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Cabinet secretaries to continue flying national flags on their cars

By WILFRED AYAGA | June 20th 2014

Cabinet secretaries will now be allowed to fly flags on their official cars after the MPs beat a retreat on a clause that had taken away the privilege.

The House accepted a memorandum from Uhuru Kenyatta in which he had opposed Clause 3 of the National Flags, Emblems and Names Bill, 2014 that excluded the CSs from the list of State officers who could fly the flag.

The House acceded to the addition of the CSs to the list and said that the President’s proposals were realistic.

Leader of Majority Adan Duale said it was important for the Cabinet secretaries to have flags on their cars in line with their counterparts from the East African Community.

“It is not reasonable that we cannot even have our CS for Foreign Affairs fly the flag on her car,” Mr Duale told the House.

George Kaluma (Homa Bay Town) said the flag is a national symbol and nobody should be denied the privilege of flying it. “The flag is not a symbol of power or of respect. This is a facility that everybody should have,” he said.

The President returned the Bill to the House arguing that even in the United States, which has similar Presidential system with Kenya, CSs are allowed to fly flags.

“This is a major departure from the law and practice since independence whereby ministers have always flown the national flag. The practice is also common amongst commonwealth jurisdictions,” said Duale.

“Accordingly, the exclusion of CSs from the proposed Section 4A(2) will not only be a departure from a well established practice in Kenya and East Africa, but also from the practice in other jurisdictions with a similar system, which in my considered opinion is inappropriate,” the Present said in his memorandum.

But the House had little choice in accepting the proposals by the President since the House standing orders require a two-thirds majority to overrule the memorandum.

John Mbadi (Gwasi) supported the memorandum, but said the same privilege should be extended to county governors.

“I support the memorandum on the basis that there is even no reason to deny the governor the flag. I do not even see the reason why we legislated on the issue. I’m forced by tyranny of numbers to support,” said Mr Mbadi.

The initial Bill had proposed that the flag would only be flown by the President, Deputy President, and the Chief Justice, the speaker of both Houses and diplomats on foreign missions.

The House also accepted other amendments that had been proposed by the President to the National Police Service Bill.

The President had in his proposals said that section 116 (1A), which had given  the Inspector General the role of Accounting officer of the National Police Service Commission, was unconstitutional.

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