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Nairobi county keen on getting public's view on Punguza Bill

Thursday September 12 2019

Nairobi County Assembly during a special session

Nairobi County Assembly during a past session. The Punguza Migizo Constitutional Amendment Bill is set for public participation in Nairobi County even as MCAs differ on whether to reject or approve it. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

COLLINS OMULO
By COLLINS OMULO
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The Punguza Migizo Constitutional Amendment Bill is set for public participation in Nairobi County even as MCAs differ on whether to reject or approve it.

This comes after the acting County Assembly Speaker Chege Mwaura directed that the Bill be taken to residents to get their views on it besides members being given a chance to consult with the residents.

Mr Mwaura said the Justice and Legal Affairs committee will be tasked with the collection of residents' views before tabling back a report before the House before the assembly proceeds to approve or reject the Ekuru Aukot, Thirdway Alliance party Bill.

DUE DILIGENCE

"We wanted a different case for Nairobi where the bill will be passed based on the voters' views as we don't want just to reject or pass the Bill like in some other counties," said Mr Mwaura Tuesday.

"We want to hear what Nairobi residents have to say on the Bill. As elected members representing them, it is prudent to also get their input. Thereafter, the House business committee will allocate time and date [when] the Bill will be debated on the floor," he added.

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However, the Ngara Ward MCA did not give any timelines on when the public participation is planned to start and when it is scheduled to end.

In July, the Bill was deliberated on by the MCAs with a resolution that a notice of motion be introduced in the assembly by the majority leader.

But the bid by Mr Aukot to popularise the initiative at the assembly in July got a jolt after MCAs aligned to ODM boycotted the session.

This was after both sides of the House took a different view on the Bill with ODM party members vowing to knock down the Bill while their Jubilee counterparts being open to it.

PARTY LOYALTY

At the time, Mority Whip Peter Imwatok made it clear that their party’s position on the Bill is clear and that is the party is against the initiative and so by attending the session they would be going against their party’s position. 

The hard stance has not changed with Minority Leader Elias Otieno and Mr Imwatok maintaining their earlier stance, terming the initiative "just a collection of signatures and not consultations from Kenyans".

"As opposition, we stand from where we left before recess that our party has already taken a position and that is Punguza Mizigo is not good for Kenyans," said Mr Otieno.

HARD STANCES

On his part, Mr Imwatok accused Aukot of being sponsored by Deputy President William Ruto to serve his individual interests unlike the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) which, according to him, is a popular initiative.

"This is politics and if he plays his we are also going to play ours. At the end of the day the Punguza Bill is not a public driven initiative but individual," said the Makongeni Ward MCA.

The stance taken by ODM MCAs is in contrast with their counterparts from the Jubilee Party, majority of whom are in support of the Bill.

Dandora III Ward Rep Charles Thuo, a Jubilee MCA, said he will support the Bill and the party has given him the mandate to rally the rest of the party members to support the initiative.

"I have been selected by the party to oversee the Bill and also rally my friends from the opposition into accepting the Bill," said Mr Thuo.

However, his Majority Leader Abdi Guyo said that people should not confuse individual views as the party's stand.

"The Jubilee MCAs are giving their personal; views and not the stand of the party on the Bill," said Mr Guyo.

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