MCAs Banned From Debating Punguza Mizigo Bill

  • Dr. Ekuru Aukot of the Punguza Mizigo initiative. The County Assemblies Forum (CAF) banned MCAs from debating the bill until further directives were issued. File
  • Thirdway Alliance's Ekuru Aukot has suffered another major setback as the County Assemblies Forum (CAF), ordered all Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) to seize debating the Punguza Mizigo Bill.

    During a press conference on Wednesday, September 18, the coordinating body of the 47 assemblies stated that they would give a way forward adding that the bill had to be undertaken through the public participation process first before the MCAs could be allowed to debate further.

    "CAF has resolved in light of the ongoing debates on the constitutional amendments and impending referendum that all county assemblies henceforth cease any debates on the Punguza Mizigo Constitutional Amendment 2019 so as to allow sufficient time for effective public participation in order to have the comprehensive views from the mwananchi," CAF explained. 

    Thirdway Alliance Kenya party leader Ekuru Aukot addresses Nakuru MCAs on July 24, 2019, on the Punguza Mizigo Bill. CAF stated that it will issue its common position on October 11, 2019
    Thirdway Alliance Kenya party leader Ekuru Aukot addresses Nakuru MCAs on July 24, 2019, on the Punguza Mizigo Bill. The County Assemblies Forum (CAF) stated that it would issue further instructions to assemblies on October 11, 2019, regarding the continued debate of Aukot's bill. 

    The body further explained that they had also put on hold any other bill (including the yet-to-be concluded Building Bridges Initiative) from being debated on until Aukot's bill was attended to. 

    "CAF will convene and have a seat on Friday, October 11, 2019, to have a common position on the Punguza Mizigo Initiative and further consider views from the public and give directions to the county assemblies for the best interest of Kenyan citizens.

    "All other bills too have been put on hold. The only bill being processed is the Punguza Mizigo Bill and it is the public participation component that will be ongoing." 

    CAF further declared that all the assemblies will vote on the bill on the same day, after considering the public views gathered. This means they will only have three days to debate on the bill.

    "On October 15, 2019, all county assemblies will either pass or reject the bill in accordance with the public responses that we will have gathered by that time," CAF asserted.

    However, Thirdway Alliance's Secretary-General, Fredrick Okango, disclosed that the move was sinister as they had attended the meeting with CAF on Wednesday, September 18, but were not invited for the presser and not informed of the body's conclusive decision beforehand.

    Members of the Muranga County Assembly discuss the Punguza Mizigo bill on September 17, 2019. Thirdway Alliance's Sec-Gen Frederick Okango stated that the MCAs were influenced by politicians to reject the bill unconstitutionally
    Members of the Muranga County Assembly discuss the Punguza Mizigo bill on September 17, 2019. Thirdway Alliance's Sec-Gen Fredrick Okango stated that the MCAs were influenced by politicians to reject the bill unconstitutionally

    "We presented ourselves before CAF on their own invitation to present the bill. You are aware that this bill has been mutilated by some section of politicians who are spreading propaganda about it. CAF thought it wise to invite the promoters of the bill so that we take them through the contents. 

    "They informed us that they will be taking a common position on this matter. In the evening after we left their plaza, we saw their press conference and we are studying the contents of their statement, particularly the resolution before releasing our statement. Their position should be to the benefit of the people who have indicated that the bill is in their best interest," Okango told the Kenyans.co.ke newsdesk. 

    He further touched on the timeline issued by CAF indicating that it was within the 90-day constitutional timeline stating that the bill was issued to assemblies between July 18 when it left IEBC to July 26. The assemblies thus have up to October 30 to discuss the bill. 

    Okango then tore into politicians, who he says, have been out to tarnish the bill through unscrupulous means.

    "They fear that should it go through, the implementation will fight public theft.  If you remember Kirinyaga, Homabay and Murang' counties, public participation was not undertaken. The bill was tabled in the wrong manner. It should be tabled as a motion, you either approve or reject as they argue on its merits or demerits.

    "The three counties did not do that. They were influenced by politicians to reject it. If they will allow it to be debated and pass it, then there will be no problem from our end," Okango asserted. 

    Fredrick Okango, Sec-Gen Thirdway Alliance. He raised eyebrows on CAFs decision to meet on October 11 yet the constitution stipulated that Punguza Mizigo Bill be debated by October 30, 2019
    Thirdway Alliance secretary-general, Fredrick Okango. He raised eyebrows on CAFs decision to meet on October 11 yet the constitution stipulated that Punguza Mizigo Bill be debated by October 30, 2019

    Watch the video, courtesy of Nation.