NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 26 – The National Assembly on Wednesday passed a Bill that bars Cabinet Secretaries and Governors from flying the National Flag on their vehicles.
The National Flag, Emblems and Names (Amendment) Bill, 2013 only allows the President, Deputy President, the two Parliament Speakers and the Chief Justice to fly the Kenyan flag.
MPs say Governors would be allowed to fly flags of their respective counties as provided in the County Governments Act.
Attempts by Majority Leader Adan Duale to marshall support for the amendment to allow Cabinet Secretaries to fly the flag failed, after 71 MPs voted against his proposal while 53 backed it.
“We cannot have an Executive of only the President and Deputy President having the flag, I want to convince my colleagues let us also allow the CSs to have the flags,” stated Duale.
“Just as we did in allowing diplomats to fly the flag, we should do the same for our CSs who are also performing a delegated duty on behalf of His Excellency, the President,” said Majority Coalition Parliamentary Whip Katoo ole Metito.
Governors will now be restricted to the county flag if the President assents to the Bill.
Lawmakers Junet Mohammed (Suna East), Millie Odhiambo (Mbita) and Ken Okoth (Kibra) argued that Governors should fly county flags as they are elected members.
“There is no reason why we should be giving the Cabinet Secretaries (the flag) and as MPs, who are elected by the people of Kenyans we are denying ourselves. Why do we want to make ourselves appear as second citizens,” stated Odhiambo.
“Why would we deny the Governors, who are elected by the people (the privilege of flying the flag) but then give it to someone who is appointed,” said Kisauni MP Rashid Juma.
“Mr Speaker, we should bring in another amendment to allow the Governors to fly the flag, because Mr Speaker the county flag is a small flag,” Mohammed said during his contribution.
An amendment by Bomet Central MP Ronald Tonui which sought to allow any Kenyan to fly the National Flag was thrown out by Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso who ruled it contradicted the intention of the Bill before the House.
“It’s quite unfortunate that the National Flag which I had on the dashboard my small Toyota Corolla when I was a school teacher, will disappear because you have killed (my amendment).
“It is unfortunate that we are going to the direction of hero worship to have some specific people to have this flag but the common man we are denying so that they can fly the American national flag and Al Shabaab flag because you have killed this,” added the Bomet Central MP.
MPs added Kenyan diplomats in foreign missions to the list after they approved an amendment proposed by Tiaty MP Asman Kamama.
The legislators, however shot down Kamama’s attempt to have those who break this new law fined not less than Sh1 million or jailed for a maximum five years or have the double jeopardy of being fined and jailed.