Ekuru Aukot suffers setback in bid to cut number of MPs

Thirdway Alliance of Kenya leader Ekuru Aukot who wants is seeking to reduce the size of Parliament by slashing the number of MPs from the current 349 to 100. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • IEBC asks Dr Aukot to have one million signatures accompany the Bill, or use Parliament to look at the Bill.
  • In the proposal, Dr Aukot's party is seeking to reduce the size of Parliament by slashing the number of MPs from the current 349 to 100 by abolishing the current constituencies.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has turned down a meeting request by Thirdway Alliance leader and self-proclaimed opposition chief Ekuru Aukot over his bid to amend the Constitution.

Instead, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati has asked Dr Aukot and his party to choose either the popular initiative by seeking to have one million signatures accompany the Bill, or use Parliament to look at the Bill.

'POPULAR INITIATIVE'

"As you are aware, the procedure under Article 256 is initiated through a parliamentary process, while the procedure under Article 257 is by way of popular initiative. Therefore considering the specificities of the proposed referendum by Thirdway Alliance, different provisions may apply," Mr Chebukati said in the reply dated February 27 to Miruru Waweru, the Thirdway Alliance chairman who had written the letter.

In his letter dated February 14, Mr Waweru asked Mr Chebukati to slot the party a meeting to "present and discuss details of our proposed referendum."

Dr Aukot on protested the reply on his Twitter handle, terming as "idiotic."

The former Secretary to the Committee of Experts that drafted the 2010 Constitution said all they requested from the commissions was a meeting, and not how to organise a referendum push.

"Anyone and everyone is at liberty to collect signatures at any time; the Commission need not authorise them. The Commission only comes in to verify their authenticity and whether they meet the legal threshold, or guide on issues that require a referendum," Mr Andrew Limo, the IEBC communications manager said of Mr Chebukati's reply.

PROPOSAL

"We only come in at the stage of conducting one, when and if there will be."

In the proposal, Dr Aukot's party is seeking to reduce the size of Parliament by slashing the number of MPs from the current 349 to 100 by abolishing the current constituencies, but increasing the number of Senators from 67 to 94.

Dr Aukot wants each of the 47 counties to act as once constituency and vote in two MPs and two senators, with each of the posts having one male and one female candidate.

“You will have addressed the question of over- representation, you will have brought down the wage bill and you will address the question of equality and discrimination of women. In terms of cost, it costs us Sh32 billion per year to run Parliament. We will reduce it to Sh5 billion,” Dr Aukot says in the proposal.

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