Orange Democratic Party (ODM)
Sophia Abdi Noor (Mrs.)
Millie Grace Akoth Odhiambo (Mrs.)
Racheal Wambui Shabesh (Mrs.)
Musa Cherutich Sirma
Muhamad Dory Mohamad yakub
Party of National Unity
Maison Leshomo (Ms.)
Musikari Kombo Nazi
George Omari Nyamweya
Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya (ODM-K)
Shakila Abdalla (Ms.)
Mohamed Abdi Affey
Kenya African National Union (KANU)
Amina Abdalla (Ms.)
BY MZALENDO REPORTER
President Kibaki on Thursday March 6, 2008 opened the second session of the tenth Parliament and set a crowded though ambitious agenda for Parliament in the next 5 years. This includes over 20 Bills and a raft of Sessional Papers. Four of the Bills, according to the President, must be accorded top priority by the Coalition government and the whole House in general.
The top priority Bills are:
1) the National Accord and Reconciliation Bill
2) the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill
3) the Establishment of Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission Bill
4) the Establishment of the Ethnic Relations Commission of Kenya Bill.
The National Accord and Reconciliation Bill, perhaps the most urgent, is aimed at putting into legislation the power sharing deal signed by President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga after one month’s mediation talks chaired by former United Nations chief Kofi Annan. The Bill seeks to create the position of Prime Minister, and two deputy prime ministers. It also seeks to transfer the roles of the head of government from the President to the Prime Minister leaving the president as the head of State. It will also provide clear roles of the new posts as well as criteria of appointing and dismissing the prime minister and the deputies.
The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill is aimed at giving Kenyans a new constitution, which has been elusive for over 15 years. PNU and ODM agreed that there will be five stages in the review of the Constitution, in and outside Parliament, culminating to a referendum.
The Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission Bill seeks to create a special commission mandated to inquire into human rights violations, including those committed by the state, groups, or individuals. This includes but is not limited to politically motivated violence, assassinations, community displacements, settlements, and evictions. The Commission will also inquire into major economic crimes, in particular grand corruption, historical land injustices, and the illegal or irregular acquisition of land, especially as these relate to conflict or violence. Other historical injustices shall also be investigated. The Commission will inquire into such events which took place between December 12, 1963 and February 28, 2008.
The Ethnic Relations Commission of Kenya Bill on the other hand seeks to establish another commission with the mandate of probing how various communities have related to each others and causes of conflicts amongst them.
According to President Kibaki, the government is focused on improving market performance of several key commodities. The government has proposed amending the Coffee Act 2001 to provide for direct sales of coffee and to amend the Sugar Act 2001 to restructure the sugar industry. It also plans to introduce bills and Sessional papers covering the dairy, poultry and fishing industries, among others. To boost the tourism industry, the government will be tabling three bills; the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations Guidelines, the Tourism Bill and the Wildlife Bill.
The government also plans to table a Sessional Paper on Cooperative Development Policy and a bill on Savings and Credit Cooperatives. These are aimed at giving an impetus to the role played by cooperatives in the production and marketing of produce as well as mobilizing savings and providing credit to the majority of Kenyans. The government will also introduce legislation that will regulate the role of non-public entities such as civil society and international education providers as well as propose the establishment of a Technical Industrial Vocation and Entrepreneurial Training Authority. This is inline with implementation of the free primary and free secondary education programmes, which according to the President, require legislation to entrench the reforms in the entire education sector within the country’s laws.
Entrenching a culture of science, technology and innovation in the society and boosting the country’s dream of Vision 2030 is also in focus. In this relation, the government will introduce a National Policy for Science, Technology and Innovation. It has also proposed a bill to upgrade the National Council of Science and Technology to the National Commission of Science and Technology. On the way as well is a bill that will lead to the creation of the National Science Foundation and National Innovation Agency. To deal with poverty and inequitable development, the government plans to table a Sessional Paper on Cooperative Development Policy and a bill on Savings and Credit Cooperatives.
In the health sector, the Government has proposed to review the Public Health Act so as to consolidate 23 different Public health laws into a single Act of Parliament. It plans to table policy papers on Health Care Financing, Health Services Commission and Decentralised Funding of Health Facilities. With regard to the youth, the government has proposed amendments to the Armed Forces Act to enable youth trained under the National Youth Service be absorbed in the armed forces. It will also table a bill to provide for the creation of a National Youth Council. Further, the Government will re-table the Sessional Paper on Employment Policy for discussion in the House on the urgent and critical matter of providing enough jobs for young people. With regard to the protection of the family and children, the government has proposed amendments to the Children’s Act 2001 for better implementation. The government also plans to introduce the Information Communication Technology Bill as a regulatory framework for broadcasting, electronic transactions and cyber crime.
In the water sector, the government will table the National Water Harvesting and Storage Policy to facilitate harnessing and storage of recurrent floodwaters as well as the National Shared Water Resources Policy to promote equitable development of water resources nationally. Government plans also to introduce a policy on the registration of contractors as well as the creation of a national construction company to build capacity among local contractors. It will also introduce legislation touching on the Protection of Road Reserves, Registration of Engineers and Architects as well as Quantity Surveyors.
With regard to local authorities, the government plans to bring to the House new amendments to the Local Government Act to enable the direct election of mayors and county council chairmen.
According to President Kibaki, this particular reform is long overdue and this Parliament should deliberate on it as a matter of priority. To ensure proper planning and development of urban areas as well as the proper enforcement of laws and by-laws for regulation of urban development, the government plans to table proposals to set up a National Urban and Metropolitan Areas Authority.
To promote the development of affordable housing the government will present the Housing Bill and a Landlord and Tenant Bill. The government also plans to table the Organised Crimes Bill to contain the emergence of organized gangs and militias which bode ill for our society. It also plans to table the Anti-money Laundering Bill as well as introduce amendments to the Chief’s Act and Firearms Act.
There is a crisis in this country. The Parties have come together in recognition of this crisis, and agree that a political solution is required. Given the disputed elections and the divisions in the Parliament and the country, neither side is able to govern without the other. There needs to be real power sharing to move the country forward.
A coalition must be a partnership with commitment on both sides to govern together and push through a reform agenda for the benefit of all Kenyans.
Description of the Act:
An Act of Parliament to provide for the settlement of the disputes arising from the presidential elections of 2007, formation of a Coalition Government and Establishment of the Offices of Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers and Ministers of the Government of Kenya, their functions and various matters connected with and incidental to the foregoing.
1. This Act may be cited as the National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008.
2. This Act shall come into force upon its publication in the Kenya Gazette which shall not be later than 14 days from the date of Assent.
3. (l) There shall be a Prime Minister of the Government of Kenya and two Deputy Prime Ministers who shall be appointed by the President in accordance with this section.
(2) The person to be appointed as Prime Minister shall be an elected member of the National Assembly who is the parliamentary leader of –
(a) the political party that has the largest number of members in the National Assembly; or
(b) a coalition of political parties in the event that the leader of the political party that has the largest number of members of the National Assembly does not command the majority in the National Assembly.
(3) Each member of the coalition shall nominate one person from the elected members of the National Assembly to be appointed a Deputy Prime Minister.
4.(1) The Prime Minister:
a) shall have authority to coordinate and supervise the execution of the functions and affairs of the Government of Kenya including those of Ministries;
b) may assign any of the coordination responsibilities of his office to the Deputy Prime Ministers, as well as one of them to deputise for him;
c) shall perform such other duties as may be assigned to him by the President or under any written law.
(2) In the formation of the coalition government, the persons to be appointed as Ministers and Assistant Ministers from the political parties that are partners in the coalition other than the President’s party, shall be nominated by the parliamentary leader of the party in the coalition. Thereafter there shall be full consultation with the president on the appointment of all Ministers. (3) The composition of the coalition government shall at all times reflect the relative parliamentary strengths of the respective parties and shall at all times take into account the principle of portfolio balance.
(4) The office of the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister shall become vacant only if –
(a) the holder of the office, resigns or ceases to be a member of the National Assemb1y otherwise than by reason of the dissolution of Parliament; or
(b) the National Assembly passes a resolution Which is supported by a majority of all the members of the National Assembly excluding the ex-officio members and of which not less than seven days notice has been given declaring that the National Assemb1y has no confidence in the Prime Minister Or Deputy Prime Minister, as the case may he; or
(c) the coalition is dissolved.
(5) The removal of any Minister nominated by a parliamentary party of the coalition shall he made only after prior consultation and concurrence in writing with the leader of that party. 5. The Cabinet shall consist of the President, the Vice- President, the Prime Minister, the two Deputy Prime Ministers and the other Ministers.
6. The coalition shall stand dissolved if:
(a) the Tenth Parliament is dissolved; or
(b) the coalition parties agree in writing; or
(c) one coalition partner withdraws from the coalition by a resolution of the highest decision-making organ of that party in writing.
7. The prime minister and deputy prime ministers shall be entitled to such salaries, allowances, benefits, privileges and emoluments as may he approved by Parliament from time to time.
8. This Act shall cease to apply upon dissolution of the tenth Parliament, if the coalition is dissolved, or a new constitution is enacted, Whichever is earlier.
By Mzalendo REPORTER
January 15, 2008, which was the first day of the first session of the 10th Parliament. ODM’s candidate Mr. Kenneth Otiato Marende, 52, was pronounced Speaker in a theatric session that lasted for more than seven hours. ODM’s Mr. Farah Maalim also won the Deputy Speaker’s seat handing the opposition double victory against the government’s side controlled by President Mwai Kibaki.
Former speaker Mr. Francis ole Kaparo was backed by President Kibaki and his Party of National Unity MPs and their colleagues in affiliate parties. Marende, however, beat Kaparo garnering 105 votes against Mr. Kaparo’s 101, during the three rounds race.
In the first round Marende won after garnering 103 votes, Kaparo 99 votes while former Kibwezi MP Kalembe Ndile had 2. The only female candidate Njoki Ndungu had 0 votes, just like former Nyeri MP Wanyiri Kihoro. In the second round, Marende managed to get 104 votes to Kaparo’s 102. Wanyiri Kihoro this time round managed a single vote. Voting then moved to the third stage which requires a simple majority win.
For a candidate to win in the first round of voting, he or she must garner two-thirds majority or 148 MPs of the entire composition of Parliament. But if no candidate qualifies at this stage, the process enters the second round but here only two candidates are voted for. These are two candidates who would have garnered most of the votes during round one. For one to be declared winner in round two, he or she must garner two-thirds majority or 148 MPs of the entire composition of Parliament-just like in round one.
If no candidate qualifies at this stage, the process enters the third round and the candidate who gets a simple majority is declared the Speaker of National Assembly.
The whole session, which started at 2.30 pm and lasted till past midnight was characterised by angry exchanges between members of the opposition and those from the government‘s side. As the session was about to start, the Opposition side wildly cheered and rose in honour of its leader Raila Odinga as he entered the chambers accompanied by Pentagon member, Mr. Najib Balala. Raila has insisted he won the December 27 general election. Opposition MPs had originally planned to sit on government benches but they did not live to their threat. Raila took the seat reserved for the leader of the opposition.
His followers, some sporting orange handkerchiefs in their breast pockets, declined to stand up as President Kibaki entered the chamber – sending a clear message to him that they do not regard his election as valid. Only the Government side rose for Kibaki, as he walked towards the seat reserved for the Head of State-a couple of steps from where Raila was occupying the official opposition seat.
The election of Speaker was first thrown into disarray after ODM objected to the secret ballot system saying it provided the government’s side with an opportunity to rig.
Ugenya MP, Mr. James Orengo fired the first salvo and challenged the Clerk of National Assembly Samuel Ndindiri that the Standing Orders do not restrict members to voting by secret ballot as he had prescribed. But the government’s side remained firm arguing that secret ballot was the legal way of electing a speaker and that it has been the practice is all Parliaments across the word under Commonwealth.Mr. Ndindiri, who was conducting the whole process, had a rough time in controlling the MPs. President Kibaki on his part watched in disbelief. Those who also took the floor from the ODM side objecting to the secret ballot method included Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Prof Anyang Nyongo (Kisumu Rural) and William Ole Ntimama (Narok North). “We went through (national) elections with a secret ballot, and you stole the vote,” Ruto said insisting that the vote for the Speaker could be rigged too in a secret ballot.
Attorney General Amos Wako, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Justice and constitutional affairs minister Martha Karua and Mbooni MP Mutula Kilonzo on the other side defended the secret ballot system calling on the clerk not to allow being “coaxed” by the opposition. “We hope and we expect that eventually everybody will come to their senses, realise that we’ve got to learn to live with each other,” Karua said as she pushed for secret ballot. “The Speaker has to be fair. Standing Orders mention no secret ballot but it has been a tradition that the House has always followed,” said Mr. Wako.
Mukurweini MP Mr. Kabando wa Kabando (Safina) caused a stir when he claimed that some ODM MPs had been threatened by Mr. Ruto that violence would be unleashed against them if they supported the government’s side. He claimed that ODM was rejecting the secret ballot system so that it can monitor who amongst its members side with the government. The secret ballot however carried the day leading to Marende’s election as Speaker and Maalim as the deputy.
Even after voting and electing speaker and his deputy, there was yet another hurdle for the House. ODM wanted the Speaker to rule in their favour that they should not take an oath swearing their allegiance to the President. The speaker however ruled that as per Standing Orders, an MP has to swear allegiance to the President. Some ODM MPs including Ababu Namwamba (ODM-Budalangi) however still objected. Raila and Nyongo are among the ODM MPs who declined to swear allegiance to the President instead swearing to the Republic of Kenya.