Aukot accuses major political parties of sabotaging Punguza Mizigo bill

Thirdway Alliance Kenya Party leader Ekuro Aukot officially hands over the Punguza Mizigo bill to Nairobi County Speaker Chege Mwaura. [Josphat Thiong'o/Standard]

Thirdway Alliance Kenya Party leader Ekuro Aukot has accused Jubilee, ODM and Wiper party leaders of sponsoring the petitions against the Punguza Mizigo bill in court.

Aukot also alleged that ODM leader Raila Odinga, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Jubilee’s Aden Duale and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetangula were undermining devolution by opposing increased resources and funding to the wards and using Kenyans for their selfish gains by urging them to reject the Punguza Mizigo bill.

“Raila, Kalonzo, Aden Duale and Moses Wetangula are on record telling Kenyans to reject Punguza Mizigo proposals as we await the ongeza mzigo proposals. We are now more than ever convinced that they are the sponsors of the frivolous petitions against the bill in court,” said Aukot.

Aukot was speaking at the Nairobi County Assembly where he had gone to lobby and popularize his Punguza Mizigo initiative.

In a thinly veiled attack on the opponents of his bill, he further alleged that leaders from the major parties were working with some ‘elements’ in the judicial system to frustrate the pro-people initiative.

“The political hunters and gatherers are now working with a wolf in the courts of law to frustrate our initiative. The wolf in the corridors of justice is holding brief for the greedy political class and using and abusing his authority to drive political agenda in the court of law,” reiterated Aukot.

Flanked by members from his now popular party, Aukot questioned the motives behind the major political parties’ continued stance against his bill as he urged them to stop politicizing the issue.

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“Are the opponents of the Punguza Mizigo bill 2019 beneficiaries of the theft of public money that we are proposing to end? Why do they seem to hate the idea of empowering their own people at the ward level?” he posed.

At the same time, ODM MCAs at the Nairobi County assembly on Wednesday gave the Punguza Mizigo sensitisation meeting a wide berth, maintaining that they would not support the bill should it come up for debate.

The ward representatives allied to the opposition party stated that they were acting in respect to the official party communication, which was to not entertain any aspect of the Punguza Mizigo bill.

“Our stand as a political party is that the Punguza Mizigo bill has numerous shortcomings thus we will not be endorsing it. ODM members have consequently been instructed not to attend today’s meeting between Aukot and assembly members,” said ODM deputy minority whip, Moses Ogeto.

This comes just a day after the High Court stopped all the 47 county assemblies from debating and approving the Punguza Mizigo bill fronted by Thirdway Alliance Kenya party.

In his ruling, Justice James Makau also stopped the party from presenting the Bill to the Speaker of the National Assembly, pending a case filed in court against it.

The judge observed that the orders will remain in force for 14 days as other parties named in the petition file their responses.

Nairobi County speaker Chege Mwaura vowed to abide by the court ruling saying that the bill will only be debated in Nairobi once the matter was dispensed off in court.

“We are going to give a notice of motion for the debate of the bill at an appropriate time but once the issue is fully determined in court,” said Chege.

The Punguza Mizigo initiative advocates for, among other things, the reduction of the number of MPs from the current 416 to 147, caps monthly salaries of elected leaders to a maximum pay of Sh500, 000 for the president and Sh300, 000 for MPs, as well as increasing counties' share of national revenue from 15 per cent to at least 35 per cent.

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Thirdway AllianceEkuro AukotJubileeODMPunguza Mzigo