15 Feb

THE PUNGUZA MIZIGO CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT BILL THEMATIC ARRANGEMENT OF ARTICLES

WHY PUNGUZA MIZIGO? – THE RATIONALE

I. THE NEED TO STRENGTHEN SENATE & NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, AND TO REDUCE COST OF RUNNING NATIONAL PARLIAMENT BY:- 

1. Addressing concerns of over representation and to reduce number of MPs from the current 416 to 147 by:  

  1. Abolishing the 290 constituencies;
  2. Adopting and using each of the 47 counties as a single constituency for purposes of parliamentary election to Senate and National Assembly;
  3. Electing one man and one woman to the national assembly and to nominate only six members of parliament from special interest groups (SIGs). This will also consider gender equality so that of each of the 6 SIGs, there must be one man and one woman.  
  4. Electing 47 Senators using the County as a single constituency.

Justification: 

  1. Besides this proposal coming from a majority of Kenyans through the popular initiative, it is also factual that Kenyans are 400% over-represented compared to other countries with larger populations than Kenya. In addition, a country like Kenya, which is still developing and with many needs cannot afford the luxury of overrepresentation. For example, China has 1,200 representatives for a population of 1.4 billion people; India has 800 representatives for a population of 1.3 billion people, and the United States of America (USA) has 535 representatives for a population of 350 million people. It does not, therefore, make sense that a population of 46 million people from a poor developing country like Kenya would have, and able to sustain 416 representatives in both Houses of Parliament. The cost of this representation has largely contributed to the national wage bill. Kenya has much bigger and challenging problems than to afford such over-representation. This is why the campaign is dubbed Punguza Mizigo in order to reduce the burden on Kenyan taxpayers.    
  2. The big question is this: between development and services at your doorstep on the one hand, and more representative on the other hand, which one would you rather have?
  3. All the 47 counties of Kenya are on thereon, sufficient representation of the people of Kenya. Governors are elected from all 47 counties together with MCAs, as representatives of their people. In addition, the County Executives serving in the county government are another level of representation. Therefore, we do not need to send more representatives from counties to the national level. Furthermore, each county of Kenya represents the most dominant and most populous ethnic group of that county. In other words, counties have eliminated the historical marginalization of tribes in leadership. In addition, each county of Kenya, today, receives the equitable share of national revenue. No single country or tribe today, could claim to be marginalized. They can only blame the failure of leadership in their respective counties.       


2. Use each of the 47 Counties, as a single constituency unit for purposes of Parliamentary elections to Senate and National Assembly. This abolishes the current 290 constituencies. 

Justification 

  1. Parliament will have a manageable number of MPs who will have adequate time to contribute to parliamentary debates. It will also ensure that there is efficiency in parliament. In fact, Punguza Mizigo has received support and encouragement from a number of MPs who prefer a lean Parliament than the current bloated one. Many MPs confessed to Punguza Mizigo that they actually do not know most of their fellow MPs. A lean Parliament will be most effective and efficient and less costly to Kenyans;  
  2. Fewer constituencies will address over-representation and bring the cost down;  
  3. This will reduce cost of running parliament and re-direct resources where they are mostly needed, especially at each Ward level where we can begin to measure development; 
  4. It will end the perennial and conflictual competition between MPs and MCAs on management of wards;
  5. This will result into effective legislation, representation and oversight roles of MPs. MPs will now see their role clearly, broadly and from a national perspective as opposed to seeing it from a Constituency perspective;  

3. Elevate Senate to be an Upper House with veto powers. This ensures that National Assembly is checked.  

Justification: 

  1. This will enhance the powers of the Senate to review decisions of the lower house (National Assembly) as is the case with the rest of the world. Our Senate, in its current form, is a laughing stock. It has no powers to veto some of the rather injurious legislations from the National Assembly. For example, the VAT Act of 2013 was passed out of political expediency and convenience without drawing inference from the socioeconomic plight of a majority of Kenyans. It was more about party loyalty as opposed to loyalty to the people who sent MPs to represent them in parliament. Another example is the passage of the Division of Revenue Act (no. 7) of 2018, which was unconstitutional in the light of the clear provisions of the Constitution dictating that revenue should be shared based on the most recent audited accounts. Senate could not   reject or veto both laws because Senate did not have veto power. In addition to the foregoing, if only Senate had veto power, it could have questioned the National Assembly’s decision in rejecting the report on the possible containment of mercury in imported sugar.  
  2. This will provide a hierarchical parliamentary structure that will ensure quality control, checks and balances even among our elected representatives. Senate will be able to review the lower house’s decisions, especially if and when those are injurious to the general public as in the case of the sugar report, amongst others.   

Chapters to be amended: 

  1. Chapter 7: Representation of the People  
  2. Chapter 8: The Legislature

II. STRENGTHEN DEVOLUTION & TAKING SERVICES TO PEOPLES DOORSTEPS BY:-

4. Increasing Counties revenue share allocation to, at least, 35% from the current 15%. The people of Kenya are in the counties, wards, villages. 

Justification: 

  1. It will spur economic development in counties, especially at Ward level;  
  2. The people of Kenya are at the counties and at the ward levels; most development is needed at the ward levels. Increasing funds allocation to the counties is to accelerate development; we want to see good schools, hospitals, roads, security, clean water, amongst other needs at the ward level. This is the quickest way to equalize Kenyans in the republic. This will ensure that services and or state organs are developed to every part of the republic as dictated by Article 6 of our Constitution of Kenya 2010;   
  3. This will attain real and meaningful inclusivity: Inclusivity in its raw and real meaning is when each citizen gets equitable access to an equitable share of the national cake. Devolution of more funds therefore will ensure that each county or community will not need a “negotiator” to get access to public services. With inclusivity attained at the ward level, a majority of Kenyans may not care who actually becomes president. This would emulate other successful countries like Switzerland where the citizen care more about what their Cantons offer them in terms of services. This will also eradicate the tribal and toxic politics that has been driven for a long time by a clique of the political class.    

5. Use the Ward as the primary unit of accelerated development replacing CDF hence taking development to the people’s doorsteps. This will spur economic growth in each of the 1450 Wards of Kenya.

Justification: 

  1. This will spur economic development in the wards;  
  2. Services will be brought much closer to the people. This will be in tandem with the true spirit and letter of Article 6 (3) of the Constitution whose intent is to reach each and every Kenyan within the republic. The Ward is the surest way of doing that;  
  3. Use the Wards as the primary unit of accelerated development, which will apply the bottoms-up approach in order to develop our country evenly. This also means that it may not matter where a Kenyan lives within the republic because each Kenyan would then access services (schools, hospitals, roads, security, etc.,) accessed by others whether in urban or rural areas;   
  4. Attain real and meaningful inclusivity: By taking services to the doorsteps of millions of Kenyans, we will effectively achieve true inclusivity By allocating substantial development funds to each Ward, each Kenyan will have access to equitable share of the national cake in the form of public services. Inclusivity can only be realized when each citizen is “eating” and not when a few citizens are literally eating for, and on behalf of a region, community, clan and or any other section of the population

Chapter to be amended:  

  1. Chapter 11: Devolution   
  2. Chapter 12: Public Finance  

V. END GENDER IMBALANCE AND ADDRESS THE ELUSIVE 1/3 GENDER RULE IN ELECTIVE POSITIONS

6. End historical gender inequality and ensure that Kenyans elect one man and one woman from each of the 47 Counties to the National Assembly. 

This abolishes the women representative position.   

Justification: 

  1. End the historical gender inequality relating to leadership and achieve equality between men and women. For a long time, political leadership has been seen as the preserve of men, and whenever women showed interest in leadership, they have experienced violence and other prejudices. This will end with the proposed amendment to the Constitution. Kenya will then enter into the books of those societies that give women equal opportunity to men. Effectively, we would end the historical disproportionate representation of women and men in leadership;   
  2. This will also achieve the desired equality of both sexes in political leadership; and also automatically achieve 50-50 gender parity in Parliament. This is the true meaning of equality.  

Chapter to be amended: 

  1. Chapter 4: Bill of Rights  
  2. Chapter 8: The Legislature  
  3. Chapter 11: Devolution    

III. DEMYSTIFY THE PRESIDENCY & END A CULTURE OF ELECTORAL VIOLENCE BECAUSE OF POWER OF INCUMBENCY 

7. Introduce a one 7-year term presidency Justification: 

  1. History of violence, ethnic and political tensions. The proposed one 7-year term will end the “do or die” culture of re-election. There is an established violence trend in all our electoral cycles where the incumbent seeks re-election. The violence can be traced to the incumbent and or by a rogue opposition determined to eject the incumbent from power. The violence in 1991/92, 1997, 2007/8 and 2017 was not a coincidence. It is clear that there was no violence in 2002 and 2013 and the only viable explanation is absence of an incumbent seeking re-election;    
  2. Focus on re-election rather than service delivery. Our political history and experience have shown that a first term president wastes the 1-2 years of first term appeasing political friends and pleasing everyone; again, the last 2-3 years are wasted because the incumbent is focusing on re-election campaigns and or promises, which are often focused on individuals or a group of political friends. The presidency during this time is not focused on the general Kenyan but at looking politically- correct and or friendly. This is one reason election promises are never met in the first term, and so often even in the second term.    
  3. Ending theft of public money. There is accelerated theft of public money in the last two years of a first term presidency because of the need to finance re-election.  There are more than enough examples such as the unaccounted Euro bond, Angloleasing, the Goldenberg scandal, SGR’s lack of value for money amongst many others.  
  4. Economic meltdown. One term will also stop the cyclical economic melt down witnessed during 1992, 1997, 2007, and 2017 elections. An incumbent will be in power during campaigns and will substantively have power to protect the country from mischievous presidential candidates;
  5. Reduce wage bill. The presidency is always very expensive and draws billions from public coffers. One term will help save public money expended on two presidential elections every five years.


Chapter to be amended:

  1. Chapter 9: The Executive  

IV. REDUCE PUBLIC WAGE BILL AND RECCURENT EXPEDITURE. 

8. Reduce cost of running parliament from current KES 36.8 billion to less than KES 5 billion per year. This saves tax payers KES 31.8 billion. 

Justification: 

  1. The money saved will be redirected to development projects at counties, and particularly at Ward level;
  2. Kenyans would prefer infrastructure development as opposed to sinking billions into recurrent expenditure of elected officials, which does not transform their lives. Furthermore, our current bloated representation does not show any value for money. A member of Parliament receives a free car loan, mortgage, sitting allowance and mileage allowances over and above a salary of almost KES 1 million. Travel costs for parliamentarians is high. This is not prudent use of public money.     
  3. The amount expended on Parliament is quite high given that Kenya is still a poor county than is still struggling with debt that currently stands at approximately KES 5 trillion. A saving of KES 31.8 when invested prudently would easily create millions of jobs for our youth; and or would settle the various collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) that government has failed/refused to honor every day. This would avert nurses, doctors’ and teachers strikes that have devasting effect in our society.  
  4. Kenyans are still in dire need of basic social amenities, and this money can be redirected to enhancing delivery of services to our largely poor and over-taxed citizens.

9. Abolish nominations in the County Assemblies and Senate.  

Justification: 

  1. this will reduce cost of running County Assemblies and Senate;
  2. Money saved from this unnecessary re-current expenditure will be re-directed to development projects, or used to generate employment for millions of unemployed youth.

10. Stop wastage of public funds and cap salaries of elected leaders to a maximum and consolidated pay of KES 500,000 for the President and KES 300,000 for the MP per month. All elected leaders will not be paid any other allowances (sitting allowance, car grant and Mortgage allowance). SRC to determine salaries of other elected leaders.

Justification: 

  1. It is self-evident that elected officials have been using their positions to advance personal gains. Parliamentarians have severally and in the past united to increase their salaries and benefits, e.g., the recent 700% increase on their pension. Working in the public service should not be an avenue for self-enrichment; it ought to be service to society. Those who desire hefty pay should either go into business or join the corporate world.  
  2. Parliamentarians have been drawing hefty sitting allowances besides being publicly salaried employees. These payments are just but legalized theft of public money. Public service should be made unattractive for those hell;-bent on making money; it should instead be made attractive for those who truly want to serve and give back to society.  
  3. Elective positions are voluntary jobs and it is in-order that elected officials do not use their delegated power to enrich themselves at the expense of development;  
  4. Elected leaders with qualifications and capacity to earn higher monthly salaries or incomes can seek employment in the corporate sector or engage in business;  
  5. Kenya is in dire need of servant leadership. Elected leaders must be the people’s servants. Leadership must be a calling and not a means of generating wealth per se.

11. Abolish the position of Deputy Governor. The Governor to nominate from among the duly vetted and appointed County Executive Officers, one of them to be his principal Assistant for purposes of administration. In the unlikely event of the position of Governor falling vacant, the Governor to be elected in a by-election.  

Justification: 

  1. All Deputy Governors are redundant without any clear roles in the county.   
  2. This will eliminate political tension and competition between the Governor and his deputy that has over time proved to be very injurious to delivery of services, and the smooth running of county affairs;  
  3. This will also eliminate political alignment and conniving between the Deputy Governor and his Governor on the one hand, and with MCAs on the hand. The two positions have been a source of political tension and also one reason why County Assemblies have been incited to impeach the Governor.   
  4. This will also reduce the wage bill of counties, and all costs associated with Deputy Governor.    

12. Constitutional commissions to comprise of not more than 5-part time members who will be sitting on a necessity basis and shall be paid a sitting allowance per sitting as will be set by the SRC  Justification: 

  1. This will cut down the huge wage bill together with other attendant costs such as security, pension, vehicles, travel etc.;   
  2. Constitutional Commissions must operate like commercial company or parastatal boards. The commissioners should be sitting on a need basis  
  3. There is no justification to having salaried commissioners whereas they are not involved in the daily operations of their respective organizations. Commissioners, like directors, are meant to oversee policy implementation and this does not need to be full time; what we need is to strengthen secretariats of the various commissions;  
  4. Kenyans will save millions of shillings once this is implemented. The money saved can be re-directed to development and other services 

Chapters to be amended:  

  1. Chapter 8: the Legislature  
  2. Chapter 11: Devolution   
  3. Chapter 12: Public Finance  
  4. Chapter 15: Commissions and Independent Offices  

V. ENFORCE INTEGRITY, END CORRUPTION & THEFT OF PUBLIC MONEY

13.Amend Chapter 6 of the Constitution to automatically adopt recommendations of public inquiry and audit reports and bar all adversely mentioned individuals from holding any public and or state office. This will end both impunity and corruption.  

Justification: 

  1. End impunity in Kenya;   
  2. End Corruption and theft of public money;  
  3. Ensure Kenyans get value for money in all public projects;  
  4. Weed out bad apples from public and state offices;  
  5. Make theft of public money and impunity a costly affair

14. Corruption and theft of public resources cases to be tried within 30 days and all appeals to be exhaustively concluded within 15 days. 

Justification:  

  1. This will speed up trials of corruption and theft of public money will give confidence to businesses, as well investors who will see Kenya as the best destination owing to severe punishment of corruption. This goes into the heart of better governance, which is the best attraction for investment;  
  2. Deter corruption and theft of public money;  
  3. Establish special corruption and theft of public money courts


15. Impose a life sentence for culprits convicted of corruption and theft of public funds. No presidential pardon and amnesty will be applicable in those cases.

Justification: 

  1. Theft of public money is a national disaster, which denies the majority development. Theft of public money, especially from such institutions as hospitals, schools, etc., is more than murder; it is mass murder. Such perpetrators are therefore undesirable members of our society.   
  2. Corruption and theft of public resources has become an institutionalized crime;   
  3. Theft of public money has led to stagnated development denying Kenyans essential services over the years;  
  4. Enhance severe punishment of the thieves of public resources;  

Chapter to be amended:  

  1. Chapter 6: Leadership and Integrity  

VI.      REDUCE COST OF RUNNING ELECTIONS & REGISTRATION OF VOTERS

16. Every Kenyan at the age of 18 and who acquires a national Identity card shall be deemed to be a fully registered voter for purposes of elections and referenda. 

Justification: 

  1. This will save Kenyans and IEBC billions of shillings for the continuous registration of voters. Evidently, national identity card and or passport is the commonly used document for voting at elections, and not the voter registration card. With proposals to modernize voting including but not limited to use of electronic voting, all we need to do is to ensure that we have a trusted register of Kenyan adults duly entered into a national register that IEBC can sync with its systems for purpose of elections;     
  2. The cost of voter registration runs into tens of billions of shillings every five years;
  3. This will stop wastage of public funds by creating yet another government register when we already have one by the National Bureau for the registration of persons;
  4. This will also help to maintain a single citizen database that can be improved and updated with ease for use as a voter register; Chapters to be amended:  
  5. Chapter 7: Representation of the people  
  6. Chapter 8: The Legislature