House team seeks to combine initiatives to amend constitution


The parliamentary committee that oversees the implementation of the Constitution has started the scrutiny of the parallel initiatives to amend the supreme law and combine them into one driven by Parliament.
Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee chairman Njoroge Baiya said the panel would look at all the ongoing initiatives in deciding what would go into the initiative guided by the National Assembly.
“We want to hear all of them first before we consider whether to combine all these proposals into one Bill,” said Mr Baiya.
CIOC member Ababu Namwamba said they would want an orderly process where all the energies that have gone into the various initiatives are used to push one idea.
Its inquiries were sparked by a petition filed by Joel Kiprono, a retired Major from Bomet who has a set of radical ideas on how to make the Constitution better.
Among his proposals is that the government introduce mandatory national military service for all youth leaving school. This would be different from the National Youth Service.
In the past, it was mandatory for students headed for public universities to go through the NYS programme first.
“The young person in the NYS is neither voluntary nor an employee, neither civilian nor soldier but he is always in uniform. That person is likely to be used as a tool by mischievous Kenyans,” said Mr Kiprono.
He proposed that landowners with more than 100 acres give up the rest for leasehold, foreigners be barred from owning land in Kenya and that the current number of counties be reduced to just three large zones.
Mr Kiprono also proposed a rotating presidency that would give every one of the 42 tribes hold the position.
For the first phase, he said, Kikuyus and Kalenjins should be barred from the presidency for 52 years because Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel arap Moi, Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta have held the position.
Moses Kuria, who leads the Punguza Mzigo Initiative, said the main thrust of his idea is to reduce the cost of government brought about by the Constitution.
He wants the counties reduced to 16, the Senate scrapped, the position of Woman Representative done away with, the number of Members of County Assembles reduced and the number of MPs reduced by half.
Mr Kuria reckoned that if the Senate was scrapped and the National Assembly reduced by half, that would bring a saving of Sh14 billion with similar action on MCAs yielding Sh12 billion.
Mr Kuria said the implementation of the rule to ensure not more than two-thirds of MCAS per county are of the same gender had enabled the nomination of an overwhelming number of women.
He said this combined with the increase of MCAs’ salaries from what used to be earned by councillors had placed an unnecessary burden on the taxpayer. “For an MCA to take home half a million, where did Wanjiku strike the jackpot?” he asked.
Based on recent assertions that one-third of Kenya’s budget is lost to corruption, the Gatundu South MP said he is of the belief that every governor has stolen Sh1 billion. “If I see one governor who has done good, he will go to heaven,” said Mr Kuria.
He also criticised the performance of his colleagues nominated to Parliament or elected to represent special interests such as the Woman Representatives.
“We should have seen a flurry of motions and Bills from the young MPs and the women. I think I represent women issues much more than the woman representatives,” he said.