Punguza Mizigo gets 21 days to confirm signatures

Whole initiative to go down if party is found to have faked signatures, coerced Kenyans

In Summary

• Supporters to validate details before May 9 in due diligence exercise by the IEBC. All details to be published online

• The promoters say initiative will save Kenyans over Sh3.78 trillion, higher than the current national l budget 

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati.
IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati.
Image: FILE

The electoral commission has given supporters of the Punguza Mizigo referendum push 21 days to verify their 1.4 million signatures online. 

Punguza Mizigo is an initiative by the Thirdway Alliance seeking a constitutional review to reduce the burden and cost of governance borne by Kenyans.

The initiative takes a popular initiative route in pushing for sweeping constitutional changes to reconfigure governance structures to reduce the ballooning wage bill. 

The step by IEBC to publish the signatures is the clearest signal that the push has moved to a critical phase that might result in sending the country to the ballot to amend the Constitution.

It could be disastrous for the referendum should it be established that the promoters either faked signatures and particulars of alleged supporters or coerced Kenyans to sign. 

In a public notice by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, chairman Wafula Chebukati said the body wants supporters of the popular constitutional amendment initiative to validate their details before May 9.

It would give an opportunity to those who claim that their particulars were illegally included to raise their objections and have them deleted.

Kenyans who may have issues with the data submitted by former presidential candidate Ekuru Aukot should send the commission their names, identification numbers and telephone contacts.

"As part of the due diligence in the verification exercises, the commission publishes the particulars of the persons said to be supporters of the initiative at the IEBC website," Chebukati said in the public notice dated April 18.

On April 12, the Thirdway Alliance wrote to the IEBC accusing the commission of delaying verification results or feedback on their Constitutional Amendment Bill. 

"We do recall ... you wisely advised the verification will take no more than a month as we had submitted all our signatures in soft copy, making it easy for the commission to run the data against your system,” Thirdway Alliance secretary general Fredrick Okango said in his letter to IEBC. 

The popular initiative calls for the reduction of the public wage bill and recurrent expenditure, enforcing integrity and reducing the cost of running elections and registration of voters. 

In an attempt to address over-representation and to reduce the number of MPs from the current 416 to 147, the initiative proposes the abolition of the 290 constituencies. Instead, each county would be a single constituency for purposes of election to the Senate and the National Assembly.

With more than Sh3 trillion saved, the country will be able to meet the demands of nurses, teachers and doctors and create jobs for the growing youth population, the Thirdway Alliance says.

(Edited by R.Wamochie)

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