Kiambu county became the third Central Kenya county to reject Ekuru Aukot’s Punguza Mizigo Bill. This was after the initiative suffered same fate in Kirinyaga and Murang’a. This loss was celebrated by Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru who has become a fierce critic of the Initiative terming it backward and does not take into consideration women issues.
Kirinyaga, Muranga, and now Kiambu. Well in!! Mt. Kenya tuko chonjo. Twendele hivyo hivyo. Firmly behind H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta and his agenda for a peaceful and cohesive nation.#PunguzaMizigoBill2019 @StateHouseKenya pic.twitter.com/F9fALRi0v4
— Anne Waiguru (@AnneWaiguru) September 25, 2019
A motion to reject the bill was tabled on Wednesday by Implementation, Justice and Constitutional Affairs committee chairperson Yvonne Wanjiku.
According to the committee, the proposal to increase allocation to counties and limit the number of commissioners was commendable.
The committee, however, said the reduction of constituencies from 290 to 47 was an unfair representation and had a hidden agenda for populous counties.
They said the position of deputy governor is important and should not be scrapped. The team said the seven-year presidential term proposed by the bill was not ideal as it would put the country in a state of perpetual electioneering “which will not be cost-effective”.
The committee found scrapping of special seats retrogressive and the timeframe for settling corruption cases unrealistic for “it could lead to many cases being dismissed for not having been concluded within the 30 days.”
The motion was supported by Leader of Majority Gideon Gachara who said the reduction of constituencies would lead to less representation of bigger counties.
Ndenderu MCA Solomon Kinuthia said, “We passed a new Constitution in 2010 and some clauses are being implemented in 2015. Punguza Mizigo is trying to do plastic surgery on the 2010 Constitution which is on the verge of being implemented fully.”
Riabai MCA Hezron Njoroge called on the speaker to “read the mood of the assembly” and declare the bill rejected. It was rejected unanimously by 92 members.
The bill faced rejection by members of the public during public participation across the county with most saying that it was not in their best interest.
Most of the assemblies where the bill has undergone scrutiny have not supported the bill with only Uasin Gishu endorsing.
The bill needs to be passed by 24 county assemblies for it to be tabled in the National Assembly and Senate for approval.
If it goes through, it will be taken to the President for assent.
The bill proposes an increase to county revenue share allocation from the current 15 per cent to at least 35 per cent. It also seeks to use each of the 1,450 wards as the primary unit of accelerated development, replacing the National Government-Constituencies Development Fund (NGCDF).
The bill also seeks to slash the number of MPs from the current 416 to 147, as well as alter the President’s term from the current two five-year terms to a single seven-year term.