MPs gang up to reject constituencies bid

November 11, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 11 – Members of Parliament from Central and Eastern Kenya have now joined their counterparts from Coast Province in rejecting recommendations by the Interim Independent Boundaries Commission on the creation of 80 additional constituencies.

They claim the two regions got fewer constituencies than was recommended in an earlier deal which was reached in Naivasha during formulation of the new Constitution. The legislators have vowed to move to court if the Commission led by Chairman Andrew Ligale gazettes the new boundaries.

They have accused the commission of making the boundaries without adhering to the formula recommended by the new Constitution on equal representation considering population sizes and a variance of geographical size.

“Besides (using) the court of law this matter can lead Kenyans to invent other means to ensure that these decisions (new boundaries) are not implemented,” said Central Kenya Parliamentary Group Chairman Ephraim Maina.

Mwingi South David Musila added: “Moving to court is one option. Now we are speaking out as another option. We can also move a Motion in Parliament rejecting their work.”

According to the report, Central province is set to be allocated four constituencies up from 29 to make a total of 33 constituencies while Eastern will get seven to make its total 43 constituencies from the current 36.

It is reported that the Commission has used the size of provinces in making the new boundaries as opposed to giving population precedence. Mr Musila said it was wrong for the Commission to have relied on provincial boundaries in crafting the new constituencies.

“The commission is acting contrary to the Constitution because they should not base the alienation of boundaries on provinces since they are not recognised by the law,” said Mr Musila.

Reports indicate that IIBRC Chairman Andrew Ligale is facing revolt from a section of his commissioners over the boundaries plan. The commissioners are demanding professionalism in the setting of boundaries.

“We demand that the commission stops working along these lines and use the set criteria in the Constitution,” said Kangundo MP Johnson Muthama.

The former Constitution had empowered the commission to gazette the new boundaries. However the new Constitution gives this power to the yet to be created Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

The MPs are furious that the IIBRC has trashed the deal struck by lawmakers at the Naivasha PSC retreat on Constitution review on the sharing out of the additional 80 constituencies, which were agreed upon as part of reforms to address skewed representation.

“This matter is so weighty than just going to court,” said Mr Maina.

Speaking elsewhere Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni and his Ol-Kalou counterpart Erastus Mureithi alleged political schemes in the report to deny some region more constituencies.

Mr Kioni maintained that he would be in the forefront of mobilising leaders from the region in rejecting the report by the commission through the court arguing that the chairman should have in the first place stepped aside when the new Constitution came into force.

Mr Mureithi claimed that the report was influenced by senior politicians who want to gain a political mileage in the run-up to 2012 general elections.

He regretted that the recommendations given by the people from Central region were that at least 15 constituencies be created and yet the commission did not adhere to them.

On Wednesday MPs from Coast also threatened to go to court over the matter.


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