, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 18 – A Bill seeking to formally allow Governors to fly the national flag on their vehicles has been tabled in the National Assembly.
The Bill which seeks to amend the National Flag, Emblems and Names Act is sponsored by Eldas MP Adan Keynan.
It seeks to have Governors included in the list of government officials whose cars can deck the national flag.
“The objective of this Bill therefore is to remove the matter of flying of the national flag from the ambit of subsidiary legislation and entrench it in the substantive law, and to widen the scope of officers allowed to fly the national flag on their motor vehicles to take cognisance of new offices established under the Constitution,” reads the Bill’s Objects of Memorandum.
The Bill proposes that a person who contravenes this provision be liable to a fine of up to Sh1 million or to imprisonment of up to five years or both.
Keynan said the Bill seeks to provide for an extension of the usage of the national flag to include other Kenyans who will be expected to use it in a “dignified way.”
The current law was inspired by the country’s founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, who in July 1963 complained that the flag was being misused by being displayed “even in lavatories”.
Speaking in Parliament, Mzee Kenyatta told MPs: “The government recognises that a national flag must not only be a symbol of unity but one that commands respect of all our people… of late we have seen party flags flown by every Tom, Dick and Harry.”
“Apart from this being illegal, it means that flags have appeared in practically any place, even in lavatories. The national flag must not and will not be flown by any person other than Cabinet ministers and any specifically authorised persons… the reproduction of the flag will not be allowed… no person will be authorised to fly a flag with a Coat-of-Arms, except the head of government,” he decreed.
The Bill comes up for debate amidst complaints by legislators from both Houses that Governors had transformed themselves into “small presidents”.
Another Bill by Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale is before the Senate and is seeking to allow Governors to officially fly the national flag but only within their counties.
“The object and purpose of this Bill is to amend the National Flag, Emblems’ and Names Act (Cap. 99) to reserve the flying of the national flag on motor vehicles to the following State officers: the President, the Deputy-President, the Chief Justice, the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Speaker of the Senate,” states Khalwale’s amendment.
However, it is still unclear which of the two Bills will carry the day should the respective House pass it.
The Council of Governors has insisted that Governors have received a go-ahead from the Transition Authority to fly national flags on their cars.
In a recent meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta, Governors were allowed to fly the national flag on their vehicles among other concessions.
There has been controversy over the issue after Attorney General Prof Githu Muigai told them that it was illegal for them to fly the flags.
Under the National Flag, Emblems and Names Act Cap 99 Laws of Kenya, only the President, Deputy-President, Chief Justice, Speaker of the National Assembly, Ministers, and the Attorney-General are allowed to fly the National flag.