- The Constitutional Amendment Bill has been proposed by Kuria East MP Marwa Kitayama.
- The bill has a consequential amendment to increase number of MPs to 426.
An MP allied to President William Ruto's United Democratic Alliance Party has made drafted a radical bill to increase the number of counties to 52.
Kuria East MP Marwa Kitayama has proposed the creation of five new counties of Kuria, Teso, Mount Elgon, East Pokot and Mwingi.
The Star has established that although the Bill has been drafted by Kitayama, it enjoys the support of a significant number of MPs across the political divide.
Notably, during the campaigns foe the last general election, President Ruto vowed to push for the creation of Mwingi county if elected.
It is not clear if Kitayama's proposal enjoys the backing of the Head of State.
Kitayama told the Star on Tuesday that his bill will address the country's perennial challenges of ethnic antagonism that has been blamed for tribal tensions.
“This is the only solution to the historical ethnic tensions that result in highly divisive elections,” the MP said.
“We are prescribing a lasting solution for the country's future peace and stability by ensuring inclusivity and also bringing resources close to the people.”
In his Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2022, the MP 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 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,” reads 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.
This will take the composition of the Kenyan Parliament to 426, up from the current 416 lawmakers.
The fresh push will rekindle past efforts that have been imitated to increase the number of counties and the country's constituencies.
A proposal that was part of the botched Building Bridges Initiative wanted to create an additional Mwingi County.
The BBI wahich was backed by then President Uhuru Kenyatta sought to create an additional 70 constituencies across the country.
However, the BBI process was thwarted by the Supreme Court when it ruled that the initiative was null, void and unconstitutional.
Earlier, Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua's push to split Kitui county into two did not materialise as the House went on the General Election recess before his bill was debated.
Standing Orders require that an MP seeking to change the Constitution will have to get signatures from 50 lawmakers supporting the bid before introducing the legislation in the House.
The signatures of the 50 Mps in support must accompany the draft bill while being taken to the Speaker for approval.
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.