Written by Carolyn Wamalwa
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President Mwai Kibaki on Thursday urged Members of Parliament to utilize well the remaining time to entrench reforms that will transform Kenya into a nation of prosperity as per the Vision 2030.
“Let us use the time left to entrench reforms and to put in place structures that future leaders will use to transform Kenya into a haven of prosperity as envisioned under our Vision 2030,” President Kibaki said.
Speaking during the official opening of the refurbished Chambers of Parliament, he also called upon the electorate to wisely use their voters’ card in ensuring they vote in leaders who have integrity and who will help in transforming their lives. “The power to determine the destiny of our nation is in our vote. Let us use that power wisely.”
“I also re-commit myself to guaranteeing that Kenya has a smooth transition to the leadership that they will vote into office next March,” added President Kibaki .
He further urged members of parliament and their constituents to engage in the approaching peace conferences to be held at the county level on 13th and 14th August and the national peace conference on 30th and 31st August through full participation.
To achieve devolution, the President assured Kenyans that the government is in the process of facilitating implementation of the next phase of the modernization program, which includes preparing essential facilities, as well as increasing staff members as necessary steps towards senate operations.
He further assured of his support for devolved government operations, to ensure efficient service delivery.
“Devolution is critical and must be fully supported by parliament that should put in place necessary structures that will guarantee a smooth transition to the next form of government. It is therefore important that counties are adequately staffed in readiness for the new structures of devolution,” said the president.
The President presented for safe custody of the house an original copy of the constitution he signed in August 2010 together with pen he used to append the signature.
“I wish to present a copy of the original Constitution that I signed on the 27th August 2010 and the pen I appended my signature with for safe custody in this August House,” he said
The new chambers’ Speaker Kenneth Marende says have been equipped with, “An inbuilt radio and TV broadcasting studios transmitting live feed from here. We are on high speed internet connection within the precincts of parliament and members of parliament can access high speed internet on their devices, this chamber can accommodate 352 members seated, the digital conference system provides for public address an electronic voting component and login which can be used for collecting statistical data such as members’ attendance, here after. Hereafter, you may envision the speaker controlling debate and voting by members at the click of a button, the seats fitted in the chamber have been made by our own prisons industries at half the cost of the commercial rates,” said Marende.
The refurbishment is estimated to have cost the taxpayer approximately Sh 950 million, inclusive of the fabrication and delivery of seats done by the Prisons Services which cost Sh 77 million .
Marende urged the Public service to give priority to local entrepreneurs to supply locally manufactured products, to build Kenyan brands and at the same time sell Kenya oversees, instead of relying on imported products.
His statement was echoed by finance minister Njeru Githae who directed that 10 per cent of government procurement will be reserved for youth enterprises to enhance youth empowerment
Initially, there was disgruntlement about the cost of the seats and the tendering process, which delayed the refurbishment process that began in April 2011.
“The ambiance is pleasantly amicable if not enabling, it is obviously a very conducive environment to motivate the peoples’ representative to discharge their honorous yet admirable and respectable role in governance, bringing to the national table legislation, representation and oversight. The completion of this chamber comes with a great technological link and presents a unique opportunity for this parliament to reach out to the electorate faster and efficiently,” said the speaker.
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