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Thirdway Alliance Party leader Ekuru Aukot address press conference at the party's headquarters in Nairobi on February 17, 2020, over their new Punguza Mizigo Bill. [David Njaaga, Standard]

The bid comes after Punguza Mizigo Bill, which was sponsored by Aukot-led party, failed to meet the constitutional threshold.

Thirdway Alliance Kenya Party leader Dr Ekuru Aukot Monday launched a second bid for constitutional change under new recommendations which he argues will rapidly transform the country.

The bid comes after Punguza Mizigo Bill, which was sponsored by Aukot-led party, failed to meet the constitutional threshold of being supported by a minimum of 24 out of 47 counties four months ago.

Only Kirinyaga and Uasin Gishu county assemblies supported the initiative.

After getting clearance from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission when the collocated the requisite million signatures, the party had a rough patch in counties as various houses shot it down.

 Most county assemblies argued that the Bill failed to address various issues. One key area which was faulted was the proposal for a fixed seven-year term for the presidency.

Yesterday, Aukot said that his party was consulting with Kenyans and was listening to various deserving proposals to be included in the new bill being prepared.

Aukot who ran for the presidency in the 2017 General Election on his Thirdway Alliance ticket, is determined to stage a never-say-die battle in a political atmosphere grabbed by the Uhuru Kenyatta-Raila Odinga-driven Building Bridges Initiative.

In the new Punguza Mizigo Bill, proposals have been revised and scaled down to 10 from initial 16. They include the following.

Strengthening devolution and accountability: The new Punguza Mizigo Bill proposes an increase of county revenue allocation from 35 per cent to 50 per cent. It proposes the establishment of the Ward Development Fund to fund grassroots development in the 1,450 wards. The first bill pushed for the scrapping of the Constituency Development Fund, which it proposed to be replaced with direct funding of wards. 

 For accountability, the bill proposes that the governor becomes the County Chief Accounting officer and recommends the scrapping of the deputy governor post, just like in the first bill. It further advocates the financial independence for county assemblies.

Enhancing inclusivity: To enhance inclusivity, the new bill proposes making education and healthcare free for all.

Reducing wage bill and achieving lean government: It proposes a reduction of ministries, scrapping positions of the county and regional commissioners and reducing or merging parastatals. It also proposes that commissioners work on a part-time basis and their number scaled down to five. In the former bill, the party proposed the scrapping of 290 constituencies and replace them with 47 counties as single constituencies.

 This, they argued would enable the government to reduce recurrent expenditure on political representation from Sh38.6 billion to Sh38.6 billion.

Enhancing Integrity in leadership and ending Impunity: It has retained its earlier proposals that those found guilty of stealing public funds and resources be jailed for life. And, those on trial in a felony or criminal trial be barred from seeking public office. It has also proposed that cases of corruption and theft of public resources be prosecuted within three months. It had proposed that the corruption cases be tried within one month where they are concluded within 15 days. Also, the party had proposed that no presidential amnesty should be given for suspects jailed for corruption.

Achieving gender balance in public offices:  It proposes the adherence to the law by implementing the 1/3 gender rule.

Making Elections inclusive and cheaper: Like in the last bill, the party proposes that every Kenyan, over 18 years with an ID card to become an automatically registered voter. IEBC to ensure that all Kenyans in the diaspora vote during the General Elections. Reducing the cost of running elections by adopting electronic voting for those with capability, which includes voting at home. It argues that such changes will bring down the high cost of running elections and voter registration.

Electoral Justice: It proposes severe punishment to those found guilty of committing electoral malpractices such as rigging. It also proposes that politicians found to be inciting masses to violence be punished and barred from running for offices.

Reviving economy, creating employment and wiping poverty:  The new bill seeks to have the law changed to introduce abolition of taxes and levies on Petroleum, LPG, electricity, and gas. This it says will uplift the industrial and economic growth as well as create employment opportunities. Further, it proposes that 10 per cent of national revenues be set aside for the next five years to fund the agriculture sector.

Equitable share of natural resources: For sharing of the natural resources, the new Punguza Mizigo Bill makes a new proposal that local communities where natural resources are found to be allocated 30 per cent of the revenues and contracts be made public. It also proposes enforcement of fully processing all raw materials and a ban on the exportation of Kenya’s raw materials.

Dr Ekuru Aukot Punguza Mizigo Bill Thirdway Alliance Kenya

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