NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 15 – County Assemblies are racing against time to debate the Punguza Mizigo Bill sponsored by Thirdway Alliance Party Leader Ekuru Aukot ahead of the deadline on Friday even as its seems highly unlikely the Bill will get the endorsement of the requisite 24 counties needed for it to move to the next step.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) transmitted the Bill to county assemblies on July 18 after it verified over 1.2 million signatures of registered voters, having attained the constitutional threshold of 1 million signatures, giving the devolved legislative bodies three months to consider the Bill.
Already, 14 devolved units have dismissed the initiative that Aukot said would help address the country’s ballooning wage bill among a raft of other proposals. Meru and Kisumu county assemblies are due to debate the Bill on Tuesday.
The Bill has only been endorsed in Uasin Gishu County with 32 county assemblies yet to debate the referendum proposal.
Despite numerous setbacks from the fourteen counties, Thirdway Alliance Party Secretary General Fred Okango has exuded confidence that the remaining thirty-two counties will see reason to embrace the initiative.
“We cannot say that because we are remaining with three days then the bill has failed. We will be lying because that is not what the constitution says. We must give the County Assemblies their constitutional timeline to deliver their verdict,” Okango told Capital FM News.
“If anything, we have over 30 counties to go, why would one want to speculate on what will happen or what will not happen. Let us wait until the last day.”
County Assemblies Forum (CAF) last week dealt Aukot a major blow after it advised county assemblies to halt further debate on the Bill.
CAF Chairperson Ndegwa Wahome stated that the forum resolved to shoot down the Bill citing that it did not undergo public participation and would create confusion to an already orderly Constitution.
“We are in the agreement that the Punguza Mizigo Bill has several shortcomings and the main one is that there was no public participation and no amendment can be occasioned on such an amendment Bill. We are therefore urging the rest of the counties that have not debated on this Bill to reject it because we have done our due diligence and the Bill is not protecting our people,” Wahome said.
CAF Secretary General Kipkirui Chepkwony added that the Bill is not in any way going to benefit ordinary citizens as it has not clearly outlined how devolution will be strengthened.
“The public has openly expressed fears over the bill for particularly proposing to take away the gains so far made to achieve equal gender representation by scrapping off nominated seats and also for not giving viable ways of strengthening devolution,” Chepkwony said.
Aukot has time and again blamed a section of senior political leaders over the rejection of his Bill alleging that they have used their positions to threaten and intimidate MCAs.
Aukot on September 12 listed nine politicians among them Orange Democratice Movement party leader Raila Odinga, Wiper Democratic Movement’s Kalonzo Musyoka, and Kirinyaga Governor Anne Mumbi (Waiguru) who he accused of hijacking the ongoing debates for consideration of the Bill in county assemblies by telling “blatant lies about the Bill.”
Others Aukot accused of misleading the public on the Bill the Independent Electoral and Boundaries forwarded to county assemblies for consideration in June are; Senator Moses Wetangula and National Assembly lawmakers Sabina Chege, Otiende Amolo, Owen Baya, and Gladys Wanga.