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28th May 2021 Parliamentary Round Up

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
  • The House is currently on recess and will be resuming on 8th June 2021. 
SENATE

PAPERS

The following papers were laid at the Table of the House:

  • Report on the Impasse on the Budgetary Estimates for the Financial Year 2020/2021 for Kirinyaga County between the County Executive and the County Assembly.
  • Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial statements of Kajiado County Assembly for the year ended 30th June, 2019.
  • Report of the Auditor-General for the Kajiado County Executive for the year ended 30th June, 2019.
  • Report of the Standing Committee on Devolution and Intergovernmental Relations on the conferment of City Status to Nakuru Municipality. I thank you.

BILLS

The Start-Up Bill (Senate Bills No. 1 of 2021)

By Sen. Johnson Sakaja

The Bill was coming up for first reading. Orders for First Reading were read the First Time and ordered to be referred to the relevant Committee.

The Bill seeks to provide a legislative framework —

(a) that fosters a culture of innovative thinking and entrepreneurship;

(b) for the registration of start-ups and the linkage of such start-ups with financial institutions, the private sector research institutions and such other institutions at the National and county level of government;

(c) to facilitate investment in and the provision of fiscal and non-fiscal support to start-ups in Kenya;

(d) that promotes an enabling environment for the establishment, development, conduct of business and regulation of start-ups;

(e) for the establishment of incubation facilities at the National and county levels of government and environment that promotes the establishment of start-ups; and

(f) for the monitoring and evaluation of the legal and regulatory framework and the mechanisms put in place to encourage the development of start-ups.

The Wildlife Conservation and Management (Amendment) Bill (Senate Bills No. 30 of 2020)

By Sen. Johnes Mwaura

The Bill was coming up for a Second Reading. The Bill seeks to amend the Wildlife Management Act No.47 of 2013 in order to make further provision for the allocation of adequate facilities to County Wildlife Conservation and Compensation Committees established under the Act. It also provides a timeline of twelve months for the compensation for human death, human injury or crop and property damage caused by wildlife in accordance with the Act. The Bill makes further provision for the payment of compensation and other entitlements due to local communities affected by wildlife in accordance with the Act.

MOTIONS

Alteration of the Senate Calendar for the Fifth Session

The House resolved to further alter its Calendar (Regular Sessions) for the Fifth Session, 2021, in respect of Part III, to hold sittings on Wednesday, 2nd and Thursday, 3rd, June, 2021, between 2.30 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., and that the Senate proceeds on recess from Friday, 4th June, 2021, and resume its regular sittings on Tuesday, 6th July, 2021, as set out in Part IV of the Senate Calendar.

Conferment of City Status to Nakuru Municipality

The House was given Notice to adopt the Report of the Standing Committee on Devolution and Intergovernmental Relations on the Conferment of City Status to Nakuru Municipality laid on the Table of the Senate on Tuesday, 25th May, 2021, and pursuant to Section 8(iv) of the Urban Areas and Cities Act, approves the conferment of city status to Nakuru Municipality.

STATEMENTS

The following Statements came up on the Floor of the House among others:

Framework for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones)

Sen. M. Kajwang’ made a statement on the review of the regulatory framework for unmanned aircraft systems, also known as drones in Kenya. The Senator noted that the Civil Aviation and Manned Aircraft Systems Regulations of 2020 were published on 30th March, 2020 and the Civil Aviation Regulatory fees and charges for a manned aircraft system regulations were published on 22nd January, 2021. The regulations aim at ensuring safe and ethical uses of drones in the country and borrows heavily from international trends. However, the regulations also introduced bureaucracies, licences and levies similar to the infamous Red Flag Act that stifled innovations in the automobile industry in the 19th Century.  

The Senator called upon the House, particularly the Committee on Roads and Transportation, to engage the relevant Ministries and stakeholders to address some of the provisions of the regulations, and report back to the House on the action taken.

Challenges Faced by Teenage Mothers and their Children

Sen. (Dr.) Musuruve sought a Statement from the Standing Committee on Education regarding challenges faced by teenage mothers and their children. In the Statement, the Committee should –

(a) Establish the number of cases of teenage pregnancies in schools in the 47 counties over the last two years.

(b) Elaborate on the mechanisms put in place to ensure that perpetrators of teenage pregnancies, who may include teachers and caregivers, face the full force of law.

(c) Provide a matrix of the intervention strategies put in place by the Ministry to flatten the curve of teenage pregnancies in schools.

Cushioning Kenyans from Negative Impact of Partial Lockdown Due to Covid-19

Sen. Omanga sought a Statement from the Standing Committee on Finance and Budget. In the Statement, the Committee should-

(a) State plans put in place by the Government to cushion Kenyans from different sectors who have been rendered jobless due to partial lockdown.

(b) Report on laid down plans to ensure banks restructure loan repayment period to millions of Kenyans affected by the partial lockdown.

(c) Outline safety net measures put in place by the Government to ensure that the negative socioeconomic impact of Covid-19 does not further dampen the economy of Kenya in 2021.

Increased Cases of Domestic Violence

Sen. Iman sought a Statement from the Committee on National Security, Defence and Foreign Relations, regarding increase in cases of domestic violence. In the Statement, the Committee should:

(a) Explain measures put in place by relevant authorities to address rising cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV), especially against women and girls arising from the socio-economic impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

(b) Provide statistics of reported cases of GBV from January, 2020 to date and the measures taken against the perpetrators of the violence.

(c) Explain whether there are any public awareness campaigns to address GBV and the efficiency of the same, in addressing this social problem.

(d) Further, inform the House on the findings of the advisory report by the National Crime Research Centre (NCRC) to security agencies, especially GBV and the mitigating measures proposed to address violence against women and girls.  

Exportation of Samples to Laboratories Outside Kenya

Sen. Cheruiyot sought a Statement from the Standing Committee on Health on the exportation of medical samples to laboratories outside the Republic of Kenya. In the Statement, the Committee should explain-

(a) The Ministry of Health’s specimen referral policy with regards to patients’ specimens referred out of the county for medical testing.

(b) Outline the number of accredited laboratories approved to send these samples outside the country, and the number of cases and samples referred per year.

(c) State the criteria used in the selection of laboratories that are accredited to send these samples abroad.

Merger of Government Agencies to Form Kenya Transport and Logistics Network

Sen. Cheruiyot sought a Statement from the Standing Committee on Finance and Budget on the merger of Government agencies to form the Kenya Transport and Logistics Network (KTLN). In the Statement, the Committee should-

(a) Provide the legal framework used by the National Treasury in merging the operations of the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC), Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC) and the Kenya Pipeline Corporation (KPC)

(b) Provide evidence indicating whether public participation and stakeholder engagement was carried out prior to the implementation of this merger as provided for in Articles 118 and 232 of the Constitution

(c) Elucidate the current roles of the KPA, KRC, ICDC and KPC in the said merger, specifically with regards to the value for money and opportunity cost, employment opportunities, research and public infrastructure

(d) Elaborate how the pre-merger assets and liabilities of these parastatals were dealt with prior to the establishment of a joint coordination structure under KTLN as provided for in Article 201 of the Constitution (5) Enumerate the law firms that were contracted as legal transaction advisors, including how these firms were procured.

Activities of the Committee On Education

Sen. (Dr.) Milgo made a Statement on the activities of the Standing Committee on Education for the period commencing 9th February to 18th March, 2021.

The Committee held a total of 14 sittings, considered four Statements, two Petitions and one inquiry. The consideration of the two Petitions and the inquiry is ongoing. The Committee also held one engagement with education stakeholders during the Fourth Session review and the Fifth Session work planning retreat held earlier in the year.

During the period under review, four Statements were referred to the Committee which had carried forward two Statements from the previous Session. The Committee sought reports and responses from the Executive and other State agencies, received and considered four reports at various Committee meetings while reports to two Statements are still pending. While considering the responses, the Committee found some of the responses to be inadequate and inconclusive and a couple of them elicited supplementary questions. In this regard, the Committee has engaged the Ministry of Education to provide conclusive responses to these Statements.

The Committee has also resolved to be triangulating the reports received from the Ministry of Education and other Executive agencies in order to provide sufficient and satisfactory responses to both the Senators who seek Statements and the House in general. The Statements requested from the Committee during the period under review continue to highlight on the challenges posed by the effects of COVID-19 pandemic to continued learning and the effects of prolonged school closures. It appears more efforts need to be put on different strategies being applied by the Government to facilitate reintegration of learners back into learning institutions in addition to helping learners, teachers and parents during these unprecedented times.

The Committee will continue to engage with the Ministry of Education, other like-minded decision makers and education leaders in order to come up with the best way forward and informed decisions that prioritize the interests of learners, parents and teachers and reverse any devastating impacts of the prolonged school closures that was necessitated by COVID-19 pandemic.

The measures taken to contain COVID-19 made it difficult to operate ‘normally’. This means the tools of oversight that are central to the functions of the Committee were greatly hampered. Nonetheless, during the period under review, the Committee completed an inquiry into the Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) landscape in the country virtually and plans to host an ECDE workshop to validate and share the findings of the inquiry.

Going forward, the Committee intends to hold a similar inquiry into the Technical and Vocational Educational Training (TVET) landscape in the country and report to the Senate on the implementation status of the TVET related policy and legal framework in the country.

Activities of the Committee on National Cohesion, Equal Opportunity and Regional Integration

Sen. Shiyonga made a Statement on the activities of the Committee on National Cohesion, Equal Opportunity and Regional Integration for the period commencing 9th February, 2021 to 19th March, 2021. During the period under review, the Committee held a total of 11 sittings.

It considered a Statement sought by Sen.(Dr.) Musuruve on the national Government and county governments on the measures to support Persons living with Disabilities (PWDs) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare gave its response and further response is being awaited from the Council of Governors’ Technical Committee on Health and Technical Committee on Human Resource, Labour and Social Welfare. Thereafter, the Committee will conclude consideration of the Statement.

Currently, there is no Bill or Petition pending before the Committee. During the period under review, the Committee met with representatives from the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government; the Chairperson of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) and the Media Council of Kenya (MCK). Among the issues discussed was deliberation on the ongoing intercommunal violence in various counties and heightened political tension witnessed during the by-elections.

The Committee also recommended collaborative strategies to prevent inter-ethnic and political conflicts, particularly during campaign period and measures to reduce political tension accelerated through platforms of churches and the media.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Committee was unable to undertake visits to adversely affected counties. However, the Committee will resume its inquiry and undertake the programmed visits after reduction in the COVID-19 pandemic. During the period mentioned, the Committee was part of the delegation from the Senate that participated in the Elections Observation Mission in Kampala, Uganda, from 13th to 24th January, 2021.

The Committee also undertook an inspection visit of the Kenya Maritime Authority and the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to consider their compliance with the constitutional provisions on ethnic representation in their staffing. The Committee is scheduled to meet the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of KPA on the same matter, and thereafter, table the report on the findings.

The Committee intends to carry out the following key activities during the next quarter-

(a) Undertake county visits on the regions affected by conflicts, including Marsabit, Mandera, Isiolo, Wajir, among others, to address issues of cohesion and county public service diversity;

(b) Engage with the various stakeholders relevant to the Committee’s mandate;

(c) Capacity building of the Committee to better understand how to implement its mandate;

(d) County visits to Busia, Malaba and Isebania on issues of one-border post; and,

(e) Undertake a follow-up visit to the East Africa Community organs and institutions in Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda.

Tribute to Celebrated Rugby Legend, the Late Benjamin Ayimba

Sen. Sakaja as the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Labour and Social Welfare made a tribute to a celebrated fallen rugby legend; the late Benjamin Ayimba. He noted that the late Benjamin Ayimba, also popularly known as Benja, has not only contributed to the increased popularity of the sport in the last decade, but has demonstrated his love for both the sport and his love for his country.

Tendering and Awarding Process for the Construction of Lamu-Ijara-Garissa Road

Sen. Cherargei sought a Statement from the Standing Committee on Roads and Transportation on the tendering and awarding process for the construction of Lamu-Ijara-Garissa Road which is 257 kilometres, Hindi-Bondei-Kiunga Road which is 113 kilometres and Ijara-Saingilo Hulugho Road which 83 kilometres, totaling to 453 kilometres awarded by the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) costing Kshs17.9 billion for a duration of 36 months as part of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor Project. In the Statement, the Committee should:

(a) Clarify whether due procurement process was followed during the tendering and awarding of the tender for the construction of these roads totaling to 253 kilometres at a cost of Kshs17.9 billion;

(b) Confirm whether M/S China Communication Construction Company Limited has the capacity required to construct the road; and,

(c) State the plans that have been put in place by the Government to compensate persons whose land and property was acquired in the process of planning and construction of these roads under the LAPSSET Corridor Project.

Refund for Unused Tickets Caused by Cancellation of Flights

Sen. Cherargei sought a Statement from the Standing Committee on Roads and Transportation regarding the seeking of Kshs 14 billion by Kenya Airways as refund for unused tickets following the cancellations of flights occasioned by the advent of COVID-19. In the Statement, the Committee should-

(a) Explain reasons why Kenya Airways is seeking from the National Treasury a reimbursement of Kshs 14 billion refunded to its customers due to cancelled flights;

(b) Outline measures that Kenya Airways has put in place during the COVID-19 period to ensure it remains solvent;

(c) Indicate the revenue projection of Kenya Airways before COVID-19 pandemic and after; and,

(d) State the employment status of Kenya Airways staff including for those at senior management level. I have a final Statement.

Personal Data Protection by Technology and Communication Companies in Kenya

Sen. Cherargei sought a Statement from the Standing Committee on Information, Communication and Technology regarding personal data protection by technology and communication companies in Kenya. In the Statement, the Committee should-

(a) State the measures that have been put in place by technology and communication companies to ensure that the Kenyans’ right to privacy is protected;

(b) Indicate the measures the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) has taken to protect consumers using social media sites and technology companies such as Google, among others;

(c) State the measures taken to ensure that the applications in android and other smart phones are not infringing on users’ personal data;

(d) State the procedure for approval of applications to be sold or installed on customers’ or consumers’ mobile phones; and,

(e) State the measures in place to ensure that personal data and information are not used by business agencies to send random SMSs or make unwelcome phones calls that are rampant bearing in mind that the process of filling the position of the CEO of the CA is ongoing.

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