- Drafters of the proposed law say the amendment shall ensure that the objects of devolution are realised and that the rights of minorities.
- Constitutionaly, a proposed amendment shall be approved by a referendum if at least 20 per cent of the registered voters in each of at least half (24) of the counties vote in the referendum.
The proposal to create five more counties enjoys support from both Azimio La Umoja and Kenya Kwanza MPs in Parliament, Teso North MP Oku Kunya has said.
He said critics are out to scuttle the agenda that aims at increasing the number of counties from the current 47 to 52.
The Bill by Kuria East MP Marwa Kitayama proposes the creation of five new counties of Kuria, Teso, Mount Elgon, East Pokot and Mwingi and drafters of the proposed law say its passage will address the country’s perennial challenges of ethnic antagonism that has been blamed for tribal tensions.
“We still insist that areas of Teso, Mount Elgon, Kuria, East Pokot and Mwingi deserve county status and I know when it comes to the people for a referendum the people will overwhelmingly support,” Kaunya said.
“We are in talks with our colleagues in Parliament from both Azimio and Kenya Kwanza as we continue to marshal support in our push to pass the Bill.”
Kaunya was speaking on Thursday, at Kamuriai village when he handed over a land title to the National Youth Service.
The title is for a piece of land acquired by the Teso North National Government Constituency Development Fund and is meant to facilitate the construction of an NYS training centre.
In his Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2022, Kitayama proposes that the new five counties will be hived off regions where minority communities are stifled by dominant ones.
Clause 5 of the Bill mandates the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to delimit the additional counties from Migori, Busia, Bungoma and Trans Nzoia, Baringo and West Pokot and Kitui, respectively, within six months of the commencement of the Act.
However, according to the Constitution, creating additional counties would require a popular vote in a referendum once Parliament successfully approves the Bill.
The proposal to increase the number of counties has a consequent amendment to both Articles 97 and 98 that will also enhance elected woman representatives and senators from 47 to 52, taking the composition of the Kenyan Parliament to 426, up from the current 416 lawmakers.
According to the Constitution, a proposed amendment shall be approved by a referendum if at least 20 per cent of the registered voters in each of at least half (24) of the counties vote in the referendum.
“In all this, we are not fighting for positions, but we are fighting to be closer to resources that the national government disburses to counties,” Kaunya said.
“We believe getting these counties will bring resources closer to the people and it will uplift marginalised communities.”
Drafters of the proposed law say the amendment shall ensure that the objects of devolution are realised and that the rights of minorities and the marginalised are promoted and protected.
“These amendments allow some specific minorities the right to manage their own affairs and further their own development,” the bill reads in part.
Among those present during the event included NYS commander in charge of Western region Samuel Maina, Teso North DCC Omondi Wambura, Teso North constituency manager Richard Opagala among other guests.
Maina called on residents of Teso North to take advantage of the establishment of the NYS training centre to grow the economy of the area.
Omondi said security agencies in Teso North will crack the whip and restore order following a rise in insecurity in the subcounty.
This followed a series of burglary incidents, particularly in Malaba Central and Malaba North ward.
NYS in conjunction with Teso North NG – CDF office has for the last less than three years drilled 10 boreholes in the constituency.