Siaya rejects Punguza Mizigo, claims bill is bad for the country

Third Way Alliance Party leader Ekuro Aukot.[File, Standard]
Siaya County Assembly has rejected the Punguza Mizigo Draft Bill 2019 that is being fronted by Thirdway Alliance Party leader Ekuru Aukot.

In a report tabled by the Chairman of the House committee on Legal Affairs, Francis Otiato, the MCAs said the document does not address issues affecting Kenyans.

The MCAs argued that the proposal to reduce the number of MPs will diminish contact between constituents and their elected parliamentarians, which will be a blow to democracy.

The ward representatives also said the proposal to abolish the position of deputy governor while retaining that of the deputy president does not make sense.

This is because the creation of both offices was based on the same logic.

The leaders also faulted Aukot’s (pictured) bill for not providing a mechanism to realise the two-thirds gender rule in county assemblies and the Senate.

The MCA said the initiative’s proposal to try corruption suspects within 30 days will be counterproductive.

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They argued that corruption cases are complex in nature, and it would be impossible to unravel them in 30 days.

They also said the country has borrowed money excessively yet the Pungua Mizigo Bill has not provided a means through which to curb the huge debt.

While dismissing the bill, the MPs said: “In a nutshell, the committee having reviewed the draft Punguza Mizigo Bill 2019, and taken the views and presentations of members of the public, the committee recommends that the county rejects it since it proposes changes that may erode the democratic gains achieved so far, and enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya, 2010.”

The assembly will now communicate its decision to the speakers of the National Assembly and Senate in the next two weeks.

Mr Otiato said he is personally concerned with the issue of public expenditure. 

He said that the bill does not indicate how the Government should handle public expenditure and fight graft.

“The draft Bill fails to address key concerns on public expenditure and wastage of public funds. It should outline how the wastage can be stopped,” said Otiato.

Sylvester Madiallo, the budget committee chairperson, said he does not believe there is over representation in government like the bill asserts.

“There was no public participation done by Aukot on this bill. We only saw it in the newspapers. It does not reflect the interests of Kenyans,” said Mr Madiallo.

Only a handful of MCAs threw their weight behind the bill. Those who supported it said their colleagues who rejected it were influenced by people outside the assembly.

They said the bill has the interests of Kenyans at heart. Sigomre Ward MCA Erick Odawa said some of his colleagues had been intimidated into rejecting the bill.

“We have to be honest. There is over representation in government. We cannot see the work that some of the leaders are doing,” said Mr Odawa.

The assembly, however, supported some of the bill’s provisions such as increasing the percentage of revenue allocation to counties from the current figure.

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Siaya County AssemblyPunguza Mizigo Draft Bill 2019Ekuru Aukot