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More Jubilee MPs support calls for referendum

POLITICS
By Steve Mkawale | October 2nd 2018

Bahati Mp Kimani Ngunjiri (right) with Kuresoi South Mp Joseph Tonui addressing the press in Nakuru on March 9,2018. The two leaders welcomed the move by president Uhuru Kenyatta to reach out to Nasa Leader Raila Odinga . They said it is good for peace and National unity. [Photo:Kipsang Joseph/Standard]

The number of Jubilee MPs fronting referendum is growing with Kuresoi South MP Joseph Tonui joining ruling party legislators calling for it.

The group is championing for a vote to reduce the number of elected representatives.

Tonui joins Moses Kuria (Gatundu South) Michael Muchira (Ol-Joro Orok), Subukia’s Kinuthia Gachobe, Kimani Kuria of Molo, Faith Gitau (Nyandarua Women Rep), Patrick Mariru of Laikipia West, Mr Patrick Munene (Chuka-Igamba-Ng’ombe), Mathioya’s Peter Kimari and nominated MP Maina Kamanda who have declared support for referendum.

Tonui, however, was quick to add that he does not support the vote that would create the position of an executive prime minister.

Speaking in Nakuru town, Tonui questions on whether a referendum should not be an issue because Kenyans have now felt the impact of the 2010 constitution and agree that there is a problem.

“It is now agreeable that a referendum is required to reduce the burden on Kenyans in terms of representation. The size of the government is too big and take almost half is the Sh3 trillion budget,” Tonui.

Bill to cut cost

The former school principal said he is in the process of publishing a bill that is aimed at reducing the size of elected representative and the number of counties.

“My proposal is simple and if adopted the country will reduce the cost of running both the county and national governments by more than half,” he said.

Tonui said he would be seeking to reduce the number of counties from 47 to eight and cut down the number of senators to eight.

The former Nakuru county executive committee member in charge of education said he would also be seeking the reduction of constituencies to 47 and seek each constituency to elect a woman and a man to represent them in the National Assembly in a bid to meet the two - thirds gender threshold.

Tonui further said he would be seeking to scrap the position of nominated members of parliament and county assemblies saying they do not add value in their representation.

“This move if supported by all will drastically reduce the money used to pay elected representatives and running both the county and national governments,” he said

The jubilee legislator said he was against conducting a referendum to create new positions at the national government level saying the parliamentary system of government would be too costly for the country.

“Do we really need to have a position of a prime minister who is elected by parliament? That will amount to conning voters who deserve to elect their leaders directly and not through parliamentarians who of them elected by a small number of people,” Tonui said.

Disagreements

Tonui’s sentiments seem to differ with a number of jubilee politician from the region who have opposed the calls for the referendum.

Calls for a referendum to reduce the number of elected representatives in the country, has seen a number of firebrand Jubilee party members support opposition leader and NASA Principal Raila Odinga.

Kuria, Gatundu South MP, said that the cost of upholding the 2010 constitution was too much.

“Today I am proud to note that despite the fact that we could not marshall the 1 Million signatures, the seed we planted was only dying with a view to germinating again. Today many voices and forces have sprung up to say the same thing. Reducing the number of elected positions is an idea whose time has come up,” Kuria said.

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