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More blows to Punguza Mizigo bill as five more counties reject proposal

Tuesday October 15 2019

NATION TEAM
By NATION TEAM
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Five more counties on Tuesday joined the growing list of counties that have rejected Thirdway Alliance party leader Ekuru Aukot’s Punguza Mizigo bill.

Kisumu, Kericho, Meru, Tana River and Trans Nzoia joined 16 other counties in shooting down the bill.

KERICHO

At the Kericho County Assembly, the bill was tabled by Legal Affairs Committee chairperson Edith Chepkoech but was rejected by the MCAs.

 "It is clear that the MCAs were not supporting the bill from the onset despite their initially warming up to it. It is all behind us now" said Ms Chepkoech at a press briefing.

Following the rejection, Cheboin Ward Rep Edward Kibet led seven of his colleagues in expressing their disappointment over the rejection.

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"It is unfortunate that the bill was tabled at a time when only 18 out of 47 MCAs were in the House," said Mr Kibet.

Mr Kibet said members of the public had been supportive of the bill but the MCAs failed them.

TRANS NZOIA

In Trans Nzoia, the MCAs rejected the bill on grounds that its proposals are too unrealistic and retrogressive.

The assembly termed the bill as a populist agenda saying its main proponent, Dr Auko,t seems to be pursuing a political agenda rather than a reform one.

The assembly's Justice and legal affairs committee chairman Mathew Orang'o said the bill similarly received a resounding no from majority of residents during a public participation forum on October 11.

“Majority of the members of the public felt that the bill is too unrealistic and a shot in the arm to the gains made by the country under the current constitutional dispensation," Mr Nyarango while tabling the motion said.

Sitatunga Ward Rep Daniel Kaburu faulted the bill over a proposal to scrap the position of the deputy governor saying such a move would create a constitutional crisis in the event the governor is not around.

In Kisumu, MCAs rejected the bill saying it seeks to erode gains made over the years especially on women representation in leadership.

KISUMU

Kolwa East Ward Rep Stephen Owiti specifically pointed out the proposal to reduce the number of constituencies, which he said no ‘sane’ Kenyan would support.

“This is simply a populist development and its proposals may not see the light of the day because they are not easy to implement. This is why we reject it,” said Majority Leader Kenneth Onyango.

He added that the local leaders are waiting for the report on Building Bridges Initiative where he said, adequate public participation was done to capture the views of many Kenyans.

MERU

Meanwhile, in Meru County the MCAs rejected the Punguza Mizigo bill after a roll call vote tallied 42 against 17.

The chairperson of the joint committee that comprised of the justice and legal affairs, and cohesion and devolved units committees Gacheri Muthuri presented a report that termed the bill unrealistic.

There was push and pull in the debate after an MCA cited errors in the report while a vote was disputed forcing a roll call.

Speaker Joseph Kaberia was forced to suspend the debate for 30 minutes after the MCAs raised concern over inconsistencies in the report.

They argued that some member signatures were missing from the minority and majority reports.

When the vote was cast, 42 members rejected the bill against 17 who supported it.

Ms Muthuri said most members of the public called for the rejection of the bill as they were against reduction of MPs to two per county.

"The committee finds that reduction of constituencies will lead to unfair representation in the national assembly. Use of audit reports to bar government officials from holding office goes against the right to a fair trial. Such an amendment usurps the mandate of the judiciary. Most of the amendments proposed by this bill are based on emotions," Ms Muthuri said.

TANA RIVER

In Tana River, the county assembly shot down the bill saying Dr Aukot disregarded the opinions of Kenyans before drafting the proposal.

Reporting by Vitalis Kimutai, Gerald Bwisa, Stephen Oduor, David Muchui and Rushdie Oudia