Seth Onyango and Bernice Mbugua @PeopleDailyKe
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has stepped up bid to block Thirdway Alliance Party leader Ekuru Aukot’s Punguza Mizigo Bill saying it will claw back gains the country has made over the years.
The move came as Timothy Odhiambo, a voter, sued to block the bill claiming the signatures collected by Aukot’s team were not authentic.
ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna poked holes in the bill arguing it is replete with contradictions and inconsistences that would result in a chaotic Constitution order.
“In light of the weaknesses laid out, Kenyans are called upon to reject it and await the report of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) where they will have a chance to debate the proposals before they are translated into a Constitutional Amendment Bill,” he said.
It comes as Aukot kicked off lobbying to persuade the 47 County Assemblies to endorse his bill, which aims to reduce public wage bill by slashing elective offices by nearly half.
It is primed to reduce the cost of running Parliament from current Sh36.8 billion to Sh5 billion annually thus saving taxpayer about Sh31 billion annually.
Among other radical proposals, the bill aims to abolish the 290 constituencies and instead have the 47 counties turned into constituencies.
But Sifuna said the idea could backfire arguing that small communities will be disadvantaged.
Aukot’s bill is also proposing a single, seven-year term for the President down from the maximum of two five-year terms.
And to address gender inequality, it proposes Kenyans elect one man and woman from each of the 47 counties into the National Assembly.
It also wants to abolish nominations to the County Assemblies and Senate.
But Sifufa faulted the bill’s proposal to give the Senate veto powers over National Assembly.
“This power resides with the Head of State and since Aukot’s bill does not likewise amend Article 115 that gives the President power to refer bills back to the National Assembly, this proposal is recipe for chaos,” he said.
At the same time, Odhiambo asked the court to stop the submitting or forwarding to the County Assemblies the Punguza Mizigo bill.
He wants results of the verification of the supporters as declared by IEBC quashed saying Thirdway Alliance published the list of individuals who support the Bill on its website without notifying members of the public.
“IEBC in its press statement confirmed it did not verify the authenticity of the signatures,” said Odhiambo in court documents.