Kenyans want districts retained

May 20, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 20 – Kenyans want the over 260 districts created by President Mwai Kibaki and the Moi regime legalised and retained, according to findings of the Interim Independent Boundary Review Commission (IIBRC).

Commission Chairman Andrew Ligale said on Thursday that members of the public who appeared before his team during the just concluded nationwide open forums backed the districts for bringing services closer to them.

“We had pleas asking us to ensure that we recognise the districts legally and if possible add more,” Mr Ligale told reporters in his brief on the 100 days tour that took place between February and May this year.

“Some were even suggesting that new divisions and locations should be added,” he said.

The law only recognises 47 districts although the units now stand at over 260.

The new units were created by the two regimes in what was widely seen as political rewards during campaign periods.

The High court in Kisii last year ruled that the new districts were illegal since the Constitution empowers Parliament to enact new administrative units.

The IIBRC was created last year to advise on the delimitation of administrative and constituency boundaries following a conclusion by the Kriegler commission that the country is unequally represented.

Mr Ligale stated that: “Kenyans and political leaders alike were unanimous in demanding more constituencies and administrative units.”

In suggesting the viable boundaries that will ensure fairness in representation, the IIBRC is supposed to adhere to the equality of vote but with deviations of size of the regions and basic services like communication and government services.

The team encountered a hitch early in their work when the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution Review set the maximum number of constituencies to 290, which was adopted in the proposed Constitution.

The IIBRC rejected a request by the PSC to appear before it to offer their input on the number of constituencies.

Mr Ligale however said should the new Constitution pass, his team would tailor their recommendations to the cap.

“We shall be able to put to them (MPs) our estimation of how a just country should look like putting into consideration the views of Kenyans. We will then weigh this against the cap of 290,” he said.

Mr Ligale said his team plans to release its draft report in October for public scrutiny and response ,before submitting the final outcome in March next year.


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