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Citizen Weekly

Thursday 30 October 2014


MPs have hatched a plot to reduce the number of counties from the current 47 to 11. They also plan to drastically cut the number of Senators and county assembly members, a proposal that has drawn immediate opposition from governors and senators.
Mwingi North MP Joe Mutambo is the brain behind the new Bill which, if passed, will amend sections of the law so as to merge some counties which he describes as “not viable.”
“The governors are spending more than 60 percent of their income on recurrent expenditure yet some of the people they are hiring are not required in those areas. This is wastage of the highest order and we must stop it unless we do not want development as a country,” said Mutambo yesterday.
Each of the 47 governors have cabinets of at least eight ministers with various chief officers in addition to Members of the County Assemblies, Senators and Women Representatives which, according to Mutambo, is too expensive for the country.
Minority leader Jakoyo Midiwo has also called for the scrapping of devolved governments because, according to him, they have become too expensive to run.
“This country cannot afford 47 governments plus the national one. This country cannot afford over 400 Members of Parliament. This country cannot afford the numerous MCAs (Members of the County Assemblies),” he said yesterday.
But governors William Kabogo of Kiambu, David Nkeidianye of Kajiado, Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia) and several senators including Naisula lessuda (nominated), have opposed the proposed reduction of counties. “I do not agree with him. The present system has to be tested first. It is too early to conclude,” said Nkaidianye.
According to Mutambo’s proposed Bill, the plan is to amend relevant sections of the law to make the former eight provinces the new devolved units instead of the current 47 former districts.
“I propose to split the three biggest provinces of Rift Valley, Eastern and North Eastern into two counties each because of the huge population and land mass. If we do that we will then have governors responsible for those areas and their cabinets will then have real work to do,” said Mutambo. But Ojaamong dismissed Mutambo’s Bill.
“He must be day dreaming. Setting up devolved systems takes time. Let him give us time to make devolution a reality,” said Ojaamong.
The powers of the counties are provided in Articles 191 and 192, and in the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution of Kenya and the County Governments Act of 2012.
The counties are also single member constituencies for the election of members of parliament to the senate and special women members of parliament to the the National Assembly.
If Mutambo’s Bill is passed, the number elected senators and women Representatives will also be reduced from the current 94 to 28.
The Constitution creates 47 county governments based on the delineation of administrative districts as created under the Provinces and Districts Act of 1992.
According to Chapter 16 of the constitution, any proposed amendment to “objects, principles and structure of devolved government” must go through a referendum.
A proposal to amend or reduce the number of MCA’s, Counties and Senators is an amendment to the structure of devolved governments so it will require a referendum.
Under Article 256, a Bill for this purpose can be tabled in either house of parliament- Senate or National Assembly but must obtain support of the other. The Bill must obtain two thirds support from both houses. The Bill cannot be read a second time before 90 days lapse. The period is meant to allow time for public debate.
Once passed, both speakers are required to submit it to the president who would request the electoral commission to conduct a referendum within 90 days.
“Mutambo has probably not read the constitution properly. How do you change representation? Let him put his energies of serving the people of Mwingi North,” said Kabogo yesterday.
NAIROBI Senator Mike Sonko’s estranged wife Josephine Thuku has rejected DNA test results presented in court and asked that another test be done.
The tests undertaken by government analyst George Ogunda on September 30 indicate that Sonko is the biological father of her first child but not of her second.
The tests indicate that the two children are biologically related. Thuku had claimed Sonko is the biological father of the two children.
The senator had said he is the father of the first-born but denied paternity of the second child. Yesterday, Thuku rejected the DNA tests results, saying Sonko picked the children up from school and went to a private house with the unidentified doctor where only one child was examined. Thuku’s lawyer Leonard Shimaka said another DNA test should be undertaken at PathCare Hospital in Mombasa for the best interests of the children. “The results will come direct to the court and not to either party in 21 days,” he said.
Thuku asked the court to compel Sonko to continue providing monthly shopping facilities for the two children at a cost of Sh15,000 at Nakumatt Ukunda. Sonko’s lawyer Lydia Kwamboka denied claims that the senator took the children to a hotel for DNA test. She said he took them to a hotel to make them comfortable.
Kwamboka said Sonko is ready to take another DNA test. Sonko has said that even if the DNA results prove he is not the biological father of the second child, he will continue to provide for the child. In the case, Thuku wants Sonko to pay Sh140,000 monthly maintenance for the two children. The hearing will be on December 17.
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