Then there is nothing really wrong with Punguza Mizigo Initiative

I was to write this article a month ago, but I decided to wait for the opponents of the Punguza Mizigo to air their views. This is because this final article was meant to poke holes into the bill, and recommend that it be nothing more than a proposal to the Building Bridges Initiative. The opponents of Punguza Mizigo were supposed to give me the meat and the bones for poking the holes, but after they have aired their views, I find such holes non-existent; except for the hole I had personally identified. The recommendation I wanted to propose to Ekuru Aukot therefore still stands, but not because Punguza Mizigo has some serious holes that needs poking, but because it is not broad enough.

From the opponents of the Punguza Mizigo Initiative namely ODM Party, Jubilee Party, Moses Wetangula, Ezra Chiloba and lately, Gichu Kihoro, only Ezra Chiloba and Gichu Kihoro have provided detailed reasons why they think Punguza Mizigo is nothing but a populist initiative. The contention by Ezra Chiloba is that Punguza Mizigo, although seeking to reduce the huge wage bill, is blind to the fact the wage bill under the 2010 constitution is no different from the wage bill we had during the old constitution. This however does not answer the question whether or not the wage bill is actually unsustainable. Dr. David Ndii is the one who attempted to address the question of sustainability of the wage bill, where by and large he argued that wage bill was still within sustainable limits, although he recognized that Kenya’s wage bill was playing at the upper bounds. That was around 2013 when Jubilee Party was still new in office. Since then, the wage bill together with public debts have continued to grow unchecked.

See also  Meru County joins Nairobi, Busia, Bomet and Uasin Gishu counties as the counties to watch

Gichu Kihoro through a piece he published on the Daily Nation picked issues with representation. In his article See the devil in Punguza Mizigo beauty, Kihoro totally ignored the cases cited by the bill to demonstrate just how much Kenya is over represented, but picked on United Kingdom whose representation is similar to that of Kenya. Jurisdiction such as the US, China and India have extremely low representatives to their population, and legislative success of these countries should settle the argument of whether or not societies need to be over represented. In my article Understanding Punguza Mizigo Bill – Over Representation, I clearly showed why over representation does not add value to the voice of the citizen, as mostly, the representatives especially in Kenya do not even care to attend parliamentary sessions. Also, sessions such as parliamentary forums do not require too many people who go there to sleep, but require quality minds that are focused to dissect issues affecting the population in order to formulate policies that will effectively address those issues. Numbers in parliament will never address the particular issues that affect us, but quality of the brains that we send to parliament will.

Although good and well intentioned, Punguza Mizigo is inadequate

Given that those who have written extensively against Punguza Mizigo Initiative haven’t been able to convince me that Punguza Mizigo may create serious economic, political, social or cultural frictions if implemented, I maintain my earlier conviction that Punguza Mizigo is the best thing that has happened to this country in a long time. However, I also hold to the view that Punguza Mizigo is inadequate; that is it doesn’t address every problem with the current constitution.

See also  I will vote for Raila Odinga and this is why

For example and this is something I find problematic in the current constitution – I do not think Kenya needs a bicameral parliamentary system. If it were up to me, I would institute a parliamentary system where the only house is the Senate made up of no more than 70 members – 47 elected members and 23 nominated members. The elected members would come from each county elected by the voters of the county. The nominated members would come from the political parties and civil societies. Political Parties would nominate 13 members according to their party strengths as judged by the 47 elected members, whereas civil society would nominate 10 members to represent the marginalized groups such as the disabled, small communities, professional bodies, etc.

The electoral articles that ODM has found with the current constitution should also be addressed, and Punguza Mizigo has mentioned nothing about the electoral articles. How should IEBC conduct elections so that we never hear of the complain “I was rigged out” ever again? ODM, having been a victim of electoral injustice more than ones, deserves to be heard on the front.

Other issues including those that make article 6 of the constitution redundant, those that can be found by other groups from different parts of the country, those that have been found ambiguous after 9 years of trying to implement the constitution, should all be addressed. Since Punguza Mizigo does not address these many areas, I find it inadequate, and that’s why I would urge Ekuru Aukot to present his Punguza Mizigo Bill as a proposal to the BBI Team, and further urge the BBI Team to adopt as many recommendations by the Punguza Mizigo as they possibly can.

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

You may also like...