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Voter sues Kirinyaga assembly after Punguza Mizigo bill flops

Wednesday September 18 2019

Kirinyaga voter Kenda Muriuki

Voter Kenda Muriuki at the Milimani High Court in Nairobi on September 18, 2019 after filling an application for the Kirinyaga assembly to reintroduce the Punguza Mizigo Referendum (Constitution Amendment Bill) for debate and voting. PHOTO | GEORGE MUNENE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

GEORGE MUNENE
By GEORGE MUNENE
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A voter has sued the Kirinyaga assembly seeking to have it compelled to reintroduce the Punguza Mizigo Referendum (Constitution Amendment Bill) for debate and voting.

In the case filed at the Milimani High Court in Nairobi on Wednesday, Mr Kenda Muriuki also wants quashed the September10 decision by acting Speaker Joel Wagura, that saw the bill withdrawn from the House before MCAs discussed it.

Mr Muriuki urged Justice John Mativo to certify the matter as urgent and to determine it as soon as possible.

He listed the Speaker as the second respondent.

RIGHTS

Through lawyer Eunice Nganga, the voter argued that the respondents breached the constitutional process and timeline by failing to have the bill debated.

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In his sworn affidavit, Mr Muriuki further told the court that the respondents breached his constitutional rights and those of other Kirinyaga residents.

The petitioner further informed the judge  that he will suffer irreparable harm should the court not intervene.

Mr Muriuki also argued that the bill was submitted to the Assembly on July 22 for debate within three months but that this was not done.

He believes that had it been taken through the legal process, it would sailed through.

The voter also said he and other residents were denied the chance to air their views on the bill since the assembly did not ensure public participation took place.

"Residents were denied a chance to give their views while their MCAs did not discuss the bill. This is total violation of the Constitution," he said.

The judge will give directions on the matter on Thursday.

WHAT HAPPENED

Tempers flared in the assembly when the Speaker withdrew the bill as nobody seconded the motion to discuss it.

Majority leader Kamau Murango moved the motion during a special sitting and called upon Murinduko Ward Representative Evan Ndege to second it but he declined.

The Speaker withdrew the bill without giving other members a chance to second it.

Tension mounted in the house as a group of members who supported the bill stood in protest and alleged sabotage and a plot to curtail the bill's progress before debate and voting.

Tebere MCA Gudson Muchina and his Njukiini counterpart Fredrick Bundi said the assembly failed residents who had eagerly awaited the bill's endorsement.

"Majority of the residents wanted the motion passed. They are in favour of the bill but now they are disillusioned," said Mr Muchina.

WAIGURU'S REACTION

Immediately after the motion failed to kick off, Governor Anne Waiguru welcomed the move saying there was bias against women and that the bill was not good for Kenyans.

"The bill has flopped. I'm a very happy leader," the governor said, and urged other assemblies to reject it.

She said she will continue throwing her weight behind the Building Bridges Initiative, the brainchild of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga following their handshake on March 9, 2018.

Thirdway Alliance party leader Ekuru Aukot, the sponsor of the Punguza Mizigo bill, has been visiting assemblies to secure support for the bill.