Punguza Mzigo is worth your support

Yesterday was a remarkable day for Thirdway Alliance not only because IEBC approved its Punguza Mzigo Bill 2019 that seeks to amend the Constitution by introducing among other things a 7 year one term limit to the office of the President, but also because a 6 men gang raided their offices and shot at their Secretary General Fredrick Okango who managed to get out of the ordeal unharmed. It is not clear why the men raided the offices as investigations that will probably never yield anything should be underway (by the time of writing this article, there were no media reports as to whether any investigations were ongoing), but if the raid is linked to the Punguza Mzigo Bill 2019 then it is obvious the Bill has rubbed someone the wrong way; an indication that the Bill is actually good for Kenya.

For starters, the Bill has definitely rubbed all sitting MPs the wrong way, given that the Bill proposes to abolish the current structure of Parliament by getting rid of constituencies, to instead have the Bicameral Parliament constituted from the 47 counties. If the Bill goes to the referendum and is passed, then in the new constitution Kenya will have two houses, the National Assembly constituted by 100 members; a man and a woman from each of the 47 counties plus 6 nominated members making the National Assembly to have 100 members in total. The nominated members shall be nominated to represent people from minority groups mostly those with disability, whereas the Senate shall have only 47 members – no nominated members to the Senate. The Senate however shall be elevated to become the superior house with veto powers.

See also  Punguza Mzigo: The Politician Is Mwananchi’s Cruel And Ruthless Gatekeeper

A better proposal in my opinion would be to abolish the National Assembly all together, and have only the Senate constituted of 100 members take charge. In this proposal, the Senate’s sole duty will be  to legislate both for the National and County Governments, Impeach the President, and perform all oversight functions on the Executive. Duties such as People’s Representation that require Development, should be taken to County Assemblies. In that arrangement, MCAs shall be in charge of kittys similar to what we call the CDF – which also is a proposal present in the Punguza Mzigo Bill.

I am not sure if the office of the President has also been rubbed the wrong way as the Bill seeks to reduce the total President’s time in office by 3 years. The beautiful thing in the proposal is that the President goes to office for one term only, hence adding two more years to his/her five year term. Back in 2015 political long before Thirdway Alliance cooked their Punguza Mzigo constitutional amendment push, I wrote on my Facebook Timeline why it is important to have a one time of 7 years for the President. In that post I reasoned like this:

One major hindrance to development in Africa and possibly elsewhere is the fear of reelection. This is why some Presidents have decided to do away with term limits. The fear of reelection works this way:

For a development programme to sail through, unpopular decisions must be made. These decisions may include simple acts such as kicking hawkers out of CBD, implementing tough rules for ensuring the towns are forever safe, clean or both, or even opting for far reaching acts like demolishing illegal structures.

These unpopular decisions won’t be taken by politicians whose goal is to seek reelection as the decisions would make them unpopular with the electorates. The fact that the decisions were not made in the first term makes it more difficult to make them in the second term.

To mitigate against this, it would be better for us to champion something like a seven year one term limit for Presidency, Gubernatorial, and other related political positions. This way, a person has no excuse not to implement any unpopular programme for the greater good of the country.

Other proposals in the Punguza Mzigo Bill 2019 includes the Okoa Kenya proposal (remember Okoa Kenya?) which required County Allocations to be increased from the current minimum of 15% to 35%, Life sentencing of guilty of corruption, although personally I would recommend death sentencing with execution through bullet firing at a public place, and abolish the positions of Deputy Governors.

See also  The loophole in Okiya Omtatah's Petition against the 2022 presidential election

The Punguza Mzigo Bill has also gone ahead to provide some economic justification for its adoption. For example, it predicts a saving of up shs 155 billion if Parliament is reduced from the current 416 members to 147 members, a saving of up to shs 5.6 billion if the position of Deputy Governorship is abolished, a saving of up to shs 30 billion when nominations to the County Assemblies and to the Senate are abolished, a saving of up to shs 20 billion if a one term Presidency of 7 years is adopted, a saving of shs 24 billion when Salaries for Public Servants are capped, a saving of shs 50 billion if automated voter registration is adopted, and most lucrative is the saving of shs 3.6 trillion if the fight against corruption is taken seriously. These items cannot be summed up as some of them are recurrent expenditure whereas others are one time savings.

My wife heard of Punguza Mzigo yesterday and loved the proposal, but her worry was, does Ekuru Aukot have enough clout to push for a referendum change? My answer to her was a no but I said that if Kenyans genuinely love the proposal and rally behind it, then the Bill will make it to be part of Kenya’s 2020 Constitution. Alternatively, those in Raila and Uhuru camps that are also pushing for a referendum ought to love Kenya enough and pick up the beauties from the Punguza Mzigo Bill, but as we all know those in the top league only care about creation of additional posts such as that of Premiership, making the country a parliamentary system, and creating more avenues through which they can grow their business empires.

Odipo Riaga
Managing Editor at KachTech Media
Odipo Riaga on FacebookOdipo Riaga on Linkedin

You may also like...