Counties are rejecting Aukot's Punguza Mizigo, what does it mean?
By Jael Mboga | October 15th 2019
Garissa County Assembly has rejected the Punguza Mizigo Bill, a day after it was thrown out in Busia.
So far 18 counties have rejected it.
The Thirdway Alliance leader needs more than half of the 47 county assemblies to approve the bill.
If the 24 do not approve, his referendum bid dies.
But if Ekuru Aukot secures the 24 nods from MCAs, then the bill goes to both Senate and National Assembly for debate.
18 counties have rejected the Constitution Amendment Bill, but what does it entail?
The campaign proposes to amend the Constitution of Kenya 2010 under the initiative as envisioned in Article 257.
As outlined on the party's website, Aukot says reasons for the amendment push include using the 47 counties as single constituency unit for Parliamentary elections to the Senate and National Assembly.
He has also called for the reduction of the cost of running Parliament from the current Sh36.8 billion to Sh5 billion per year. This saves taxpayers Sh31.8 billion.
Perhaps the most popular element of the Punguza Mizigo campaign is its bid to address over-representation.
It wants to reduce the number of MPs from the current 416 to 147 - making the load lighter, hence the term Punguza Mizigo.
In September, MPs backed down on proposals that would have given them a blank cheque in determining their pay and allowances.
The MPs deleted two clauses that would have allowed the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) to bypass the Salaries and Remuneration commission (SRC) in determining their remuneration, travel and accommodation perks.
This followed a memorandum from President Uhuru Kenyatta to Parliament, in which he asked the House to re-consider the provisions.
A report of the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs committee recommended the deletion of the proposals.
A Kenyan today is represented by an MCA, MP, Woman Representative, Senator, Governor and President. This is for when they are in the urban centre. They have a different set of leaders representing their needs in the rural areas. The five have not included the nominated MCA, nominated MP, nominated Senator where applicable, Deputy Governor and the Deputy President.
Apparently, Aukot wants the position of Deputy Governor abolished.
The Governor will nominate from among the duly vetted and appointed County Executive Officers, one of them to be his/her Principal Assistant for purposes of administration.
In the event of the position of governor falling vacant, the governor will be elected in a by-election.
Even as Aukot calls for the reduction of lawmakers' salaries, other leaders have come out to echo his sentiments.
North Imenti MP Rahim Dawood on September 19 said legislators should not be paid for serving Kenyans.
He added that such would reduce the burgeoning wage bill and help the country tackle its debt. Dawood said he is ready to forgo his salary.
Gender equality concerns
Aukot's bill aims to end gender inequality by ensuring Kenyans elect one man and one woman from each county into the National Assembly.
He wants nominations abolished.
The bill calls for the elevation of the Senate to be an upper house with veto powers and increase counties' revenue share to 35 per cent from the current 15 per cent.
The division of revenue has been a thorn in the flesh of the Council of Governors.
At the beginning of the current financial year, the revenue stalemate pitting the national government against the counties deepened after President Uhuru Kenyatta declared that governors would have to live with the Sh316 billion the National Assembly gave them.
Governors marched to the Supreme Court to present a petition to unlock the impasse on the Division of Revenue Bill 2019.
The National Assembly wanted counties allocated Sh310 billion while the Senate insisted on Sh335 billion.
Further, Aukot proposes that the ward be used as the primary unit of development, replacing CDF.
Punguza Mizigo Bill states that the President will serve for a one seven-year term.
To stop the wastage of public funds and cap salaries of elected leaders, the President will be paid Sh500,000.
Currently the President gets a basic salary of Sh1.4 million. The figure goes higher based on the allowances he is also entitled to.
The proposed salary for an MP is Sh300,000.
All elected leaders will not be paid any other allowances. The Salaries and Remuneration Commission will determine other elected leaders' pay.
To fight corruption, the proposal suggests a life sentence for culprits convicted of corruption and theft of public funds. No presidential pardon and amnesty will be applicable for these cases.
Corruption and theft of public resources cases would be tried within 30 days and all appeals to be exhaustively concluded within 15 days.
This would be timely seeing as the 'big fish' that are arrested in such cases, where Kenyans lose billions of shillings, are mostly released on bond as the cases drag in court.
Some of the latest scandals are the NYS and the Kimwarer and Arror dam.
Every Kenyan at the age of 18 and acquires a national Identity card shall be deemed as a registered voter for purposes of elections and referenda. This will save Kenyans and IEBC billions of shillings spent on voter registration.
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