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Hansard Highlights Week of February 13th, 2011

Posted by on 19th April 2011

Categories: Constituency News Corruption Hansard Hansard Analysis

Nominated MP Rachel Shebesh asked a crucial question given the disparity between the rhetoric how can
the women of Kenya take the government with regards to their commitment to the inclusion of
women?

PRIME MINISTERIAL STATEMENT: IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NEW
CONSTITUTION: REALIZING DEVOLUTION

The Prime Minister (Mr. Raila): Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to focus particularly on
devolution. I would like to make a brief statement on an area that I strongly feel that our country
needs to start giving some serious thought to as we prepare to implement priority areas of our
new Constitution.

One of the highlights of our new Constitution is the provision for the devolved system of
Government. The creation of the devolved Government is one of the far-reaching reforms in
our governance structure which if efficiently implemented, has the potential to enhance Kenya’s
stability and development.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the reforms envisaged under devolution will have to be implemented in
a manner that is consistent and coordinated across the national Government. The transition needs
to be properly planned to avoid any disruption in the provision of essential Government services.
There are issues we need to start exercising our minds about if we are to make devolution a
success.

One of the requirements of the devolved Government is that one third of the seats in the County
Assembly and one third of the positions in the County Government will have to be occupied by
women. That is the law.

As I travel across the country, I get the feeling that this message has not sunk down enough and
very little sensitization is going on. Women have for long been relegated to the role of observers
in a political game dominated by men. Kenya’s politics has over the time become very masculine
and quite physical. It has also become a very expensive affair. Because of these two features, our
women have largely been locked out of politics.

Women supported this Constitution so wholeheartedly because it marked the beginning of their
long sought liberation. It guarantees that one third of all elected or appointed posts in Government
go to women. It binds political parties to pay special attention to gender parity, an obvious
departure from what has been the norm. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to make an appeal for
due attention to be paid to the provisions on women.

I feel the time has come for our institutions and our international supporters to embark on a
deliberate campaign of preparing women for the roles they have to take up, particularly in politics
in the coming elections. It is my belief that women’s entry into politics, with the desired numbers,
will see them make a mark in other areas of our economy and public life.

Mrs. Shebesh: Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Prime Minister has clearly stated that the provision
for one-third representation of either gender is now a Constitutional issue and that in the
process of implementation of the New Constitution; realizing devolution, this is an area that the
Government is taking very seriously.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am holding a petition that was given to the Speaker by 19 women
organizations over the recent appointments. How will Kenyan women take the Government
seriously when it is just giving lip service to the one-third affirmative action policy but not doing
it in practice? We are tired of lip service. Could the Prime Minister tell us concretely, in line
with the current appointments and continuous appointments that happen, where women must
always make noise— This is now a Constitutional matter. How can the women of Kenya take this
Government seriously on this issue?

2. The government has given is 1.5 billion shillings to constituencies and another 300 million
to financial institutions for the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) in Tharaka
constituency it turns youth were being asked to give money before they could access the funds
read the Assistant Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports response to this. It would be interesting
to know the experience of youth trying to access the YEDF in other constituencies.

DISBURSEMENT OF YEDF MONEY IN THARAKA CONSTITUENCY

Mr. Mwiru: asked the Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs:-
(a) How much funds have been disbursed to Tharaka by the Youth Enterprise Development
Fund (YEDF) through the Constituency Youth Enterprise Scheme (C-YES) and financial
institutions (FIs); and,
(b) Whether he could table a list of financial institutions involved in the disbursement of
funds as well as the list of beneficiaries, whether individual or group(s), since inception
of the Fund.

The Assistant Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports (Ms. Ndeti): (a) The YEDF has disbursed
a total of Kshs9.8 million to Tharaka. Out of that amount, Kshs2 million has been disbursed
through the Constituency Youth Enterprise Scheme (C-YES) and Kshs7.8 million has been
disbursed through the financial institutions. The YEDF has partnered with three financial
intermediaries that are present in Tharaka. They are South Imenti Credit Company, Business
Initiatives and Management Assistance Service (BIMAS) and Kenya Women Finance Trust.

Mr. Mwiru: Mr. Speaker, Sir, in 2009, one of the financial institutions mentioned here, the
South Imenti Credit Company, started collecting money in form of savings from the youth of that
area. That exercise was supposed to encourage the youth to get loans from them. I would like to
know whether it is a Government policy for the youth to pay Government institutions before they
secure a loan.

Ms. Ndeti: Mr. Speaker, Sir, money from YEDF is supposed to be given to the youth to
enable them start their own businesses. We are trying to help the youth. So, I do not see how
an institution would ask the youth to save money so that they can use the money that the
Government has set aside for them. I assure the hon. Member, who mentioned the matter to me
last week, that we are looking into it as a Ministry. I want to give him comfort that this time
round, we have given out Kshs1.5 billion to constituencies and only Kshs300 million to banks
and other financial intermediaries.

Mr. Chepkitony: Thank you Mr. Speaker, Sir. I would like the Assistant Minister to tell this
House how much interest is charged when money is disbursed through the CYES and financial
intermediaries. How much do those two institutions charge as interest?

Ms. Ndeti: Mr. Speaker, Sir, the banks are supposed to charge a minimal interest of about 8
per cent. The Fund gives loans to these intermediaries at 1 per cent interest rate. They use the
7 per cent difference to cover administration costs and mitigate losses that may arise from the
clientele, which are perceived as a risk. The intermediary should shoulder 100 per cent risk of this
component and can lead up to Kshs1 million.

Mr. Langat: Mr. Speaker, Sir, this Fund is meant to help the youth in our constituencies.

Unfortunately, there is no sensitization of the youth in the constituencies on how these funds can
be obtained. Could the Assistant Minister tell us what they have been doing to sensitize the youth
on the existence of this Fund?

Ms. Ndeti: Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have already employed two youths from every constituency
to work with the youth on the Youth Enterprise Development Fund. From the end of last year,
we have been going around the country, county by county, with the Minister and the Assistant
Minister, to sensitize the youth on the importance of the Youth Enterprise Development Fund. I
can assure you we are on the ground and we are giving our employees motorbikes, so that they
can access all the areas in their constituencies.

Mr. Wambugu: Mr. Speaker, Sir, indeed, if the Youth Enterprise Development
Fund is used properly, it can help alleviate poverty in the rural areas. Who comprises the
committee that sit at the constituency and who nominates the members to those committees?
What part is the Member of Parliament supposed to play in the running of this Fund?

Ms. Ndeti: Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Member of Parliament should be the patron. The
Fund is under the District Youth Officers. If it is within a council, the Town Clerk runs the Fund.
I am prepared to provide a list of the names of the members of the committees.

Dr. Kones: Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Assistant Minister has said that the Ministry has employed
some youths. I know that these youths were taken as interns on contract basis. Does the Ministry
intend to employ them on permanent basis?

Ms. Ndeti: Mr. Speaker, Sir, we are trying to create employment for the youth. It is better for
us to start taking them as interns while looking at the long-term when we can employ them
on permanent basis. We have created more than 420 jobs for the youth of this country in our
Ministry.

Mr. Mwiru: Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have a scenario where the youth are paying money to these
institutions that I have mentioned. Will it be possible for the Ministry to ask these institutions to
refund this money to the youth? They have suffered so much and they are not getting the loans.

Ms. Ndeti: Mr. Speaker, Sir, we are going to look into the Member’s complaints against these
financial institutions. I want to assure him that we are there for the youth and we will not allow
anyone to take money from the youth.

Hansard Highlights Week of February 1 2011

Posted by on 28th March 2011

Categories: Hansard Analysis Members of Parliament MP Participation

This is a new regular feature where we will review past editions of the Hansard to highlight debates that are of particular national importance (and to show that we know that MPs do work from time to time).

I. We all know that KACC has forwarded several cases to the AG’s office for prosecution. But exactly how many files were delivered to the AG and when does he plan to prosecute them?

DETAILS OF CORRUPTION CASES FORWARDED TO ATTORNEY-GENERAL BY KACC

Mr. Kombo: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Attorney-General the following Question by Private Notice.

(a) Could the Attorney-General provide details of corruption cases that the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) has investigated and forwarded to the Attorney- General for direction since the appointment of the current Director?

(b) How many of these cases has the Attorney-General approved for prosecution, rejected and/or returned to the Commission and why?

The Attorney-General (Mr. Wako): Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. Since the appointment of the current Director of the KACC in July 2010, a total of 53 files were forwarded to the Attorney-General for direction.

Mr. Kombo: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I had a chance to peruse through the documents and to my pleasant surprise— In the past there has been a ping pong game between the KACC and the Attorney-General. They have been accusing each other of not doing this and that.  However, it would appear that since Prof. Lumumba became the Director of KACC, he has been agreeing on many cases with the Attorney-General. So, with regard to the Report that we have, they have agreed almost 100 per cent.

Mr. Njuguna: Mr. Speaker, Sir, emanating from the report given by the Attorney- General, you will note that about 53 cases were referred to his office for prosecution. Could he inform this House what deliberate steps he is taking to make sure that all these cases will be prosecuted even before his retirement this year?

Mr. Wako: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I hope the Member is asking for a further extension before I retire, so that I can deal with all these cases. The fact of the matter is that one cannot prosecute all the cases by the time he retires.  I am the last Attorney-General who is also the prosecutor. Since 27th August, 2010, I am wearing two huts, namely, for the Attorney-General and the Director of Public Prosecutions. That is why I recently called for the appointment of the Director of Public Prosecutions, so that there is a proper appointment under the Constitution of an Attorney-General who will only be the principal legal advisor to the Government. I am sure that the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will be appointed, will continue the good work that the Chief Public Prosecutor, Tobiko Keriako, has done. I can inform this House that I was with the Committee of Experts and as soon as I realized that the Director of Public Prosecutions will become a constitutional office, we immediately began re-organizing that office.  It is now really organized just awaiting the appointment. I am sure we will continue with the prosecution of corruption cases with rigor and gusto.

Mr. Kombo: Mr. Speaker, Sir, to successfully prosecute corruption cases is not an easy job. Part of the problem that we have had is that the KACC investigates while the office of the Attorney-General prosecutes. The people who have all the facts are at the KACC. Now that the Attorney-General is actually retiring, could he consider giving more powers to the Commission, so that it can prosecute? Prosecutorial powers should be given to the Commission because it is the one that investigates cases and is the only one that can best prosecute.

Mr. Wako: Mr. Speaker, Sir, my opinion on this matter is that now that we are going to have a Director of Public Prosecutions, a constitutional office, devoted to nothing else but prosecutions, he should continue to prosecute corruption cases…it is too dangerous for one institution to be charged with investigative powers plus prosecutorial powers.  This applies more to these type of cases. Unless you have checks and balances between the investigator and the prosecutor, some people will be taken to court with very little evidence just because the investigator has the power to prosecute. If the powers are separate, the investigator will be focused on obtaining sufficient evidence to allow that other person to come to the same conclusion and prosecute.  So, in the interest of justice, I am still of the opinion that in corruption and serious criminal cases, the distinction between the investigator and the prosecutor should be there. What is important is that the two should work in tandem. While respecting their independent functions, they should work in unison.

II. Now that the ‘shuttle diplomacy’ is seems to be crumbling before our eyes it’s a good time to assess exactly how much money has been spent on it and maybe time for proponents of it to cut their losses, or rather the tax payers losses?

GOVERNMENT POSITION ON VICE-PRESIDENT’S “SHUTTLE DIPLOMACY”

Dr. Khalwale: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the following Question by Private Notice.

(a) Could the Minister clarify whether the mission by the Vice-President to lobby African States to support Kenya’s bid to pull out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) reflects the official Government position on the issue?

(b) How much money has the Government spent on the Vice-President’s “shuttle diplomacy” so far?

The Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Onyonka): Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.I wish to inform this House that the mission that was undertaken by His Excellency the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs of “shuttle diplomacy” across the African Continent was not with an objective of lobbying the African countries to support the deferral of the International Criminal Court (ICC) intended prosecutions for one year.  The “shuttle diplomacy” was with a view of bringing the process of justice for the election crimes back home, so that the suspects can be tried locally since we believe that even the ICC Tribunal appreciates the fact that a local tribunal is better than taking our people to be tried in Europe.  The ICC Prosecutor, Mr. Luis Moreno Ocampo, on 17th December, 2010, named six suspects whom he was requesting the ICC to issue summons to secure their attendance at the court. However, the Kenyan Government is not a failed State.

With the passage of our new Constitution, the Government felt that there was a necessary need for us to negotiate and have a moral position whereby the African Union, the Inter- Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the East African Community would have to support our country to solve the problem of the post-election violence peacefully by providing justice and at the same time making sure that we have reconciliation in our country. The grant of a deferral would, therefore, allow for sufficient time to revamp the key judicial institutions and other Government infrastructure.

Further, prosecution of post-election crimes at home would facilitate the trial of all post-election violence suspects, and not just those who are bearing the highest responsibility. Conducting those trials locally would send a very strong message both internally and externally, so that Kenya would no longer accept impunity.  So, even when the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs was doing the “shuttle diplomacy” within African, his agenda was not to demand that Kenya pulls out of the ICC. The agenda was to ask that the ICC allows us to look for a local mechanism, which would then make it possible for all the victims and all the perpetrators of the crime to face each other.

The information I have from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is that the amount of money that the Kenya Government spent for the “shuttle diplomacy” within the last two weeks is Kshs3,659,728. This amount does not include the small amount of money that the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs and the officers he carried along with him have spent from his Ministry. This is a budget which has been given to me by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which includes expenses incurred by officers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who were with the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs.

Mr. Olago: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Arising from hon. Khalwale’s point of order and the answer given by the Assistant Minister, it is clear that the answer to part “b” of the Question is not complete in the sense that it does not encompass the amount of money that the Government has spent. He seems to be concentrating on what his Ministry has spent.

Mr. Onyonka: Mr. Speaker, Sir, unfortunately, the answer is “yes”, because we were unable to get the Accounting Officer in the Office of the Vice-President and Ministry of Home Affairs to give us the full amount. So, the figure I have given is what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has spent.

Dr. Khalwale: Mr. Speaker, Sir, given that the Assistant Minister has admitted that his answer is incomplete, could I request the Chair that we give him until Tuesday, so that we can get a comprehensive answer to this very important issue touching on accountability? The reason for raising this point of order is that if we are going to accept only the expenditure that was incurred by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the taxpayer will not know how much was spent from the Office of the Vice-President and Ministry of Home Affairs, how much was spent from the Office of the President and how much was spent from Parliament.The Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs was having, in some of those trips of his, accompaniments of up to ten people. Those people did not come from the Office of the Vice-President and Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Office of the President, alone. Some of them come from Parliament. Therefore, the taxpayer would like to know about the expenses incurred by those other persons who accompanied him.

III. The debate below highlights the need get the real statistics on how many extra judicial killings have taken place since the promulgation of the constitution?

STATISTICS ON POLICE SHOOTINGS SINCE AUGUST 2010

Ms. Karua asked the Minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security:-

(a) Whether he could state how many people have been shot dead by police in the country since 4th August, 2010, giving the names and places they were shot and the circumstances;

(b) Whether he could also provide the identities of the officers involved and indicate the disciplinary action taken against them; and,

(c) What measures he is taking to ensure that the trend is curbed.

The Assistant Minister, Ministry of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security (Mr. Ojode): Mr. Speaker, Sir, as you are aware, I answered this Question yesterday. But we agreed that the format should be changed to relate to what was asked by my friend, hon. Karua.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. Since August 2010, 18 people have been shot dead by police officers. The following are the victims and circumstances under which they were shot dead.

Ms. Karua: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Have you noticed that the Assistant Minister has been answering his own question and not my Question? In part (a) of my Question, I have asked the Assistant Minister to tell us how many people have been shot dead by police officers in the country since 4th August, 2010, when we voted in the new Constitution…He has given me the names of the people who have been shot dead in circumstances that pointed to criminal intent on part of the police. So, he has modified my Question because he knows that police officers have shot dead more than 100 people since then. He has modified the Question, so that there can just be below 20 people.

Mr. Ojode: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have given a very good answer to the Question. I cannot give answers on which I cannot make any substantiation. Apparently, from August last year to date, my police officers have not killed as many as 100 suspects as is being alleged by the Questioner.

Mr. Ojode: Mr. Speaker, Sir, indeed, the story is true. Those of us who have not experienced those kinds of carjacking and criminal activities are the people who are not supporting the services of the police. I would like to urge my colleagues: Let us not demoralize police officers. Let us all support the work of police officers.  The reason why I am saying that is because police officers are being bashed every now and then. The day you will be carjacked is when you will realize that police officers are doing a good job. But I will not hesitate to tell the police to do their work. I would like to request my colleagues that, as the police officers are doing their job, let us support them. Let us not demoralize them!

The other thing is that we are undertaking reforms. Yes, we will get rid of trigger happy police officers to clean the Police Force. We want a Police Force to mind about the welfare of innocent Kenyans. Otherwise, my appeal is that let us support the police officers to do their work.