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LIVE TEXT: Parliament proceedings

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 22 – 3.43pm In conclusion, the President says he is fully aware of the challenges and opportunities that we face in decisively dealing with the post election crisis that we faced in 2008 and thanks the Kenyan people and you the leaders for embracing the spirit of national reconciliation and healing.

3.42pm The President reminds MPs that they have the rare opportunity to participate in the enactment of new laws which are intended to transform our governance architecture and which will change our social, economic and political interactions.

– He says Kenya has not in the past given priority to the systematic unveiling of a set of values and principles which define or become our national interest.

– He says now, the country has a clear opportunity to do so through the national values and guiding principles that are enshrined in our new Constitution.

– He foresees challenges as Kenya implements the new Constitution but this should not distract us from our goals.

3.41pm He says his speech has focused on the bills that must have been passed according to the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, within one year of the promulgation of the Constitution.

– For instance, Article 55 of the Constitution provides that the state shall take measures including affirmative action programmes to ensure that the youth:

"Access relevant education and training;

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"Have opportunities to associate, be represented and participate in political, social, economic and other spheres of life;

"Access employment; and

"Are protected from harmful cultural practices and exploitation.

3.40pm President Kibaki says creation of counties is informed by the desire to devolve decision-making to the grassroots and to ensure that all corners of the country receive due attention and resources.  To enable this, the Government will be forwarding the Public Finance Bill which will bring fundamental change in how we budget and manage our public finances.

3.38 pm On security, the President says the new Constitution has a far reaching framework to facilitate reform in provision of security.  He says the Government will introduce important security related legislation.

– These include the National Security Council Bill, Police Service Commission Bill, National Police Service Bill, Independent Police Oversight Authority Bill and the Private Security Providers Bill.

3.37pm He says the Elections Bill provides for the settlement of electoral disputes arising from nominations, the conduct and supervision of elections and the development of a modern system of collection, collation, transmission and tallying of electoral data.

– These two Bills, he points out, will safeguard free and fair elections and entrench our democratic system of governance.  He urges the august House to debate and pass the bills within the next three months.

3.36pm Turning to the 2012 general election, the President says it is in the interest of all to ensure that the elections are conducted within a framework that guarantees the free and fair exercise of people\’s choices.  He notes that the next elections will be more demanding due to the large number of offices to be contested for.

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– In this regard, an Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Bill has been prepared and discussed with stakeholders.  It is now ready for tabling. The Bill makes provision for effective operation of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission including continuous registration of voters, the delimitation of electoral boundaries, registration of candidates and voter education.

3.35pm He discloses that in this session, the Government will also present the following bills to make operational various commissions:

The Independent Commissions Bill;

– Commission on Revenue Allocation Bill;

– The Salaries and Remuneration Commission Bill;

– The Kenya National Human Rights and Equality Commission Bill;

– The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Bill;

– The Public Service Commission Bill;

– The National Land Commission Bill;

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– The Commission on Administrative Justice Bill;

– The National Police Services Commission Bill; and

– The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Bill.

3.34pm He says to strengthen the Judiciary, the Supreme Court Bill has been prepared.  This will establish the Supreme Court and provide for its rules of procedure.  Also, the Government will introduce the Other Superior Courts Bill which will provide for the establishment of Courts with the status of High Courts to hear and determine disputes relating to employment and labour relations, the environment and land.

3.33pm Turning to the Constitution, the President says the Grand Coalition Government is determined to systematically implement the new Constitution and will give priority to Bills relating to judicial reforms.  He says in this session of Parliament, the Government will table additional bills to fast track the reform of the judiciary and to make operational commissions and independent offices.  These reforms are intended to strengthen accountability, administration of justice, rule of law and ensure checks and balances in governance.

3.32pm President Kibaki assures the House, and all Kenyans, that the Government is undertaking fiscal and monetary measures to maintain the economy on a high growth path.

3.31pm He says measures are being taken to mitigate losses of livestock.  Furthermore, the Government is continuing to expand support for irrigated agriculture and improved livestock management.

3.30pm He however says the Government is working hard to ensure that our brothers and sisters affected by the drought are provided with adequate food.

3.29 The Head of State notes with concern that many parts of our country are also experiencing prolonged drought, food shortage as well as lack of grazing pasture.

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3.28 He says the challenges include high fuel costs, increased inflation and depreciation of the Kenya shilling.

3.27 He says the economic prospects this year are high though Kenya faces serious challenges.

3.26 President Kibaki points out that the House is reconvening at a time when Kenya\’s economy is rebounding with an estimated 5.4 per cent growth rate registered last year.

3.25pm Kibaki says key Bills include the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act and the Prevention of Organized Crimes Act (applause).

3.24pm The President says other Bills addressed security and socio-economic concerns facing our people.

3.23pm He says some of the Bills relate to the implementation of the Constitution among them the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution Act and the Judicial Service Act.

3.22 The President notes that in its last Session, the House passed 17 Bills that are critical to our national affairs.

3.20pm The president says Parliament has an opportunity to engrave itself in the annals of our national history.

3.19 He says the new Constitution has renewed our sense of nationhood and given us hope for a brighter future.

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3.18pm Kibaki says Parliament has reconvened at a critical juncture of our nation\’s history.

3.17pm President Kibaki starts reading his speech

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