Maathai wants Kenya constituencies scrapped

November 4, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 4 – Nobel Laureate Professor Wangari Maathai now wants all constituencies in Kenya scrapped as a way eliminating tribal politics in the country.

Prof Maathai made the recommendations in Nyeri on Wednesday during her presentation to the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission.

“The role of MPs should be national and their constituency should be only one: Kenya. They should cater for the wellbeing of the country by creating laws that promote national integration to ensure that resources are used responsibly,” said the world renowned peacemaker.

She has also proposed that the number of parliamentarians be limited to 100 with electoral campaigns being along party lines such that the party with the most number of MPs forms the government and produces a Prime Minister.

“This will make every vote count and parties will work hard to ensure that they get as many votes as they can from every part of the country.  Parties will be supported on the basis of their agendas, not tribal affiliation,” she said.  

She further suggested that constituency boundaries be used to serve as administrative boundaries for the devolved government.

The environmentalist said the running of constituencies, wards and locations will then be left to the devolved government, which should create boundaries, guided by their capacities and resources.

Prof Maathai has also proposed that the President be delinked from being an MP, saying he should only be a candidate sponsored by a political party. She also said presidential powers should be devolved.

“He should get 50 percent plus one vote to be declared a winner. The requirement for a certain percentage of votes per province has forced Presidential candidates to manipulate tribes and influence the votes, and thereby turn into warlords. At every election they mobilise their tribesmen to attack those who are perceived not to support them,” she claimed.

She further called on the boundaries commission to recommend that voters for the President and MPs not to be constrained to voting in particular a constituency, location or ward boundaries.

She said: “It should only happen at devolved government level. They should be able to use a national identity card and a voting card and they should be able to vote from anywhere. It will eliminate movement of voters who try to vote twice, it will also eliminate the need to do gerrymandering of constituencies.”

She also requested the committee to ensure that boundaries will be determined by the amount of revenue the local government will collect in form of taxes.


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