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Jubilee MPs divided over referendum

PD Team @PeopleDailyKe

The referendum ogre that sowed toxic ethnic seeds among Kenyans in 2005— and to some political observers—set the stage for the 2007 poll that left the country on the brink  has reared its head again. 

And just over a decade since that Banana   and Orange contest for and against the Bomas draft constitution, the discordant calls for a review of the 2010 Constitution are increasing— and in them is discernible political. 

Unlike in 2005 when Raila Odinga led renegade Cabinet ministers to defy President Mwai Kibaki in the plebiscite that was eventually floored, this time the former prime minister, now leader of opposition, is pushing for a review that some see as aimed at creating a position for him in government.

On the opposite end of the sparing spectrum is Deputy President William Ruto, who in the Jubilee hierarchy is next in the succession line as President Uhuru Kenyatta who is serving his second and final term exits in 2022.

The push for or against national referendum is premised on the 2022 race for State House with Ruto and Raila seen as the likely front runners.

The call for a review of the 2010 Constitution have sharply divided ruling Jubilee, with many legislators now supporting amendments to reduce the number of elective positions.

Most of them are, however, opposed to any amendments that could change the governance structure.

Kuresoi South MP Joseph Tonui says a reduction of elective seats would reduce the wage bill, thus  spare Kenyans heavy taxation.

Other MPs who support amendments are  Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Michael Muchira (Ol-Joro Orok), Subukia’s Kinuthia Gachobe, Kimani Kuria (Molo), Faith Gitau (Nyandarua Women Rep), Patrick Mariru (Laikipia West),  Patrick Munene (Chuka-Igamba-Ng’ombe), Mathioya’s Peter Kimari and nominated MP Maina Kamanda.

The MPs are, however, say they do not support the re-introduction of position of prime minister.

But a number of Jubilee politicians allied to Deputy President William Ruto have opposed the calls for a referendum.

Cost of living

Led by Leader of Majority in the National Assembly Aden Duale and his Senate counterpart Kipchumba Murkomen, the legislators have said they are opposed to any changes to the Constitution before 2022 all together.

Duale and Murkomen have questioned the rationale of referendum at a time Kenyans are struggling with a high cost of living.

Some of Ruto’s allies have said the calls for a referendum are aimed at scuttling his chances of succeeding  President Uhuru in 2022.

Speaking in Nakuru town, Tonui said Kenyans had felt the impact of the 2010 Constitution and agree “that there is a problem”.

“We need a referendum to reduce the burden on Kenyans in terms of representation. The size of the government is too big and takes almost half of the Sh3 trillion budget,” said Tonui.

Tonui said he was in the process of publishing a bill to reduce elected representatives and the number of counties.

“If adopted, the country will reduce the cost of running both the county and national governments by more than half,” he said.

The MP is proposing the reduction of the number of counties from 47 to eight and cut down the number of senators to eight.

Tonui also wants the position of nominated MPs and MCAs scrapped.

“If supported by all, will drastically reduce the money used to pay elected representatives and running both the county and national governments,” he said.

The Jubilee MP said he was against creation of new positions saying the parliamentary system of government would be too costly.

Kuria on his part said that the cost of upholding the 2010 Constitution was too high.

“Reducing the number of elected positions is an idea whose time has come,” Kuria said.

In Kirinyaga, Deputy Governor Peter Ndambiri supported Ndia MP George Kariuki’s call for a referendum to reduce counties from 47 to 12 and scrap the position of senators and women representatives.

Speaking at Nyangati ACK church, Ndambiri said Kenyans were overburdened by the wage bill and the only option was a referendum to amend the Constitution.

Ndambiri said for the country to achieve growth, the wage bill must be reduced and the funds channeled towards development.

“If we reduce some of these positions we can channel the money used to pay salaries towards development projects,’” he said.

The deputy governor also said corruption had taken a toll on the country’s economy. He said culprits should be forced to return the proceeds from graft and their cases heard and determined expeditiously.optaquae. Ut officia ipictempore volecta tempore mporerem ullate et dolore prorentium facient officaero int quis pratius dantium amendam, tem fugiae reiumquis soloribus sitiasp ictiore mpelibus, que pel idis archillia volla ium corem rerae sant periasimint omnis deliquia comnis dolut lit, coremperiae minvelit proresequo ma conseri voluptaes ullatet exeri cuptur aut ut atessita quos eaquas et remolupidero veliquis volupti atesequassi derio molupta turero odistibus quibust aut dollupt aquatent aut elese evelicit harchic iduciisquis quam soluptasi illabo. Natendi autem nitaturibus vendion nullacc aectentem a qui incto optassime estiae. Licabore as delesto rumquia que dolenim ea qui ut ut eatis iminveliqui commolo repudae. Et facepernat.

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