Mixed reactions greet referendum call

A section of leaders, among them Siaya Senator James Orengo, claim that Deputy President William Ruto is not sincere in his support for a referendum.

Orengo said the “surprise change of heart” by Ruto in support of the constitutional amendment, which he has vehemently been opposed to, was not genuine.

“I don’t think Ruto is sincere. The referendum has nothing to do with positions. He cannot say he supports it and at the same time quick to say he will not support it if the agenda is to create positions for the Opposition,” Orengo said during an interview in Mombasa.

Kericho Woman Representative Florence Bore said it was pointless for politicians to put effort on the referendum call without considering its cost implications.

Kisii senator Sam Ongeri, and a section of leaders from Nyamira county led by North Mugirango MP Joash Nyamoko, supported the proposal to amend the Constitution.

Ongeri said under the current law, the wage bill has gone up and hence the need to amend it, while Nyamoko urged Kenyans to support it.

In Mombasa, five MPs in support of the referendum cautioned politicians against hijacking the process for selfish interests.

Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), Michael Kingi (Magarini), Paul Katana (Kaloleni), Senator Christine Zawadi (nominated) and MP Godfrey Otsotsi  (nominated) said the referendum should be used to reduce the huge wage bill.

Jumwa proposed the number of MPs be reduced from the current 349 to 112. She also wants boundaries for wards, constituencies and counties expanded so that representation can be reduced.

“We need MCAs reduced from the current 1,700 to 600 and the same applies to the number of nominated MPs,’’ said Jumwa.

The MPs also proposed the number of Cabinet Secretaries be reduced from the current 22 to 10.

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