County residents have rallied their support for a referendum that will introduce vital changes to the constitution and the structure of leadership.
Led by Kajiado East Member of Parliament (MP) Peris Tobiko, the residents called for the creation of a Prime Minister’s position and two deputies ahead of the 2022 General election.
Tobiko said the current Presidential system of governance where the ‘winner takes it all’ is not all-inclusive and has often resulted in ethnic animosity and election-related violence as some people feel left out.
The MP, who was giving her remarks at the Building Bridges to Unity Advisory Taskforce forum in Kajiado Thursday, noted that in order to promote inclusivity among Kenyans, the current system of governance must be changed to an expanded executive through a referendum.
“It is important to note that this country belongs to all of us irrespective of where we come from therefore there is need to expand the executive to accommodate all people by creating the position of Prime Minister and two Deputy Prime Ministers,” said Tobiko.
The legislator added that women were the most marginalized group in the society especially in political representation and a change in the system of governance will ensure that they ascend to power.
She proposed for the creation of a law that mandates male Governor’s vying for the gubernatorial positions to have a female running mate so as to bridge the gender gap.
“If we pass through a referendum that all male governors should have a female running mate then we will have more women ascending to political positions and this will ensure inclusivity rather than depending on the National Assembly where it is obvious that they won’t pass the Two-Thirds Gender rule after what we saw yesterday,” Tobiko noted.
The two third Gender bill flopped for a fourth time yesterday for lack of quorum.
The bill seeks to bridge the gender disparity in the House by amending the Constitution to allow for extra nomination slots for women.
Residents who spoke during the forum reiterated Tobiko’s remarks adding that the winner takes it all system that has always driven a wage between Kenyans after every election.
Unequal distribution of public resources and misuse of public funds, the residents added contributes to the repeated cycle of post-election violence as the minority groups feel left out.
They called on the government to remain committed in the fight against corruption and recover stolen resources from the public coffers.
The locals added that equal distribution of resources would bring the much-needed reconciliation in the country that would foster peace, unity, and development.
Benjamin Tipatet a resident of Kajiado East called for equitable resource allocation to the counties to strengthen devolution and a review of boundaries within the county so as to end perennial boundary disputes among residents.
“We want equal distribution of resources and an increase of funds to the counties so as to strengthen devolution. A review of boundaries will end perennial boundary disputes among locals” said Tipatet.
Makau Mwangangi a resident of Kajiado North, complained that minority groups especially those living with disabilities had been sidelined by both the National and County governments.
“The issue of inclusivity should not only be focusing on which leaders should be given which office to hold, but people with disability have also been neglected and left out because even in some counties you will find that some leaders who have been appointed to represent us are not even disabled. We are also not given tenders by the government and County despite the constitutional mandate that 30% of tenders be awarded to the minority groups,” said Mwagangi
The Building Bridges taskforce was formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga after the March 9, 2018 ‘handshake’ to draw up plans to end hostilities among Kenyans after the 2017 General elections.
Members of the task force are Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji (Chair), Dr. Adams Oloo (Vice-chair), Agnes Kavindu, Busia Senator Amos Wako, Florence Omose, Saeed Mwanguni, James Matundura, Major (Rtd) John Seii, Bishop Lawi Imathiu and Samburu Woman Representative Maison Leshomo.
Others are Morompi ole Ronkai, Bishop Peter Njenga, Rose Moseu and Zecheus Okoth with Lawyers Paul Mwangi and Mr. Martin Kimani as the team’s joint secretaries.
The issues they are set to address are ethnic antagonism and competition, lack of national ethos, inclusivity, devolution, divisive elections, safety and security, corruption, shared prosperity and responsibilities and rights.
The vice chair of the task-force Adams Oloo said Kajiado was the 21st county the team was holding public hearings and hoped they will visit all the remaining devolved units during the given time frame.
Oloo noted in most of the counties that they had visited common issues raised by residents include a change in the structure of governance, more resources allocated to the counties to strengthen devolution, marginalization of minority groups, land and boundary conflicts among others.
“The question of marginalization of communities who are perceived not to be the dominant community is an issue that has arisen in almost all the 21 counties that we visited ,the County leadership tends to focus on the local community rather than the perceived outsiders but as a task force we are committed to ensuring that no Kenyan irrespective of where he stays should be marginalized in terms of employment, promotions and other responsibilities and should be considered on merit rather than the tribe that one comes from,” Oloo said.
The Building Bridges team is expected to present its report to President Kenyatta on, May 2019.