• Ward reps say passing bill will be a betrayal to Kenyans 'who are enjoying fruits of devolution'.
• They say abolishing constituencies will take away representation from the people.
Kakamega county assembly on Wednesday shot down the Punguza Mizigo Bill fronted by Thirdway Alliance leader Ekuru Aukot.
MCAs unanimously rejected the bill saying it would erode all the gains the country has made over a long time. They termed it 'unrealistic'.
The more than 50 ward representatives said passing the bill would be a betrayal to the common mwananchi 'who is now enjoying the fruits of devolution which the bill is seemingly snatching from them'.
“Reducing the members of the assembly from 416 to 147 and use of the 47 counties as a single unit for purposes of parliamentary elections to the Senate and National Assembly abolishes the 290 constituencies, and thus takes representation farther from the people, which is unrealistic and retrogressive.” Majority leader Joel Ongoro, who tabled the bill, said.
His Minority counterpart David Ndakwa reiterated that gender parity is a serious issue "that has not been taken into consideration by the Punguza Mizigo bill". He said passing it would be going against the spirit of the 2010 Constitution.
“Reducing women in representation is going against the two-thirds gender rule. Single seven-year presidential term and five-year parliamentary terms will keep Kenyans in a constant election mood which will use a lot of resources," Ndakwa said.
Isukha South MCA Farouk Machanje said it was not the right time for the country to concentrate on a referendum, saying Kenyans are faced with many challenges.
“We have shot down this bill and we shall do so to the BBI and the Ugatuzi initiative because Kenyans are going through difficult times. They want security, unemployment and diseases like cancer addressed."
He added that there was a need to implement the 2010 Constitution "instead of spending lots of money for the referendum which is not the solution to the problems facing Kenyans".
Deputy Speaker Leonard Soita Kasaya said the bill was looked at like any other bill and MCAs debated it objectively.
"The members have said that the bill was not rightly brought to the public of Kenya and the members of Kakamega county. Other initiatives should be harmonised to come up with a strong amendment accepted by all Kenyans,” Kasaya said.
The deputy speaker, however, said the 2010 Constitution left more gaps and a lot of lacuna that requires a lot of amendments.
Edited by R.Wamochie