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Six hurdles remain for ‘Punguza Mizigo’ referendum initiative

Third Way Alliance leader Ekuru Aukot (left) at Gakoromone market North Imenti on October,19,2018.
Image: FILE

In Summary

• The amendment by popular initiative is not a walk in the park, it has eleven steps to go through.

• On Thursday, IEBC confirmed and verified that the Initiative had been signed by 1,222,541 registered voters as required by requisite threshold in article 257(4)

Thirdway Alliance now has to overcome six more hurdles before its ‘Punguza Mizigo’ initiative can result in a referendum.

Being one of the ways to amend the Constitution, the initiative has to go through County Assemblies and the two houses of Parliament before being passed on to Kenyans.

The Kenyan Constitution can either be amended through a popular initiative – such as ‘Punguza Mzigo’ or through a Parliamentary initiative, according to Article 257 of the Constitution.

The amendment of the Constitution by popular initiative is not a walk in the park with the process involving eleven steps to go through.

The Punguza Mizigo initiative has successfully gone through the first five steps, remaining with six.

On Thursday, Third way got its initiative through a critical phase of verification of at least one million support signatures by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

On Thursday, IEBC confirmed and verified that the Initiative had been signed by 1,222,541 registered voters as required by the requisite threshold in article 257(4) of the Constitution.

The Commission has to take the next step, which is forwarding the draft Bill to all 47 County Assemblies for consideration within three months of submission.

County Assembly Speakers will then submit decisions of each county to the Speakers of both the National Assembly and the Senate.

If a draft Bill has been approved by a majority (24) of the county assemblies, it shall be introduced in Parliament without delay.

Thirdway Alliance party leader Ekuru Aukot has launched an online campaign dubbed “Punguza Mizigo” seeking to reduce the number of legislators.

A Bill under this Article will then be passed by Parliament if it is supported by a majority of the members of each House.

If the Bill goes through the Parliament successfully, it shall be submitted to the President for assent.

But if both Houses fail to pass the Bill, the proposed amendment shall be submitted to the public to decide through a referendum.

In the referendum, the proposed amendment shall be approved by at least twenty per cent of the registered voters in each of at least half of the counties vote in the referendum.

A majority of those voting in the referendum must also support the Bill, if it is to successfully amend the Constitution.

The initiative was launched last year by Thirdway Alliance party leader Ekuru Aukot seeking to reduce the number of legislators from the current 416 to 194.

The Initiative comes amid Building Bridges Initiative which was formed after the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM party leader Raila Odinga.

BBI is also moving across the country collecting views from the public on the gaps in the Constitution.

Kenyans have speculated that the initiative might also end the referendum.

According to Aukot, the move will reduce the cost of running Parliament from Sh36.8 billion to Sh5 billion per annum.

Since his launch, the party has traversed through the country seeking signatures from the voters.

Source: Star

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