More counties reject Punguza Mizigo Bill

Punguza Mizigo Bill sponsor Dr Ekuru Aukot with MCAs at the Meru County Assembly yesterday. Dr Aukot said wards in the country will be the biggest beneficiaries of the bill if passed. [File, Standard]

Three more counties have rejected the Punguza Mizigo Bill by Third Way Alliance party leader Ekuru Aukot. Kakamega, Nyeri, and Laikipia join 11 other county assemblies that have declined to pass the proposed legislation that seeks to amend the Constitution.More than 20 members of the Kakamega County Assembly said they would be betraying the electorate if they passed the Bill. The people, they added, “are enjoying the fruits of devolution”.Majority Leader Joel Ongoro said reducing the number of MPs from 416 to 147 was unrealistic.

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“Reducing the number of constituencies would result in a situation where majority tribes will be electing their own political cronies at the expense of minority tribes,” said Mr Ongoro.Ongoro, who tabled the Bill before the House, said the move would take representation away from the people.”It will erode the gains that have been made in the country since the enactment of the 2010 Constitution,” he said, adding: “Dr Ekuru Aukot did not subject the Bill to public participation before bringing it to this House for enactment. My people were not consulted when this Bill was being prepared and therefore it should be declared dead on arrival.”

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In Nyeri, the County assembly said the public was against the reduction of constituencies for fear that it would lead to unfair representation in populous counties.Legal Affairs Committee chair Michael Karumba, who tabled a report calling for Bill’s rejection, said after conducting public hearings in eight sub-counties, the Bill was only found to have two merits.

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“The committee finds that the proposal to increase allocations to counties is good, as it would accelerate development. We are also of the view that the proposal to limit the number of commissioners is commendable as an attempt to reduce the wage bill,” Mr Karumba said.The legal team, he noted, was against the idea of scrapping the position of the deputy governor. “This position acts as a buffer in the event of a vacancy in the office of the governor.”In the Laikipia County Assembly, all members present rejected the Bill that was tabled by Majority Leader Peter Thomi.Igwamiti Ward Representative Joseph Kiguru argued that if most constituencies were scrapped, people would be disadvantaged because they would be under-represented.The MCAs also said the proposed ward fund lacked clarity on administration and the allocation process.

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“The proposed privileges were meant to target us because we don’t control any funds. Our job is an oversight. It was easy for Dr Ekuru Aukot to entice us to pass the Bill but he did not elaborate who would be the custodians of the fund,” said Nanyuki MCA Veronicah Ikunywa. [Nathan Ochunge, Lydia Nyawira and Jacinta Mutura].

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Punguza Mizigo BillThird Way Alliance partyEkuru AukotKakamega County

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