Irene Githinji @gitshee
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chair Wafula Chebukati yesterday cleared the ‘Punguza Mizigo’ constitutional amendment initiative, which was supported by at least 1.2 million registered voters.
Chebukati yesterday said the initiative has met the requisite threshold as required by law.
Consequently, he said the commission will submit the draft bill to all the 47 County Assemblies for consideration within three months from the date of submission, pursuant to Article 257(5) of the Constitution.
“The Commission has since verified that the initiative has been supported by 1,222,541 voters. This is, therefore, to notify the public and all stakeholders the initiative has met the requisite threshold,” he said in a media statement.
Once the bill has been submitted to County Assemblies, Chebukati said, respective Speakers will submit respective decisions to the National Assembly and Senate.
Thirdway Alliance Kenya party, which is sponsoring the initiative, delivered to the commission a draft constitutional amendment and details of the draft bill.
IEBC conducted verification in May, even as Thirdway leader Ekuru Aukot said the initiative would save Kenyans at least a Sh3.78 trillion annually in public wage bill.
He said Kenyans are currently feeling the pain and load of governance but Punguza Mizigo is meant to reduce that burden.
Aukot said his party hopes that the process does not end up in a referendum. “We do not really have to go to a referendum. If IEBC verifies the signatures and acknowledges they have met the constitutional threshold of a million supporters, it then goes to the County Assembly,” said Aukot.
If a total of 24 County Assemblies agree to Thirdway’s proposals, he said, it goes to Parliament to “agree on the proposal and the President can sign bill into law,” he added when he presented the draft.
He said the process will stop others who are talking about referendum calls in public events because this is a real thing and adheres to Article 257 of the Constitution.
The initiative is seeking to have more monies disbursed to counties, adopting the wards as the primary unit of accelerated development, reduce over representation of MPs reduce commissioners including IEBC to a maximum of five and minimum of three and they can work on part time.
They also want Kenyans above the age of 18 and who hold national identity cards to automatically be deemed to be registered voters.
“We have seen that they have embraced technology. We have been shown what steps they will take how they will arrive to the final results and we have no doubt that the process will be seamless and completed in the shortest time possible,” Aukot said.
He clarified that the initiative is not seeking to reduce the number of counties but to scrap off all nominations.