Inside MP's Crafty Plan to Defeat Aukot's Bill

  • The National Assembly during a past session . The Standard
  • Members of Parliament have reportedly discovered a loophole in the constitution that they bank on using, to frustrate the Punguza Mizigo Bill, fronted by lawyer Ekuru Aukot.

    The MPs are of the view that the Aukot-led Thirdway Alliance Party did not consult the legislators while drafting the Bill, which seeks to cut down their numbers of from 416 to 147.

    Article 257 of the Constitution of Kenya, which provides a way to change the law through a popular initiative, does not stipulate timelines within which Parliament should introduce the Bill in the House. 

    Third Way Alliance Party Leader Ekuro Aukot (centre) with party Secretary General Fredrick Okang’o (right) and Organising Secretary Joyce Kipuri during a past press briefing.
    Third Way Alliance Party leader Ekuru Aukot (centre) with party Secretary General Fredrick Okang’o (right) and Organising Secretary Joyce Kipuri during a past press briefing.

    “If a county assembly approves the draft Bill within three months after the date it was submitted by the commission (IEBC), the speaker of the county assembly shall deliver a copy of the draft Bill jointly to the speakers of the two Houses of Parliament, with a certificate that the county assembly has approved it.

    “If a draft Bill has been approved by a majority of the county assemblies, it shall be introduced in Parliament without delay,” the Article reads.

    This means that even if the Bill gets the backing of at least 24 county assemblies as is required for it to be submitted to Parliament, the MPs can decide to seat on it without acting.

    On Thursday, National Assembly Minority Leader, John Mbadi, echoed the MPs' sentiments, revealing that Parliament may actually decide to sit on the Bill, until the current term expires.

    “This Bill is very unpopular with MPs of both Houses. We may decide not to make any decision on it and delay it as much as we can.

    “They have been going round saying we are ceremonial in the process, not knowing that there is a loophole in the law. The only referendum that will take place is that of the BBI,” Mbadi stated.

    National Assembly Majority Leader, Aden Duale, shared the same opinion stating, “I can tell you that Punguza Mizigo is dead on arrival. You cannot reduce the number of constituencies without any justification.”

    “He is not telling us how he arrived at the decision to reduce the number of constituencies. Unless he tells us that population has gone down, we will not support that Bill,” Duale affirmed.

    Majority Leader Aden Duale with Minority Leader John Mbadi
    Majority Leader Aden Duale with Minority Leader John Mbadi during a past media briefing.