The Government of Murang'a County

County Assembly

Hon. Leonard Nduati



Date: 4th September, 2017
Hon. Members of the County Assembly of Muranga (MCAs), The Clerk of this County Assembly, your Excellences, Representatives of Political Parties present, Members of Clergy, Members of Staff, Members of the Press, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;
First, I thank God the Almighty for this great favor He has reposed in me.
Hon. Members, I am greatly honored and highly privileged by your wise decision to elect me as the Speaker of the County Assembly of Muranga. I hereby humbly submit to the will of this Hon. House and thank you all for believing in me. Through the just concluded democratic process, you have bestowed on me immense confidence and trust.
Rest assured that I do not take it for granted. I see myself here as a blessing to this Second Assembly, albeit with great responsibility. To my opponents, thank you for upholding a high degree of democracy.
I have to thank the Clerk of this Assembly, for professionally guiding this House during the on-going transition period. His priceless and unconditional counsel will further be valued in future. There is no doubt, whatsoever, that a lot of effort has been put towards making this historic day a success. We cannot ignore the reflection of the hard work put in by all the stakeholders, especially the Members of staff of this Assembly.
Hon. Members, for the last few months, our country has witnessed a highly competitive electioneering period. Campaigning is not easy. Selling ones manifesto is expensive and demanding. Allow me, therefore, from the very beginning, to convey my sincere congratulations to the entire membership of this House for your successful election.
On 8th August 2017, Wanjikus voice was loud and clear; that she has entrusted you, Hon. MCAs; to be her representatives in this Hon. House for the next five years. That mandate is enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. Once again, congratulations for winning your seats.
Allow me to, on that note; recognize Members of the First Assembly who clinched back their seats. This will be their Second Term as Ward representatives. We have Hon. Isaac Kamote representing Wangu Ward, Hon. Erick Kamande representing Kahumbu Ward, Hon. Peter Murigi representing Muruka Ward, and Hon. Peter Mweri representing Rwathia Ward.
I trust that these experienced ones will mentor the up-coming MCAs.
For us all, it is a unique opportunity to serve our dear County. I look forward to maximizing the opportunities for every Hon. Member to contribute. I believe that I have been placed on this platform so that every Hon. Member can catch my eye.
I, therefore, pledge to be fair to all and seek your understanding in advance for every ruling that the Chair will make, as provided for by the Standing Orders of this House.
This is a House of Rules and Procedure. I need to caution the new entrants that the highly procedural nature of County Assemblies calls for an equally high level of commitment to the rules and procedures of this institution.
Hon. Members, in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 124 of the Constitution of the Republic of Kenya, and Section 14 of the County Government Act No 17 of 2012, the First Assembly of Muranga County, by resolution, adopted the Standing Orders that we have been provided with. I encourage all of us to internalize the Standing Orders and make a personal commitment to always abide by them. Prepare and present issues of interest as guided by those rules.
Apply the debating time well. Your brilliant visibility will ultimately affect your re-election. I look forward to, not a vociferous House; but a serene, composed and a House of healthy debates.
I will meet with various leadership of Murangaand seek support of the experienced lawmakers to help you deliver. Scholars opine that a comprehensive mentoring and induction process is vital for improved performance.I second that. Serious learning will therefore have to be undertaken to sharpen your debating competencies in order to function optimally.
Hon. Members, every one of you is in this Hon. House as provided for by Article 177 of the Constitution of Kenya. Under my leadership, this Chamber will develop systems and values of high discipline, tolerance, accommodation, honesty and openness. To the majority, as you are aware, we have an Assembly that is heavily dominated by you. However, we also have with us Hon. Members who clinched their seats as independent candidates.
I caution the majority, who won their seats through the Jubilee ticket that there is need to be guided by high ethical consideration so that we do not relapse into ultramajoritarianism, a trait of the tyranny of the majority.
To those who may feel that they belong to the minority, even though most parliamentary business is organized on majoritarian principle, the time-honored rights of minority to transparent, open, frank, fair and honest debates so as to make your case and offer constructive alternatives will be valued under my stewardship.
All of you, irrespective of gender, religion, party affiliation, age or tribe, must be guided by the mandate given to the government; to establish a vibrant society anchored on the principles of fairness and equality of opportunities.
As the legislative arm of this County Government, we will be expected to offer the requisite inspiration, guidance and confidence. Therefore, it is our duty to conduct ourselves with decorum, consistently observe the due processes and uphold the rule of law, legality and the culture of constitutionalism.
Allow me, Hon. Members, to note that in the previous Assembly, we had three elected female MCAs from a total of 35 elected Hon. Members. Today we have two female MCAs-elected.
Very sad; I am deeply concerned about this tragedy. There is really no cause for rejoicing at that because it is a clear indication that our County is far behind the world in the affirmative action. Even as we agree that the Affirmative Action law is one of ways of using the law as an instrument of social engineering- and mischief correction- to ensure equality, our democratic development is not impressive at all in this regard.
Nonetheless, I particularly want to acknowledge and applaud Hon. Mary Waithera, a former nominated member of the first County Assembly and the newly elected Member of Parliament representing Maragua Constituency.
Hon. Mary Waithera is a true reflection of the audacious women who are successfully plunging into the high strata of the male dominated political arena.
This County Assembly prides in having created a platform that shaped the sharp debating competencies, strong oversight and legislation skills possessed by Hon. Mary Waithera. We wish her Gods blessings as she undertakes her new mandate.
My plea, therefore, is that the female MCAs who are in this Assembly, be assisted to become effective role models in qualitative governance. I have some ideas I will share with the leadership towards realizing that objective as time goes by. Indeed, there is a compelling need for a comprehensive study of the factors which militate against the effective representation of women in our County.
The story of Hon. Mary Waithera should be an encouragement to all MCAS seated here today. That they should execute their roles in this Assembly with passion and without fear or favor. This County Assembly could be the stepping stone to your next big dreams and immense opportunities.
A question worth asking is: what do the people expect from the MCAs? There is growing evidence that, public opinion is divided as to the role of MCAs in Kenya. A significant majority of Kenyans are of the view that MCAs should undertake development projects within their Wards. To others, MCAs exist to pay school fees, give funeral donations, and attend weddings and other social events.
Of concern is that debating, passing legislations and holding the County Executive Arm of Government to account rank low in the public perception of the role of MCAs. This accounts for the high attrition rate of MCAs across the Country. To counter this, I envisage a scenario whereby the Hon. Members of the Second County Assembly will take public participation exercises seriously and use such forums to help the masses understand on their key roles.
In addition, I welcome the media to help in documenting and airing issues debated on the Floor of the House and in the Committees to create awareness, especially of the agendas before the House at any given sitting.
On that note, Hon. Members, and as you assemble here today, it is important to have a discourse on the re-establishment of the County Assembly with a sense of history.
The first Assembly existed after promulgation of the new Constitution of Kenya, 2010, and inception of devolution. There are 47 Counties in Kenya; hence we have 47 County Assemblies.
Each County Government has two Arms of governance; The Executive arm that is responsible for implementation of projects and the Legislative Arm to which you belong. The independence of the County Assemblies was conceived with the intent to accomplish the following roles; oversight, representation, legislation and budget making. That is your core mandate as provided for by the Constitution of Kenya.
Under Article 185 of the Constitution, the legislative authority of a County is vested in and exercised by its County Assembly. In addition, a County Assembly, while respecting the principle of separation of powers, exercises oversight for the County Executive Committee and any other Executive organ.
I hasten to urge you to exercise high levels of integrity as you play your oversight role. Further, I look forward to a House that will enact laws that are constitutional and that will stand the test of time. Undoubtedly, promotion of good governance will require an Assembly that will effectively perform the three cardinal functions of representation, oversight regarding the executive, and law making.
As for budget making, your ability to control public expenditure, within the Regulations of the Public Finance Management Act (PFM), will be good service to our people.
Hon. Members, I am not under any illusion as I take the mantle of leadership of this House. The responsibilities ahead of us are enormous and challenging. The great expectations before us require exceptional commitment, focus, harmony and unity of purpose. The people of Muranga anticipate for better lives under the devolved system of governance; hence there is no other option for us but, really, to succeed. As a matter of fact, devolution is envisioned to be the onerous challenge to take power and resources to the people.
Hon. Members, the key challenges in Muranga County remain poverty, unemployment, poor road infrastructure, water shortage and lack of enough rural polytechnics. Others include lack of post-modern Early Childhood Development Centers, un-utilized cultural, trade and tourism diversity, and lack of health facilities, among others.
Allow me to remind you that that the Kenyan Vision 2030 which is the countrys development blueprint aims at transforming Kenya into a new industrializing middle income country providing high quality of life. We have an obligation, therefore, to ensure that we make a contribution to this particular vision, especially in realizing the potential to promote growth and development at the Ward levels and to stir our rural economies.
As an Assembly, this is only possible if we enact laws that will be tailored towards realizing the vision 2030 at the Ward levels. The Motions and Reports you adopt should reflect those goals and the devolved functions.
The First Assembly sought to establish its role as a key oversight public institution, despite facing myriad teething challenges. Strides were made and we congratulate them for the many Bills they enacted and the many Motions and Reports they adopted. Allow me to submit that Rulings of Speakers in the past will be captured to serve as guidance and precedents for the smooth operation of the House because institutions grow scientifically, systematically and with responsibility. Nevertheless, a huge task still remains ahead of us and I trust we shall rise to the occasion.
Hon. Members, the capacity and scope of the Committees of the Assembly deserve attention; they are the workshop of this Assembly. Should the Committees be weak, this Assembly will be seriously dented. Not only should your Committees be sharp in their routine tasks, but also, they should be vibrant and exercise singular initiatives in enquiring into all matters of public interest impartially. This inquisitorial power must be applied to its logical conclusion.
Through the Committees, I welcome all the Members to act within the law, proactively, responsively and with appropriate capacity on all the devolved functions, namely, issues relating to health, ECDE and polytechnics education, agriculture, access roads, tourism, revenue collection, cooperatives, forestry, trade, among others. Invitations or summons to appear before the Committee will not be ignored under my leadership. I pledge to see to it that the Committees are fully equipped to perform and produce desirable results without fear or favor.
In conclusion, this County Assembly is for the people of Muranga; we have to be honest, accountable, and responsive to their needs.
In order to improve efficiency and transparency in the operations of this Hon. House, the leaders of the First Assembly saw the need to refurbish the precincts of this Assembly. We applaud them for that.
We are true to the fact that there is need for a modern Chamber, Committee rooms, Library, among other essential structures that will create a parliamentary environment that is accessible, secure and transparent.
I urge for your patience and understanding as that exercise is still on-going.
Going forward, I believe that, together with the County Assemblies Forum (CAF), the Council of Governors (COG), and the Societies of Clerks at the Table (SOCAT), we will unite in seeking the needed assistance for MCAs to, especially, improve their working conditions and welfare. We should seriously better the lot of our MCAs.
Hon. Members, you enjoy immunity while on the Floor of the House and immerse privileges which cannot be toyed with by any person, body or authority. I shall help to maintain this without fail. But allow me to quote our fore fathers who asserted that, “…to whom much is given, much is expected…”This dictum must guide us all because privileges come with responsibilities.
If you abuse the trust, there will be consequences. A law maker cannot be a lawbreaker.
For example, charges of corruption and abuse of offices have been witnessed in the past against individuals in our Country. That is why, at this earliest opportunity, I caution you against such vices. If you fall foul of the law, the set aside institutions mandated with tackling such issues will not be expected to spare you. Our attitude will reflect our end results. For instance, our punctuality and attendance to the businesses of this House will be critical towards realizing our objectives. Indeed, and as I said earlier, it is our duty to conduct ourselves with integrity, decorum, consistently observe the due processes, uphold the rule of law, legality and the culture of constitutionalism.
On my part, I pledge to respect and uphold the rule of law and nurture the culture of constitutionalism within us, make all judgments in tandem with our Standing Orders and always safeguard the role of the Assembly as an arm of the County Government.
Hon. Members, let us resolve to do something different in the lifetime of this Second Assembly. I urge for cooperation from all and sundry to make our stewardship a success.
Allow me to halt my speech with a few lines that I borrow from the poem “If” by Kipling Rudyard, who incorporates words with profound meaning and inspiration to illustrate leadership attributes within a framework of character, integrity, courage, selflessness, stamina, composure, self-efficacy and accountability. I urge that you bear with me even if you are the type that enjoys, not, poetry,
If you can keep your head when all
About you,
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all
Men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can talk with clouds and keep
Your virtue
Or walk with kings-nor lose the
Common touch,
If neither friends nor foes can
Hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none
Too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving
With sixty seconds worth
Distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything
Thats in it,
And- which is more- youll be a
Man, my son!
Thank you Hon. Members, God bless you all; God bless the County of Muranga.
Hon. Members, there being no further business, this House now stands adjourned until such date as shall be notified as the date set for the next business of the House.

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