Kenya: More Blows to Punguza Mizigo Bill as Nairobi, Mandera Reject Proposal

8 October 2019

Nairobi and Mandera have joined the growing list of counties that have rejected Thirdway Alliance party leader Ekuru Aukot's Punguza Mizigo bill.

The two counties joined Kiambu, Nyeri, Siaya, Homa Bay, Murang'a, Nakuru, Makueni and Kirinyaga in shooting down the Bill.

While debating a public participation report on the bill, Nairobi MCAs unanimously rejected the initiative terming it "unrealistic, retrogressive and aimed at eroding gains by the 2010 Constitution."

GENDER RULE

The over 80 ward representatives present in Tuesday's sitting said passing the bill will be a betrayal of the people who opposed the initiative during the public participation exercise.

Majority leader Abdi Guyo, who moved the motion, said that the bill, if passed, will be a big blow to the gains made by the two-thirds gender rule as well as lock out the youth and people with disabilities as it seeks to reduce the number of constituencies.

"It is not realistic to have only two representatives in counties such as Nairobi yet the county has over four million people," said Mr Guyo.

Mugumoini Ward Rep Jared Akama said that the initiative would only lead to marginalisation of smaller communities, as politics is about numbers, going against the spirit of the Constitution which aspires to bring everyone on board.

"The insinuation that political leaders in the country are a burden is not true as the political class spends only 10 per cent of the budget. This bill will therefore set the people against their leaders," said Mr Akama.

Kabiro MCA Clarence Munga said reduction in the number of constituencies would lead to a situation where only the majority tribes would elect their own to the helm of the constituencies.

In Mandera, the assembly's Legal and Justice Committee chaired by Mr Mohamed Yussuf, MCA Guticha, had urged MCAs to reject the bill in totality arguing that the proposed amendment would perpetuate marginalisation of the region, erode and deprive residents of the constitutional gains achieved over the past half century.

"Scrapping of 290 constituencies and use of counties as a single constituency will be a recipe for conflict and multi-ethnic counties like Mandera will experience return of long forgotten clan animosities," he said.

The MCAs rejected the bill saying the initiative would discriminate against the youth, women, minorities and the disabled as it seeks to delete Article 98 of the Constitution while also saying that abolishing the office of the deputy governor as a measure to reduce cost is unjustified, a defeat of justice and will occasion a constitutional crisis in the counties.

"The proposal to try corruption suspects within 30 days is unrealistic and will lead to defeat of justice. The bill by Dr Aukot has failed to propose any corruption prevention measures that are key in the war against graft," said Mr Yusuf.

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