How referendum reality could upset political arena ahead of 2022
SEE ALSO :State House intruder’s rant on Facebook“By attempting to cut on the representation of the people, the Punguza Mizigo Bill has begun its journey to the funeral at the County Assemblies, we will lobby them to reject in total,” said Duale. But Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen disclosed that they are considering endorsing Punguza Mizigo Bill and said the proposal to make Senate an upper House is likely to be received well by senators. “In the current context of what we are going through, the constitutional issues we are dealing with in the Senate and counties, Aukot’s proposals are extremely attractive to those who support devolution, if it is that attractive, there is high probability that his proposal will pass,” Mr Murkomen said. “Because of the provision on strengthening Senate and strengthening devolution and guaranteeing 35 per cent going to counties again that is extremely attractive to Senate there is high chances senators might welcome his proposals based on the current struggle we have had for the last six years,” he added. He was optimistic that the proposal could sail through in more than 24 County Assemblies given the benefits it promises the devolved units once adopted. Among the radical proposals in the Punguza Mizigo Bill are one term presidency, the Senate being the Upper House with veto power and the reduction of MPs from 416 to 147. It proposes to use the ward as the primary unit of development replacing National Government Constituency Fund (NG-CDF) hence taking development to the people. It also proposes to abolish nominations in county assemblies and Senate. Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka however, said the initiative came at the wrong time when the country was keenly following the BBI process which they hope will midwife the changes to the 2010 Constitution. More funds “We need to remain focused, the initiative might distract us from the real changes we are yearning through the BBI,” said Kalonzo. Governors have also been pushing for allocation of more funds to counties and their crusade to achieve the same flopped through the Pesa Mashinani Initiative and now the Punguza Mizigo Bill has offered them a lifeline. Already, governors have planned a one million meeting at Uhuru Park to push for increased funding. “We would like to book Uhuru Park grounds for the meeting on August 17 to popularize the Council of Governors referendum issues. We anticipate to host one million Kenyans who will come from all wards in the country,” Council of Governors (CoG) chairman Wycliffe Oparanya stated in a letter notifying Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko of reservation of the grounds. Interestingly, Mr Oparanya said he was opposed to the Punguza Mizigo Bill and instead prefers that the country first finishes with the BBI initiative. The Kakamega Governor said the Aukot initiative could distract the BBI that has the voices of Kenyans from being the one to midwife the changes. The county chiefs have cried foul over the dwindling allocation to counties pegged at at least 15 per cent of the revenue raised and based on 2013/2014 financial report. In the Bill, the Governor will nominate from among the duly vetted and appointed County Executive Officers, to be his/her Principal Assistant for purposes of administration. In the unlikely event of the position of Governor falling vacant, the seat will be filled through a by-election. Aukot argues that, the current supremacy battle between Senate and National Assembly will be cured by the Bill, as it seeks make the former the Upper House. Yesterday, former IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba said the only way for the government to manage the process is to have Parliament initiate its own process through a Bill to change the Constitution.
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