Jubilee MPs want 210 constituencies, 18 counties

February 15, 2016 5:40 pm
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"We will maintain what we used to have in the old Constitution because the current one has proved to be expensive and no longer tenable," Kamama said/FILE
“We will maintain what we used to have in the old Constitution because the current one has proved to be expensive and no longer tenable,” Kamama said/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 15 – The Boresha Katiba Initiative Bill which proposes to reduce the number of constituencies from 290 back to 210 and the number of the counties to 18 from the current 47 will be submitted to Parliament next month.

The Jubilee initiative led by Tiaty MP Asman Kamama expects meet stakeholders in the next two weeks before finalising their draft bill.

“We will maintain what we used to have in the old Constitution because the current one has proved to be expensive and no longer tenable,” Kamama said.

The MP who also chairs the Administration and National Security Committee of the National Assembly said: “If you go to the UK they have only four counties – Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Britain as it is; and that is a huge, huge economy with only four counties. For our own economy with an expenditure of Sh2.3 trillion, then we spend it all on 47 counties, we must agree that this is not acceptable.”

The initiative also proposes that the retirement age for judges go back to 74 and not 70 and that all Supreme Court Judge to serve a maximum of seven years.

Jubilee Coalition MPs Humphrey Njuguna and Kabando wa Kabando also want the Cabinet Secretaries to be appointed from among parliamentarians and not the private sector.

“If you look at what has been happening with the recent appointments in the Cabinet as such Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery, Energy CS Charles Keter, Devolution CS Mwangi Kiunjuri and Mining CS Dan Kazungu; you can see there is a political consciousness, sensitivity, synergy and harmony between the CS and the department and the political class; so instead of that difficult situation of always seeking to remedy, because things are unyielding, let us blend and have a salad of the Executive and Parliament, it will be the best political menu,” Kabando stated.

The Constitution Amendment Bill also calls for the scrapping of the two-thirds gender rule to allow for competitive politics and also the reduction of the number of constitutional commissions.

“The proposed clause concurs with what we have stated before about reducing the affirmative action down from 20 years to 10 years, you can see we have created a remedy inside; where we are saying, 2017 ready yourselves and then we have another five years, which is a very long time in a political generation. It is achievable and realistic we want to put pressure of competition in politics as is in business and academia,” he said.

The constitutional amendment drive also proposes the death penalty for convicted perpetrators of economic crimes and drug smugglers.

The Jubilee initiative is seen as a move to counter the Okoa Kenya referendum drive sponsored by the Opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) and civil society groups.

The Kamama team wants an all-inclusive and bipartisan select committee established to go around the country to collect Kenyans’ views on the measures to be instituted to correct 20 percent of the Constitution that is deemed “unsuitable.”

Among their proposals is to have CDF allocations increased from the current 2.5 percent to 5 percent of total national revenue and money to the counties increased from a minimum of 15 percent to a minimum of 46 percent.

The Jubilee Coalition MPs, in their raft of proposals which they argue will not necessitate a referendum to effect, want a Ward Development Fund created and a provision made to have at least 17 percent of the total county revenue set aside for the fund to be run by MCAs, as opposed to CORD’s five percent. In their proposal, the number of commissioners in all constitutional commissions should be reduced to five, as opposed to CORD’s three.

Sharing of natural resources at the community level should be increased to seven per cent and at County government to 18 per cent, according to Boresha Katiba.

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