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ODM ward reps reject Punguza Mizigo bill

'How can Aukot tell us that he wants to reduce the number of wards?'

In Summary

•Nairobi County Assembly says the bill should be withdrawn for amendments for it to be accepted

•Majority leader said each Jubilee party member has his or her own view of the bill

Thirdway Alliance Kenya party leader Ekuru Aukot at Mombasa Club.
Thirdway Alliance Kenya party leader Ekuru Aukot at Mombasa Club.
Image: Photo/FILE

The Punguza Mizigo bill was dead on arrival, Third Way Alliance leader Ekuru Aukot was told at City Hall on Wednesday.

Orange Democratic Movement MCAs said their leader, Raila Odinga, had already dismissed it.  

 

"How can Aukot tell us in the bill that he wants to reduce the number of wards? Does he support devolution?’’ Minority Whip Peter Imwatok asked when the Third Way Alliance team took the bill to City Hall.

Imwatok said the High Court had raised the red flag, an indication that there is a problem with the bill.

He said Aukot is after the interest of his party and not that of Kenyans at large. He said the bill has many gaps.

Nominated MCA Emily Oduor said women did not support the bill.

"When a woman is nominated it means the party saw some great potential in her. But this bill is talking about one man, one woman.  We stand with our party leader and I'm certain the bill will not go through," Oduor said.

 

Majority leader Abdi Hassan said each Jubilee party member has his or her own view of the bill. There was no collective opinion.

Majority Whip Waithera Chege said the bill has no room for gender equality.

 

The South B ward rep said the bill was generally good but it needed to be amended.

"If Aukot can withdraw the bill so that we amend it and then go for public participation, then the bill can be passed," she said.

Likewise, Karobangi South Ward Rep Robert Mbatia said the Punguza Mizigo bill had some good parts and also many questionable representation issues.

Mbatia singled out the audit sector in the bill suggesting that if one's department is mentioned in the Auditor General's report, he/she should step aside.

"Being a former Public Accounts Committee chairman I can attest that 70 per cent of the queries raised in the auditor general's report is answered. Asking one to step aside because of being mentioned is unfair," he explained.

"Unless Aukot withdraws it for amendment, it might not see the light of the day," he added.

The Punguza Mizigo bill seeks to reduce the number of MPs from 416 to 147 and to increase counties’ revenue share to 35 per cent. But a referendum can only be held if more than 24 counties give it the okay.

The Punguza Mizigo approach to constitutional amendment is based on cutting costs and strengthening devolution.  The ward, it says, is the fulcrum of development and economic growth.

– mf mwaniki