Wiper rejects Ekuru Aukot’s referendum bid

Wiper Democratic Movement Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka addressing the press at the Kenya School of Law Nairobi on July 28, 2019. Chirau Ali Makwere was elected acting party chairman. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka termed the Punguza Mizigo as poison offered in a golden chalice.
  • The Wiper party said the Punguza Mizigo bill will deprive women, the youth and people with disability their right to equitable representation.
  • The bill proposes the abolition of the 290 constituencies and using the 47 counties as constituencies.

The opposition against the Thirdway Alliance’s Punguza Mizigo bill is gathering momentum after Wiper Democratic Movement on Sunday urged county assemblies to reject it.

According to Wiper, the Ekuru Aukot-led Thirdway Alliance party did not seek the input from Kenyans before drafting the bill that has already been sent to the 47 county assemblies for consideration.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka termed the Punguza Mizigo as poison offered in a golden chalice.

“The WDM-K opposes the Punguza Mizigo bill for lack of public participation and urges all county assemblies to exercise caution and ensure that there is public participation before debate and voting,” said Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka.

EQUITABLE REPRESENTATION

“Though it purports to offer a panacea to high cost of running the government, it claws back on the gains of 2010 Constitution concerning the equitable representation at both county and constituency by drastically reducing the number of elected representatives,” he added.

The Wiper party said the Punguza Mizigo bill will deprive women, the youth and people with disabilities of their right to equitable representation.

The bill proposes the abolition of the 290 constituencies and using the 47 counties as constituencies. To address gender inequality, it proposes the election of one man and one woman from each of the 47 counties into the National Assembly.

Kalonzo, who was speaking during the closing of two-day retreat for the party's National Executive Council at Kenya School of Law in Nairobi, said the party is solidly behind the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

“Wiper party supports efforts to reform the Constitution and reiterates unequivocal support for BBI. We believe that BBI offers the best and all-inclusive roadmap for Kenya’s democracy, prosperity, and inclusivity. We however propose that the BBI should culminate in a Parliamentary initiative driven referendum in the next sixty days,” said Mr Musyoka.

PUBLIC DEBT

ODM party, on Thursday last week rejected the Punguza Mizigo bill arguing that it has failed to address issues of structure of the executive and huge public debt.

ODM politicians have been fronting a proposal to have the executive expanded to include the position of a powerful prime minister.

Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna poked holes in the bill saying it has not addressed critical issues such as conflict of interest where public servants trade with the state, electoral injustice, independence of investigative and strengthening Chapter 6 of the Constitution.

ODM also has faulted the proposal to have the 290 constituencies scraped saying it will stir tribal animosity in counties with more than one communities.

The Raila-Odinga party poured cold water on proposal to have graft suspects tried within 30 days arguing that it will be a recipe for setting corruption suspect free as corruption webs are usually so complex.

REJECTED BILL

Ford-Kenya leader and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula has already rejected the bill.

Wiper and its Nasa coalition partners ODM and Ford Kenya control at least 18 counties and the number could steadily rise if other friendly parties join in.

Jubilee party has not started its official position regarding Punguza Mizigo bill that has received warm reception from some county assemblies.

At the same time, Wiper party elected former Kenya’s Ambassador to Tanzania Chirau Ali Mwakwere as its chairman in acting capacity replacing Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana who has turned a political foe of Mr Kalonzo.

“Prof Kibwana will now become a normal party member but will remain a Wiper governor unless he resigns and seek fresh mandate on his Muungano Party,” said Mr Musyoka.

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