Is there a Member to represent the Committee on Labour and Social Welfare?
Madam Temporary Speaker, I beg to lay the following Paper on the Table of the Senate today, Thursday, 7th April 2022.
Report on the Standing Committee on Labour and Social Welfare on the Sports Amendment Bill (Senate Bill No.40 of 2021). I thank you.
Let us move to the next item on the Order Paper.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Speaker. I stand to request for a Statement on the alleged food crisis in the country. I rise pursuant to Standing Order N0.48(1) to seek a Statement from the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries regarding reports of food crisis in the country which has resulted into the shortage of commodities like eggs, milk, among other poultry and dairy products. In the Statement, the Committee should-
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(1) Investigate reports of food crisis in the country which has resulted to the shortage of commodities such as food and milk explaining what has occasioned such an acute shortage of those essential commodities. (2) State measures put into place by both county and national governments to address this crisis in order to avert the possibility of hunger engulfing the entire country. (3) Outline the plans, if any, that have been set out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Co-operatives, to lower the prices of dairy and chicken feeds among others which have increased by over 40 per cent in the past two years. (4) Explain the progress made towards establishing mechanisms to prevent further closure of livestock feed industries by manufacturers as a result of high prices of raw materials.
I thank you.
I will allow brief comments from Members on this.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Speaker, for the opportunity. From the outset, I take this opportunity to thank Sen. Shiyonga for bringing this important Statement to the Floor of this Senate. The Committee that this will be directed to must endeavour to come up with a response in the soonest time possible.
A nation that cannot feed her populace can be termed as a failed nation. If you cannot feed your people, then you are a failed nation. The reason we find ourselves into this situation is because the cost of production has gone up. Regarding farm inputs, our farmers are not getting the necessary support and subsidies to enable them produce enough for the country and even export.
We have the potential as a country to produce enough for the country and export. However, farmers are not getting the necessary support. The cost of inputs has skyrocketed. Fertiliser is unaffordable by all farmers. It is a planting season but farmers do not have fertiliser. How do you expect the country to feed itself if fertiliser and other farm inputs cannot be subsidised?
Madam Temporary Speaker, I support this Statement very strongly and urge the relevant committee to expedite and bring answers, so that we can get a way forward for the farmer.
I thank you.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Speaker, for this opportunity. I thank Sen. Shiyonga for bringing this Statement to the Floor of this House- --
Sorry, the microphone is not working. Can you come to the Dispatch Box? I think it is now working.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Speaker, for the opportunity you have given me. Allow me to thank Sen. Shiyonga for bringing on the Floor of this House a pertinent issue that concerns food security.
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As a country, we are not heading in the right direction. This is because there is shortage of fuel, which I commend the President for his intervention. However, there is also shortage of milk and eggs. All these are important for healthy bodies.
Food security is not only a matter of national but also international concern. We must see to it that everyone is free from hunger. This has to do with the first Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) that requires that in all nations, the citizens must be free from hunger.
There is also the need to interrogate issues of food security. What are we doing as a Senate and Government to ensure that there is food security in our country so that no one faces hunger? Even as we interrogate this Statement, there is also need to find out what county executives are doing to ensure food security in the counties.
Madam Temporary Speaker, this Statement by Sen. Shiyonga is weighty and it should be treated in the manner it deserves. I support.
Madam Temporary Speaker, I wish to thank Sen. Shiyonga for this Statement. As we are aware, most parts of this country are facing severe drought. Animals have died because of drought. The issue of food security is totally in a mess. Most county governments have absconded their duties; they are not doing what they are supposed to do because agriculture is devolved. They should have thought about it. We have a problem when it comes to disaster management. We always have knee-jerk reactions when things turn out to be serious. The national Government should do something. Some issues have been brought to play but that is not the right thing to do. Policies should be taken care of always. We do not have to do things at the last minute, like what happened to fuel. All these things should have been planned for.
The issue of food security is discussed in the National Assembly and the Senate, year in, year out, but nothing happens. The Senate should come up with a policy to do with county governments because they have not performed their duties and they are not doing well.
Madam Temporary Speaker, even if we are in the campaign period, I hope the committee will look into these issues seriously and come up with a solution to help the people of Kenya.
I thank you.
Bi. Spika wa Muda, kwanza, nampa kongole Sen. Shiyonga kwa kuleta Taarifa hii kuhusu upungufu wa chakula katika nchi yetu.
Ni kweli kwamba chakula ni muhimu kwa mwili wa binadamu. Kama inavyojulikana, Kenya ni nchi ya ukulima. Ni jambo la aibu kwamba Wakenya wanahangaika kwa sababu ya ukame ambao umesababisha ukosefu wa chakula.
Yote hayo yanasababishwa na ukosefu wa nidhamu miongoni mwa wale walio na jukumu la kuhakikisha kuwa kuna chakula cha kutosha nchini. Wale wanaopewa majukumu hawayatimizi ili kuhakikisha kuna chakula cha kutosha nchini.
Wizara ya Ukulima, Mifugo, Samaki na Mashirika inahusika na mambo ya chakula nchini. Hata hivyo, maafisa wengi wanazembea katika kazi zao kwa sababu hakuna mbolea. Kuna maeneo ambapo mashamba yanafaa kunyunyiziwa maji ili kupatikane chakula lakini hilo halifanyiki.
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Kamati ya Ukuluma, Mifugo na Samaki na Mashirika ambayo itapewa jukumu hili inafaa kutoa mwelekeo kwa Wizara ya Ukulima, Mifugo, Samaki na Mashirika.
That is enough on that Statement. Let us move to the next Statement by Sen. Madzayo, on behalf of the Senate Majority Leader.
Madam Temporary Speaker, I rise pursuant to Standing Order No.47(1), to make a Statement on an issue of general topical concern, namely, the proceedings of the 12th Ordinary Session of the Plenary Assembly of Forum of Parliaments of Member States of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (FP-ICGLR), that took place from 2nd to 6th April, 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya. Madam Temporary Speaker, as you are aware, FP-ICGLR is an inter- parliamentary organization of 12 parliaments of member states of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). These states are; the Republic of Angola, the Republic of Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Rwanda, the Republic of Sudan, the Republic of South Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania, the Republic of Uganda and the Republic of Zambia. Of the Forum’s organs, the Plenary Assembly is the highest decision-making body and is mandated to inter alia, approve the nomination of office bearers of the FP- ICGLR; adopt the Forum's budget; adopt the reports of Committees; adopt the recommendations and resolutions to governments and parliaments of the Member States of ICGLR; and, deliberate on all matters within the jurisdiction of the Forum. The Plenary Assembly meets on an annual basis, and the venue of the event is held on a rotational basis between the Member States. The theme for this year’s event was “The Role of Parliament in Conflict Resolution". Since its establishment, the Forum has been crucial in spearheading discourse on security, peace, stability and development in the region; a region that has over the years, seen more than its fair share of bloody wars, famine and starvation, economic and social inequalities, religious strife and political instability. The last five days have been a learning experience for all Member States. Members were fully exposed to and briefed on governance issues in the region, the threat of insecurity and internal affairs of the Forum. The impact of the insecurity and conflict in the region were clearly enumerated and elaborated and Members’ understanding of conflict was indeed enhanced. The Forum received a presentation by Prof. Yasin Olum (PhD), a Fulbright Scholar, on the Role of Parliament in Conflict Resolution. It clearly stated that parliamentarians have a fundamental role of preempting and preventing conflicts including, upholding the rule of law; addressing post-conflict recovery; engaging in constructive partnerships and cooperation, and reconciliation. Therefore, Member States appreciated efforts by the Forum by undertaking fact finding missions, which had assisted countries such as the Central African Republic,
DRC and the Republic of South Sudan, in finding solutions and peaceful settlement to political instability. The Forum looks forward to future engagements with the parties involved to address outstanding issues for lasting peace. The Forum also pledged support in efforts to resolve the ongoing conflict in the Republic of Sudan. In the meeting, it was also resolved that Parliaments must be more assertive in addressing the root causes of instability. The President of the Forum; who is also the Speaker of the Senate, the Rt.Hon. Kenneth Lusaka, EGH, MP, urged Member Parliaments to “move from talking to acting.” Madam Temporary Speaker, in his opening address, delivered by the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Interior and Coordination of National Government, H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta, CGH, challenged Member States on a five-point question framework for reflection and action on the way forward: (1) Is the role of Parliament preventive or responsive? (2) At what stage in the conflict cycle should Parliament intervene? (3) To what extent should Parliament's intervention role be exercised? (4) Which collegiate and peer review mechanisms should Parliaments adopt in supporting and holding each other accountable? (5) How can Parliaments inculcate public participation by stakeholders in our built-in shared bonds into this conflict prevention and conflict resolution framework? Therefore, we must emphasize that Parliaments and Parliamentarians are an important conduit for strengthening governance systems and enhancing democratic ideals. At the meeting, the Parliament of Kenya was represented by the following Members of Parliament (MPs), who sit in various Committees of the Forum: (1) The Speaker of the Senate, Hon. Kenneth Lusaka, EGH, MP – President of FP-ICGLR; (2) Sen. Samuel Poghisio, EGH, MP, - President of the Executive Committee and Member of the Committee on Economic Development, Natural Resources and Regional Integration; (3) Sen. (Arch.) Sylvia Kasanga, MP, - Member of the Committee on Women, Children and Vulnerable Persons; (4) Hon. William Kamket, MP, - Member of the Committee on Humanitarian and Social Issues; (5) Hon. (Col.) (Rtd) Geoffrey Muturi King’ang’i, MP, - Member of the Committee on Peace and Security; and (6) Hon. Paul Otiende Amollo, EBS, SC, MP, - Member of the Committee on Democracy and Good Governance. At the close of the five-day event yesterday, the Forum adopted the Nairobi Declaration which calls for inter-alia : - (1) Strengthening of efforts by ICGLR member States and other stakeholders towards diplomatic and peace building measures aimed at resolving conflicts in the Great Lakes region; (2) Calls for member States to ensure that all the conflicts in the region are resolved peacefully and that they will work tirelessly towards implementing the
objectives of the Peace, Security and Co-operation Framework in order to attain stability and development; (3) Calls for political leaders at national, regional and international level to support mechanisms aimed at resolving conflicts which have adverse global impacts on economies; (4) Calls for commitments from governments at the regional and international actors to work together to reduce the proliferation of small arms and to improve natural resource management to curb the incessant conflicts, and; (5) Calls for ICGLR Member Parliaments to strengthen co-operation in peace building initiatives to address regional conflicts.
(6) The Resolutions will shortly be sent to all member parliaments for consideration and implementation. In conclusion, I take this opportunity to record the thanks of the Parliament of Kenya to the eight member parliaments of; the Republic of Angola; the Republic of Burundi; the Central African Republic; the Democratic Republic of Congo; the Republic of Rwanda; the Republic of South Sudan; the United Republic of Tanzania; and the Republic of Zambia; for honouring the invitation to hold the event in Nairobi and for their active participation in the deliberations. I thank you. Madam Temporary Speaker, with your kind permission, if I may be allowed to proceed---
There are people who are interested to make short comments on the Statement you have just made.
I am obliged.
Proceed, Sen. Kasanga.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to comment. I serve in the Committee of Gender, Children and Vulnerable persons for the forum of parliaments of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (IGCLR). It has been one of my greatest honors to represent the country in that capacity.
In fact, I am not just a member of that committee, I am also the rapporteur of that committee. I can attest to the sentiments that have been drawn on this Statement on the purpose of the forum for Parliaments for the IGCLR in promoting peace and security in the region as well as looking at the concerns of the most vulnerable people, women and children and humanitarian issues.
Our engagements in the committee have been very informative and educational. We have learnt a lot and we have shared a lot of experiences when we are in that committee. We always look out for best practices in our region and try to emulate that. Without a doubt, the role of Parliament; which is the theme for this year has always been very clear. Every time we engage at that committee level, we have a duty as parliamentarians to come back to our respective parliaments, share the resolutions made at the committee and make sure that our parliaments adopt the same so that we can share all the best practices within the countries that are member States.
Over and above, the secretariat of the forum have always been very good at finding some of the best consultants who come with research drawn from best practices
from across the world for the parliamentarians to learn from. Every time we have sat in committee, we have always had a presentation from a consultant with very deep information about salient issues regarding what we were discussing at those forums. That way we are able to draw conclusions for our member States to take.
Another thing we always did at committee - and this was before COVID-19 - was to do site visits. Here in Kenya, our committee on Women, Children and Vulnerable persons has done site visits to look at, for example, how gender based violence is approached. We visited some of the centers at The Kenyatta Hospital and Nairobi Women’s Hospital so that we can learn and show the other members States how we do it.
We have also learnt from other countries. We have been to Kigali in Rwanda to learn how they deal with issues of gender based violence, issues of mental health and the facilities they have for rescue centers. We are able to draw that experience and bring it home and say “we need to expand our methods of collection of evidence in the event of gender based violence”.
It has been a great experience serving in this Committee. I normally say in these forums: “Africa is ours and it is our business”. It is really good seeing African countries coming together to try and resolve issues from their own experience and resources. We should work with what we have and we make our countries the best. The DRC has joined the economic bloc of the East African Nations and therefore, it is in our interest as Kenya to see that there is a lot of peace in the DRC. We want to see the DRC progress and opening up even more. As it is good for their citizens, it is good for us as well, as a region and a community. It is beautiful to see Africans working together for the betterment of our nations. I want to further emphasize the role of parliaments because this was the theme for this year. This came out very clearly from all the committee resolutions that were done in this season. Without a doubt Parliament has such a key role to play in conflict resolution. We have duty as national leaders to promote peace at all times. We cannot understate this especially at a time like this when we are in the electioneering period.
This is the time when we have to call upon all our agencies and bodies that are there constitutionally and by law to deal with perpetrators of hate speech and those who want to use tribes against each other and against Kenyans. We must not allow those issues to thrive in this day and age. It us, leaders, who need to be cautious and watch what we say. We need to be alive to the fact that we are in a very delicate situation as a country with our economy as it is and with Kenyans having high stress levels and being on edge. We need to be careful as we go around with politics that we do not send Kenyans out into the battle field at this point in time. I want to reiterate the role of the ICGLR and add that it is something that needs to be supported by every other parliament as we go to elections. We need to make sure that the role of the ICGLR is empowered at all times in order to continue with pushing for regional peace and humanitarian matters. I thank you.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Speaker, for this opportunity. I want to thank Sen. Madzayo for bringing this Statement on the Floor of this House. He has actually enumerated the African Member States that were present:
Angola, Burundi, Sudan, Kenya, among others. The fact that Burundi was there is an added advantage. I acknowledge that it was good for the East African Community (EAC) to bring the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on board. It is good to note that Democratic Republic of Congo is the seventh Member State that has been incorporated into the EAC. It is imperative to note that DRC is rich in resources. Their economy is also good but remains largely untapped. This is a result of wars in the country and poor infrastructure including inaccessible roads. It is very important that leaders met and benchmarked. Out of the meeting, a leader can pick best practices as a take home for their home country. I am sure that the representative of DRC who were there got a leaf or two on how they can make DRC secure in terms of trade and agriculture because they have very good rainfalls. To leverage on this potential, there is need to beef up security and come up with legislation to hasten the registration process. The role of Parliamentarians cannot also be wished away. Parliamentarians learn from each other. It is in Parliament where Members make legislations on conflict and peace solutions. When there is a conflict somewhere, it impacts negatively on the economy of a country like in DRC. In the event that there is going to be peace in DRC, we will tap on the potential it has. Diplomatic relations and peace building among Member States are also equally important. The interaction at African level as legislators is very important. One legislator can borrow a leaf or two on how to come up with legislation that can improve a country. These meetings among Member States should be encouraged every now and then. As Africans, we need to find a way forward with regard to the economy of many African Countries. We should also look into the ills that are facing Africa with the view of resolving them. Madam Temporary Speaker, I therefore support this statement from Sen. Madzayo.
Sen. Wambua Enoch, you may proceed.
Madam Temporary Speaker, I also join my colleagues in congratulating and thanking Sen. Madzayo for bringing this statement to the Floor of the House. Regionalism is the way to go. A strong region will ultimately result to a strong world in combating issues that are crosscutting in terms of regions. It shall be remembered that even as we talk about the issues of Great Lakes Region, recently, the DRC was admitted to the EAC. This was a very good and profitable addition to this region. However, of great importance is the theme of discussion that this team was involved in with regard to the role of Parliaments on matters peace. Parliaments are not the buildings. Parliaments refer to the leaders, especially for us in this country at such a time as this that we are preparing to go into an election where the sitting president is exiting and not defending his seat; a transitional election. This is the time that a premium is placed on the shoulders of the leaders to gauge our capacity and willingness to pursue peace in everything that we do and in everything that we say.
So far, a few cases have been reported to the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC). A few cases have gone to the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI). There are many areas where elected leaders have been fingered for hate speech and incitement. My appeal and in line with the theme of this year’s discussions within the Great Lake Regions Parliaments is that as we pursue elections and reelections, we must always put at the back of our minds that we have Country to take care of. Peace begets peace and violence begets violence. It is therefore incumbent upon leaders who are seeking elective positions to pursue peace at whatever cost.
Madam Temporary Speaker, I thank Sen. Madzayo for the statement.
The Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Orengo, you may proceed.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Speaker. I stand up to support this statement. The Forum for Parliamentarians of Member States of the International Conference in the Great Lakes Region comes at a time when the process of bringing Nations of East Africa together has solidified with the membership of DRC as a Member of the EAC. I presume that the name should no longer be the EAC because it now goes beyond the Horn of Africa. Truly, it is a big achievement because the Community now runs from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic. This is a major achievement. The population within the EAC is going to be nearly 200 million with the entry of the DRC. That is a huge economic bloc. In terms of population, the EAC is almost half of the European Union (EU). In terms of natural resources particularly with the coming in of the DRC, it may be the richest economic bloc in the entire Africa. If we look at what is within the DRC in terms of minerals, the East African Traditional Countries of Kenya and Tanzania and now even Uganda have deposits of oil and gas. We have the largest water bodies in the entire Africa. We have Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Malawi and other important water bodies including the oceans. Therefore, the political framework for this region is not just having the Community itself as an Organization but having a forum for parliamentarians. This is under the ambit of the Great Lakes Region which includes the Republic of Angola. If DRC can become part of the Community, I see no reason why Angola and Zambia cannot become Members. This political union of Members of Parliament, assembling together like the 12th Plenary is important for assessing what is happening in the region. That notwithstanding, the weakest thing about African and regional organizations is that a lot needs to be done on human rights and democracy projects. Even when any one of the nations is bedeviled with internal conflicts or invasion - and we have had countries that are in conflict or invaded by one country or another in the horn of Africa - a lot needs to be done in ensuring principles of democracy and human rights underpin the Great Lakes Region. I am very proud that the world has come together in support of Ukraine. You need a strong political union to do what the European Union (EU) is doing in order to deal with the conflict or invasion of Ukraine. I think the weakest link between these countries that are coming under the umbrella of the Great Lakes Region is that respect for the rule of law and democracy is still lacking. When there is lack or deficit of democracy and human rights in any one of
these countries, there is some kind of lethargy not to deal with it directly and more aggressively. If that is done, the people in the region can pride themselves not only as an area or region full of minerals and natural wealth, but also looking to the future with the centre stage of progress and democracy in Africa. My hope is that under this framework of Forum of Parliamentarians of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, we can have a strong political union and economic bloc based on human rights and respect for the rule of law. We should also commit our countries together in pursuit of prosperity and that, eventually, we should have one currency and no borders. We should be able to travel from Mombasa to Matadi or Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Senator for Nairobi likes playing music. He should be able to take a flight to Kinshasa, play music in Kinshasa for two days, come back and probably go and have coffee in Angola. These things can happen. Madam Temporary Speaker, I congratulate Members of Parliament who are active members of this forum and their participation in this forum. I also hope that there will be Members of Parliament after this Parliament serves its full tenure, who will take over from Sen. Madzayo and others in propelling the activities of this forum in years and days to come. While on this, I associate with Sen. Wambua when he was talking about the coming elections. I am just hoping that on these elections, even in the remaining months, we can talk about issues that bedevil our country. It is good that we have an issue-based election campaign. Look at what has just happened to the East Africa Community. Who mentions it as a reference point in the current campaigns? Who mentions the questions of the rising cost of fuel not to win political points, but address them in an issue-based manner? How do you deal with problems of poverty? Sen. Shiyonga had a Statement about the rising cost of foodstuffs; milk and the likes. How many times do we make our election campaigns based on things that affect the life of the ordinary Kenyans? I am really a part of that problem because I think I have been consumed in the elections of negative rhetoric and learning how to call people names. The Kenyan elections are so full of theatre. I mean, even in Hollywood, when they make a picture of how elections campaigns are conducted, you know they will pick movies about how elections are won and lost, and that is just theatre. The Kenyan elections are so full of theatre. I think there is a level of skepticism and cynicism in our politics. The Kenyan public prefers politicians who entertain and sing in a rally and not the one who can address the issues of the day, such as the concerns of this forum, in addressing the matters of the region, specifically, the Great Lakes Region. We have a problem in Sudan. It is a friendly nation and yet, the region talks very little about it. Even the EU talks very little about the death of democracy in the Republic of Sudan. I hope that in the future, through a forum like this, we will be able to confront nations within the region, so that they live by the Constitutions that they have promulgated. They should live by the principles and the rule of law that they have told their citizens that they are going to follow and respect human rights and other international instruments that affect the lives of our people.
Madam Temporary Speaker, with those few remarks, I support this Statement and encourage this forum to continue its good work.
Proceed, Sen. Sakaja.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Speaker. I also join in thanking Sen. Madzayo for giving us this Statement on the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) process that took place recently. I was wondering why there were all these people at Serena Hotel. I think that was what was going on. Many times in this House, Members do not engage fully with these committees of regional and international nature. These include the East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA), ICGLR and African Caribbean and Pacific European Union Joint Assembly (ACP-EU), which I have been part of. Members do not know the impact these discussions have on us. I remember part of the insight that informed the negotiations of Economic Partnership Agreements with the EU were held in the ACP-EU sessions that we had in Strasberg and those that have taken place in Europe, where we have a seat. Our Constitution notes the role of Parliament in treaty making, but Parliament only engages when the treaty is brought. These are processes that take years. Whether it is multilateral or bilateral agreements, they take many sessions and Parliament comes at the tail-end. I think our governance, international democracy and diplomacy need to focus on Parliamentary diplomacy, where we sit with colleagues. I am glad that I have made friends across the world. Today, based on the sessions that we have had in Parliament, I can call somebody at the EU Parliament and they will consider me a friend. I have friends in the House of Commons and Congress because of these engagements, which are extremely useful. I would encourage Members, in the next House, to participate in these multilateral engagements such as this one. Our region is extremely important. For a long time, I was not for the political union of the East African Community (EAC). I always thought the political and economic union will slow down Kenya because our revenue alone is bigger than that of our partners combined. I had that myopic thinking until many years ago, President Uhuru Kenyatta sat me down and told me that I do not realize what I was talking about. We might have fewer seats at the United Nations (UN) or African Union (AU) when we become one political union. However, we will create a huge market of hundreds of millions of people for our goods and services. Number two and most importantly, which I did not believe that would come, he said that we are fighting in this country because of a few tribes. There is an issue of Kikuyu, Luo, Kalenjin and Luyha. However, we will have to deal with the Congolese, the Chagas and the Rwandese. It reduces the small silly competition we have been having in this country about a few tribes. The caste mentality needs to change and we need to think of how the world is going. We are stronger together and big is better. I foresee our young people in Dandora, who are producing something due to their innovation being able to showcase it in Kinshasa or Arusha because it is one market.
What we need to work on is removing the imaginary lines we call borders. Before the scramble for Africa, the borders did not exist; we were one people. I remember when the President of Tanzania, Her Excellency Samia Suluhu Hassan came to Kenya, she explained that we are now blocking people from entering Tanzania and Kenya, but during the wildebeest migration, when the animals from Serengeti in Tanzania and Maasai Mara give birth, are the young animals Tanzanian or Kenyan? The artificial boundaries that we have between us is what has held Africa behind. Today, it is easier for you to go to Dubai than Nigeria or the United States of America (USA) than Conakry. In Kenya, our biggest trading partner is not the USA but Uganda, followed by Tanzania, yet we have more hurdles between Africa. Personally, I am embarrassed and made a commitment to myself that I will visit more African countries. I have visited many countries. For example, in Europe, there is no place I have not gone to. In Asia, we go to Singapore and do visits as Parliament to places like Fiji. However, if you ask which Committee has gone to Tunisia, Zambia, Malawi or Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that is now part of EAC, there is none. Therefore, we need to bring back the Pan African thinking. That, one, we are stronger together and, two, our unity is key to our prosperity, especially after the African Continent Free Trade Area Agreement that has been done. That is the future of our continent. It will give us the possibilities for us to reduce the level of imports, change the balance of trade and do business together as children of one continent as the same people. If you take a setting today in Goma Market and take a photo, you might as well think it is Luanda Market in Western, or a market in Kilifi. Our people are the same. They dress the same and our culture is similar. We love music and treat food the same way. I always give an example of those who have herded goats. If you tie a rope to the goat and tether it to a tree for an hour or two, when you come after two hours and remove that rope, the goat will never move away from the circumference you have created. These imaginary lines we have were set by the colonialists, not by us. However, we have found ourselves still stuck there. This is why I love what Bob Marley says, that we need to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds. When we got independence, we got emancipation from physical slavery. However, the mental one and the vertical and horizontal barriers between what an African can do are still there. It is only us who can emancipate ourselves. I remember that song playing, for the first time I went to Europe. I was driving from the Netherlands into Germany and, at the border, there was no stop, no toll, no policeman, just a signpost saying “welcome.” It was like moving from a country to another. Try going to Kiambu today. You will find roadblocks and the police will look at your license and ask whether you are going to Kiambu or Machakos. Therefore, we must emancipate ourselves from mental slavery. I thank Sen. Madzayo and the team for these engagements. Let us make them more practical. The last step we need is to translate what these economic blocs mean to the ordinary Kenyan. Kenyans do not understand what you are doing at EAC.
All they know is that your constituency, cows were blocked and there was an issue between our borders. However, they do not understand the economic and social impact that these agreements and what we are doing can lead to. I wish you the best as you proceed with that. I support the Statement.
So much reaction for that Statement on a matter of general topical concern. We now move to the next Statement by Sen. Madzayo. BUSINESS FOR THE WEEK COMMENCING TUESDAY, 26TH APRIL, 2022
Thank you, Madam Temporary Speaker. I rise to make a Statement pursuant to Standing Order No.52(1) on the business of the Senate for the week commencing Tuesday, 26th April, 2022. As Hon. Senators are aware, the Senate is scheduled to proceed on a two-week recess period at the rise of the Senate, until Monday, 25th April, 2022. Regular sittings will, therefore, resume on Tuesday, 26th April, 2022, in line with the Senate Calendar. On Tuesday, 26th April, 2022, the Senate Business Committee (SBC) will meet to schedule the business of the Senate. The business for Tuesday, 26th April, 2022, is projected to contain business that will not be concluded in today’s Order Paper, while that for Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th April, 2022 will contain business carried over from Tuesday 26th and Wednesday, 27th, respectively, as well as Motions, Petitions and Statements. With respect to the business of the House, there are 17 Bills at the Second Reading stage, six of which have been listed in today’s Order Paper for Division at Order Nos.9 to 13; 11 Bills are at the Committee of the Whole Stage; six of which have also been listed in today’s Order Paper for Division at Order Nos.16 to 21. However, Hon. Senators, there are seven Bills at the Second Reading stage that have been dropped from the programme of Senate Business, pursuant to Standing Order 59 (3), due to unavailability of Movers when the Orders were called out. These Bills are – (i) The Political Party Primaries Bill (Senate Bills No.35 of 2020) by Sen. (Dr.) Isaac Mwaura, MP; (ii) The National Cohesion and Peace Building Bill (Senate Bills No.19 of 2021) by yourself, Madam Temporary Speaker, with your permission, Sen. Judith Pareno, MP; (iii) The Coconut Industry Development Bill (Senate Bills No.24 of 2021) by the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries; (iv) The Alternative Dispute Resolution Bill (Senate Bills No.34 of 2021) by Sen. (Arch.) Sylvia Kasanga, MP; (v) The County E-Health Bill (Senate Bills No.39 of 2021) by yourself, Madam Temporary Speaker, with your kind permission, Sen. Judith Pareno, MP; (vi) The Sports (Amendment) Bill (Senate Bills No.40 of 2021) by Sen. Aaron Cheruiyot, MP; and, (vii) The Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Bill (Senate Bills No.52 of 2021) by Sen. Rose Nyamunga, MP.
I urge the Movers of these Bills to make a written request to the Speaker for the Bills to be reinstated in the programme of the Senate business, if they wish to proceed with them. I also urge all Senators to avail themselves this afternoon for the divisions and consideration of the Bills at the Committee of the Whole. I equally urge the Movers of the Bills, committee chairpersons and individual Senators who have filed amendments to be in the Chamber for the House to smoothly transition to the next stage. Madam Temporary Speaker, other business before the Senate includes 48 Petitions and Statements pursuant to Standing Order Nos.47 and 48. I urge chairpersons of committees to hasten consideration of business before their respective committees and table reports accordingly, pursuant to the Standing Orders. Efforts made by standing committees to consider Bills and table reports thereon are appreciated. However, the high number of Petitions pending in the Senate, at this time in the life of the Twelfth Parliament, is worrying. I urge concerned standing committees to expedite consideration of Petitions and table reports pursuant to Standing Order No.232. Madam Temporary Speaker, I take this opportunity to thank all Senators for the dedication and commitment they have shown in their work in service to the people of Kenya. As we proceed for the recess, it is my hope that we will be able to meet with constituents, spend time with our families and friends and also rest in preparation for Part III of the Senate Calendar. I hereby lay the Statement on the Table of the Senate.
Madam Temporary Speaker, I would like to thank Sen. Madzayo, on behalf of the Senate Majority Leader, for presenting the Senate business for the next sittings.
This Sixth Session is the shortest session, yet we have a lot of business pending. I urge Senators wherever they may be to take the business of the House seriously because we have 17 Bills at Second Reading and 11 Bills at the Committee of the Whole stage. More importantly, there are the Petitions and Statements, which we have not dispensed with. Our Standing Orders are very clear on the Petitions, which should be replied to within 60 days. This is an area we have not been doing well. Hardly has any committee submitted its Petition report on time. Some have rolled over into different sessions. I know we have some in the committees I sit in that up to now have not been dealt with. In as much as it is the campaign period, we need to make sure the efforts we have put in Bills are realized by being concluded. We need to avail ourselves for the divisions. We know that most of these Bills might lapse with this Senate. If not so, we know the tradition of the other House, where our Bills are delayed. That might make this legislative exercise futile if we do not fast-track. If we delay our own Bills, we will be doing disservice to ourselves by not making sure whatever we do reaches its logical conclusion. I urge Members to avail themselves, so that we dispense, from our end, the businesses that have been pending, especially on divisions.
I thank the Senate Majority Leader for bringing this out in his Statement.
Madam Temporary Speaker, I would like to contribute to the Statement that has been read by Sen. Madzayo.
This issue has been brought about by the different committees of these Houses. Most of these Bills were committed to committees for more than six months. Despite the fact that we had COVID-19, we are now running up and down in campaigns. We are to blame because most Bills have stuck at the Committee of the Whole stage for quite some time.
I have been a victim. My Bills have stuck at the Committee of the Whole stage for more than six months. When you follow up, you receive unnecessary excuses. Now, we can hardly raise quorum for voting and we are now playing blame games. It is not good for committees which are responsible for running the affairs of this House.
Most of the work we are talking about, especially on Bills, could have been concluded a long time ago if only committee Chairpersons were committed, but they were not. I am a victim of dillydallying and being taken back and forth with my Bill on the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA). If the committee was committed, like the Committee on Labour and Social Welfare, led by Sen. Sakaja, where I also belong, most of the work could have been completed.
I am not praising him because he is here. It is because I chair the Committee on National Cohesion, Equal Opportunity and Regional Integration and know what we have done. Madam Temporary Speaker, you are also a Member and you know that we have done a lot by sacrificing our time. What is the problem with asking Members to attend, so that there is quorum to discuss a Bill and finish work? Why the back and forth on amendments after amendments? What is it for? That could have been concluded on the Floor of this House. Here we are with Bills and time is almost lapsing. This is not the work that Kenyans brought us here to do. Most of our work is done in committees. Dropping those Bills is because of lack of quorum. I urge us to log in during hybrid sessions. Let those who have the credentials to log in do so. Some of us were locked out a long time ago. Therefore, we cannot vote, yet we are part of this House. I do not want to talk about individuals. If you are here, kindly be there for the sake of Kenyans. These Bills contribute to the laws of Kenya to help Kenyans. I thank the Senate Majority Leader. Let us fast-track the Bills. The secretariat does a lot of work in order to help us do our best, but Bills end up resting in the committees. Let us work as a House and unite in passing these Bills, so that they can move to the other House for consensus. That way, we will move Kenya ahead. I thank you, Madam Temporary Speaker, for the opportunity.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Speaker, for the opportunity. I thank Sen. Madzayo for the communication he has just made on behalf of the Majority Leader. Indeed, we have a very short time remaining and there is so much in our entry tray that we really need to work hard and dispense off. We have some good Bills into which legislators have put in a lot of effort all these four or five years, and we need to make sure they do not lapse.
For example, I am sad that the Special Needs Education Bill may not see the light at the end of the tunnel, yet it has been dragging in the Committee on Education. I am always present in the Committee on Education sittings. It is really not a good affair. I also know that there are some Bills that are dragging in the National Assembly. I do not know the mechanisms that can be put in place to ensure that the National Assembly fast-tracks some of these Bills. One of the Bills that is really being waited for is The Kenyan Sign Language Bill that Sen. (Prof.) Kamar and I developed. The other one is The Persons with Disabilities (PWD) (Amendment) Bill. It is unfortunate that these Bills are still lying in the National Assembly. It can be a sad affair if these Bills do not see the light at the end of the tunnel. Madam Temporary Speaker, The Kenyan Sign Language Bill was the first Bill concerning the deaf, to be ever brought to this Parliament. Had it been assented to, it would have a very big, positive impact on the lives of the deaf in terms of accessibility, education and even accessing their rights in the corridors of justice. Unfortunately, not much has been done. It needs to be fast-tracked. With regard to delegation, some Senators have a vote, but in their absence, delegated Members can execute the work. However, even the head of delegation can just write a letter, saying that no Member of his or her delegation can vote on their behalf even if they are perpetually absent. This is a disservice to Kenyans. If you write a letter and say that no delegation should do a vote on your behalf, then you should be there to vote. We should be serious with our work. Whether elected or a nominated MP, you can do so much in terms of legislation, for the purpose of ensuring that service delivery reaches the common man. I support this Statement.
Hon. Senators, we are through with the Statements that were scheduled for today. I now proceed to rearrange the Order Paper for our own convenience. Let us move to Order No.20, which was coming for Second Reading.
Sen. Sakaja, I am told you have a remainder of six minutes.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Speaker. Indeed, The Sugar Bill (National Assembly Bills No.68 of 2019) Was moved and seconded yesterday. It was moved by Sen. Farhiya and seconded by Sen. Kasanga. I am sure she spoke well about
sugar. I started making my submissions, but cannot remember where I stopped. Therefore, I will just say what I felt was really key. I remember talking about the overview of our agricultural sector being challenging. Generally, it is a huge challenge and we have a big problem. We call our country an agricultural country because that is the activity we take part in. However, any economist will tell you that in as much as agriculture contributes 56 per cent to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), its contribution to national revenue is less than 5 per cent. That gap is what we call the value gap. There is a gap in value addition. The products that we produce are mainly subsistence. We are not able to go to the market and monetise this sector as it should be because this should be the engine of economic transformation. Much of this has happened because of poor policy decisions over the years. There is no individual to blame. It is just that our policy outlook has been terrible such that, today, our country is importing rice from Tanzania and eggs from Uganda. We are importing things that should actually be produced in our country. It is because we have not seen how to reform the sector, make it profitable and get young people involved in agriculture. Madam Temporary Speaker, so many young people believe that agriculture is for those who have not gone to school; that it is not cool to farm. Contrary to that, this is a huge economic frontier for our country. The evidence that our sector in agriculture is not doing well is really at the consumer’s level. The cost of goods and the price of food items is so high that it shows you there is a real problem. Many Kenyans are suffering and not enough leaders are talking about not just the suffering, but what must be done. This is especially when it comes to basic commodities, basic food, subsistence food or staple foods. Our country has distinguished itself for talking about certain things. If we have a surplus of potatoes in Kenya, but there is not enough maize for ugali, we will say we have famine. In a huge part of this country; no matter what you put on the table, if there is no ugali, there is no food. Those were just light refreshments before food came. Today, Kenyans are paying Kshs120 for a kilogramme of rice, which was Kshs70. The cooking oil that we call salad oil was Kshs250. It has now gone to Kshs400. Wheat flour was Kshs115, but it is now at Kshs200. Bread was Kshs45, but it is now at Kshs60. The same applies for milk. That tells you that there is something completely wrong, and there is a breakdown. Even the price of salt has gone up. Since I was born, it had never gone up from Kshs10. How you look at it practically is from the example, of many women and men in Nairobi City County, who are in this industry, that feeds the Jua Kali sector. I am talking about the chapati madondo industry that very few will talk about. Those hustlers, those common people, would just buy one packet of flour at Kshs115, oil at Kshs250 and charcoal for Kshs100. All of it plus labour would come to Kshs600 for a packet. One packet of flour produces 25 chapatis. You will have to sell it at least Kshs30 per chapati to make Kshs750, so as to have some profit. Madam Temporary Speaker, for the same process, that bag of rice is now Kshs200, oil is Kshs400, charcoal Kshs100 and labour Kshs100 comes to Kshs900. For that person to make a profit, they have to sell one chapati at more than Kshs50.
I know a line of 11 of these women in Mukuru, just next to some mjengo . They have all gone home. There is no business for them to do. This is as recent as last week. They have been very practical. I am sure that is the same case everywhere else. Now, they sell this to people in the Jua Kali and mjengo industry. However, they also cannot afford food since the construction industry has gone down. The price of cement has moved from Kshs650 to Kshs1,000. The price of all these other inputs has also gone up. While we can talk about the general cost of basic commodities et cetera, the onus is on us, as leaders, to then see how we can ameliorate the situation. Madam Temporary Speaker, this Bill is one of such initiatives in the sugar industry. What we had called Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) was one of the greatest misadventures that our country had sojourned into because it really reduced the focus on specific sectors within agriculture, specific sub-sectors, whether it is sugar, maize, cotton or whatever it is. That focus then got lost. What this aims to do is to refocus the Sugar Board and all of those attendant institutions to make sure that we can bring back to life this sugar industry. I remember when I was a child, as we were going to my rural home, every time we would pass Mumias and it would be bustling with economic activity. Kakamega was going to be a very serious city, just because of the economy around the sugar industry. However, if you look at the situation now, it is really heart-wrenching, if you see the level of poverty in the western part of this country, all the way into Nyanza, whether it is Muhoroni, Sony, Butali, Nzoia and all those sugar factories. You see poverty staring you in the face. I have a friend from this other part of the country, who said that we go together because I was going for a funeral in western. He said that we always complain that there are no good roads, but he could see very nice roads. I said: “Yes, you can see a road, but have you ever seen such a proper big road, but next to it is a grass-thatched house and a hut?” When you look at people you can see poverty in their faces and all they do is to put in effort and they get very little. Therefore, let us reform this. Madam Temporary Speaker, the biggest cause of poverty in that part of the country is sugarcane and maize on very fertile land. Only brave leaders will tell our people that we did not sign a contract with our people to do maize and sugar for you. There is no contract. In Kitale, we are moving from maize. We are doing coffee and avocados because there is no contract that we feed you. We stay hungry, then here you have your small plot and you are doing 10 things and minting money. We must change our outlook on agriculture. Unless we salvage this sector, a lot of land that is currently under sugarcane is going to change and it must. These are real livelihoods of people such that today a packet of sugar from Brazil that has been bought, is shipped and goes through the high seas comes to Mombasa, put it on a truck and take it to the gate of Mumias; it is cheaper than the packet of sugar we get from Mumias. It shows that we have not had an optimization, the sucrose value, high yield variance for us to do sugar. Is that what should be done there? While those radical thoughts go on, we must reform the sector through this law.
Madam Temporary Speaker, I know that there will be proposed amendments. I am glad that there is now going to be a bird’s eye view of the sector on the issue of importation. What happens is that an artificial shortage is created by the same players who want to import sugar, and it is a huge industry. In fact, those who have killed Mumias Sugar Company are extremely close to Mumias Sugar, Butali and Muhoroni sugar companies. These sugar industry agreements have been covered in this law. There is the issue of rights of growers in privatised companies because that has been the fear even when you look at all these promises that are being made about revival of certain factories about the growers rights when a company is being privatised and how you protect them, especially within the nucleus. On the issue of the sugar development levy, we have said that research institutions should not only draw from the sugar development levy. There is the provision on sugar research in this Bill. You cannot have that sugar research institution in Nairobi. Those institutions - whether it is Masinde Muliro University or Kibabii University - in that area that is growing sugar are the ones that should be transformed or rather create the capacity for the sugar research to be done in those areas. Our young people who are going to school need to be educated to understand how to best utilise land, grow the sugarcane, the economic aspects of it not just the agricultural, the economic aspects of millers and milling and how you price and the financial management. Our farmers need to be trained on all that, so that we can transform them. Otherwise, it is only an insane person who does the same thing the same way and expects a different result. We hope we can amend this Board. Agriculture is devolved majorly and it is only policy that is at the top. The composition of this Board has very little representation from the governors or the county governments. It is full of somebody appointed Cabinet Secretary a chairman; representatives of the elected growers and millers; the Principal Secretary (PS), National Treasury; the PS, Agriculture; the CEO and one person from the Council of Governors (CoG). These county governments need better representation, especially the county governments that are around that area. You then expect them as well to do some work, whether it is extension services or different ways of supporting the farmers. Therefore, they should be represented in the Kenya Sugar Board in a bigger way. The Kenya Sugar Research Institute is actually a corporate body with perpetual succession and a seal. A part from promoting and coordinating research in sugarcane and sugarcane diseases and access to research information et cetera on development of the crop, they should play a role in terms of the economic development of the growers and the farmers of that area. We are not growing sugarcane because we like tea or it is sweet. Sugarcane is being grown because of the economic aspect of it; it needs to help people earn a living. Therefore, you do not just tell them that this is how you grow it best, but this is how you manage an enterprise. We are talking of agribusiness, not just agriculture for the sake of it. That needs to be included in addition to the issues of agro-ecological research, sugar research, monitoring pests and diseases; the economic packages.
Madam Temporary Speaker, I will leave it at that. I hope that this Bill passes because it has taken too long. This started in the National Assembly in 2019 and, actually, it was passed in November, 2021, and it has also stayed here. I hope we can expedite, so that we finish this Bill before the end of this Session. I thank you.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to support the Sugar Bill that is before us from the National Assembly. I come from the western part of Kenya where sugarcane is a key cash crop. We depend on this crop so much that we have invested a lot in it. With the current situation in Kenya, what is happening in the sugar industry leaves us more discouraged as farmers and as people who have depended on this crop for many years. Our households right now are suffering because they had invested a lot in this crop. I want to point out a few things when it comes to sugar industry. As much as many people here have proposed amendments, I do agree that this Bill looks at it wholesomely without any discrimination; what the stakeholders are taking and what this Bill is speaking about. We do not need to sell our country or livelihoods, especially when you look at Mumias and only look at one person becoming a monopoly of possessing so many industries and zoning areas that he wants to take control of. It is not what we need as Kenyans, especially from the western part of the country, where we depend on this crop. A lot of amendments have been proposed with regard to sugar development levy, sugar fund and research. However, let us give each and every stakeholder an opportunity to understand these proposals. When Pan African Paper Mills in Webuye was in operation, many people in our region were employed. Nonetheless, someone bought it in the name of revamping it and preserving the interests of Kenyans. Right now, it is being used as storage facility of some goods for an individual. Madam Temporary Speaker, we do not need to compromise on livelihoods. There are people who are taking this factory seriously and they mean well for us. Since I was a child, we have been growing sugarcane in our farms. Sugarcane farming thrived during those days and many farmers were able to take their children to school. My father has been selling sugarcane for many years. Sugarcane farming has been part and parcel of our life. I am also a sugarcane farmer in that particular region. Madam Temporary Speaker, currently farmers are suffering because some individuals are importing sugar. They have even bought land in Uganda where they are growing sugarcane. It is a pity that they import sugar from Uganda and package it as Kenyan sugar. It is disheartening for us farmers. Let us listen to the voice of all stakeholders and revive sugar industry. Some Members are coerced to support one miller against the others. This does not augur well in this sector. It is not good to interfere with sugar millers who are helping in improving the livelihoods of Kenyans. We have small-scale farmers who farm sugarcane. They depend on it to feed and take their children to school. I am happy that Butali Sugar Mills in Kakamega, West Kenya Sugar Company Limited and others are buying sugarcane from small scale farmers. Let us continue supporting these companies by coming up with laws that will help our farmers. Let us not preside over collapsing of these companies.
Madam Temporary Speaker, there is no need for us to support some companies at the expense of others because we have been given few coins. Let us support all companies so that we stop these rogue individuals from importing sugar. Why is the Government allowing some cartels to import sugar while our farmers continue to cultivate sugarcane? Why kill this industry by allowing importation of sugar into this country? We have fertile land in Western Kenyan that is good for growing sugarcane. Farmers in some parts of Rift Valley are also now involved in sugarcane farming. Some have stopped planting maize because sugarcane farming has high returns. Let us encourage it by passing laws and policies that will create an enabling environment for millers and people who depend on the sugarcane farming. These laws should aid the small-scale farmers to realise high yields. As I said, let us not legislate to benefit few individual millers. Any time we come up with a Bill to improve this industry, we need to listen to all stakeholders. I would like to go on record that during public participation, the millers and other stakeholders be invited to give their views because they have a lot of experience in this industry. It is a pity that some people or investors have come to siphon and impoverish sugarcane farmers. Farmers are really suffering. A tonnage is sold at Kshs4,000, but a farmer takes home only Kshs2,000 or less. What does that mean? We are going to kill other sugar millers in the same way we killed Mumias Sugar Company Limited. We are destroying sugar millers because we are planting sugarcane outside the country. We then repackage it as Kenyan sugar and label it ‘Made in Kenya.’ We need to be keen on what we are doing. Madam Temporary Speaker, it is important that amendments are brought in regard to the Sugar Arbitration Tribunal and the Kenya Sugar Board as proposed in the Bill. Are they going to add any value? Are we coming up with a proposal for people to siphon more funds from the farmers? Who is going to oversight the Sugar Arbitration Tribunal and the Kenya Sugar Board? We need to encourage millers to have an input on what farmers need to plant that can give them high yield. The sugar industry agreements have been recognized widely. Agriculture in this country is devolved. However, let us not impose unnecessary policies that will kill sugar milers and, at the same time, kill small-scale farmers who have invested a lot in this sector. Madam Temporary Speaker, I would like to propose amendments on the clause that establish the Kenya Sugar Board and the Sugar Development Levy. When a farmer invests in the sugar industry, let nobody bring in policies that will kill this important industry. We do not want to see some predominant millers who will buy a few legislators here to pass this Bill. The Bill had better die other than passing it---
Order! Sen. Shiyonga, that is serious if you are trying to imply that anybody has bought any legislator here. Please, desist from that kind of allegation.
Madam Temporary Speaker, I am not saying there is somebody who has been bought. I am just saying if at all any can be bought to kill the farmers or
millers, it will be unfortunate. We need to strike a balance between the millers who will invest in this sugar industry and promote small scale farmers. The policies should run across board to accommodate everyone and all millers who have also invested a lot in this industry. I am not being biased. It is upon the Committee who are looking at this Bill to accommodate every stakeholder, so that they do not look like they are biased. This industry cuts across; it has poor and rich persons. We need to accommodate them in the Bill and ensure that our livelihood is taken care of. I rest my case.
Sen. Cheruiyot, you have the Floor.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Speaker for this chance. This is a very important Bill. It is a pity that we, as a House, are considering it this late in the day. I wish we had considered it at the beginning of this term. This Bill was introduced in 2019 in the National Assembly. However, because of the many politics that we have both institutional and also in the industry; forces outside of this House, it has taken us close to three years. Perhaps this is going to be its fourth year before a decision is made. There are not very strong prospects of it passing on time. This is the last week before party primaries. We all know what happens at party primaries if you have been in Parliament before. When party primaries are about the corner, this is the only week people can still afford a smile. Otherwise next week, along the corridors of Parliament, it is never very happy scene to be here. There is a famous corner at the main restaurant of Parliament, people begin to group themselves. This might be a little bit different, but 2017 was a very interesting election year. There were almost two major formations. While the same can be said of now, there are many political parties in the spectrum. Therefore, there are no that many people, at least in this House, who are going for party primaries. Nonetheless, maybe there is one or a few we can think of. What will happen if we do not conclude this business before next week when many major parties begin their party primaries? Many people after the party primaries will either lose interest in this House or they will be busy elsewhere. In other areas like where you come from Madam Temporary Speaker, that is when real politics begin immediately after party primaries because there are one or two forces competing.
Madam Temporary Speaker, the long and short of what I am saying is that we must expedite this and the leadership needs to be challenged to find a solution to either spare a single day, recall us back to the House and ensure that as a House, we pass this Bill. It is unfortunate that we have to wait this late. Sugar forms a very important sector in our country. It employs many people. Back in the day when sugar farming was thriving, many industries and societies were doing well. You cannot compare Mumias Town now with when Mumias Sugar Company was thriving. Closer home to where I come from, when Chemelil was Chemelil, when the sugar factory was performing and was at its peak, generating good sales, paying the out- grower farmers using their own nucleus, that town had life. Chemelil even had a football
club they were sponsoring. It played in the Kenyan Premier League and it used to do well. There were many others as well. We can think of Nzoia. There was Nzoia Football Club (FC). This is an industry that used to thrive. However, because of mismanagement and how we are not good at making good companies grow bigger and better, we lost it at some point. The long and short of this conversation is that we need to ask ourselves whether what this Bill is proposing is really the problem. Is it for want of good laws that the sugar sector is in the state it is in? I know for a fact because, in my other life, I am actively involved in this sector apart from being a politician. We have good laws that can help this sector to thrive. Madam Temporary Speaker, because of loopholes that continue to be used by people in power who do not want this sector to thrive and who make more money importing sugar into the country instead of ensuring our own sector thrives, we now find ourselves in the situation we are in. I have done extensive tours of sugar factories and mills in Uganda, our neighbouring country. We import a lot of sugar from Uganda. If you are to do a comparison, you will find in many of these factories in Uganda such as Naitiri, Kakira and others apart from receiving sugar from out growers which forms only 10-20 per cent of their milling capacity, the rest 80 per cent is self-generated. Madam Temporary Speaker, they have control of the value chain. They have collated different groups of people. The new model they have adapted in other parts of the country is that they tell the farmer to give them land and they run the entire thing. Those farmers lease out their land together with the cane and the factory runs everything. Then they wait for end month when they are shown what has come out of their farm and receive their pay. That works better. World over, small scale businesses continue to struggle. Apart from tea, there is no other crop that continues to successfully generate income for its farmers by way of small scale. Many other crops thrive when done in large scale because you are able to manage farm inputs and to observe expected standards to ensure sufficient yield. However, we do not see such a concrete proposal coming out of this. This is not to say that this is not a good Bill. I endorse this Bill a 100 per cent. There are good prospects and many positives about this Bill which I will later come on to in my concluding remarks. I was only talking about areas that I feel we strongly need to think broadly about perhaps as we go to Committee stage, though I doubt whether that opportunity is there. Many issues of agriculture are at policy level. Those are not things you can legislate about. You cannot force the Government to generate or provide a conducive environment for private players to be able to invest locally. Madam Temporary Speaker, I agree with Sen. Shiyonga that many of the private millers running their mills here in Kenya are the ones responsible for this sector being in this situation that it is in. They prefer to do work that makes money for them because it is cheaper. However, that does not make sense to our economy and our country. As leaders and representatives of the people, it is incumbent upon us to think about it and say what it is we are going to do to, first, provide a conducive environment.
Secondly and most importantly, force these private players to invest locally in cane growing and to also ensure that the nucleus is within their jurisdiction. Every time you apply for a milling licence, you are asked to attach the names of the farmers who will be supplying cane to your factory. Yet once you have got the licence, there is no requirement to ensure those farmers live in conditions where they can continue to supply cane. In those factories, you see steam coming out once in seven days a week, but we do not know what they do for the rest of six days? They repackage raw sugar from other countries. Madam Temporary Speaker, what is it that other countries do that we cannot do here locally? I am happy that I have seen some of the proposals that are part of this Bill. If we are to strictly observe and follow them through, it can help us achieve many industry standards that allow other countries to thrive. Madam Temporary Speaker, I endorse this Bill. I am happy with the introduction of the Kenya Sugar Board. This used to exist back in the day. We all remember what happened with Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Authority (AFFA). We did our work in the tea sector, but unanimously across the country, farmers told us they preferred each crop being handled individually. I know a bit of history about this Bill. When people had problems with us when we were removing tea from being part of AFFA as a wholesome unit, we asked them what the problem was. I remember having a conversation with one of the Members of the National Assembly from Western Kenya who had serious complaints with what we were doing with the tea sector. I challenged him to do the same for sugar because I understood the issues were the same. The whole conceptualization of AFFA was grave mistake. As you read through the body, you will see that for every body corporate that they are creating, they need experts of a certain industry. This is the question I asked and posed before this House when I was urging my colleagues to support us in the Tea Bill. Where is it that you are going to get these extra talented, gifted, knowledgeable and so sagacious Kenyans who will have knowledge on tea, coffee, cotton and others so that you put them in the Board of AFFA in order to give strategic directions? I do not think such people exist. This Bill is proposing that we revert back to Kenya Sugar Board. This makes a lot of sense to me. I endorse and agree to many of the provisions that are being made about it on the powers that this institution shall have. I hope it shall not be another bottleneck as millers try to set up their mills. I hope it will protect the sector and ensure that they group farmers together to form a communal nucleus so that they can observe many of the standards that are required and so that the yield per acre can be similar across the region. Madam Temporary Speaker, the amount of money that private millers make per acre out of their nucleus and the amount which our farmers make in small scale farms has a huge disparity. This is not for any other reason, but because of good and modern agricultural practices which many of our farmers are not able to observe. Those will be the functions and directions that the Sugar Board needs to place as a demand on the millers.
I hope that when we set up such a Board, we will give it sufficient powers. I have seen the powers that have been granted to them. We need to make a demand on everybody, including those who have milling plants that are running. On a yearly target basis, we give them the incentive to grow various nucleases and ensure that their farmers develop their cane and increase it and see their contribution. Otherwise, if you do not make that demand upon them, we will have the situation that Sen. Shiyonga has describing where people run mills for packaging sugar that has been manufactured elsewhere and not locally. Madam Temporary Speaker, we must demand from each of our millers that they work hand in hand with their outgrowers. This is because ours is a small-scale holder economy. We cannot be like Uganda, Sudan, Brazil and the rest of the countries. Yes, that option is available. I am a representative of people here courtesy of the many cane farmers of Kericho County. While I speak and make laws for them, I am concerned about the large-scale farmers. I wish them well. However, my primary concern is the people that I represent. That is what I expect and demand of this sugar board. There are responsibilities and functions that have been assigned to the county government as well. There is this provision that we keep on putting in in many of these such laws, that is issuance of sugarcane nursery certificates. Sometimes, some of these legislations are nonsensical if you may ask me. An over enthusiastic county government official might find some young boys trying to put together a nursery and arrest them because they need a certification from the county government. I see this happening a lot in the tea sector. We know for a fact that if I wanted to buy sugarcane seedlings which are proper, tested and verified by the various research agencies that we have in the country, I know where to buy. Madam Temporary Speaker, many of these young people are not doing it because they do not like to observe regulations or things like that. It is because of the economic situation. Therefore, as a House, we should not sanction and force down people to observe certain practises which are way above their reach. I agree with the composition of the Board. I have read Part Three of the Bill. Clause 18 is about the various licencing regulations. That is part of what I was describing early. On what is expected and demanded of a miller, let them make a declaration. The beauty is that, Hon. Senators may change in this House, but this House will remain. I prayer for myself and those who want to come back like, my good friend, from Nyamira County, Sen. Omogeni. I wish him well and hope that God grants us the chance. If we do not conclude this business during this term, one of the things that we must do is place a demand on each milling factory to declare how much sugar they have imported into the country in comparison with how much they have milled from outgrowers. So that we determine and see which are these mills that exist only to package sugar that is being developed by others outside the country. I challenge that we need to put that requirement in this Bill. If we do not succeed because of time and many challenges, next term, God willing and God granting us a chance, this is something that we must do if we want this sector thrive. I can see that time is rushing and there is so much to say about this particular Bill, but of interest is the financial provision. When people go for campaign rallies in Western
Kenya, it has become a cliché to say that they will put x amount of money in Mumias Sugar Company to revive it. Sometimes, you look at people and wish that they could get angry and stone all politicians. Every political formation, for as long as I remember from 2002, 2007, 2013 and 2017 has made this promise yet it never comes to fruition. I hope for a fact that with the passage of this Bill, when we set up this particular Board, it will sort the financial sector. This is because the agricultural sector is made up of two components. If you have sort the two, you have sorted the entire value chain. For example, the production side ensures that the farm inputs are at a good price and the market side ensures that it is being purchased at a good price. This reminds me of something that we might raise a statement about it next week. That is the fertilizer subsidy programme. I wish to go on record in this House that officials of the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) are in a panic right now. This is because, one, they are asked to run a fertilizer subsidy programme yet they are not being told how many companies will participate in this subsidy programme. They are being forced to single source which is bringing a lot of challenges to them. Secondly and most important is: Which is the standard body apart from Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS)? KEBS is ours and we respect it. However, sometimes given the way things are done in the country, we may require other bodies to check apart from the Government agencies, the quality of these fertilizers that we are selling to farmers at Kshs2,800. There maybe very serious crisis next year and officials of NCPB need to come to this House and explain those two components. Madam Temporary Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity. I believe when the Committee gives us the Report, they will tell us where they have proposed that we make changes so that we conclude and, at least, give value to our farmers. What do we exist for if we cannot sort even the key agricultural sectors that keep us going as country like tea, sugar, dairy and cotton? Its unfair on us, as a House. We cannot be running year in, year out. It does not matter the political formation that carries the day. These are obvious things that we need to have sorted out long time ago. However, because of commercial interest like those who have spoken earlier have said it, many of these private players are so powerful and so well connected. In the life of this Parliament, you remember what happened to our colleagues in the National Assembly when it was found that somebody had imported sugar with mercury into the country. A whole Committee of Parliament was sent helter-skelter and there were accusations right, left and centre. That Report disappeared. Nobody was ever charged and no licence was revoked. That is how strong and powerful some of these people that we are fighting against are. Madam Temporary Speaker, I believe that it is not impossible to organise our sugar sector back to even better heights than what it used to be in the 1980s and 1990s. We should put our farmers in cooperatives and ensure that our mills are well taken care of without having to interfere with them unnecessarily and have our farmers earn just like those across the borders in other parts of the country. It is possible. I laud the passage of this Bill. I hope we will conclude on it before the end of our term so that our farmers can appreciate and enjoy the fruits of our work.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Speaker. T
Sen. Omogeni, please proceed.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Speaker, for giving me an opportunity to also make my contribution to this Bill from the Sugar Bill, 2019 from the National Assembly. Madam temporary Speaker, any time we have an issue that touches on farmers, it invites my keen interest because most of the people who support us to come to this House are farmers. About 33 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is directly supported by farming. Back to our counties, especially Nyamira County, almost 40 per cent of the employment opportunities is in the agricultural sector. If you go to other places like Rift Valley, in the rural population, it goes up to 70 per cent. So, the things we used to hear when President Moi was in power that agriculture is the backbone of our economy is, indeed, true. Madam Deputy Speaker, legislation can turn fortunes of our farmers. If you speak to people like Sen. Cheruiyot who come from the tea-growing areas, the Tea Act that was a brain child of this House has turned around fortunes of tea farmers. In fact, it put smiles on the faces of tea farmers immediately it was assented to and became an Act of Parliament and acquired the force of law. In my county, the income per kilogramme in most factories increased by Kshs3 from an average Kshs17 to Kshs20. There is a lot of excitement within the farmers that the bonus that they will be paid this year, will make them smile and earn decent lives. In other countries, farming is a very attractive occupation. We once went to a Podu family in Maryland, United States of America (USA). The children manning that farm are the third generation of the Podu Family. The farm was owned by their grandfather, passed over to their father, now it is the grand children who are managing the farm. They have about 2,000 herd of cattle supplying milk all the way from Maryland to South Carolina through Washington. They said they had never dreamt of looking for any Government employment. They are happy and comfortable in doing farming and they are earning a decent living. That is how I should be. However, in this part, even where you come from, cattle farming does not make people in Masailand smile. The income they are getting when they take their cows to the market and sell, does not make them to have smiles on their faces. As legislators and people’s representatives, we need to proactively do all we can to reform the sugarcane, tea, cotton and sisal industries, so that our farmers can start earning decent incomes from agriculture. Since we do not have jobs to offer to all the unemployed youth, we need to ensure that those who engage in farming get good returns. That way, we will keep populations away from our urban centres.
If you recall, around 2000, most exciting football clubs were being sponsored by sugar companies. For example, Mumias Sugar Football Club (F.C.) was one of the pioneer clubs that won the Moi Golden Cup. Any team that won that cup used to earn the rights to represent Kenya in the Africa Cup Winners’ Cup.
I cannot remember well, but I think in 2007 or 2008, I was in Nyayo National Stadium watching a football match between AFC Leopards and Mumias Sugar F.C. The stars for Mumias Sugar FC were Mark Sirengo, Nick Akama, Steve Okumu and the only
Turkana who was playing football those days called Andrew Kortok. The sugar industry was not only offering employment, but also giving opportunities for workers and their families to exploit their talent in sports. That is how it should be.
A town like Awendo in Migori County would never have grown if it was not because of sugarcane farming and establishment of Sony Sugar Company Limited in Awendo. Look at the schools that they support. We have Sony Sugar Complex Academy that was set up by the company. There is a lot that we can gain as a country when we allow companies to support farmers by setting up sugar factories.
That said, there are challenges facing the sugar industry. It is a pity that as I make this contribution, Mumias Sugar Company Limited is now under receivership. I think Chemelil Sugar Company Limited is on its knees. We are importing sugar from outside instead of exporting sugar to other countries.
When Mumias Sugar Company Limited started producing sugar that was packaged in sachets, I travelled one time and carried a gift for lawyers I was meeting in Hong Kong because I was going to attend a Commonwealth Lawyers’ Conference. I proudly presented the sugar telling them that it was produced in Kenya. It is a pity that we do not have sugar sachets produced by Mumias Sugar Company Limited any more.
I hope that the proposals in this Sugar Bill will help these companies to rise up, so that they can be back to business and farmers can start earning returns. I know there are many farmers who delivered sugarcane to these companies, but have been waiting to be paid for many years. Some delivered sugarcane to Mumias Sugar Company Limited while some delivered to Sony Sugar Company Limited in Awendo. However, up to now, they have not been paid.
My brother does sugarcane farming in Awendo. He sued Sony Sugar Company Limited because they have not paid him for the past five years. That is not the way to treat farmers because they toil so hard. In order to grow sugarcane and deliver it to a factory, you require 24 months. However, after you harvested sugarcane and delivered it to a sugar factory, you are told that there is no money for you to be paid. It is unfair. It is like working in this Senate for two years without salary. You will not like it.
I am happy that the Kenya Sugar Board that was scraped when we did some amendments to the Sugar Act will be reinstated. The Governor of Migori County, Hon. Okoth Obado, used to be the Chairman of the Kenya Sugar Board. He resigned to go and vie for governorship in Migori County and he won. I remember the Company Secretary was a lawyer called Rosemary Mkok. My friend Osodo used to be a director in the Kenya Sugar Board. I hope once this Board is reestablished, we are going to see a vibrant board that will extend a lot of support to our farmers.
I have a problem with a few provisions here. I agree that anybody importing sugar into the country should be surcharged. There should be a 10 per cent levy on the Cost Insurance Freight (CIF) on imported sugar. However, I do not understand why we want to put a levy on our domestic farmers. I think Kenyans are already overtaxed. The fuel we consume has a Road Maintenance Levy (RML). When a farmer grows sugarcane and delivers it to a factory, again they are charged some levy. I do not
think I will support that. Let us punish people who import sugar, but not the ones who produce sugar locally.
The intention is good because there is nothing as important as price stabilization. When you have Guaranteed Minimum Returns (GMRs), that is the only way that farmers can engage in farming without having any fear of meeting the cost of production. If you pay farmers Kshs10,000 per tonne of sugarcane delivered to a factory and ensure the price does not go down, that will encourage many people to engage in farming. That is what happens in USA. If there are adverse weather effects and your maize gets destroyed, the Government pays you. That is what we need to do even for our livestock farmers. If we experience adverse weather conditions and your cattle dies - for Gods’ sake, it is not you who brought the drought - the Government should have a way of cushioning such farmers. I hope that this development levy and what is stated in this Act, will be used for price stabilization. I hope we will not see corruption coming in again so that this money is diverted. If we create a levy, let us use it to stabilise the prices. Madam Temporary Speaker, I have not seen whether there will be a competitive recruitment process for the Tribunal that is proposed. The Bill proposes that this Tribunal under Section 40 of the Act, will be picked by the Hon. Chief Justice (CJ) to hear disputes between farmers. That is a very good thing. However, we need to be careful. Instead of putting this as an obligation of the Hon. CJ, the fairest way to recruit members to tribunals is to engage the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) because it has quasi- judicial officers. Therefore, this is a function that should be in the hands of the JSC. The same way people apply for positions of judges of the Court of Appeal, High Court and Magistrate Courts, it should be the same thing. If you give this discretion to the CJ, most likely people may want to go to court and challenge some appointees. This puts the office of the Hon. CJ in a very awkward position. In fact, what is even worrying is if you read Section 40(b) which says: “The CJ in consultation with the Attorney General and the Council of County Governors---”. I am wondering if the CJ will call a meeting between CoG and the Attorney General to come to his office and ask them to agree on who they should appoint. Kenyans, being who we are and because of the freedom that has come with a new Constitution, you will see litigation. You can imagine a CJ of the Republic being named as a respondent or being challenged in court that he or she did not follow the due process and that there was no public participation. It will not look nice. The best thing that I propose is that we should consider that the issue of appointment should be left in the hands of the JSC. I will propose this amendment. The CoG has already been recognised because they will propose a person to sit in the Kenya Sugar Board. That is good enough. However, the idea of appointment of the Tribunal that will be hearing disputes, should be a preserve of the JSC. Madam Temporary Speaker, in terms of how you utilise this levy, we had a case and I was privileged to be involved in it that we filed in the High Court in Kericho County. The case was on the utilisation of the tea levy. One of the issues we raised in court, was that it is unfair to tax farmers and say that you want to use that money for
infrastructure development, including roads, whereas those farmers have already been taxed through the road development levy. It amounts to double taxation. I am seeing that we are repeating the same mistake here in Section 34(7)(C). It is proposed that the Sugar Development Levy will be used for infrastructure development. We have enough money within the national budget and county governments allocations to improve our roads network. Let us not overtax Kenyans. You cannot tax me on road development fuel levy and again you tax me sugar development fuel levy and you want to apply the same money for development of roads. That is not right. I hope that county governments will also extend agricultural extension services to farmers.
I can see my time is up. There are a number of challenges here in the idea of fertilizer subsidy. I would have wished that this be a preserve of the sugar factories themselves. If you go to the tea sector, fertilizer for tea factories is procured by those factories themselves. Even in this one, instead of living this task to the parent Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation, this should be done by the factories themselves. In conclusion, this is the way we shall address the concerns of Kenyans. I was surprised yesterday to read that while the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Raila Odinga was meeting people in the oil sector to discuss how we can find solutions to the petroleum crisis that we are facing, our number two in command, the Deputy President (DP) was in his official residence in Karen sharing Government. What a shame? What a pity? He said that he was going to take 60 per cent of Government and give Sen. Wetangula and team 40 per cent instead of discussing the problems that Kenyans are facing. I was impressed by the speech I heard from the President of Tanzania. Maybe we need to encourage more women to aspire to be presidents. What is her name? She is called Madam---
Yes, Madam Temporary Speaker. Yes, her name is Hon. Suluhu. She was so candid. She was not in the streets. I see our DP, instead of taking that microphone written DP and addressing Kenyans, educating them on the crisis we have in Russia and Ukraine, he goes to the streets to tell people how the Government has failed. How can you be in Government and you are telling people to come out and demonstrate against your own Government? It is really a shame. We need to send him for benchmarking to Tanzania. We need to get a ticket for our DP to go to Tanzania and see how people who occupy positions of President behave. Hon. Raila Odinga is not occupying any seat within the Cabinet, but he is trying to reach out to people in this sector to get solutions. Tomorrow, you will see another press release from Karen saying we have now pangadi people in Nyamira County.
No way! And we are seeing. Madam Temporary Speaker, let us send the DP’s friends to tell him to understand the importance of the office he occupies. Article 147 states that he is the principal assistant to the President. When you are a principal assistant, when there is a crisis, you
look for the principal. In a secondary school when the deputy principal sees a problem, he looks for the principal to discuss. Now, what example is our DP sending to our head masters and our deputy principals?
Your time is up, but you can take one minute to wrap up.
Madam Temporary Speaker, in conclusion, I fully support this Sugar Bill. It is a very good intervention by the National Assembly. I agree with most of the proposals in it. However, we just need to make a few amendments here and there so that we can show empathy and support to our farmers. I support.
Hon. Senators, I see no further requests on that Bill. Therefore, I call upon the Mover to reply. I am told it is Sen. Kasanga on behalf of the Senate Majority Leader.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Speaker. I beg to reply. I start by thanking all the Senators who have contributed to this Bill. Indeed, it is a very comprehensive Bill. As you can see, were it not for the timing of it, it is a Bill that would have drawn a lot of interests for obvious reasons. Just to echo what most of the Senators have said, agriculture is the mainstay of our country. As legislators and leaders, we have a duty to ring fence that which is our own country and, especially this regional agricultural production. Sugar conversations have gone on for so long in this country. It is good to see such a comprehensive Bill that works towards putting order in the sector. It is very important that we ring-fence and promote these agricultural practices and production for the sake of uplifting the quality of the livelihoods of our people. Sen. Sakaja talked about the poverty of the people in that region and Sen. Shiyonga also attested to this. Due to all the cartels and shenanigans that have been happening in the sugar sector, it is about time that that order is put into place. I have to also comment on the fact that the promotion of research and development in the sugar sector by the introduction of the institute is something that must be celebrated in this Bill. We have to look towards optimization of farm produce. We have to also look at adopting the best practices and best methods of agriculture so that we can uplift the capacity of our farmers and make the most out of our lands. We have to take cognizance of climate change and we have to also protect the environment as much as possible and that is the work that the research institute is going to do as it promotes best practices. Let us also appreciate the dispute resolution Clauses that have been put in the Bill. Alternative dispute resolution is the way. I just saw in the news today that two Cabinet Secretaries have gone to do mediation and dispute resolution on some of the projects that are having a problem right now and have stalled because certain disputes have arisen between the contractors and the residents of those areas.
Alternative dispute resolution is definitely the way of the future, it is part of our Constitution. It is good to see it being mainstreamed in some of our Bills and that is something that we have to celebrate. As I thank all the Senators who have contributed to this important Bill, I would like to say that this is the sort of Bill that is long overdue and would be good if it could become an Act before we dissolve Parliament in this session. It is our prayer that the people of western where the sugar belt exists can see this happen and that way we can demonstrate that this House of Parliament is really fighting for the people of this country. Madam Temporary Speaker, I beg to reply and I beg to move that the putting of the Question be deferred to a later date pursuant to Standing Order No.61 (3). I thank you.
Hon. Senators, this being a matter that touches on counties we cannot therefore put the question and it is therefore deferred to another date.
Hon. Senators, we had rearranged the Order Paper and we dealt with Order No. 20. We now proceed to Order No. 21.
Hon. Senators, we are doing the Committee of the Whole on the Consideration of the National Assembly Amendments to the Mental Health (Amendment) Bill (Senate Bills No.28 of 2020).
Madam Temporary Chairperson, I beg to move- THAT, Clause 3 of the Bill be amended in paragraph (b)─ (a) in the proposed definition of “mental health practitioner” by inserting the following new paragraph immediately after paragraph (a)─
“(aa) medical practitioner under the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Act;”
(b) by deleting the proposed definition of “mental health unit” and substituting therefor the following new definition─ “mental health unit” means a place or a section within a health facility designated to provide mental health services;” (c) by deleting the proposed definition of “person with mental illness” and substituting therefor the following new definition─ “person with mental illness” means a person diagnosed by a qualified mental health practitioner to be suffering from mental illness, and includes─ (a) a person diagnosed with alcohol or substance use disorder; and (b) a person with suicidal ideation or behavior;” (d) by inserting the following new definitions in their proper alphabetic sequence─ “mental health facility” means a facility registered and licensed by the relevant medical regulatory body to provide mental health services; “mental health services” means the promotion of mental wellbeing, prevention, management or alleviation of disease, illness, injury and other physical and social determinants affecting mental health in individuals; “rehabilitation” means the multidisciplinary approach aimed at supporting persons with psychosocial, intellectual and cognitive disabilities, access to services geared towards their treatment and recovery process;”
Division will be at the end.
Madam Temporary Chairperson, I beg to move- THAT, clause 4 of the Bill be amended in the proposed new section 2A by inserting the following new paragraphs immediately after paragraph (e)─ “(f) adopt a holistic approach to community-based mental health services; and (g) promote the provision of mental health services in primary health facilities.”
Division will be at the end.
Madam Chairperson, I beg to move- THAT, clause 5 of the Bill be amended in the proposed new section 2C─
(a) by inserting the following new sub-paragraph immediately after sub-paragraph (b)(ii)─ “(iii) expanding and strengthening community and family-based care and support systems for vulnerable persons;” (b) by inserting the words “including mechanisms for outpatient comprehensive cover for mental health care and continued care for mental illness” immediately after the word “realised” appearing in paragraph (c); (c) by deleting paragraph (f) and substituting therefor the following new paragraph─ “(f) develop community-based programmes for the continued care and rehabilitation of persons with mental illness;”
Division will be at the end.
Madam Chairperson, I beg to move- THAT, Clause 7 of the Bill be amended by deleting the proposed new subsection (2) and inserting the following new subsection- “(2) The Board shall consist of- (i) a chairperson appointed by the President who shall- (ii) hold a Masters’ degree in psychiatry or its equivalent from a university recognised in Kenya; and (iii)have at least ten years' experience, five of which shall be in a managerial position; (a) the Principal Secretary in the ministry for the time being responsible for matters relating to health or a representative appointed in writing; (b) the Principal Secretary in the ministry for the time being responsible for matters relating to finance or a representative appointed in writing;
(c) four persons, not being public officers, appointed by the Cabinet Secretary by virtue of gender, disability and regional balance, with knowledge and experience in mental health care of whom─ (i) one shall be a psychiatrist nominated by the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board; (ii) one shall be a counsellor or psychologist nominated by the Counsellors and Psychologists Board; (iii)one shall be a nurse nominated by the Nursing Council of Kenya; and (iv) one shall be a clinical officer nominated by the Clinical Officers Council; (d) one person nominated by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights with knowledge and experience in matters related to mental health; (e) two persons, not being Governors, and having knowledge and experience in matters related to mental health, nominated by the Council of County Governors; (f) one county director of health nominated from amongst the forty-seven county directors of health by the Council of County Governors; and
(g) the Director of Mental Health, who shall be the secretary to the Board and an ex
member of the Board.”
Division will be at the end.
Madam Chairperson, I beg to move- THAT, Clause 35 of the Bill be amended in paragraph (a) by─ (a) deleting the words “by order of the Director or the respective county executive committee member” appearing in the proposed new subsection (1) and substituting therefor the words “with the approval of the person in charge”; (b) deleting the words “The Director or the county executive committee member, as the case may be, shall” appearing in the proposed new subsection (1A) and substituting therefor the words “The person in charge shall”.
Division will be at the end. Hon. Senators we now report progress of the Committee of the Whole on the consideration of The National Assembly Amendments to the Mental Health Bill (Senate Bills No. 28 of 2020). Mover proceed.
Madam Temporary Chairperson, Pursuant to Standing Order No.148, I beg to move that the Committee do report its consideration of the National Assembly amendments to the Mental Health Bill (Senate Bills No.28 of 2020) and seek leave to sit again tomorrow.
The Senate Majority Leader, you may proceed.
Madam Temporary Speaker, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Committee on said Reports and ask Sen. Shiyonga---
Chairperson, please report progress.
Madam, Temporary Speaker, I beg to report progress that the Committee of the Whole has considered the National Assembly amendments to the Mental Health (Amendment) Bill (Senate Bills No. 28 of 2020) and seeks leave to sit again tomorrow.
Madam Temporary Speaker, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Committee on the said report. I request Sen. Shiyonga to second.
Madam Temporary Speaker, I second.
Hon. Senators, I further move to rearrange the order paper by deferring Orders Nos. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27.
Hon. Senators, let us move to the next Order. The Senate Majority Leader, you may proceed.
Madam Temporary Speaker, I beg to move- THAT pursuant to Standing Orders 28 and 29, the Senate do adjourn until Tuesday, 26th April, 2022. Let me just begin by thanking the Senators for so much work that they have done to deserve a break. I do believe that the few days of recess will refresh the Senators and energize them. it will also give them an opportunity to go through the process of nomination in their political parties. They will return having been assured some of them of their positions especially nominations. Others unfortunately will return knowing that they have come to the end of the road.
If we think about it, it is the participation of these Members that has brought the Senate where we are today. They have given the Senate a great name and brought it into a state of respect and honor. As we come towards the end of our terms Senators, we must take stock. I must say that this is the moment to take stock and begin to wind down on our activities because by June, we will come to a halt.
There are so many things that are pending. We were not successful in doing division on many of our Motions and Bills. We were unable to do that. As we go to recess, we have just processed a very important bill on mental bill. We have just also processed the Sugar Bill up to a certain level. We have many of these Bills that are pending. A break is good for Members so that when they come back I am sure that we will go on a marathon of just doing divisions and passing all the Bills that are pending.
I thank all Members and wish them well as they go into this state of affairs. There is so much that we do not know about nominations in parties and so on. I however, wish everyone well during that time. I also want to say that during recess, it is also time for family and hoping that Members who also who do not normally have for their families will then retreat to meet with families and network.
I do not envy our positions when it comes the issue of the current politics of the day. I wish that Members when go out to do politics, let us do our politics peacefully. Let there be politics that do not encourage friction or conflict. Not the kind of things that we saw the other day in Nandi. I really do not want to overemphasize of the fact that when we start politics that are controversial and those of hate, we shall be putting our country in a very difficult position. As we go out on recess, let us think about peace. Let us be peaceful. Let us ask for votes very quietly and peacefully. I know that there will be times when you are tempted but I would like to ask that we stay calm and do our politics well.
With those few remarks and knowing that Members are anxious to go on this recess, I like to move and ask the young Senator from Narok County to second. I thank you, Madam Temporary Speaker.
The young Senator from Narok has a name. Sen. Ledama Olekina, proceed.
Madam Temporary Speaker, I rise to second the motion of adjournment. I too would like to share the same sentiments as my leader in terms of issues of politics. Politics comes and go. We are given an opportunity to serve this country. As we adjourn, it is imperative that as leaders we lead by example. It is important that we allow civility and respect to be the order of the day. Kenyans at this time when it is very difficult for them to put food on the table, the worst they can tolerate is us bickering and calling each other names.
It is time we focused on issue based politics. I encourage the youth that during this time of nomination, let them nominate people based on the issues they stand for. It is about time that our politics become of age. When people seek to be given the mandate to lead, they should articulate clearly how they are going to change the life of so many Kenyans who are suffering. Right now with the recent crisis we had with fuel, a lot of people slept angry especially those who live in far flung areas like Turkana where we were recently with my Party Leader. What we saw is that Kenyans are yearning for that time when a leader can come in and articulate their issues. People need good health care, good roads and good schools. As leaders, if we go out there and talk to our people, realistically speaking, and show them what it is that we intend to do, they will definitely vote for us. Today was an interesting day in this country in the sense that the last budget for His Excellency the President was read. I think it is important for even county governments to follow suit and be able to put together realistic budgets that do not require supplementary on a quarterly basis. One of the biggest problems, is that all the way from the National to the county budgets, there are several supplementary budgets. Madam Temporary Speaker, if you speak to the Controller of Budget right now, you will be shocked. There are counties that have still not been able to utilize the money. I know a County such as Turkana, where people are dying out of hunger. Some parts of that county are littered with carcasses of dead animals because there is no water. Their Kshs3 billion is still stuck at the office of the Controller of Budget because they are not able to use that money.
It is something that saddens me, knowing the number of hours and candle light that we keep burning, so that we can send more money to counties. I encourage county governments, even if some of you have finished your term as this is your second term, as others are seeking reelection, I think putting our people first is more important. When we are out on this recess, I hope that the distinguished Senators will get an opportunity to be able to meet with their constituents and for the first time allow them how they want to be led. One of our biggest problems is that we know it all. We go there and say, I will do this, I will put a road or school here and maybe you do not even have that budget to do it. I think if we look at some of the areas that the Senate has played a key role in one is on the division of revenue, the other one is on the additional funds to be sent to counties and of course in all the other devolved functions. We are all rushing to seek reelection or go for nomination. I know this couple of weeks are going to be very tough for most of us. It is also important to remember that for at least the last four and a half years that you have been in this House, there is something that you have been able to do for your people. You need to be able to demonstrate what exactly you have done and seek the mandate. If God and the people are kind to you, you will be given a second opportunity to be able to continue serving. However, do not put all your effort in reelection. I think most people will think that I am being funny here when I say that. At least focus on trying to see whether you can be able to change a life. Madam Temporary Speaker, I end this by giving a short story of a little boy who sat in a beach. Every time star fishes would come swept by the waves he would pick up a star fish and throw it back into the ocean. Then one person said, “why are you wasting your time? That star fish you keep on throwing into the ocean is still being pushed down by the wave.” That child however said, “at least, I can save one.” Maybe one would come and when the waves are going back, it might be able to be washed far and it can be able to swim. As leaders, we may not be able to solve the problems that we have. Problems of unemployment and bad policies in this country but I think if we commit to listening to our people and to put their affairs first, then, we might be able to make a difference. Madam Temporary Speaker, with those remarks, I beg to second.
Proceed, Sen. Shiyonga.
Thank you Madam Temporary Speaker. I stand to contribute to this Motion of Adjournment. This break is a bit tensed because we are going to experience party nominations for the coming elections. I pray that peace prevails in our country and amongst the party members. My mandate as the Chairperson of the Committee on National Cohesion, Equal Opportunity and Regional Integration is to urge people to have peace, equality and transparency across whichever the case or party that you are in.
We just need to embrace peace. As Martin Luther King says, we will not build a peaceful world by following negative paths. It is not enough to say that we must not wage war. This is not the period for us to get a break to go and wage war. We need to wage peace. We need look at Kenya as a wider space that God gave us and to protect it. There needs to be life after the 9th of August, 2022. So, as we go for this break, we know that some will come back here happy because they will be nominated or probably have direct tickets. Some will have lost hope. I pray that all of us come back here with hope that we are here to build Kenya, encourage and stand for one another. Parties, nominations, elections and leaders will come and go but you are here with a purpose. God gave you Kenya to protect it and make sure that it is a peaceful land where you will leave more generations that come, to enjoy the foundation that we built. Again, I wish all the best to Members who are going for nominations. For those who have direct tickets, all the best. Madam Temporary Speaker, I know you are one of the people who are very happy because at the moment, you do not have anybody opposing you. Probably, you need to encourage us and we belong to one Committee, that preaches peace. It is very important that us Kenyans and especially women, who suffer most when war started by some of the individuals becomes tragic, like that what we experienced the other day. I pray that this one becomes a unique nomination where reconciliation and people are encouraged to talk and come up with consensus. It is only one leader and one space at a time. So, more time will come for any other persons. If God stands for you, I pray that you go ahead, prosper and leave space for other to compete. Let us have a peaceful nation when we are competing just like our neighbors in Tanzania and many others have embraced peace. I pray that Kenya embraces peace at most and not war at all. Thank you. I support.
Proceed, Sen. Kasanga.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Speaker. I also rise to support the Motion. I think we can agree that the Senators need a break. I appreciate the united front that they always put when it comes to passage of Bills and Motions. I am looking forward to them returning after their primaries, so that we can hopefully finalize the items on the Order Paper, some of them which have been there for quite some time. I am hoping that the leadership of the House can get the Senators together so that we can at least finalize on those. Knowing how much work that goes into a Bill, I think it would be an added advantage if we put that on the record as the performance of the House by finalizing what is currently on the Order Paper I also appreciate the Clerks desk and the work that they do. Even for them, I know it is an opportunity to take a break. They work very hard. It is a good time for them to also take a break. To add on to what the other Senators have said, I wish all the Senators who are running for whichever office, Godspeed in their nominations.
Let us not forget our duty to promote peace. When you are defeated, you accept defeat and support the others. Those who will win should carry their victory with grace as we prepare to go for more active politics after the primaries.
The political parties should not underestimate and understate the importance of demonstrating fairness. I call upon them to conduct the primaries with fairness. Let us ensure that Kenyans get the best leaders. It is the duty of parties to ensure that their nominations are done with a lot of fairness, credibility, taking cognizance of the leaders that the people want. Let them promote this. Let us also see gender parity this time round. Let us see inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and young people in our political parties. I am proud of my own party the Wiper Democratic Party. We have spearheaded and been on the front row when it comes to PWDs, young people and women. Let us also not forget to call upon the Government agencies that are entrusted with promotion of peace. We have to curb any incidents of hate speech. Incidences of violence must be dealt with. We want to see the perpetrators being dealt with. For once, let us see our agencies not joking with this issue. Let us not hear there have been leaders who are perpetrating violence and hate speech and at the same time allowed to vie. Let us see some serious action this time round from our agencies. Our young people should not to be used by politicians. We need to keep reminding them not to be vehicles of being used by being given little money and bought for alcohol so that they can cause scuffles in a competitor’s rally. Let us promote politics with decorum. It is us leaders who should spearhead these things. Finally, and most importantly, I wish all the Senators and aspirants good mental health. It is a time of a lot of anxiety. In fact, I was speaking to somebody yesterday who was telling me she has so much acidity because of the levels of anxiety. Today, she get news about her campaign and tomorrow she gets something else. By the time she verifies one story to find out if it is true or not, another one crops up. People are not sleeping; the anxiety levels are so high. I call upon our aspirants and fellow Senators who are mental health ambassadors to watch out for their mental health. You maybe shocked that your anxiety levels may extend to the point that you become mentally unwell by the time you win or not. We do not want that to happen. Politics is a season that comes and go. There is one politician on social media who keeps saying that you shoud put politics in your lungs and not in the heart so that you can easily breathe it out. It is give and take. I wish all of us Godspeed as you go for our nominations. I look forward to the House resuming to finalise on the business of this House before we adjourn. I support the Motion.
Hon. Senators, from where I stand I also wish you well and victory. I wish that by the time we come back of 26th April, 2022, you come back as victors.
Hon. Senators, there being no other business in the Order Paper. The Senate, therefore, stands adjourned until Tuesday, 26th April, 2022 at 2.30.p.m.
The Senate rose at 5.34 p.m.