Reduction of seats tops wish list ahead of BBI report launch

Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu makes his contribution when the Building Bridges Initiative task force held a consultative engagement with the public at White Rhino Hotel in Nyeri, on June 18. [File, Standard]
Creation of the Prime Minister position, reduction of members of the National Assembly and scrapping nominated positions top the proposals that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) team received.

A powerful office of the official Opposition leader, scrapping of the Women Representatives seat and an addition of a third tier of devolution also featured prominently in the views presented to the team.

In the tens of presentations to the taskforce, that the Sunday Standard flipped through, the proposals seek a near over haul of the executive, legislature and the devolution chapters in the 2010 Constitution.

BBI joint secretary Paul Mwangi told the Sunday Standard that the report will be ready before October.

SEE ALSO :Ruto hails MCAs for rejecting Aukot's Punguza Mizigo

“We want to do all we can to present the report on or before our October deadline,” said Mr Mwangi.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga have come out in support of a possible review of the country’s laws and are expected to kick start the process in October after the taskforce presents to them the report.

While addressing residents in Kisumu last year the President said he supported creation of an all-inclusive government that will eliminate the winner-take-it-all system.

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Raila has repeatedly said constitutional amendment was inevitable and a sure way to bring stability in the country.

The raging debate on amendment of the 2010 Constitution has been emotive, with President Kenyatta and Raila’s allies in support while Deputy President William Ruto’s team playing wait-and-see game.

SEE ALSO :BBI: Ruto answers to Uhuru

Ruto declared that he would only support the referendum, if it is meant to ease the burden for Kenyans.

In 35 proposals by multi sectoral groups including the Embrace Kenya, a group of women for peace, Office of the Auditor General and Kenya National Union of Teachers, they believe the premier position would end vicious circle of electoral violence.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and his Nyeri town counterpart Wambugu Ngunjiri, concurred that for a stable country, the law should be amended to expand the executive.

Mr Kuria proposed that each party in the presidential contest presents five people to be on the ballot.

Majority of Kenyans argued that an expanded executive would go along way in stemming electoral violence.

SEE ALSO :Uhuru, Ruto reject Raila's bait on BBI

During the presentations to the 14-member BBI taskforce at public forums, citizens suggested ways to enhance devolution including the creation of another tier.

The task force held public hearings across the country, to collect citizens’ views on the nine-point communique unveiled by the President and the opposition leader during the March 9, 2018 handshake. Three weeks ago the team retreated to write the report.

The team is tasked with coming up with practical recommendations and reform proposals that will build lasting unity. The addition of an extra tier of devolution was popular in the Coast region. While presenting his proposals to the BBI Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi proposed a fully federal system of government under a three tier structure comprising regional states.

The governor observed that with full political and financial autonomy and the proposed federal system, the national government should cede control of police and retain only key functions like defence and foreign affairs.

Other public proposals were rotational presidency, reducing the number of counties, and the abolition of Provincial Administration

SEE ALSO :Raila, Ruto allies trade barbs over ‘handshake’ team

In the last four years, there have been 13 attempts to change the 2010 Constitution, ranging from consultative forums to parliamentary amendments and popular initiatives. Tiaty MP William Kamket proposed the scrapping of the Deputy President position.

West Mugirango MP Vincent Mogaka and his Ndia counterpart George Kariuki want the number of Cabinet Secretaries reduced from 22 to 12, and counties from 47 to 12.

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Building Bridges InitiativeBBIReferendumConstitutional reforms