Central Kenya MPs, CS, say they will only support BBI if it addresses their perennial injustice of unfair representation

Mt Kenya MPs led by Meru Senator Mithika Linturi (right) addressing the media at Parliament. [Boniface Okendo/Standard]
A group of leaders from Mt Kenya region has threatened to shoot down proposals contained in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) if they do not address the region’s concerns.

About 40 MPs and Senators drawn from the region yesterday issued what they termed irreducible minimum conditions for the region to back the anticipated BBI report, top on the list being “injustices in representation”.

“We are concerned about the under-representation of our people at all levels compared to the population and the number of voters in the region,” they said.

The leaders warned that they would reject BBI’s proposals if they deem them as further disadvantaging communities in the region.

“When we talk about inclusivity, it must be reflected even in representation in Parliament and other spheres. We must have correct number of seats in Parliament that represent our population,” the leaders said in a statement read by Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni.

The lawmakers said they would hold a retreat for all leaders from the region as soon as the contents of the BBI report were made public, to consider its recommendations and come up with a common stand.

“If the BBI does not address the challenges of equalisation of the vote, under the universal suffrage principle of one-man-one-vote, then we will sit down and advise our electorate accordingly,” said Mr Kioni.

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The leaders said they would oppose any attempt to have the country’s chief executive elected by Parliament as currently constituted.

They said that many constituencies in the region had more than the 104,000 registered voters stipulated per constituency but were still accorded an equal vote in Parliament as those with less voters. The legislators claimed that counties in their region suffered injustices in resource distribution vis-a-vis their huge populations. “Our interests must be taken care of even in the resource distribution,” they said.

The leaders added that they expected the BBI report to also address issues contested by the church and other stakeholders who opposed the Constitution in 2010.

Kieleweke and TangaTanga

The leaders said their position was not inclined to either the Kieleweke or Tangatanga groups of the region’s political divides, but to the interest of the Mt Kenya region.

Shortly after the declaration yesterday, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria appeared to backtrack on the leader’s position, despite signing their joint statement. In a Press briefing Kuria castigated his colleagues’ taking of positions before knowing the contents of the BBI report.

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