SECTIONS

Kuria East MP seeks to table Bill to increase number of counties to 52

Kuria East MP Marwa Kitayama. [Caleb Kingwara, Standard]

A Member of Parliament affiliated with President William Ruto’s UDA is seeking to increase the number of counties from 47 to 52.

Kuria East MP Marwa Kitayama intends to table a Bill to amend the Constitution to increase the devolved units. The second-term legislator’s move has attracted the support of several MPs who feel their regions are not well served.

Kitayama has written a notice to National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula to table a Bill to increase the number of devolved regions.

The Bill seeks to create Kuria county carved from Migori county, Teso carved from Busia county, East Pokot county hived off from Baringo and West Pokot counties while Mount Elgon county carved from Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties and Mwingi carved from Kitui county.

The MP said so far he has collected 60 signatures in support of the proposal. “Parliament cannot by itself collect views of the people and establish county boundaries. However, the constitution has empowered the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) with the powers of delimitation,” said Kitayama.

Clause two of the Bill proposes the increase of women as well as senators elected to represent the counties in the National Assembly from 47 to 52. Kitayama said the Constitution established 47 counties and there is no scientific basis for this number as it was merely based on the districts formed in 1992.

The number, he says, did not take into account that other districts were gazetted in subsequent years by the government for better services.

Nyatike MP Tom Odege said Kitayama’s Bill was timely and it was time for Parliament to look at all regions that deserved to get new counties, including Marsabit and Homa Bay which need to be split into two.

“We have seen the residents of Marsabit engaging in an ethnic conflict which I believe can be sorted out if we split the county and create Moyale county. We also need a county for the Suba community in Homa Bay county besides looking at other regions that deserve new counties,” he said.

Endebess MP Robert Pukose expressed optimism that the creation of Mount Elgon county, which will be hived off from Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties, will enable residents to be served under an area that takes care of their interests.

Trans Nzoia Senator Allan Chesang said Kitayama should amend the Bill to have Mount Elgon moved to Trans Nzoia from Bungoma, saying it might not be viable to have the area as a stand-alone county.

“Instead of having Mount Elgon county, the region should be moved from Bungoma to Trans Nzoia county since the residents have much in common with their brothers in Rift Valley.”

Tiaty MP William Kamket said the bill will allow the people of East Pokot to be in charge of their affairs. He promised to lobby the Senate and National Assembly to support it.

Mount Elgon MP Fred Kapondi said all MPs of goodwill should support the bill that intends to empower marginalised communities.