Now PSC trashes counties

January 22, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIVASHA, Kenya, Jan 22 – The Parliamentary Select Committee on the constitution (PSC) on Friday settled for the creation of 18 regions in the country.

The regions that will replace provinces will act as the lowest level of devolution and will be demarcated by the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission (IIBRC).

The team further adopted a two-chamber Parliament with a senate made of 54 members and a lower house of 356 legislators. Each region is to be represented by three elected Senators and the team will meet four times annually to represent the interests of the regions and review the work of the legislator but will not make any laws.

The IIBRC will create 290 constituencies. 12 members will be nominated by the political parties. A proposal by the Committee of Experts to create 47 counties was trashed by the PSC.

The PSC had earlier shown signs that it was having a change of heart after it proposed an increase to the number of parliamentary seats to 359, up from the 325 suggested earlier at the on-going retreat in Naivasha.

Members had voted on Friday morning to adopt 300 constituencies and 59 nominated MPs, but this was changed hours later in the interest of devolution.

Professor Peter Aduol and Johnstone Sakaja, who had been called to help resolve a deadlock over representation, reportedly argued that the country’s 40 million people would adequately be represented in Parliament if a uniform figure was arrived at in creating constituencies.

Experts have recommended 133,000 as the minimum population for each constituency.

Currently, the minimum number of constituencies is 188 while the maximum is 210. The MPs also debated on the most appropriate formula for differentiating between rural, urban and sparsely populated areas.

Debate on devolution was divided with members debating between a resource-based devolution floated by PNU and Majimbo driven being spearheaded by ODM.

The team broke for the weekend on Friday evening and was scheduled to resume the deliberations on Monday morning.


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