5:30 to 6:30 in Parliament on Wednesday December 5

Posted by on 11th December 2006

Categories:   News

Toward the end of the second last day before a four month Christmas holiday for holders of the best job in Kenya, debate and bills were passed with about 40 MP’s present including ministers Michuki, Karua, Nyachae, assistants Mungatana, Kiunjuri, Machage, Wamwere, Mugo, Kibunguchy. Justin Muturi led the opposition bench.

Energy bill passed

The second reading of the energy bill contained numerous changes, which had been made by MP’s at the committee stage, and all amendments had to be announced and passed separately. So for almost an hour the sequence of dialogue was like;
(Temporary) speaker: “section 54 be passed”
Assistant minister Mwangi Kiunjuri would stand up and “propose that section 54 as amended in the order paper be passed”

Speaker: “vote for section 54 as amended in the order paper be passed,

All those in favour say AYE – all MP’s “AYE”

All those opposed say NAY – MP’s silent

The Aye’s have it

Section 55

Then

Section 56

Or section 99 – 101 same routines went on with occasional breaks.

As each section was read, sometimes an MP would step up and call for slight tweaks in the bill e.g. MP Weya asked that electrical appliances be added to a list of regulated/standardized equipment imported into the country while MP Olweny successfully lobbied for wording to the effect that bill would encourage/enable sugar to be promoted as a source of electricity production

After all the clauses, had been clear and supplements had been approved, Kiunjuri asked that the second reading be passed.

Then energy minister Kiraitu Murungi stood and thanked MP’ of both sides of the house and the energy committees’ members for their contributions. He said he would work hard to ensure that electricity was distributed throughout Kenya.

Assistant minister Machage then added that, even as he recognised that the minister was hard working and committed and able to do his tasks, he urged the Minister to look into the rural electrification program which has lapsed.

After that the 3rd reading of the bill was announced, the Energy Bill was passed with unanimous AYES

HIV Aids prevention and management bill

Assistant minister Enoch Kibungucy announced the second reading of the bill. A committee represented by MP Maoka Maore had no changes/amendments and approved of the bill, so minister called for 3 rd reading of the bill, which also passed with unanimous “Aye’s.” MP Maore then warned that the recent statistics showing AIDS prevalence had declined should not lull Kenyans into a false state of safety and that the disease was still a major threat

The business of the day basically done and most MP’s slowly drifted out of the chamber.

Pubic accounts committee report

MP Magara (opp.) proposed adoption of two pubic accounts committee’s report of the government accounts for the years 1999 – 2001. He would not take much time but chose to highlight two items

– That procurement and renovation of a parliamentary building was featured in the report. He said that to this day, building which is still not adequate for most MP’s and yet its renovation costs were almost as much as the building cost itself – and he hoped that action had by now been taken on that matter, saying parliament should be a model institution in the use of public funds

– 100 million shillings from the education budget were paid towards the construction of colleges in the 90’s and yet nothing was done

MP Arunga (govt) seconded the report, but added that it was sad that the report was discussing misappropriations that happened/were investigated 5 years ago. He hoped that these reports/investigations would be made more current otherwise corruption would never end.
He believed that government knows how several instance of recurring corruption take place but had not put effective measures in place to curb it. He highlighted:

– Tax collection where a company that owed the government 2 billion in taxes, was advised by the KRA to go to court and challenge payment of the amount

– Also no taxes are paid (by many companies) for goods in transit. The goods are sold locally yet their documents are stamped all along the road indicating that they left the country

– Roads are still being constructed at inflated prices. He said he built a road in his home area for ½ million shillings yet a nearby road constructed by the ministry was billed to the government at 6X the amount per kilometre. He lamented that contractors have become very rich by fleecing the government through road construction He said a well known technique was for a contractor to bid for the same contract using several dummy companies – thereafter the lower bids companies which were awarded the contracts would withdraw from the process, leaving the higher priced contracts in place to do the job. He also said roads collapse each year because of overweight loads, which are allowed only because bribes are paid at the weighbridges. He lamented that this has gone on for years, yet committees are always discussing things many years later. He said that by the time parliament discusses what happened this year, Minister Michuki will have retired and be herding goats at home.

Michuki got up and commented to the house that the MP was being presumptuous as he had no goats.

Arunga then replied that he meant to say that he’ll have retired and be watching over his (Windsor) hotel.

Michuki stood again to challenge this remark and asked the MP to withdraw his remarks since he does not control/know the destiny of the Minister. Arunga then withdrew his comment

MP Syongoh (opp.) said it was a shame they were discussing accounts of 5 years ago. He urged the government to speed up computerisation of revenue collection and appropriations. He said unless things change, the government would not investigate Anglo Leasing till 10 years down the road.

Assistant Minister Koigi Wamwere said he had toured many roads and lamented the corruption in road construction. He had visited parts of the country where roads were paid for but never built. He said road contractors themselves cut corners and are ignorant about how many years roads they build should last, adding that it was shameful that roads built by colonialists lasted for 30 years while roads we build can’t survive 3 years He also said that the Attorney General has failed in the advice that he gave the Moi government as well the current one and as such, they have gotten into contracts that have ripped off the country. He said the AG should have retired long ago, but keeps up at his job to the detriment of citizens

It was now 6:30 and the Speaker adjourned the house proceedings to the next day when the committee could continue with its presentation.