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MPs plan to block controversial report on new constituencies

BUSINESS
By | January 11th 2012
By | January 11th 2012
BUSINESS

By Wainaina Ndung’u

MPs opposed to the report on new constituencies are plotting to push for its rejection.

Mathira MP Ephraim Maina, who chairs the caucus for Central Kenya MPs, on Tuesday said he would soon convene a meeting to discuss the matter.

Other MPs opposed to the report include Nderitu Mureithi (Laikipia West), Elias Mbau (Maragua), Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa), Muturi Mwangi Kiharu, Nemesyus Warugongo (Kieni) and Erastus Mureithi (Ol Kalou).

Gichugu MP Martha Karua said she was yet to study the report to make an informed comment.

Maina said the meeting to be attended by leaders from other regions will be held in Nairobi next week.

The focus of the meeting will be to chart the way forward on how to oppose the use of the report, which he said had given the region a raw deal.

Census data

"The Ligale Commission relied on population census data disowned by the Government. A budgetary allocation to rectify the census anomaly has been lying idle for over a year and yet the IEBC wants us to swallow a report based on it," said Maina, who has sponsored a High Court case to have the Ligale Report declared unconstitutional.

He accused the Government of failure to conduct a fresh census in the contentious areas, which include Turkana, Wajir and Mandera counties, and urged it to call for a speedy resolution of the court dispute.

"Areas that should have been considered under this criteria include Mombasa, Nakuru and Kisumu," said Maina.

Central Province was only allocated five new constituencies, Rift Valley 27, Nyanza 10 and Nairobi and Western nine each. Eastern and North got five. He said the reason given by the Ligale Commission for failing to factor in the city criteria was politically mischievous

"The Ligale Report raised more questions than answers and that was unfortunate. They sought to write their final report in only one and half weeks. It was a ridiculous rush and a shame and we can only hope the IEBC will do a better job," added Muriithi.

He said over reliance on the Ligale Report would be counterproductive because it might provoke tensions and face opposition when an increasingly assertive Parliament is asked to approve new boundaries.

Wish of majority

Mureithi said residents in the area had already started the process of collecting 1,000 signatures that will be used to petition the IEBC to rescind the decision.

Mbau said Murang’a leaders would push to ensure creation of an additional constituency.

"Kiharu alone has a bigger population than Mathioya and Kangema combined. We must fight to ensure the wish of the majority is respected," said Mbau.

But Imenti Central’s Gitobu Imanyara and Subukia’s Nelson Gaichuhie welcomed the report and were preparing to present views that would streamline the boundaries.

"The Ligale Report was largely okay...Meru got two constituencies although we would not have minded an extra seat," said Imanyara.

"There is, however, some need for realignment of boundaries especially in Imenti area because of historical reasons," added Imanyara.

Gaichuhie said he planned to hold meetings in his constituency to capture people’s views on the boundaries before drawing up a memorandum for presentation to the IEBC.

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