By Standard Team
The row over whether parliamentary constituencies should be increased and the criteria of doing so is building up into a firestorm that could undermine reforms.
As if in appreciation of the danger the jostling portends for the comprehensive review, Party of National Unity, through Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi, appeared to change tack on the one-man-one-vote demand and said it would consult its coalition partner. Looming in the shadows, however, remained the threat by some PNU MPs that they would vote against the new constitution if the boundary review will not have followed population density patterns.
"You cannot just say every vote matters â¦every inch of this country matters," was Agriculture William Rutoâs quick reaction.
"My position has always been that we must balance population, and geographic features," he added.
Kiraitu had argued those clamouring to have population density be used to review boundaries should not be vilified.
"You have areas that have high population both in rural and urban regions and which merit being split for fair representation," said Kiraitu.
The great controversy building up around this process came out during a public hearing staged by Interim Independent Boundaries Commission in Nairobi, and interviews with politicians. It was also discernible from the urgency with which Party of National Unity politicians are pushing for the criteria of one-man-one-vote to be adopted in redrawing constituency boundaries.
The latest storm has been over what considerations take precedence between options set out by the Act that created by IIBRC: population density and trends; means of communication; geographical features, and community interest.
Despite mounting pressure from international community led by US President Barack Obama and the unrelenting threat of visa bans, the fusion of 2012âs succession politics with the boundary review has given delimitation a new momentum.
It now turns out some political parties are pushing for an earlier conclusion of the boundary review, during which they would push for delimitation criteria that would favour their voting blocs with more constituency than others. Still it would allow them to decide, on the basis of whether they will have the potential for majority seats in Parliament, to support the proposed constitution.