Kenya: Nairobi County Assembly Rejects Punguza Mizigo Bill

Nairobi MCAs have unanimously rejected the Punguza Mizigo Bill terming it "unrealistic, retrogressive and aimed at eroding gains by the 2010 Constitution".

The more than 80 ward representatives present at the Tuesday's sitting said passing the Bill would be a betrayal to 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 disability 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 MCA Jared Akama stated that the initiative will only lead to marginalization of smaller communities as politics is about numbers, going against the spirit of the Constitution, which aspires to bring everyone together.

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

NUMBER OF CONSTITUENCIES

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

On her part, Majority Whip Waithera Chege said the Bill only spoke on gender equality in the National Assembly but does not speak for the women MCAs.

According to the report by the assembly's Justice and Legal Affairs committee, Nairobi residents opposed the initiative's proposal of two representatives (one male and one female) and using the

47 counties as a single constituency for the purposes of parliamentary election to Senate and National Assembly.

The residents said the proposal would lead to underrepresentation and will be unfair for large counties with large population.

Criticism was also leveled against the proposal to do away with the position of the of deputy governor saying that the position is vital in cases where a governor resigns or dies.

The seven year one term presidency was also rejected by the residents who argued that such a provision would encourage the one term president to squander public resources and amass a lot of wealth since they won't run for office again.

Another proposal that Nairobi residents were opposed to centred on elevating the Senate to be an Upper House with veto powers. The members of the public instead suggested that the Senate should be scrapped due to seemingly duplicated roles with the National Assembly.

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