Nairobi county assembly Majority leader Abdi Hassan. [Josphat Thiong’o, Standard] Three more counties voted to reject Thirdway Alliance’s Punguza Mizigo bill yesterday. Nairobi, Nakuru and Makueni joined Siaya, Homa Bay, Nyamira and Murang’a counties in turning down the proposed law that seeks to amend the Constitution. Only Uasin Gishu County has passed it so far.Yesterday’s vote presents a major hurdle for Thirdway Alliance party leader Ekuru Aukot, who requires 24 counties to assent to the bill for it to be tabled in Parliament.In a unanimous vote, Nairobi ward reps rejected the bill, terming it “unrealistic and retrogressive”, and saying it did not capture the views of the public during its composition.
Reducing constituenciesThey rejected the proposal to reduce the number of constituencies, and the plan to enforce the two-thirds gender rule. They also opposed to the reduction of ward reps from a current 85 to 17.Assembly Majority leader Abdi Hassan, who was the mover of the bill, argued that its proposals would erode the gains made under the Constitution.
“Capping of representation at the assembly is a major issue. It’s not realistic to have only two representatives in counties such as Nairobi, which has more than four million people,” he said.In Nakuru, the Justice and Legal Affairs committee described the bill as “populist”.
Ward reps argued that it left them no room to amend it. They rejected proposals to reduce the number of constituencies and limit the presidential term to a single seven-year run.“The bill is a populist initiative to win the favour of ordinary Kenyans while in reality it offers nothing meaningful in terms of substance and process,” said the committee’s chair, Erick GichukiIn Makueni, ward reps also shot down the bill, citing reduced representation.“Reducing the number of constituencies means walking for long distances to get services, and this will inconvenience the electorate,” said Nick Muthoka, who represents the Mulala/Emali ward.Female ward reps added that the bill curtailed representation of special groups.
[Josphat Thiong’o, Kennedy Gachuhi, Stephen Nzioka]
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