Busia County assembly has rejected the proposed Punguza Mizigo bill fronted by the Third Way Alliance party. County assembly members present, 21, voted overwhelmingly by way of acclimation to shoot down the bill with only one member, Gardy Jakaa of Bukhayo North/Walatsi supporting it. Jakaa is also the chairperson of the house legal and human rights committee which was mandated to move around the County and collect views from members of the public on the bill.
The MCAs who debated the proposal said passing the bill would erode the gains made in the country since the enactment of the 2010 Constitution that brought devolution.
Majority leader Laban Mukhwana noted that reducing constituencies will throw the country back to dark days where service delivery was a struggle for citizens. “Reducing the number of constituencies would result in a situation where majority tribes will continue to dominate minorities in representation. The document doesn’t meet the threshold to warrant an amendment of the constitution,” said Mr Mukhwana.
However, he lauded Dr Aukot for coming up with the document that serves as a wake up call that the current constitution is ripe for a review. In his submission, his counterpart and Leader of Minority Felix Omanyi argued that public participation was not adequate the reason why many county assemblies dismissed the document.
While admitting that run away corruption and misappropriation of public resources have denied citizens much needed service, Mr Omanyi who is also Bunyala Central MCA differed with Aukot on 30 days’ time frames to prosecution suspects of corruption. “We shall be taking people to court and free them the next day for lack of substantive evidence. The period is too short to prosecute a case of corruption considering that a number are yet to reach conclusive end, for years,” he said.
Amukura West MCA Abiud Ochilang’ole observed that while increasing allocation to counties was a good move since it would accelerate development, abolishing Constituency Development Fund was an injustice as proposed by the document. “The CDF under National Government plays a vital role in the constituencies. The proposal should have considered establishing similar funds at ward level to complement the kitty.”
Members also rejected the proposal to remove the position of deputy governor saying it was an equalising factor in some Counties. “The position is a resemblance of the position of Deputy President at national level. We should be thinking of strengthening the office to make it more robust,” said Nambale Township MCA Mwajuma Toloi.
During his address to the assembly last month, Dr Aukot said the success of the bill will see the country save in excess of Sh 3.78 trillion of the annual budget. The bill which seeks to amend the constitution proposes an increase in revenue share allocation to counties from current 15 per cent to 35 percent. The bill also proposes that all the 1,450 wards be used to as primary units for accelerated development, replacing National Government Constituency Development Funds (NG-CDF) apart from proposing the scrapping off of women representative position.