Report spells out size of county assemblies

Monday January 9 2012

By BERNARD NAMUNANE [email protected]

The issue of size of county assemblies started to emerge on Monday as the team tasked with the creation of electoral boundaries released its initial report on new constituencies and civic wards.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission largely sanctioned the recommendations of a task force on devolution which will make Nairobi the largest county assembly if their proposals are passed by MPs.

The country will have a total of 1,450 county assembly wards, down from the current 3,465 civic seats including the nominated ones.
Constituencies will have between three to five wards under the devolved government to ensure that county assemblies are effective in their roles.

This was noted by IEBC chairman Ahmed Isaack Hassan as he presented the report during the occasion attended by Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi and Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi.

Just like in the creation of new constituencies, the IEBC agreed on 26,628 as the average population in each constituency which can only be varied by factors such as location of the ward (urban or rural), infrastructure and landscape.

The Constitution allows the IEBC to vary the population quota by 40 per cent in urban and sparsely populated areas and 30 per cent more or less in other regions.

In the report, the IEBC submits that the Constitution created the 47 counties across the country without taking into consideration the population distribution in those areas.

Consequently, they settled on an approach that solves the inequalities and imbalances that are likely to emerge once the devolution system is fully implemented.

Devolved unit

The task force led by Moi University lecturer Mutakha Kangu had proposed to reduce the number of county representatives from 3,465 to about 2000, including those who will be nominated. They had two options - either 1,625 or 1,450.

County governments will be led by a governor who will be directly elected by voters in each devolved unit.