Aukot takes aim at BBI team as Raila dismisses Punguza Mizigo bill

By Bernard Gitau On Sun, 4 Aug, 2019 23:33 | 2 mins read
Ekuru Aukot
Thirdway Alliance Kenya party leader, Dr Ekuru Aukot, on the Punchline with Ms Anne Kiguta on Sunday, August 4, 2019. PHOTO | MEDIAMAX NETWORK LTD
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    The BBI team is a creation of the handshake between Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta following the March 9, 2018 truce that ended political hostility between Jubilee and ODM.

Thirdway Alliance Kenya party leader Ekuru Aukot has termed the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) unconstitutional, saying that it is not anchored in the Constitution.

Following criticism that Dr Ekuru Aukot did not involve the public in the conceptualization of the Punguza Mizigo bill, the Third Way Alliance leader made a counter accusation against the BBI team, claiming they have hardly met over 10,000 Kenyans.

“BBI is not anchored in the law. It is unconstitutional, directionless and total waste of our time and resources which has been quoted to be in excess of Sh10 billion,” Dr Aukot said on Sunday while on the Punchline show with Ms Anne Kiguta.

Dr Aukot, who was also one of the key architects of the 2010 Constitution, defended his Punguza Mizigo referendum bill, saying the Constitution needs to be improved every now and then.

He said the bill aims at reducing the country’s wage bill and entrenching development at the bottom where he aims to have ward reps given more funds.

Mr Aukot said his proposals rubbed the ruling elite the wrong way and that is why they are interpreted his referendum bill as political competition.

 The governance expert even accused the political class of using the judicial system to frustrate the Punguza Mizigo initiative.

Mr Aukot claimed the court system amended the Constitution through a court order, thus interfering with constitutional timelines to thwart his push.

On July 31, 2019, the High Court in Nairobi temporarily stopped all 47 county assemblies from debating and approving the Punguza Mizigo Bill.

Justice James Makau further barred the Thirdway Alliance Kenya Party from presenting the bill to the Speaker of the National Assembly and Senate pending the hearing and determination of the case filed in court.

Frustrated, Mr Aukot claimed his lawyers are working on a case against Justice Makau that will be presented to the Judicial Service Commission.

 “On 13thof December last year, we filed a case for BBI to be disbanded before the same judge and till now they have refused to hear even an application for conservatory order,” Mr Aukot claimed.

He accused ODM leader Raila Odinga of being behind the court cases filed against his referendum initiative.

 “They only think that the direction for this country must always come from them. All of us went to school. All of us are independent thinkers, they do not own us. They do not have monopoly of ideas,” he quipped.

Mr Odinga’s party dismissed the Punguza Mizigo Iniatiative, dubbing it Punguza Gunia, urging its followers to wait for another bill by the BBI team.

The BBI team is a creation of the handshake between Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta following the March 9, 2008 truce that ended political hostility between Jubilee and ODM.

The team has been collecting Kenyans’ views across the country, but Mr Aukot claims they have not met even 10,000 Kenyans since town hall meetings, their form of modus operandi, doesn’t attract many people.

Asked whether the Punguza Mizigo Initiative is being funded by unnamed sources given that the Thirdway Alliance Kenya party has little in funding, Mr Aukot said major parties never reveal who funds them.

But Mr Aukot urged the public to continue contributing to their cause.

So far, Mr Aukot said, the party has received Sh500,000 in donations.

Other than Mr Odinga, others who have opposed the initiative are Kalonzo Musyoka of Wiper Party, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and Ford-Kenya leader MosesWetang’ula.

But Mr Aukot accused them of dishonesty since they can hardly point out what it is that they are opposed to in his bill.