North Rift county assemblies have vowed to endorse the Third Way Alliance Party leader Ekuru Aukot's Punguza Mizigo Bill.
The ward reps from Baringo, Uasin-Gishu, Nandi, West-Pokot and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties on Monday said that the County Assemblies’ Forum will support the Bill and see if they can make some amendments on it.
“Kenyans have suffered for a long time because the Constitution is too harsh on them. Political positions like the Senate and woman representation are a duplication of responsibilities and needs to be scrapped to lessen the burden to wananchi,” said Silale Ward (Baringo) Rep Nelson Lotela.
Nominated MCA in Baringo County Francis Kibai also noted that the creation of the ward fund would make the locals enjoy the fruits of devolution.
“The Bill seeks to create a ward development fund, this will be a big score to the common man and we are fully behind it,” said Mr Kibai.
Uasin-Gishu County Assembly Speaker David Kiplagat said Rift Valley county assemblies will soon meet to state their position on the Punguza Mizigo Bill.
“But from the onset, this Bill seems a good thing,” said Mr Kiplagat. He however took issue with some clauses in the Bill which he noted needed amendments.
Nandi County MCAs led by Assembly Education Committee Chairman Emmanuel Mengich (Lessos Ward) and Osborne Komen (Terik Ward) also threw their weight behind the referendum drive which will see the number of MPs reduced.
Ms Cynthia Muge (Kilibwoni) and Ms Theresa Maiyo (nominated) said Kenyans are suffering because of huge wage bills.
"Some of MPs and MCAs have never contributed anything in the National and county assemblies, their work is just to earn salaries without working,” said Mr Komen.
Said Mr Mengich: “Kenyans are suffering because of leaders who can't think and make independent decisions and as leaders from Nandi County, we are supporting the Punguza Mizigo Bill,” added Mr Mengich.
West Pokot County Assembly nominated MCA Elijah Kaseuseu, however, vowed to oppose the Bill which he claimed was being ‘being pushed by the handshake team’.
He said that the proposal to reduce number of constituencies and wards will affect gains made from devolution.
MPs from the region are also divided over the Punguza Mizigo initiative with outspoken Tiaty MP saying that he will support the Bill which he said will strengthen devolution.
The MP however said he will not support the reduction of constituencies.
“I support the Punguza Mizigo Bill but, I don’t support the scrapping of some constituencies,” said Mr Kamket.
He said that he also anticipates that his Bill to amend the Constitution and create the position of a prime minister with executive powers, would sail through.
The MP said that there are some sections of the Constitution should be done away with.
Turbo MP Janet Sitienei opposed the proposals in the Punguza Mizigo Bill including the scrapping of the position of the woman rep. She also opposed the proposal to reduce the number of constituencies.
Turkana County Assembly Members have also supported the bill.
Kerio ward MCA Peter Eregae and nominated MCA Matthew Alany said that if successful, it will tackle corruption and boost devolution. He however, opposed the reduction of the number of constituencies.
The assemblies have three months to decide on the Bill which will later be presented to the Senate and National Assembly.
The Bill will make it to a referendum if 24 of the 47 county assemblies supports it.
Reports by Wycliff Kipsang’, Tom Matoke, Florah Koech, Evans Kipkura, Sammy Lutta and Oscar Kakai.