Elections 2017

IEBC: Thirdway Alliance Bill backed by 1 million voters, headed to counties

Thirdway Alliance leader Ekuru Aukot when he delivered the 1.4 million signatures to IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati. IEBC has said that the Bill is headed to County Assemblies for debate. [File, Standard]

A Constitutional Amendment Bill fronted by the Thirdway Alliance Kenya Party has met the required threshold for consideration, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has said.

In a statement released to newsrooms on Thursday evening, the IEBC has confirmed receiving and verifying that the Bill has garnered over 1 million support of registered voters.

“The Commission has since verified that the initiative has been supported by 1,222,541 registered voters. This is, therefore, to notify the public and stakeholders that the initiative has met the requisite threshold as required by the said Article 257 (A) of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010,” reads a statement from the IEBC.

The electoral commission has also said that in adherence to the law, it will submit the draft Bill to the 47 County Assemblies for consideration within three months from the date of its submission.

It further notes that the Speakers of the county assemblies will then submit the decisions to the Speakers of the National Assembly and the Senate, as stipulated by the law.

The draft Bill dubbed Punguza Mizigo Initiative seeks to scale down the number of counties to reduce the country’s wage bill.

“The Punguza Mizigo proposed constitutional amendments, will save Kenyans over Sh3.78 trillion which is higher than the current national annual budget. With this money, we will be able to meet the demands of nurses, teachers and doctors and even create jobs for our growing youth population,” read a statement from the ThirdWay Alliance, released in April 11, 2019.

It advocates for the reduction of the number of MPs from the current 416 to 147, caps monthly salaries of elected leaders to a maximum pay of Sh500,000 for the president and Sh300,000 for MPs, as well as increasing counties' share of national revenue from 15 per cent to at least 35 per cent.

On July 9, 2019, Thirdway Alliance party leader Dr Ekuru Aukot exuded confidence in the support of the Bill but faulted the slow pace of the IEBC to verify the signatures.

“We had our team during the entire exercise and they have confirmed to us that we met the threshold. We don’t understand why there is a delay,” said Aukot.

However, the Bill proposes retention of the wards at 1,450. Its proponents believe that wards have taken pivotal roles in spearheading development in the grassroots.

Should the Bill sail through in 24 counties, it will be sent to the Senate and the National Assembly where it will  invoke a referendum after being passed by the majority.