Mandera residents have urged MCAs to reject the Punguza Mizigo bill sponsored by Thirdway Alliance party leader Ekuru Aukot.
In a public participation meeting on Friday, locals argued that the bill if passed will derail gains of devolution taking them back to the dark days of marginalisation.
“We are now enjoying what we lacked in more than 50 years of independence. In case we pass this bill, we risk sliding back to marginalisation,” warned Mr Mohamed Maalim Edin during a public meeting yesterday.
Mr Edin took issues with a proposal to reduce the number of constituencies. Dr Ekuru Aukot, while responding to concerns raised, asked locals to agree with his bill, noting it was about bringing resources to the grassroots.
“Reducing parliamentary representation from 416 to 147 is not attainable because we believe representation is equal to resources and the six constituencies in Mandera are giving us enough,” he said.
He further said reduction of constituencies will be a recipe for tribal clashes mostly among pastoral communities.
“The six constituencies in Mandera have brought harmony and peace and any changes will cause tribal clashes and same puts us at risk of losing Ksh600 million annually in form of development funds,” said Mr Edin.
Mr Edin also disputed the proposal in the Punguza Mizigo bill suggesting a seven year one term of president.
“Having one long term for a president will not add any value in Kenya because someone will choose to become a dictator,” he said.
Mr Haji Kulane Alio said the bill’s suggestion to abolish deputy governor’s position was not making sense.
“We should also scrap off the deputy president position if we do away with the deputy governor’s position because they are the same,” he said.
Ms Fatuma Ibrahim Hassan while urging the MCAs to reject the bill said Mandera needed more than reducing anything.
“If it is about reduction or abolishing anything then let it be done elsewhere in the country but not here in Mandera. We need more than we have at the moment,” she said.
Ms Alphon Dahir said Mandera has just started crawling after many years of marginalization and any changes will adversely affect the development being enjoyed at the moment.
WE NEED MORE
“There is nothing to reduce and if anything then we should be given three more constituencies to have atleast nine in Mandera County,” she said.
Dr Ekuru Aukot while responding to raised concerns and in efforts to persuade locals agree with his bill said Punguza Mizigo was about more resources to the grassroots.
“We want to strengthen the county assemblies and have more resources at the ward where the common mwananchi can easily access it unlike waiting for everything from Nairobi,” he said.
He said over-representation could not bring development to Mandera or any other part of the country as he sought to have locals accept reduction of constituencies.
“It is only resources that bring development and Punguza Mizigo seeks to use wards to bring development in Mandera,” he said.
Citing Mandera as an example, Dr Aukot said the six constituencies were only giving Mandera Sh600 million every financial year through constituency development fund but the 30 wards will bring home atleast Ksh3 billion if the bill is passed.
He suggested that each ward in the country will be getting Sh100 million every year.
He urged resident of Mandera to pass the bill so that corruption can be fought the hard way.
Dr Aukot defended his one term presidency of seven years arguing that it will end political skirmishes witnessed in Kenya every time a presidential candidate is seeking his or her second term in office.
“We need to end political skirmishes always witnessed when people are seeking second term in office that can only be done by having a one term of seven years,” he said.
He argued that there were other laws to deal with the office bearer in case of any offence.
Dr Aukot used the platform to dismiss claims that he is facing hurdles in selling his bill in central Kenya region.
“There is no county that has rejected this bill and what happened in Kirinyaga and Muranga was about ignoring the law as stipulated in article 257,” he said.
He said the two counties due to influence from outside, overstepped some stages in dealing with the bill.
LORDS OF IMPUNITY
“Kirinyaga, Muranga, Siaya and Homabay counties never followed law in dealing with this bill and we are demanding that the law be followed in this process,” he said.
According to Dr Aukot, those scuttling the process are lords of impunity fearing being held responsible.
He said he has evidence that in Kirinyaga, MCAs were paid Sh250,000 each to reject the bill and that the same happened in Muranga.
Dr Aukot has had a nasty relation with Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru resulting from unprocedural rejection of his bill.