The Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission (IEBC) has approved the 1.2 million signatures submitted by a group seeking a referendum to reduce the term of the President and number of representatives in Parliament and the county assemblies.
The Punguza Mzigo Initiative by former presidential candidate Ekuru Aukot got a boost yesterday after the electoral body said it had surpassed the required one million signatures for any attempt to change the supreme law through a popular quest.
In a statement, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said the commission was satisfied with the signatures submitted, paving the way for the referendum quest to be placed before the 47 county assemblies.
“In compliance with Article 257 (4) of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, the commission undertook a verification exercise to confirm whether the Punguza Mzigo Initiative was supported by at least one million registered voters. The commission had since verified that the initiative has been supported by 1, 222, 541 registered voters. This is therefore to notify the public and all stakeholders that the initiative has met the requisite threshold as required by the said Article 257(4) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010,” Mr Chebukati said.
As per the Constitution, once the signatures for the popular initiative have been ascertained, the referendum's journey shifts to the 47 assemblies where more than half must agree with it for it to move to the next step.
After ascertaining the signatures that were submitted on February 28, 2019, Mr Chebukati said the draft amendment Bill submitted by Mr Aukot's team will be immediately sent to the assemblies, through their speakers, who will then consider it within three months.
“The speakers of the respective county assemblies will submit the decisions of their respective assemblies to the Speakers of the National Assembly and the Senate,” the IEBC boss added.
The initiative proposes a seven-year one term president, reduce the number of MPs and senators from the current 416 to 147.
It also wants the scrapping of nominated positions in the Senate and county assemblies and increase in county allocations from 15 to 35 per cent of the annual audited revenues.