PNU digs in over Kenya boundary review

November 8, 2009 12:00 am

, JUJA, Kenya, Nov 8 – The Party of National Unity (PNU) insists that more constituencies are needed in the country to ensure proper political representation for all.

PNU Secretary General Kiraitu Murungi said on Sunday that the creation of more electoral areas in the ongoing boundary review process would ensure equity for all Kenyans including those living in populated and remote areas.

"Let us have more constituencies to reflect the strength of the vote so that our people are adequately represented and there’s justice in the distribution of the CDF (Constituency Development Funds)," he added

PNU has in the past threatened to oppose the proposed draft constitution if the Interim Independent Boundaries Commission does not base the review exercise on population density patterns.

Mr Murungi however said the Commission should harmonise the interests of all parties in the process to ensure that everyone is reading from the same script by the time Parliament reconvenes.

"By the time we will be going to the referendum, we should be singing the same song with ODM (the rival Orange Democratic Movement)…  we should be speaking the same language," he said.

He hinted that PNU was ready to find a middle ground with their rivals in the Orange Party who hold that the Commission should just balance out the population.

"This time round we want every party to be humble, we want to compromise and we want to listen to one another so that we have one document which we take to the people of this country for the referendum," he said.

Divergent views in the 2005 constitutional review process saw the country split down the middle and culminated in the violence that followed the 2007 general election.

"Kenya has the best opportunity for having a new constitution because all those things that we used to fight about have been agreed on," Mr Murungi said.

The Party of National Unity has agreed to a proposal to have the Prime Minister’s post provided in the constitution. They are also in agreement about the need to have regional governments or ‘majimbo’.

"We have agreed on devolution with three levels; that is district, provincial and national government," he said.

"We also used to disagree about the creation of a senate, but now we have agreed that we should have one to protect regional interests," the Secretary General added.

The structure of the Executive however still remains a bone of contention with the party insisting that they want a president with executive authority.

"You cannot elect a person who is going to be a ceremonial president. You cannot elect a person who goes to handover executive power to another person elected by Parliament. What we are saying is that we don’t want to have a lame duck President," he asserted.

Mr Murungi said they had adopted the Tanzanian model where the President has executive power while the Prime Minister is in charge of the day-to-day affairs of the government.

This system he said clearly defined the roles of the two principals which in turn minimised conflicts.

"We don’t want the politics of confrontation, we don’t want endless arguments which have characterised constitution making in the past and denied Kenyans a new constitution," he said.



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