unable to buy them in our local areas, and so the cost of electricity must come down. I am looking at the education sector where we are talking about Competency Based Curriculum (CBC). The children in the gallery are not equal to those in the rural areas. There are areas we are talking of going digital or a digitalised economy using Information Communication Technology (ICT). How will we realise this? The Departmental Committee on Education and Research should investigate the cost of electricity bills that primary and secondary schools are paying. Is this affordable or sustainable? These are questions to ask.
In terms of security, if we do not have adequate electricity across the country and we have guns or tear gas… If there is no electricity for operation, things will not work. I am talking about motivation of the human resource employed by Kenya Power. It takes days to reach Kenya Power for connections. Why are we talking about increased costs while the jobs they are supposed to do are not well managed? So, the management of Kenya Power should up their game. If there is a problem with a transformer, does it mean they do not have field officers to establish before we report to them? Why are there gaps? So, the management should address the real issues. The Ministry should ensure that the cost of electricity comes down and the sources which can improve and sustain provision of energy are realised. Otherwise, at this rate, we will be telling Kenyans that we have failed as leaders and cannot sustain the economy because there is no money. So, education, security and the jua kali industry cannot move and nothing will happen. Water is life and so is energy. Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
Hon. Owen Baya, Member for Kilifi North.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I would like to contribute to this Motion presented by the good gracious lady, Hon. Jane Kagiri. Of importance and very significant are her prayers to Parliament. She wants the Departmental Committee on Energy to undertake an inquiry into the operations of Kenya Power. This a very important inquiry because we can debate and talk about many things here, but the answers to the problems we have with Kenya Power will be found out there. We need to interrogate this because when you receive your electricity bill, there are too many costs, taxes and items such that the cost per unit of electricity that you pay for represents only a quarter of your total bill. Three-quarters of this bill consists of taxes, fuel, and numerous items unrelated to energy consumption. The Committee must investigate because we wish to understand. I have received many power bills in my lifetime, but when I examine them, I wonder what I am actually paying for.
The second factor we must consider is efficiency. Efficiency is an essential aspect of management. The greater your inefficiency, the greater your management costs and administrative expenses. The greater the procurement inefficiency, the greater the costs. Who endures the expense when issues of poor management arise? It is the consumer of power that bears the costs. When we put in place a management team at Kenya Power (KP), do we look at their ability to manage effectively and efficiently? The two words – “effective” and “efficient” – have different meanings. You can be very effective, but not efficient. That is because you might produce what we want and in the quality that we want, but you might do it at the highest cost. In that case, you are effective, but not efficient. That is the problem that we have at KP. Some of the management decisions that have been made only focus on production and distribution of power without looking at the efficiency level that is required. That is something the Committee needs to investigate. They should conduct an inquiry at KP to understand the efficiency levels. What is the real cost of one unit of power? There could be costs and also the “real” costs. What is the real cost in terms of the most efficient level of production?
I read that some Independent Power Producers (IPPs) produce power and sell it to KP at 30 cents, while others sell it at 150 cents. Why would that happen? Why would others be paid more money than others? Who bears the cost of all these? It is still the consumer. We have high energy costs in this country and we must look into them. Leveraging on what Hon. Jane Kagiri has said, investigations must be carried out. One of the things that we need to look at is power-generation costs. There are many IPPs in this country which have power contracts. They are making a lot of money. As they do so, the person who buys the power, evacuates it, and gives it to the people, has to pay for those costs.
Eventually, the costs will come back to the common mwananchi like the kinyozi that my friend, Bensuda, was talking about. It is present in costs like water pumping and other things. It is about the cost at which KP buys power from IPPs.
We must have a paradigm shift in the management of power in this country. We need to have a fresh look. This Motion is timely. With the rising cost of living in this country, we need to look at everything. We need to move away from the current status quo where power supply is at the whims of the supplier and not the demand; just because I am producing power, I must sell it at the price that I want, and somebody on the other end must agree to buy the power at that price. The moment we reduce the cost of buying power from IPPs, the cost of power in this country will come down. That is something that the Departmental Committee on Energy needs to look into.
One of the things that we need to look at is a new economic architecture in this country. We have taken huge loans so that we produce power. Those loans must be paid for at high interest rates in US$. When that is done, the cost of everything in this country goes up. This is because the person who produces unga at the maize mill uses power to do so. If the cost of power is high, it will be loaded onto the price of unga. When you process milk, you use power. The cost of milk will go up because power costs are high. Cement manufacturing uses power. If you want to build a house, the costs will go up. As we look at the development index of this country, one of the things that we need to look at is the construction industry. If the cost of construction is higher because cement is produced at higher costs due to power tariffs, it will even be difficult to own property in this country.
I urge the Committee to leverage on this Motion that the honourable gracious lady Jane has brought. We should get an investigative report tabled in the House so that we understand. My advice to Hon. Jane is that after we pass this Motion, I urge you to request for a statement from the Cabinet Secretary (CS) or the Committee. The Motion is very good as it is, but it may not elicit any reaction or a report. This is just a Motion. I ask you to move forward and place a request for a statement or a petition to this House so that we receive a report at the end of the day. That report will be debated and decisions will be made by this House. That is the only way that you can take this Motion forward. If you do not do that, Hon. Jane, this Motion will end here and we will pass a resolution. I do not know how effective that will be. I probably need advice from the Clerks. We need something else so that a report can come to this House and it is debated and implemented by the Government. If the Government does not implement it, the Select Committee on Implementation can take it over so that they push the relevant Government agencies to implement the same.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
Hon. Amina Mnyazi, Member for Malindi.
Ahsante, Naibu Spika kwa kunipa fursa hii ya kuzungumza kwa niaba ya watu wa Malindi. Kwanza ni kumshukuru dadangu, Jane Kagiri, kwa Hoja hii ambayo ameileta hapa. Hoja hii imeletwa hapa wakati mwafaka kwa sababu Wakenya wengi wanalalamika kuhusu jinsi gharama ya maisha iliivyopanda juu. Ninatoka katika sehemu za Malindi, ambapo tunategemea sana masuala ya utalii. Inanisikitisha leo hii ninapozunguka Malindi na kuona hoteli nyingi zimefungwa. Ukiwauliza hao wawekezaji ni kwa nini wamefunga hoteli hizo, bei ya stima huwa ni sababu kubwa. Nina imani kuwa imekuwa shida kufanya biashara katika Kenya nzima kwa sababu ya bei ya stima. Ukiangalia bei ya stima nchini ikilinganishwa na bei ya stima katika nchi za Uganda, Rwanda na Bara la Afrika nzima, utaona kuwa bei ya stima hapa Kenya iko juu, na imewakimbiza watu wasije kufanya biashara hapa nchini. Watu wanakimbilia nchi jirani ili kufanya biashara.
Ukiritimba ama monopoly umekuwa ni donda sugu katika maswala ya stima hapa Kenya. Ufisadi na ukiritimba ndizo zimedunisha maswala ya stima hapa nchini. Tukiendelea na ukiritimba na tusipoangalia jinsi ama namna nyingine ya kupata stima, watu wetu bado
watateseka. Ufisadi si jambo ambalo tunaweza tukalisahau kwa sababu kuna watu ambao waliitisha transformers miaka miwili iliyopita kule Malindi na bado hawajazipata. Ili upate hizo transformers kutoka KP ndio wananchi waweze kuzitumia, ni lazima uwe unawajua watu au uwahonge maafisa wao. Jambo hili ni ngumu kwa sababu wananchi wanalipa ushuru na wanahitaji umeme ili waweze kukidhi mahitaji ya maisha yao.
Mhe. Naibu Spika, juzi kabla sijalipwa mshahara, mimi kama Mbunge nilinunua
za shilingi mia tano. Hili ni jambo lingine ambalo ni lazima tuliangalie sisi kama Wabunge na Serikali jinsi tutaweza kusaidia watu wetu. Katika ile shilingi mia tano niliyoilipa kununua stima, ni shilingi mia moja na themanini na nane pekee yake ndio ilitumika kununua tokens . Nilipata token s ishirini na nne peke yake. Ina maana kwamba shilingi mia tatu na kumi na mbili zinaenda kwa gharama ya malipo ambayo sielewi hadi sasa. Katika ile shilingi mia tatu na kumi na mbili, tunajua kuna ushuru ambayo ni shilingi hamsini na nane na nukta moja sita. Fuel Energy Levy ilichukua shilingi mia moja na sabini na tano; Forex Charge ikachukua shilingi arobaini na saba, ilhali malipo ya Energy andPetroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) ikachukua shilingi 0.73; Water Resources Authority (WRA) ama Mamlaka ya Rasilimali za Maji shilingi 0.26, na Inflation Adjustment ama Marekebisho ya Mfumko wa Bei ikachukua shilingi 20.76. Hii inamaanisha kuwa ikiwa uwezo wa mama mboga pale chini ni shilingi mia tano kila wiki, basi anaponunua tokens, haitakuwa ya shilingi mia tano. Shilingi mia moja na themanini na nane peke yake ndiyo itatumika kununua tokens . Shilingi mia tatu na kumi na mbili zinaenda kwa matumizi tofauti tofauti ambayo hatujajua umuhimu wao kama Wakenya. Ningependa kuwaeleza viongozi wenzangu kuwa hivi sasa tunapambana na hali ngumu katika nchi yetu ya Kenya. Ni sharti tuweke vichwa pamoja ili tuangalie jinsi tunaweza kunasua watu wetu kutoka katika shida wanazopambana nazo. Kwa hayo machache, ninamuunga mkono dada yangu, Mhe. Jane. Hivi leo umeweza kuleta Hoja hii, lakini isimalizike hapa. Kama tatizo ni watu wa KP, basi ni lazima tuwafuate na tuwaulize ili watueleze ni kwa nini tuko na shida kama hizi. Hatufurahii hali hii na tunataka tulete mabadiliko. Asante sana Mhe. Naibu wa Spika.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. Many Members have shown a lot of interest in this Motion and I will, therefore, donate two minutes to each of the following Members: Hon. Irene Njoki, Hon. Richard Kilel, Hon. Mwengi Mutuse and Hon. Fatuma full network .
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I also want to thank Hon. Jane Kagiri for bringing this Motion. I rise to support and try to offer a few solutions
that we can adopt to reduce the cost of electricity in this country. I heard my colleague talking about the Water Resources Authority (WRA) charges in her bill. I want to request KP to check on double counting on WRA charges to stop charging non-catchment areas. I want to request the Ministry of Energy to investigate the quality performance of some of these IPPs. I am privileged to at least host three of these contractors. When we were with CS Davis Chirchir, it was very embarrassing to note that some of them were given these contracts in 2013, and they have not been able to achieve that. If they were able to achieve that, I can assure you we would be having 105 megawatts of electricity already generated and ready to be used by Kenyans. In addition, I would like to request that the Ministry of Energy investigates ways to reduce diesel-generated costs, as they are currently planning a staggering Ksh67 billion. As stated by one of my colleagues, we must also utilise our geothermal power facilities, which produce renewable energy. We also request that the Ministry expedite the construction of substations where transmission lines are set to transmit electricity. Lastly, I would like to request that the Ministry utilises other parastatals that can generate energy, including Kibos Sugar.
Hon. Kilel, you have the Floor.
Thank you very much, Hon. Deputy Speaker for the opportunity to contribute to this Motion. I just want to support the Motion that was brought by Hon. Jane Kagiri that seeks to bring the cost of power in the country down. I want to suggest some ways we can make that possible. One of them is utilising the sunshine. We encourage the use of solar panels in areas where we have enough sunshine. We also have windy areas like Ngong, where we can utilise wind power generators. That can also reduce the cost. We can also negotiate for the cost of purchase of power from the IPPs to go lower so that we can transfer the benefits to the citizens of Kenya.
Finally, we need to streamline the Government power generating companies like the KP and KenGen. They should be efficient and should carry out their operations in a very effective manner thus bringing the cost of power down. I stand to support the Motion so that our people may get cheap electricity.
Hon. Mwengi Mutuse.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I also want to thank Hon. Jane Kagiri for bringing this Motion and for donating part of her time for me to make my contribution. I will make my contribution specifically on three issues: first, as we look at the high cost of electricity, we also need to look at the high cost of connection to new customers. In my constituency, I have seen someone who has built a new home worth Ksh400,000 or Ksh500,000, but when they apply to be connected to power, they are given a quotation of Ksh1.6 million by KP. Where do you get that money from? So, as the Committee sits to look at the high cost of electricity, it should also consider the cost of new connections. This country has been treated to a policy that was called the Last Mile Connectivity, where people were supposed to pay Ksh15,000. So, we need to look at the cost of installation. In addition to examining the price of electricity, we must also solve the billing conundrum. Kenyans remark that the bills are extremely excessive, but Kenya Power, which charges them and which they faithfully pay, is also incurring losses. Every other time, the company's financial statements indicate that it is incurring losses. Where is the money going to? The energy industry must have been monopolised by cartels, according to any reasonable person's imagination. We must bring down the cartels so that the energy sector operates for the public's benefit and not for private profiteers'. I support the Motion.
Member for Migori, Hon. Fatuma Mohammed.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker, for this opportunity. I would also like to thank Hon. Jane Kagiri for introducing this Motion and for volunteering her time to me. My arguments will be very clear. My electricity bill is different from that of someone who resides in Githurai, as I probably reside in Lavington. Someone in Githurai has a very big home, whereas I live in Lavington on loans. However, this individual pays less than residents of Lavington, Runda, and other locations. I am curious about the criteria used by KP to justify this. When KP claims that it has incurred losses, it transfers those losses to its consumers, but not its profits. The Githurai and the Runda residents will each bear an equal portion of the losses but profits belong solely to KP. I support this Motion and believe that, God willing, we will approve it and reduce the cost of electricity for the people of Jua kali to conduct their business comfortably. I support.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I beg to reply as follows. First, allow me to begin by thanking Members of this House for their overwhelming support of this Motion. Even during the previous session, as I sat here and listened to Members, I could tell that these are the people's representatives. Everything they discussed is what every Kenyan is experiencing on the ground. This is why we are working hard to ensure that the cost of electricity goes down. I picked a few points from Members. I discussed Kenya Power's deeds and misdeeds during my presentation. Today, much attention has been paid to the connection problem, in which applicants for transformers must know someone in order to have them installed. Throughout my inquiry, I discovered that KP connects individuals but does not fix metre installers. Every month, the company has employees visit homes to collect money. These are the losses I was speaking about. We must put an end to this and ensure that the price of electricity goes down. Hon. Deputy Speaker, I beg to reply. Pursuant to Standing Order 53(3), I request that you defer putting of the Question to the following day.
Hon. Kagiri, your request is approved. Next Order.
Hon. Members, upon the request of the Member, this particular Motion is deferred.
Hon. Members, Hon. Timothy Toroitich has requested for this Motion to be deferred to the following week.
Upon the request of Hon. Brighton Yegon, this particular Motion is deferred to the following week.
Hon. Members, upon the request of Hon. Waithaka, this particular Motion is deferred.
Hon. Duncan Mathenge.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I beg to move the following Motion: THAT, aware that, the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act, Cap 131 Laws of Kenya provides for the regulation of the gambling industry, including the control of betting, lotteries and gaming in the country; further aware that there is an emerging trend of media houses offering their audiences platforms to participate in betting through lottery-style games, trivia shows, polls, contests and other SMS-based gaming; concerned that the trend was initially perceived as a harmless form of entertainment and audience engagement but has since developed into a problem within our communities, leading to many Kenyans getting addicted to this form of gambling that has led to lots of loss; further concerned that there are numerous negative effects of this trend, including financial ruin, family breakups, high truancy in schools resulting in high school dropout rates and, in some cases, suicide; noting that these games target individuals who can least afford to lose money, mainly the elderly, the youth and low-income earners; cognisant that the Government has the responsibility of protecting citizens from negative social trends, including gambling, and that the proliferation of these games is a violation of the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act; now, therefore, this House urges the national Government, through the relevant Ministries and agencies, to: (i) regulate the running of lotteries and any other forms of betting disguised as polls, contests and other SMS-based gaming by media houses; and (ii) ensure strict operationalisation of the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act and increased control and oversight of the betting industry.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, media houses in this country are licensed to inform, educate and disseminate news to Kenyans. However, in the history of this country, Kenyans have been left at the mercy of cartels exploiting them at every turn. Right from the onset of the infamous DECI Pyramid Scheme, other con games have happened. We have seen ordinary Kenyans lose their savings through Ekeza Sacco, Lesedi Developers and many other such activities that are neither licensed nor regulated. In all these activities, media houses have been right at the centre in terms of advertising and promoting such games. Apparently, media houses seem to have been on a learning mission and, having learnt from the best, they have now joined the gravy train promoting their own lotteries against the licences issued by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA). They are neither registered as betting firms and agencies by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB). The Media Council of Kenya (MCK), which is supposed to be a self-regulating body of media houses, has kept absolute silence and even evaded responding to concerns raised by Kenyans.
The CA has indeed acknowledged that there are rising concerns amongst Kenyans over the broadcasting of lotteries and games on ICT platforms. However, the MCK has used the excuse that because it appears before the Departmental Committee on Communication, Information and Innovation and answers questions, it has nothing to do with the misbehaviour of its members. Hon. Temporary Speaker, the BLCB has evaded responding to the official position of the board as the licensing authority on these gains. It is, therefore, my opinion that Kenyans have been left at the hands of each and every Tom, Dick, and Harry who would want to exploit them by luring them into betting activities.
The media houses, 14 of them, are very notorious for this. Every hour, they advertise a paybill number where Kenyans are supposed to send bets to the tune of Ksh100 in the promise that they will win windfall cash of Ksh30,000, Ksh 300,000, Ksh 250,000, half a million or even one million shillings every hour. When this is compounded against the over 200 licensed radio stations which are broadcasting in vernacular languages, it means that this game is being spread to every corner of our country in every native language.
One of the media houses is reputed to rake in as much as Ksh10 million a day on these betting activities. They start as early as 6:00 a.m., and end at midnight. These media houses have registered paybill and till numbers with Safaricom, but none of the media houses is bold enough to register the paybill numbers in the names of the media companies. They are using very different names and individuals to register these numbers ‘Madam Speaker’. It is, therefore, clearly a con game that the media houses are running on Kenyans.
Order. The Hon. Speaker is a biologically male person and is not intending to transit his gender.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker. I stand guided and corrected.
Gichichio FM uses a paybill number 760202 registered under Win Lotto, Inooro FM uses paybill number 5668989 registered under Piga Jeki; Kameme FM uses paybill number 155571 registered under Dumu Kenya Limited, Maisha FM uses paybill number 200038 registered under Ridhisha Jamii Limited; Radio Citizen uses paybill number 38348869 registered under Lotto Chonjo, while Kass FM uses paybill number 777000 registered under Lotto, Muga FM uses paybill number 290063 registered under Shabiki, Wimwaro FM paybill number 38348869 is registered under Lotto Chonjo, Chamgei FM paybill number 5668989 is registered under Piga Jeki, Ramogi FM paybill number 348869 is registered under Lotto Chonjo. Hon. Temporary Speaker, it is clear that this is a disguise. Why would a brand name in the broadcasting industry register a pay bill number under a different name? The fact that there is no control over this game has left our secondary school-going children and our young people in tertiary institutions addicted to betting under the guise of quick cash. Some of them even use money meant for school fees in these activities. No wonder we have very high truancy, abstentions, and dropout rates in schools, including even failure to complete education rates. Incidents of suicide that we have seen on the rise especially among young people and family members have a direct linkage to the financial ruin that families that can least afford to lose money are going through. It is important to note that this House, as a representative of the people, has a responsibility to safeguard the rights of Kenyans. We have a responsibility to ensure that the economic activities of certain firms are conducted within the law.
Do these media houses pay tax under the same regime that betting firms are paying? Do they declare in their income statements to Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) that they are getting revenue from betting activities? My guess is no. It is, therefore, imperative that this House must stand in the gap and protect Kenyans from these negative activities. Media owners are the who is who in this country. They are billionaires who can open casinos where people can go and bet. They cannot convert our airwaves into casinos and still fail to be licensed.
Hon. Temporary Speaker, I submit and request Hon. Kawanjiku to second.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker.
Let us have Hon. Kawanjiku. Give him the microphone.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker for giving me this opportunity so that I can support this Motion being presented by Hon. Mathenge. For sure it is high time that we do something as the House and even as the Government. The number of people we are losing to betting is enormous. We should try as much as we can to regulate some of these media houses because one of those things they are doing is to communicate. They acquired their licenses from the CA for communication. However, behind the scenes they are luring people into betting. One thing about betting is that these people are not regulated. They pay tax for betting to the KRA. You will realise that a whole generation from six in the morning to evening, as Hon. Mathenge has alluded, all they do is lure people to betting. Sometimes, for lack of regulations, these people bet with Ksh50 that young people within our community can probably afford. As such, they induct millions of Kenyans and young people into betting. There are no regulations or any form of parameter to be used to know what they are supposed to do to ensure that they pick the correct winners. The people they purport to be winners are people that they probably have just selected using their own means or through backdoors. They then collect the money and say that this person has won. Therefore, let us come up with regulations and make sure these media houses stop using and taking advantage of the goodwill they have with the public. We must call out CA and KRA to go after these companies and tell us who are the registered owners of the paybill numbers. Some of the media moguls within our public are the ones who are siphoning money from the public using betting. This has played a major role in the young generation. Some chose to remain unemployed because they believe they will win if they bet with as little as Ksh50 or Ksh100. This betting has destroyed families because when young people are given money by their parents to probably pay school fees and exams, they divert it to betting. They believe they will win a lot more money. After the results are announced and probably they have lost, they cannot go back to their families, and most likely end up committing suicide. Even the Attorney-General should tell us who are the owners of the companies that pay for betting activities in the media industry. If the work of the media is to air news, then they should leave the BCLB to license the betting companies. We have raised these questions severally. I have also brought a similar question here and I never got an answer from the CA. It is high time we moved this Motion and made sure that we brought out these cartels from the lockers. Who are these cartels playing with Kenyans’ minds?
Hon. Temporary Speaker, the betting companies target the low class and poor people within our communities. Fifty shillings or Ksh30 is something that majority of the people can afford. However, cumulatively, these media houses are making between Ksh10 million to Ksh20 million in a day, yet the amount won is less than Ksh200,000. There must be laws and regulations to guide this. We must call these people out and make sure that they are regulated. They must declare how much money they make, how much they pay as taxes and how much they pay the winners. Even how they pick these winners is questionable. You will realise that those who win these games are family members of these cartels. You cannot verify the winners on radio.
To some extent this has led to marriages falling apart because the men use all the money they get to bet. We must save our communities and our young generation from betting. Therefore, I second this Motion and ask the House to support so that we regulate
these media houses. We should also call out those who are earning and milking millions and billions of shillings from Kenyans without even paying taxes.
The Member for Mombasa County, Hon. Zamzam Chimba.
Ahsante sana, Bw. Spika wa Muda. Nampongeza Mhe. Mathenge kwa kuleta Hoja hii leo. Kwa hakika, kamari imekuwa donda sugu katika Taifa hili. Wahenga walisema samaki mkunje angali mbichi. Watoto wetu wameharibika na hata nyumbani inabidi kina mama wafiche vipochi vyao. Watoto wa shule wanazama wanapoona na kusikiza michezo hii kwenye vyombo vya habari na mitandaoni. Kama Waisilamu, Qur’ani imekataza na kuharamisha kamari. Na chochote ambacho kimemchukiza na kukataliwa na Mwenyezi Mungu, binadamu anapojihusihsa nacho, basi madhara yanayofuatia huwa ni makubwa sana. Namshukuru Mhe. Mathenge kwa sababu ameona na kufichua kuwa kamari ina madhara mengi kuliko faida katika jamii. Vyombo vya habari, kuna mambo mengi mazuri mnayotueleza na kutufunza sana. Lakini tunawaomba muweze kupinga jambo hili la kamari. Kuanzia asubuhi hadi saa sita usiku, vyombo vya habari huonyesha mambo haya ya kamari. Wazee wanaoheshimika wamezama kwenye michezo hii ya kamari kufikia kuuza mashamba yao na watoto wanabaki bila urithi. Utapata wanawake wengi sana wamekaa pembeni wakishiriki katika michezo hii. Huu ni wizi wa dhahiri kutoka kwa sekta hii, kwa sababu hao wanatengeza mamilioni lakini Wakenya wanaolengwa na michezo hii ni wanyonge na hali yao ni duni. Wengine wanaenda mjengo na wakiwekeza na kushinda Ksh200, wanaendelea kuongeza pesa ili washinde zaidi. Mwingine akipata Ksh10,000 katika mjengo, anawekeza zote kwenye kamari na mwishowe anajitia kitanzi kwa sababu hali si hali. Kama kiongozi katika Jumba hili, ingekuwa ni uwezo wangu, ningepinga kamari kabisa katika Taifa hili ili tusiwe na mambo ya kamari kabisa, kwa watoto au kwa watu wazima. Sote tunaadhirika. Ingekuwa ni uwezo wangu, ningekataa michezo ya kamari. Mimi kama Mama Zamzam na Mwisilamu nakataa kamari kwa sababu dini yangu imeikataa. Nawaomba viongozi walio hapa pia waikatae kamari. Kuna mambo mengi sana tunaweza kufanya ili kulijenga Taifa. Mvua imenyesha na pesa hizi zinazotumika katika kamari ziwekwe kwenye kilimo. Tulime mashamba ili tuvune chakula. Wananchi wanakufa kwa njaa. Tuwekeze pesa hizi kwa vitu vya maana na tuwache mambo ambayo yamelaaniwa na Mwenyezi Mungu. Wazazi pia waangalie watoto wa shule. Tusiwape watoto wadogo simu, kwani tunapowapatia simu, wanaingia kwenye sites ambazo zinawaonyesha mambo ya kamari na mwishowe wanaingilia wizi. Tunawapoteza watoto wetu lakini kwanza tunapaswa kutibu chanzo cha mambo haya. Wizi huanza na mambo ya kamari, na mwishowe mtu anabadilika kuwa jambazi sugu. Kama kuna Wizara inayohusika na maswala ya kamari, basi inafanya hivyo kinyume na sheria. Wizara hii inapaswa kuangalia ni wapi kamari inachezwa – katika casino, nyumbani ama kwenye vyombo vya habari. Hata mimi nilicheza kamari nikiwa mdogo, lakini naomba Mwenyezi Mungu anisamehe. Jambo hili huanza pole pole, na mwishowe kuwa kama addiction. Watoto hushindwa kusoma na kupotea njia na tunapata jamii inaangamia. Mimi naeleza Serikali kuwa wakati mwingine inaweza kuona inakusanya ushuru hapa na pale na kumbe inachukua laana ikiiweka katika taifa letu. Ikiwa Mwenyezi Mungu amekataa kamari, basi ni dhahiri shahiri kuwa Serikali pia inaweza kupinga kamari. Sisi
tunasema Serikali ipinge kamari kabisa ili hizo pesa zipelekwe kwa maendeleo. Nafuatilia sana. Kuna watoto ndani ya Mombasa County wameingia katika kamari. Badala ya kwenda skuli, unawapata wamekaa vichochoroni. Mkoba uko mgongoni lakini yuko na simu. Wazazi wangu wa Mombasa County, janga hili la kamari ni janga kubwa, ijapokuwa halionekani. Leo mtoto atakuletea mia tano akuambie: “Maa, mimi napata hizi. Ninabeti, napata hizi tununue mboga”. Wewe mama unapokea lakini jua unaweka mtoto wako katika matatizo. Kesho atafungua kabati lako na kutoa dhahabu zako aende kuuza ili apate pesa za kucheza kamari. Kesho kutwa atafungua mlango wa jirani, ataangalia kipochi chake na kuchukua akacheze kamari. Siku inayofuata ataenda kuvunja benki. Utampata kwenye casino. Wale wa kuvunja benki wakishamaliza shughuli zao huenda katika casino kutupa pesa kama njugu maanake hawakuzifanyia kazi. Hawajui uchungu wa pesa. Yote yanatokana na mambo ya kamari. Kwa hivyo, Mheshimiwa Spika wa Muda, leo ninafurahi kupata mwanya huu wa kupinga kamari kabisa na kuunga mkono mjadala wa Mhe. Mathenge. Mheshimiwa, Mwenyezi Mungu akuweke. Huu ni mijadala wa nguvu sana katika Jumba hili; ni kati ya mijadala mikubwa sana katika taifa hili; ni donda sugu ambalo lilikuwa limefumbiwa jicho. Leo tunaliangazia. Nina uhakika ninyi Waheshimiwa wenzangu mtaweza kulitilia maanani na kupinga haya mambo ya kamari, hasa katika mateleshiveni yetu. Mnaotangaza ni wazazi - mna watoto. Tunawaomba tuanze kutoa mambo ya kamari katika vyombo vya habari kisha tuimalishe sehemu nyingine yoyote ile. Ahsante sana Mhe. Spika wa Muda.
Thank you very much. Hon. Mathenge, Parliament, under Article 95, resolves issues of concern to the people. What are we resolving when a Motion says: “…this House urges”? I am raising this to all Hon. Members. I thought we should begin crafting these Motions in a way that will make the resolutions of Parliament actionable. What do we achieve beyond talking when you say, “The House urges”? This is something we should look into as we deliberate upon this Motion and as we deal with other matters.
Is Hon. Musa Sirma in the House?
Hon. Johana Ng’eno is certainly not Hon. Musa Sirma. Hon. Farah Maalim, former Deputy Speaker, do you want to contribute?
Hon. Temporary Speaker, I want to add my voice against the ills of those habits. The previous speaker was very categorical. I believe this thing is banned in all faiths. I know it is banned in Islamic faith. It is said in Arabic, " rij`sunmin `amali shayṭāni ", which means an abomination and the lowest work of Satan. The devil is the devil, Lucifer. We know him to have no morals. He destroys humanity. Even within the low morals of the devil, Lucifer, this is lowest of all. We have destroyed generations of this country. The thing itself is compulsive. If you have ever heard of the addiction of alcohol, drugs, and khat, this is the most compelling compulsive addiction. Once somebody gets into the habit, he does not know what he is doing. He will sell his properties, spend school fees of his children and sell their food. He will use all that money to bet, or gamble for that matter. We had a way of protecting against this in the early days because it was confined to casinos. Casinos were presumed to be places where rich people went to look for those services. The Government stood to make a little bit of money out of it. Now, because this thing has been liberalised to the extent that you can bet with Ksh10, it has come to our homes. It is bad in a country that has 67 per cent of its population living below the poverty line. We know poverty is widespread.
The media has become powerfully savvy that we have one of the highest numbers per capita access to mobile services. On per capita basis, I believe it is the highest in the continent. Our children and everybody else have access to mobile phones. Because of that access, all the poor people see somebody who has made one million or two million shillings by betting with, say Ksh100 or Ksh200. Because they are living in such an awful and difficult life, that person says: “Maybe I could try that and hit a jackpot”. That is how gambling feeds itself progressively. It continues that way. Eventually, you become addicted to it and you steal to gamble. You use everything you have. I remember many years back, there was an Indian gambler who had misused his family's money to the last coin. You know Indians have a culture in which the father pays the dowry for the daughter to get married. I think he went and took a loan to get his daughter married. Because he was a compulsive gambler, he went and gambled everything away. He could not forgive himself. He chopped off his right hand. It was in the media those days. What we need now is a very powerful Government regulation on this activity. School drop-outs and low grades are out there. Truancy is widespread. So, when you are called by somebody from a school that they are unable to pay fees, ask them to give you the parents' phone numbers. Maybe, fees were given to the child and he or she gambled it all. So, he has to look for money from other places like the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF). Occasionally, you meet the parents and ask them how much money they gave to the child. Then you realise that the child is playing games with you. It is unlike when they pay fees directly to schools. Nonetheless, this thing has had a big effect across the society. It is now happening even in the villages and the very backward rural areas - backward in the sense that there is no infrastructure and there is very little to show in terms of Government services and other infrastructures. You will find a young person in school or college with a smart phone that costs about Ksh60,000 or Ksh70,000 and yet, he or she has a problem raising Ksh5,000 or Ksh10,000 for fees, or even fare to get to an institution even when the NG-CDF is paying for the rest of the items. One of the things that is really feeding into those things is those very bad behaviours. I agree with the previous speaker as well as the Member of Parliament for Nyeri. With regard to 'urging', I am sure you are trying to get us into the process of creating a Bill that will seek to control this thing. I am happy about that, but as the Hon. Temporary Speaker says, maybe, you should have done something a bit stronger than 'urge'. Nonetheless, do not leave it at this stage. Proceed and make sure that the Bill is in place. If you need my assistance or that of the Hon. Speaker, we will be willing to help you because we really need to bring this country’s future generation to certain sanity. We used to say in the past that it is mothers who carry the burden of this nation. It is because if you give a man money, he may use it on Miraa, for drinking, and so on. But when a mother has money, she takes it to her children. Things are different now because with betting, a mother facing hardship in the house may easily be lured to use the little money she has, say, Ksh100, to bet hoping she could win Ksh1 million. She would be doing it out of the desire to develop her own family. She could easily get sucked into this compulsive behaviour. So, that is also a problem. Even the safe areas that we had before are now in danger. Remember it is the womenfolk and mothers of this country who hold our families and this nation together.
Where I come from, 70 per cent of the people taking care of children and sending them to school are women. In my life, I have not seen ten women who chew Miraa, but I have, probably, seen half a million men who chew Miraa. You will probably see women who are drunkards or alcoholics, but their numbers are too miniscule compared to that of men. Look at households and how they are being taken care of by the female gender. The risk is that betting is already creeping into the very few safe zones that we had before. The whole
nation is going to be destroyed, in my opinion. I think this is worse than Kumi Kumi, Miraa, and other social ills. These new phenomena are imported from outside. We have to tame them soonest.
What is out of order, Hon. Rindikiri?
Hon. Temporary Speaker, I would like to ask my very good senior friend to give us statistics that prove that Miraa is a bad substance. You have demonised Miraa in three of your statements! Please, provide statistical evidence to prove that Miraa is entirely… If you misuse something, that does not mean that it is bad.
Hon. Farah Maalim, were you still contributing, or you are done?
I was done. Many years ago, a matter was raised on the Floor of the House where the late Hon. Martin Shikuku said:"Kenya African National Union (KANU) is dead." The late Hon. Seroney said there was no need to substantiate the obvious. I also say that there is no need to substantiate the obvious. However, there is a whole body of research that was done on Miraa . It was banned in all of the developed countries. Miraa has also been banned in Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan and many African countries. The only country that has not banned it... I can agree with you because you come from a Miraa growing zone, but, please, go back to your own self in real sense. Hon. Temporary Speaker, can I get one more minute?
The procedures of the House do not allow a Member to stand on a point of order to re-open debate for a Member who has concluded. That is what you are doing with Hon. Rindikiri. You will have 30 seconds to conclude because other Members want to contribute too.
Okay. It is banned in the developed world. Go with Miraa right now to Saudi Arabia and you will rot in jail for the rest of your life. You will actually get a life imprisonment. So, Miraa is a very bad substance. It has destroyed your own people. Even in the Miraa growing areas, children no longer go to school, and you know that very well. I know you will get some few votes because of this, but let me tell you one thing…
Hon. Farah Maalim and Hon. Rindikiri can persuade themselves on those issues beyond this Motion. Hon. Johana Kipyegon, Member for Emurua Dikirr.
This Miraa debate is very interesting, Hon. Temporary Speaker. I had not known what kind of substance it is. I was also thinking that I could grow it for commercial farming, but now my brother here, the Temporary Deputy Speaker, who is our senior, has condemned it. Anyway, Hon. Temporary Speaker, I also wish to contribute to this particular debate.As you rightly said, this particular Motion and another one which was dealing with the cost of electricity, are 'urging' the Government. The contributions made by Members, especially on the Motion which was dealing with the cost of electricity, were substantive and productive. Unfortunately, the Motion will just end up in the shelves of the Table Office, same case with this one. I would really like to take the advice of the Hon. Temporary Speaker that when fundamental Motions like these find their way in the House, we should turn them
into Bills. That way, we will put to use the debates in this House to enrich the process of making law. Hon Temporary Speaker, I thank you for that very serious advice. On this issue of betting, I remember we had a very serious debate in this House last year in the life of the last Parliament. It was about betting companies; one of them being SportPesa. It was a very serious debate and heads rolled. I remember very well that very many betting companies were removed. They were banned and their licences were withdrawn. The same reasons that we are discussing here today are the same reasons that we used then to withdraw licences of particular betting companies which were destroying our generations. I have heard the Deputy President of this country talking about illicit drinks, which are almost wiping out a whole generation of young men. The same thing is happening with betting companies. The betting industry is destroying a whole generation. Even students who are in school do not take time to study anymore. They are glued onto radio or television or phones as they wait for betting results. We pay school fees for very many students either at a personal level or in our capacity as Members of Parliament. Students have a lot of demands, including asking for money which they cannot substantiate its use. We do not know whether that money goes to schools. They will tell you today that they want money, or that school needs a certain amount of money. Normally, it is not big money – sometimes, it is just Ksh500 or Ksh1,000. We have since learnt that 80 per cent of the monies that we send to students do not go to the schools but, rather, it is channelled to betting. They load the money in their phones so that they can bet. I count myself lucky because I have never participated in betting my whole life; even when I was young. That time, people used cards to bet and they would say: “ Hii kadi ni yapesa.” I resisted to participate in betting because I knew it would attract me to those gains which I always understood added nothing but only wasted one’s time. Hon. Temporary Speaker, I fully support the Member who introduced this Motion in this House. For the television and radio stations that participate in betting, we are not saying we stop them from this particular business, but they must acquire licences like other ordinary betting companies out there. So, if they want to participate in betting, they must have the licences.
Secondly, they should also pay taxes on the money they spend on betting activities, which we know are millions and billions of shillings. I believe the television and radio stations do not pay taxes on betting monies, but for their other activities. I think if they want to proceed with betting, they should also pay taxes because this is where millions of shillings are processed. If we want to control the betting on television and radio stations, then payment of taxes should be followed up properly. In fact, the taxes should be increased so that we avoid destroying a whole generation of young men and women.
Thirdly, they should be registered as betting companies. If they want to participate in betting, they should abide by the law. Most betting companies have closed shop because they have failed to follow the strict regulations which are in place. The laws which have been passed by this House are very strict that most betting companies cannot abide by, thus forcing them to close shop. We want television and radio stations to be registered so that they are bound by the laws that are made by this House and when they make mistakes, they are punished using the same laws that are used to punish other betting companies. I am in full support, but my advice is that we should regulate betting in this country as much as possible. You know betting is mostly done using phones. It should be regulated. For example, in this country, you cannot enter a casino unless you are above a certain age. This was a very good regulation, but nowadays, people do not go to casinos; they have casinos in their phones. So, how do we regulate the participants in betting? Nowadays, people participate whether they
are 12 years old or not for as long as they can access fathers, mothers or brother's phone. They can google and do whatever they want.
Hon. Temporary Speaker, my mother is almost 100 years and I bought her a phone. I normally send her money on M-Pesa and airtime too. She has grandchildren and when I send her money, after three days, she tells me there is no money in her phone. That is because they access her phone and get money to use for betting. So, how do we regulate this activity so that young men who are below the age of 25 do not participate in betting? The television and radio stations allow access to anybody whether 10, 12 or 25 years old. How do we regulate that? It is a question for the Member who moved this Motion. Please, research and bring a Bill so we can save generations.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker.
Member for Luanda, Hon. Dick Maungu.
Thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Speaker, for giving me an opportunity to contribute to this important matter on betting in this country. I also wish to appreciate my good brother, Dr. Mathenge, for a well thought out Motion on how we can regulate and bring some order in betting. It is true betting companies have been doing their business in this country for a long time. They have been regulated by well-structured laws that govern the way they interact. The mushrooming of some small betting companies, courtesy of the FM stations we have in this country, has resulted in abuse and exposure of a vast majority of our people.
The Members of this House may not be culprits of this scheme of betting which, just like alcoholism and pornography, is very addictive. There is no way we can allow the vulnerable people to be exposed and used. They are so much exposed because radio stations offer a platform for interaction with their followers. As a result, the radio stations have moved on to register betting firms that are easy to access and so they induce the young and vulnerable people. This country suffers from great unemployment levels for persons between the ages of 21 to around 35 years. This group of people is very exposed and does not have a source of livelihood. They are almost hopeless because they cannot secure stable employment, but can only secure a stable source of income. Radio stations and betting companies keep inducing those people. They give them false hope that they will get some money. The challenge is some of the people betting are very young and use their parents’ or sibling’s phones so as to get some money. It is true; some of those companies give some small tokens to the said people who end up pumping the same money in drugs. Therefore, I rise to support this Motion and request the Hon. Member to research further and find out how we can structure the betting companies’ businesses in this country. There is no way a radio station can think of being a betting company and, at the same time, procure a pay bill number, which is not licensed under its name. For some time now, KRA has been searching on how to raise money in this country. Those stations raise a lot of money. I keep asking how much goes back to the country as tax. They receive too much money. I am sure those pay bills which are not registered in the same business are a source of income for them. Therefore, that money is exempted from taxation. The good Member would wish to dig deeper and find out how the country benefits from such schemes. Has KRA been able to net those people and ensure as they collect money, they equally pay taxes?
Hon. Temporary Speaker, the betting age should be capped because a kid as young as 7, 10 or 12 years, who has accessed a parent’s phone, can place a bet and get some money. We need to control betting because at that formative age, children are not old enough to make independent, sober, and upright decisions. Therefore, radio stations and betting firms brainwash them.
I support this Motion and request that the House strongly condemns betting. Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker, for giving me the opportunity.
Hon. Rindikiri Mugambi, Member of Parliament for Buuri.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this Motion. I thank my friend, Hon. Maina, for coming up with this Motion. However, just as my colleagues have said, something is missing in the Motion in the sense that we need to have an implementation framework. We should not just talk, but we should also carry the Motion forward for implementation. My colleagues have spoken about gambling in this country. I had the great opportunity to be in Las Vegas in January and I saw a completely different world. One thing that I picked up from there is that there are professional gamblers and those who are addicts. In all the gambling premises, I would always find people who looked like zombies, who were drunk and were drug addicts. They would move backward instead of forward because they did not know the difference between day and night. The gambling culture is seriously creeping into our lifestyles. I came across a policeman the other day who was gambling while on duty. I walked into his office and found him gambling. Gambling is coming up more and more in our lives. We all know and have heard of cases of suicide in this country that are associated with gambling. There is an emerging trend of petty thieves amongst our youths who steal eggs, onions and other small things from their mothers so that they can get some money to buy illicit alcohol, drugs and engage in betting. Whether we like it or not, that is slowly emerging. There is increasing conmanship associated with gambling. I am sure that many Members of Parliament have fallen victim to petty conmanship because people are now borrowing Ksh500 to engage in gambling. That money is borrowed at night which means that our children leave home to go and gamble. We have heard about broken families because of gambling. It is a serious matter in this country. I know of girls who have fallen pregnant after being lured into gambling dens. We are losing homes to bars and gambling dens. One of the things that this Motion has brought forth is the element of tax evasion. It has also exposed the failure of the Government in terms of registration of companies, which falls under the Office of the Attorney-General and the Registrar of Companies. The Kenya Revenue Authority has totally failed in tax collection. They “sneeze” whenever Members of Parliament engage in small businesses, but they cannot go after gambling firms that advertise on television and radio stations in broad daylight, unless Members of Parliament start making noise. The KRA and certain ministries and departments of the Government have failed this country. We have been saying that people have not been paying taxes. Unfortunately, it has now come out very clearly. About 70 per cent of the companies, television and radio stations that Mr. Maina read out all belong to the Royal Media Services and the Mediamax Network Limited – the big boys in the television and radio business. Those stations are at the forefront in condemning the Government for doing certain things irregularly. It is a shame that the Royal Media Services, radio stations…
Hon. Rindikiri, I want us to always remember the provisions of our Standing Orders.
I stand guided, Hon. Temporary Speaker.
We do not make adverse comments about entities or persons who cannot defend themselves on the Floor of the House, unless there is a substantive Motion thereon.
Hon. Temporary Speaker, I am picking this from the narrative that was given by the Mover of the Motion. We all know Inooro FM,
Kameme FM, and Meru FM. The Mover mentioned them. If I should not follow that route, I stand guided. However, that was brought forth.
Hon. Rindikiri, the worst thing that you can ever do is to contradict the Speaker. Once you are ordered to take a particular line for the good order of the House, just keep to that so that we proceed with the debate substantively.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker. I did not make the statement in bad faith. This is a very serious issue even in business practice. Some companies pay taxes while others do not. It is discriminatory that some companies are given undue advantage over others. I join my colleagues in saying that it is a very serious issue. We need to be sober on this because we are losing a generation. We are currently fighting against alcohol and drug abuse, and teenage pregnancies. We now have to deal with gambling. Every day, there is something new coming up in our society. It will become a very serious matter. Unless we do serious consultations and establish regulations and controls, this country will end being like some countries that we see where there are issues of murder and shootings every day. I urge Members that if we are to save this country, we must save our youth. We must speak out against this vice in one voice. Gambling needs to be seriously regulated. We have to address issues associated with gambling such as stealing and the poor performance of our children in schools. This is a very important Motion. We need to implement it. I am sure that Hon. Maina will look into that. Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker, because through this Motion and many others like the ones we have discussed this morning, we will be able to save our future generations.
Member of Parliament for Kitutu Masaba, Hon. Clive Gisairo.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this Motion. I would like to thank Hon. Mathenge for bringing such a Motion to the Floor of the House. Hon. Temporary Speaker, I want to stick to the direction that Hon. Duncan Mathenge…
Member of Parliament for Migori County, please, approach and enter the House in the manner we do under the Standing Orders.
Thank you. You may proceed.
Hon. Temporary Speaker, I hope my 45 seconds will be compensated. Hon. Mathenge is quite specific on what we want to address here; betting through the media houses. We need to ask ourselves the role of the media in the society: their role is to inform and educate. However, media houses have given themselves a bigger role which is to create wealth through gambling. The target audience of the media is usually very wide. It reaches every home and touches the most vulnerable. They use the most enticing language to make every person listening feel like a winner. If you look at the regulated firms doing betting, you will find that they do not have the same leeway because if
it is sports, gambling is at its peak over the weekend when sports activities are taking place. This is not the case with media houses because for them it is from Monday through Sunday, from 5.00 a.m. to midnight. For every hour, they have a different brand of betting going on. They camouflage it as a promotion or a way of trying to support business when, usually, it is not the case. How many people win in a month? How many people gamble? Hon. Mathenge, if this becomes a Bill, we also need to say that if they are regulated, there has to be a number of hours that any media house should be allowed to conduct betting activities. There also should be a minimum amount of money that any gambler should use to play. Betting with Ksh50 makes it very easy and cheap so that everybody thinks they can do it. The problem is if that person bets 10 times a day, they never see the impact until it is too late. If someone says the minimum amount is Ksh500, then there will be very few participants. But if you make it Ksh50, you will literally have a Class VIII child taking the grandmother's phone and trying their luck. The media should be a mirror of the society. They should not be the ones showing the youths that it is easy to get rich. Our youth now have the get-rich-quick mentality. You will find them in the villages with small radios following betting activities. They think that in the next hour, it is their chance to get rich. However, they get poorer every day because they gamble with the little they have. The media should help the leaders to fix the society. What is going on right now is not exactly that. What are the returns? Does the media declare the amount of money they make from the betting games that they conduct? Hon. Temporary Speaker, we should pass a law to provide that all media houses donate portions of the benefits they make from gambling to corporate social responsibility. This is not their core business and, therefore, they should share whatever they get with the society they got that money from. We should see them building schools with the same names they use for those betting activities. They should be compelled to give back a good chunk of whatever they get from those needy and poor people. We need to see them offering bursaries because people of means do not gamble on televisions and radio stations. They are normally the most vulnerable in the society. As Members of Parliament, we are the representatives of the people and we must ensure that we protect those vulnerable people. We should ensure that the media, which should be our partner in developing the society, does not loose traction and end up exploiting the very people we are supposed to protect. The tax laws should apply. They need to pay tax away from the media revenue earnings. This should be made public so that it is clear to the poor people that while they gambled Ksh100, someone made Ksh10 million at the end of the day. They should also know that chances of you winning is one in a million, and this simply means you will never win. Once the youth know that the chance of winning is too slim, then they will not gamble. They will instead use that money to start poultry farming and do kitchen gardening and develop themselves. Thank you, Hon. Duncan Mathenge. We hope that you will take it a step forward so that we put this into law and make sure that the media plays its role towards developing this country and protecting society from the ills of gambling. Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker.
Thank you, Hon. Gisairo. Hon Members, allow me to recognise the presence of pupils from St Benard Primary School, Kajiado East, Kajiado County, and students from Kasue Secondary School, Kibwezi East, Makueni County. Students and pupils, you are welcome to the National Assembly to learn. I do not know whether the Members of Parliament from those areas are in the House. On behalf of the House, we welcome all the students and teachers who are present as the future of the Kenyan society. Thank you very much.
Hon. Tim Wanyonyi, Member of Parliament for Westlands.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker, for giving me a chance to contribute to this Motion.
On a point of order, Hon. Temporary Speaker.
Hon. Irene Mayaka, are you on a point of order?
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker. I just want you to also consider gender because we also know a lot about betting. We want to speak.
Hon. Irene, I know you, except that following the determination by the Supreme Court, gender of people is no longer known. So, I do not know when Hon. Tim Wanyonyi confirmed he does not belong to the gender you imagine. Hon. Tim Wanyonyi, proceed.
Hon. Temporary Speaker, my gender is known. I subscribe to the original creation, the way God created us, man and woman, and not like the other people who are trying to bring in a third gender which does not subscribe to nature.
So, Hon. Tim Wanyonyi is an African male adult?
After he contributes, the other gender will be considered. You may proceed.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker. I represent an urban constituency and the betting issue is really affecting our society. These days, they have created small machines, the size of an Automated Teller Machine (ATM), placed in local villages. Boys and girls sneak in to play using those machines. There is no age limit. So, anyone can play. We must save this generation from betting. If not regulated, betting is going to create a big problem in this society. We are seeing people who think that hard work is not necessary, and that they can gamble and win millions of shillings. This is the biggest monster consuming our young people. We must find a way to regulate it so that only licensed betting companies can do the business. We should put in place strict regulations as to the age of the people who can participate and the timing of how they do it. Betting has now gone into areas popular with people, especially sports areas. For example, people do not watch football because they love it. They watch it because they are gambling. They are trying to do something about which team is going to win. This trend is going on. I have seen many people who know no player in a team, but are betting on that team. The issue of betting was in this House in the last Parliament and we debated it. There was the proposal of raising taxes on it to discourage the youth, but I do not think that is the issue. Even if we raise taxes, betting companies mint a lot of money. You remember in the 1980s when we hosted the All African Games, there was an American conman who came and pretended that he was going to bring Michael Jackson and others to perform before the start of the games. He collected millions of shillings and disappeared into thin air. President Moi had to intervene and bring Franco from the DRC to save the situation. We have seen foreigners who come here and pitch tent to gamble, I do not know who licenses them, and use our media. They drive the business because they pay for adverts in the media. They entice people using money. Children have even used school fees to gamble. Even adults are affected. A grown-up man takes a loan to gamble and ends up losing a family property. This
is a very serious monster that we must control. This Motion is timely. We need to follow it with a Bill so that we properly regulate the betting business in this country. Other countries that engage in gambling and betting have their industries properly regulated. You do not see gambling being abused the way it is being done in this country. I support this Motion believing that if we can regulate gambling, then we will manage the affairs that go on, especially in our informal settlements where poor people live. Gambling companies target poor people because poor people want to use every shilling they have in gambling. Someone with Ksh5,000 imagines that he can win Ksh100,000 or Ksh20,000. He throws the money to gambling and ends up losing. The situation then becomes very bad for him. This has ended up ruining families. Other people commit suicide. I support the Motion.
Is the Member for Kitui West, Hon. Edith Nyenze, in the House? If she is in, she should proceed immediately. Give her the microphone.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker. I am sorry for the inconvenience. Let me take this opportunity to share my views on this Motion. First, I would like to congratulate the Member for bringing this Motion to the House. It has come at the right time. There is a time I wanted to ask a Question on this matter, but he has now addressed it in the right way by putting the facts together and bringing it as a Motion. You notice that many radio stations, especially vernacular radio stations, are running gaming and betting activities against the law. They are not licensed to engage in gaming. They use 80 per cent of their time on gaming and 20 per cent on news. The radio stations are licensed to broadcast news and advertisements, but they spend most of their time gaming. Their activities have made many Kenyans victims. They ask very simple and obvious questions which anyone can answer. By doing so, they attract unsuspecting Kenyans, who keep trying especially now that people are very desperate. The radio stations are taking advantage of unsuspecting Kenyans who think that they can make money very quickly through gaming. Our youths need a lot of education and counselling. They should be told that they will not get rich quickly. That is what they are trying to do. They think they can get rich very quickly and, therefore, fall prey to the radio stations. The gaming authorities should move swiftly and save Kenyans by coming up with the required policies and regulations. The radio stations give false hopes. It is actually broad daylight stealing from unsuspecting Kenyans. I would advise Kenyans to stop losing money through gaming. What they are following is false. There is no money in it. It is not easy to get the Ksh100,000 you are being promised by the radio stations. Just work hard. Use the money you have for the right thing. Do not speculate that you will get money. There is no money. Even people who are announced on radio stations as having won, if you follow up, you will find that it is not true. Maybe they are just family members or friends with the radio station hosts. The radio stations are lying that you are going to get a lot of money. Hon. Temporary Speaker, I support this Motion. The Government should move swiftly to come up with regulations and the right guidelines for radio stations. They should stop this game right away, so that Kenyans do not lose their money. I support the Motion.
Thank you very much. Next is the Member for Kericho County, Hon. Beatrice Kemei.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker for giving me an opportunity to contribute to this Motion that has been raised by Hon. Mathenge. It has come at the right time, when Kenyans are looking for any possible way of putting food on their table, pay their bills and pay school fees.
I do not believe in betting, gambling and lottery because of my Christian background. The Book of 1st Timothy 16 talks about the love of money being the root of all evil. This tells us that people would want to have money in an easy way. They are not only getting money. Somebody puts in Ksh10 or Ksh50 and expects to win hundreds, thousands or even millions of shillings. This one has a negative impact on our society. I have very many examples. I remember that when Lotto lottery was started in Kericho sometime back, many women would leave their houses very early in the morning to go and bet, but they would not win. When they got back home, they would be beaten by their husbands. I know of a very close neighbour of mine whom I had to go and rescue. I requested the husband not to chase her away. She was being chased away because of betting. When I talked to her, I realised that she was capable of doing many other things, but she concentrated on betting, ending up losing a lot of money. Some would even leave their children without food and even at lunchtime, they would still be very busy betting. So, you can imagine the negative impact of betting on the family unit in our society. One lady spent Ksh20,000 meant for school fees on betting. When she was asked where the money was, she lied that she lost it. She claimed that she did not know who went to the house and stole it. When we looked at it critically, it was out of betting. Betting has caused a lot of agony in our society. People have not used the God-given opportunities of working in the farms, doing business and empowerment of any form, but instead, they look for easy money. I look at it as robbery with no violence. I do not know how much tax the people operating gaming businesses pay. I have read somewhere that there are regulations to be put in place by the KRA to levy a 15 per cent tax on betting. I do not know when the implementation of the regulations will take place. Maybe, 20 per cent of the winnings should also be withheld as tax. This idea has not taken any form. I must say that there is need to look at the social and economic impact of gaming on society. We understand the cost of living is high and people are looking for any means of getting money, but people have to work for the same. Betting is very addictive and people get depressed when they do not gain from it. Others develop migraine headaches because of anxiety and anxiety-related problems that come with it. The Government should seriously look at how to regulate this business. We have talked about radio and television stations that advertise the same every day. I was in one of the stations sometime back talking about how the youths have gone astray. I mentioned betting as one of the causes. The person who was in the studio gave me a serious look. I withdrew because I knew I would not be given time to conclude what I was saying. When I asked later, I was told that the radio station workers were paid from proceeds of gaming. I wonder how much tax they pay out of the collections they make.
Regulations concerning the same should be put in place. To add on that, school children should not be allowed to participate in gaming. Regulations should be put on the time betting should start and its purpose must be known. Gaming should also be done in a fair way. Some people call it “jackpot.” Some people get a lot of money. Although I am not in support of the same, I acknowledge that there are those who have benefited from it. I know of one person who won Ksh200 million. Of course, he became a millionaire in a day. I believe he used the money positively. I do not know how much tax he paid out of it. Imagine out of millions or hundreds and thousands of Kenyans only one person benefits from betting. This House has to take this matter seriously. I also request the Member who has brought this Motion to the House to take it to the next level so that it does not just end up being a resolution. He should progress it to a Bill. That is how betting can be regulated. Children have dropped out of school and others have performed poorly because of time wastage. I know of children who have also been beaten for not doing their domestic work
because they go out to bet. Families have broken down. Children have stolen from their parents and others steal from other children. I support this Motion very strongly. We should look more into it. I request the Member to look deeper into this matter and subsequently bring it back to the House as a Bill. We will support it. With those remarks, I beg to support.
Hon. Members, I am informed that we have the following Members from Kakamega County Assembly in the Speaker’s Gallery: 1. Hon. Silayi Shiyenji. 2. Hon. James Etabale. 3. Hon. Amos Liyai. 4. Hon. Charles Anyona. 5. Hon. Samuel Segero. 6. Hon. Zurak Nyongesa. 7. Hon. Moses Musundi. 8. Hon. Boniface Mabuka. 9. Hon. Donald Okumu. 10. Hon. Joel Okwako.
On behalf of the National Assembly of the Republic of Kenya and on my own behalf, I welcome you to the National Assembly during your tour of duty. Hon. Dorothy Ikiara.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker for giving me an opportunity to support this very important Motion that has been brought to the House by Hon. Mathenge, Member for Nyeri Town. It is good to note that this Motion is very timely because it speaks about banning media houses from running lotteries and prize money competitions. The media houses of today have lost their primary objective. I am saying this because in the late 1980s and 1970s, during lunch hour, we would mill around a radio set to listen to the latest news so that we could know what was happening across the country. Thereafter, the radio stations would play patriotic songs and give messages of hope to Kenyans. Today, every time is news time and more so, on the local stations. After every few sentences, there is an interlude of betting. This is something that runs as an advert where people are told to send Ksh50 to a till number and in return, they would get Ksh100,000 or whatever amount of money. In the background, you will hear somebody screaming, “I have got my Ksh100,000.” Even if a mama mboga is preparing to go and buy her children dinner and she has Ksh100 in her phone, she will take the Ksh100, remove Ksh50, bet and expect to win Ksh100,000, which may never be forthcoming. At the end of it all, children might end up sleeping hungry. According to the Communication Authority of Kenya(CAK), this country has nearly 200 radio stations comprising both vernacular and community stations that are mostly ethical. These messages are communicated in a language that mama mbogas or persons who do not understand any other language, will understand them. Instead of radio station hosts talking objectively about things that are happening in the country, they have become a recipe for making our families poor. Families have become poorer because people want to get rich quickly. Therefore, they are enticed to easy money. Betting has become an economic activity through which unscrupulous individuals in this
country make money easily. It is absolutely immoral, ungodly and not right for somebody to make money out of the most vulnerable members of the society. The media houses have even gone beyond what we are thinking. It is not true that only the young generation is affected by betting. People are even using their pensions to bet. They end up depleting their pension money on betting and gambling games. A survey that was done by the Central Bank of Kenya and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicates that elderly people bet 49 times in a week. On average, this is much higher than the 41.4 of all the other age groups. What this tells us is that these lotteries and prize money games are conducted mostly by television and radio stations. As I indicated earlier, vernacular stations are the most notorious. That is why after getting their pension money, most elderly people fall prey and become victims of gambling, ending up as paupers and going to an early grave.
I want to state that this country is contending with a raft of issues that are affecting our youths negatively. We are talking about drug and alcohol abuse, among very many other negative activities that our youths engage in. These vices are deeply entrenched in our society that they are not going to spare any of us. Even for school going children, we have heard of too many dropouts and rampant absenteeism in schools. We know too well that all these can lead to negative effects in our society.
Therefore, I support this Motion and wish to ask Hon. Mathenge to escalate it to another level, so that we do not just talk here. There is evidence that in 2021, the Betting and Licensing Board was given the green light to stop this vice, but it seems they lack powers to do so. These negative social trends in our society must stop. This House has the powers to bring this vice to an end. With those remarks, I support.
Member for Busia County, Hon. Catherine Omanyo.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker. I want to oppose this Motion. For any legally registered institutions, there is a way of regulating them. Our football clubs lack people to support them financially, and it is only betting institutions that are funding them. Otherwise, we will be killing our talented young men and women in various clubs out there. Secondly, everybody has common sense. Before engaging in anything, one should be disciplined enough to know its benefits. I do not think there is anybody who puts a gun on someone to gamble. Gambling is a choice and not a must or priority for anybody. If someone chooses to gamble and maybe wake up a millionaire one day, then so be it. The issue here is discipline. The Bible says it is wrong to covet. If somebody wishing to be a millionaire within a second tries his luck and does not become a millionaire, he should not point a finger at the person who brought the game. I think there are individuals in this country being targeted. I have heard a Member mentioning the Royal Media Services and Mediamax Network. Initially, I thought this Motion did not have any ill motive against anybody. However, immediately the Member mentioned the owner of the Royal Media Services, I realised that it is not gambling or betting that the Motion seeks to regulate, but rather it is targeting some personalities in this country. It is bad manners for anyone to be in power and want to oppress or “finish” others. What you set-up might be a trap for yourself. So, we should be very careful. Betting companies pay taxes and if we must regulate them to discourage people from overindulging in those activities, we can raise taxes a little so that they pay more. There are many participants across Africa and the world. So, we should be looking at what they give back. We should audit and look into how much they give back to the country. As leaders, we have the role of looking after our kids and seeing what they are getting into. Many times, I do
not sleep before I go through the history of my phone to monitor what my baby, nephews or nieces have been looking at. It is just a way of people being very lazy.Why would your child be betting while you are present? If they try to engage in those things, just stop them. Let us not throw punches or try to escape from our responsibilities as parents and blame it on gambling. We should add a clause in the regulations to warn gamblers that they should engage in gambling at their own risk, like we do for people who drink. It is a little warning to gamblers. However, we should not kill any institutions that helps to promote sporting and charitable activities in the country. We see them helping out in one way or another. That is all I wanted to say, Hon. Temporary Speaker.
Phylis Bartoo, Member for Moiben.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker. I also want to add my voice to the debate on gambling initiated by Hon. Mathenge. Pathological gambling is not a bad idea. However, the problem comes in when it becomes addictive. When it becomes an addiction, it is just like any other drug or alcohol addiction, which the society is currently trying to fight. For example, the President of Kenya and the Deputy President are working with the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) to find a way of stopping the use of drugs and illicit brews. This problem has become rampant in Kenya, and it has ruined our young generation. If we are not careful, we will not have future generation in Kenya. That is where the problem is. If gambling is not censored, it will become problematic. Once upon a time when I used to teach at the university, one would walk into a lecture room and find it empty because the students were busy gambling. Most of them wasted school fees that they were given by their parents. Most of them sold everything they owned, including their college possessions, for the sake of gambling. We would see parents coming to graduation ceremonies hoping that their children were on the graduation list only to find that they had dropped out because they were not paying fees and had never been to classes because they were gambling. The problem comes about when gambling becomes an addiction. We have seen cases where young people have more than 20 Subscriber Information Module (SIM) cards because they get small loans from Fuliza to gamble. Is that not a problem? Gambling has to be regulated before it escalates into an addiction, especially for our youths. When they start participating in gambling, they lose concentration. Others drop out of schools and others become petty thieves because they want to get little money. We have heard stories of young people taking money from their parents’ phones, and many other stories which are not very good for our society. This business should be regulated. It is not enough to tax them because that would look like we are legitimising the business. We have to regulate them in such a way that we can censor and make sure that people who participate in gambling are of a given age group. We should enact clear regulations on how the game should be managed. I represent a blend of both rural and urban constituency and you find that in the urban side of my constituency, there are too many gambling centres. People are reaping from very young people. We have had relationships breaking up because the money which is supposed to cater for families has been diverted to other things like gambling. In my view, this is a very good Motion. We should look at it critically and ensure that we only delete whatever is irrelevant and destructive. However, we should ensure that the regulator is serious. They should not just regulate anybody or give a licence to anyone because they want to be in business or make money. An example is the alcohol and drug abuse regulating organisations in our society. You will find that some county governments hastily give business licences regardless of the kind of alcohol one is selling. Some people get licences and then go ahead to sell illicit brews. Eventually, people get addicted and it
becomes problematic. I suggest that we lump all the betting companies together and work closely to know the good and the bad businesses. If measures are put in place, I think everybody will be happy. Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker.
Thank you very much. Hon. Irene Mayaka, Nominated Member.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker for giving me this opportunity. I want to thank Hon. Duncan Mathenge for bringing this Motion. I just want to give a different angle of what we need to look at in this particular Motion. Anything that has an illicit tag to it automatically becomes “sweet” and people want to go for it, be it prostitution, alcohol or betting. Therefore, we need to ensure that as long as this betting…
What did you say is illicit? Did you say “constitution” or what did I hear you say?
Hon. Temporary Speaker, there is a ‘p’ at the beginning of the word. I said prostitution.
Oh! Prostitution. Okay.
Yes, Hon. Temporary Speaker. I want us to take a different approach in formulating the regulations. I am saying this to add to what my sister said, that some of these betting companies have really supported our sports. Just the other day, Harambee Starlets were in training camp for a whole month and they could not even travel to attend a friendly match against Armenia because they did not have sufficient funds. However, some of the betting companies are supporting our teams for example, Mozzart Bet supports Home Boys Football Club (FC); Betika supports Police FC and AFC Leopards; SportPesa supports Murang’a SEALS FC and Gor Mahia FC. We have sports companies and clubs that are suffering right now. We have to raise funds on a weekly basis. For instance, we have Shabana FC back home who are doing extremely well, but they do not have anyone to support them because the Government does not have sufficient funds to support our sports. Therefore, while formulating the regulations, we need to look for a way that ensures that some of these betting companies are also supported. This is just to encourage them because they support our sports and we are also gaining revenue from them. Regulation is good, but at the same time, we should seek to find out how these gaming companies are giving back to society. When we create laws in this country, they have to be laws that encourage investment and revenue earning. Secondly, looking at many of the media companies in this country, be it FM radio stations or television stations, they have gone into the gaming space because many people are no longer placing advertisements on mainstream media. People do not have money. We are living in extremely difficult times. Media houses have found that this is one way through which they can raise revenue
Member for Igembe North.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker, for giving me an opportunity. I rise to support the Motion so that gambling can be regulated in this country. If you look at the vices vis-a-vis the advantages of gambling, you will realise that the negative effects of gambling are immense. That is why we should ensure that gambling and betting is regulated so that the young men and women, who are vulnerable to the rampant negative effects, are protected. Today, young families are breaking due to mistrust related to gambling because either the wife or the husband is immensely indulging in gambling. Many Kenyans, particularly the young ones, are greatly impoverished due to gambling. The insatiable lust and need for money is making many young people to think that through betting, they will become millionaires overnight. That is a wrong notion and thinking that has made people suffer due to gambling. The education sector is mostly affected. Today, many students in university are dropping out because they are deeply indulging in gambling. It is high time this House put in place measures to make sure that we contained betting for the prosperity of our young generation. Many school-going children have become vulnerable due to negative publicity done by media houses using very sweet and enticing words. They make them think that if you indulge in betting in one day or month, you will become a millionaire. There are a few who have benefited as has been alluded to. They use very sweet words and music to make sure that listeners are moved towards this kind of business, which is not rewarding as many people
think. So, this is also a kind of “drug” that is eating up our society, which is supposed to be very productive.
Hon. Temporary Speaker, I am calling upon the Mover, Hon. Duncan, to go ahead and bring a Bill so that we can discuss and come up with mechanisms of suppressing this growing habit that is eating up a very useful sector of our society, if not clearly abated. The narrative being peddled in this House to make this kind of business thrive is not helping young Kenyans, who are greatly indulging in it. Today, you will hear fans talking about Gor Mahia and other international players, and whenever you hear them making noise in support of Arsenal or Manchester, there is an element of gambling. That is why we are saying that as a country, we must put in place mechanisms to regulate this growing menace.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker.
Thank you very much, Hon. Members. Fifty-five minutes remains before debate on this Motion concludes. I am grateful that there is a lot of interest on the Motion. I saw Hon. Dan Wanyama, the Chairman in charge of sports. I do not know why he stepped out. We will have time to contribute the next time we sit over this matter. I thank Members for being patient.
Hon. Members, the time being 1.00 p.m., the House stands adjourned until this afternoon at 2.30 p.m.
The House rose at 1.00 p.m.
Clerk of the National Assembly Parliament Buildings Nairobi