On 18/07/2019 the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission issued a statement that Third Way Alliance Party had met the first threshold under Article 257 in the process to amend the Constitution by popular initiative and referred to the IEBC the requisite constitutional amendment and details of the Bill.
The Third Way Alliance Kenya Party Bill is titled “the Punguza Mizigo (Constitution of Kenya Amendment) Bill 2019.
IEBC is to next submit to the 47 County Assemblies the PunguzaMizigo Bill and the Assemblies must consider and vote on the same within three months. If at least 24 Counties approve the Bill then the same shall be introduced in Parliament without delay. If Parliament passes the Bill, then it shall be submitted to the President for assent in accordance with Article 256(4) and if either House (Senate or National Assembly) fail to pass the Bill or the Bill contains matters set out at Article 255 then the proposed amendment shall be submitted to the people in a referendum.
The PunguzaMizigo bill seeks among other things to;
a) Have corruption cases tried within 30 days and there by no presidential pardon for those convicted of corruption or theft of public resources;
b) The National Identity Card to be sufficient for one to vote in Elections;
c) Reduce constituencies from 290 to have both senate and national assembly consist of 147 members;
d) The ward to cover a current constituency and;
e) Make the Senate the upper house
f) Enhance powers of the director of public prosecutions
g) Remove office of elected Deputy Governor
h) Limit the budget of parliament (senate and national assembly to not more than 3% of the audited accounts of the nation and limit maximum salary to any public servant to not more than fifty times that of the lowest paid public servant.
i) Counties to receive not less than 35 of the nation’s most recent audited accounts of revenue received as approved by Parliament.
j) Strengthen the office of the Auditor General
I) All constitutional commissions to have not less than three and not more than five members and whose allowances shall be fixed by the Salaries Remuneration Commission.
It is imperative that all citizens read the Bill so as to make informed comments on its merits and demerits. MCAs must read it with a tooth comb and make their objective comments for supporting or opposing the Bill.
As the war of words, egos, rage on the Division of Revenue Bill 2019 between the Senate and the National Assembly the Punguza Mizigo Bill offers the MCAs a golden opportunity to negotiate, agitate for the betterment of their County residents. It is time to bargain, and time for intelligent, strategic MCAs, County Assemblies to leverage their Constitutional powers at Article 257. They should not be timid, be dictated by those who are not MCAs on their role on the Punguza Mizigo Bill. To accept to be dictated will be an abdication of their constitutional duties.
So will corruption be it political or monetary to determine the fate of the Punguza Mizigo Bill in the 47 County Assemblies or will conscience the upholding of Article 10 of the Constitution on national values and principles of governance prevail. Time will tell. May be the courts may very well declare the Punguza Mizigo verification invalid. Keep watching. But County Assemblies it is your turn to flex your muscles in the interest of your long suffering county residents? Do not be bullied into subjugating that building bridges initiative is ongoing. Take advantage of the now.