Aukot reforms bill yet to get MCAs' backing

Third Way Alliance Party leader Ekuru Aukot. [Standard]

Third Way Alliance Party leader Ekuru Aukot visited Bomet County on Monday in a bid to save his Punguza Mizigo (Constitutional Amendment) Bill, 2019. This, amid growing pressure, on ward representatives across the county to shoot down the draft.

On the same day, residents of Nyandarua petitioned the County Assembly to reject the Bill, terming the proposals contained therein divisive, unrealistic and not good for the country.

As the area ward representatives engaged residents at Mairo Inya town, Dr Aukot was making his 19th stop in Bomet County, as he sought to secure support from 24 counties to enable a referendum to be held.

Aukot’s Bill is one of the popular initiatives aimed at amending the Constitution and reducing the perceived high cost of running complex State machinery erected by the 2010 Constitution.

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It has received strong opposition from another contentious popular initiative that seeks to restructure the Executive in a manner that would essentially lead to a transition from presidential to parliamentary system of Government.

The other popular initiative is connected to opposition leader Raila Odinga who reconciled with President Uhuru Kenyatta with the aim of quelling tensions occasioned by the last presidential elections.

In Nyandarua, during a public participation forum organised by ward representatives at Mairo Inya town, some residents rejected proposals contained in the Aukot Bill.

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Led by Gabriel Thumbi, a member of the Ndaragwa professionals association, the residents said the proposal for a seven-year-one term for the president was not good.

“What would happen if we elected a president with bad record? He would rule the country as he wishes since he doesn’t care to seek a second term,” Mr Thumbi said.

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They criticised proposals to reduce the number of MPs, saying that would mean reduction of constituencies.

Thumbi, in a petition to the County Assembly seeking to have the MCAs reject the Bill, argued that it would be difficult for voters to access their leaders since the constituencies would be huge.

“When we voted for devolution, we wanted to bring leadership and services closer to the people. The Bill is now seeking to reduce this,” he said.

Joseph Wachira, a resident, argued that the clause seeking to reduce salaries for the elected leaders would create room for corruption.

He said elected leaders were already using their resources to serve residents and having their pay cut would drive them to engage in corrupt deals.

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“Let their salaries remain as they are, as they are already strained. How do you pay a whole president Sh500,000 and expect him not to engage in corruption,” he said.

Karau MCA Ken Mukira, the chairman of the select committee holding the public participation, urged residents to keenly go through the Bill so that they do not make wrong decisions.

This, he said, would be the only way that would make the MCAs vote for or against it.

“We will do what residents will tell us. That is why we want them to read it and not wait for us to decide for them,” he noted.

But while addressing a public participation forum in Bomet County on Monday, Aukot dismissed claims that his initiative was being bankrolled by Deputy President William Ruto as alleged by some politicians.

SEE ALSO :Sapit calls on leaders to tone down wild referendum talk

“We have depended on goodwill and financial support from the public through our pay bill number from the start,” Aukot said. 

The former Constitutional of Kenya Review Commission secretary said there was a scheme to malign his initiative in a bid to stop it from sailing through. 

Aukot said with the growing popularity of his initiative to change the Constitution, some individuals were out to ensure it was stopped, all for selfish reasons.

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Punguza MizigoPresident Uhuru KenyattaRaila OdingaBomet