Leaders oppose “Punguza Mzigo” referendum initiative



Five legislators from Siaya have urged Kenyans to ignore the Third Way Alliance’s push for constitutional change, terming it cosmetic.

Siaya senator, James Orengo, Rarieda MP, Otiende Amollo, Alego Usonga MP, Samuel Atandi, Ugunja MP, Opiyo Wandayi and Siaya women Rep, Christine Ombaka said the decision by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to give a nod to the push by the Third Way Alliance was questionable, given that an earlier attempt by the Orange Democratic Movement had been thrown away by the same body.

Orengo who is also the Siaya senator told Siaya MCAs to oppose the Bill and instead wait for proposals by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce.

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The 14-member BBI team was constituted after the March 9, 2018, political truce between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his archrival in the 2017 presidential election, Raila Odinga, to engage the public on issues impeding the country’s quest for unity.

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The Bill by the Ekuru Aukot-led Thirdway Alliance was forwarded to county assemblies by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Wednesday after the poll agency verified 1.2 million signatures of registered voters.

Meanwhile a section of Ukambani MPs allied to the Deputy President, William Ruto, have opposed the proposed “Punguza Mizigo” initiative to amend the constitution.

Kitui South MP, Rachel Nyamai, who spoke  in Machakos town at a function attended by the Deputy President said the proposal by the Thirdway Alliance party leader, Dr. Ekuru Aukot, will not be supported by majority of Kenyans.

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Nyamai who was among the over ten MPs who accompanied the Deputy President to a fundraiser for the AIC Katisaa church project  said the proposal should not target women representatives, adding that any proposal that intends to reduce the number of women in leadership will not be accepted.

Other legislators said the proposal is a waste of time.

And, West Pokot Governor Prof John Lonyangapuo and Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto have dismissed the initiative as misplaced saying it has failed to address the interests of ordinary Kenyans.

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Speaking at Tartar Girls in west Pokot county, governor John Lonyangapuo dismissed the punguza mizigo bid saying Ekuru Aukot was using the referendum agenda to promote his 2022 bid for Turkana County Governor.

Last Thursday, IEBC approved 1.2 million signatures collected by Ekuru Aukot-led thirdway alliance party in a bid to push for a referendum to review the constitution.

Among the proposed changes in the Ekuru Aukot bill, is the reduction of constituencies, scrapping of woman representatives positions and nominated leaders as well change of presidential term limit to one term of seven years from the current two five year terms.



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