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Nairobi County in race against time to debate Punguza Migizo Bill

Nairobi County Assembly is in a race against time to debate Punguza Migizo Amendment Bill with the deadline fast approaching.

The assembly, which subjected the Thirdway Alliance party leader Ekuru Aukot’s Bill to public participation two weeks ago, has until October 15, the deadline for the debate on the initiative, to table and debate the public participation report lest they be locked out of the process.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

The MCAs will be resuming their sittings on Tuesday after a one week recess to attend the County Assembly Sports Association games in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County.

This means that the city ward representatives have only three sittings remaining to consider the report, which its writing is yet to be completed.

Nairobi County Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs committee chairman Jayendra Malde said that the committee, which oversaw the public participation exercise, is yet to conclude its report writing.

The Parklands MCA confirmed that the report writing process is yet to commence but said it will begin Tuesday before the same is submitted back to the committee for approval paving way for it to be considered by the House business committee as part of any Order Paper.

“We were on recess for the CAF games in Eldoret. We have just come back to office today in readiness for resumption of our sittings tomorrow afternoon and so we will take it up from then,” Malde said on Monday.

“Our clerk is doing the needful and once it is done it will come to the committee. This might be tomorrow or the day after (Wednesday),” he added.

LONG RECESS

While announcing that the bill had garnered the constitutionally required number of signatures on July 18, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson Wafula Chebukati said the amendment bill had three months to be submitted to the 47 county assemblies in the country where at least 24 have to approve it within the given time frame.

The assembly had last month, after resuming its sittings after a month long recess, suspended debate on the bill to allow Nairobi residents to first give their opinions on the initiative.

The Justice and Legal Committee was given the mandate to oversee the public participation exercise by acting Speaker Chege Mwaura before and thereafter table its report for the MCAs to debate.

However, Mr Mwaura remains optimistic that the report will be presented to the House in the course of this week.

“The public participation exercise was successful and what we are waiting for is a report from the Justice and Legal Affairs committee. I’m sure it will be coming this week,” said Mr Mwaura, who also doubles as Ngara Ward MCA.

But even as the MCAs are waiting to debate the report on the initiative, signs are looking ominous with reports pointing towards the rejection of the bill.

DEAD ON ARRIVAL

Kilimani MCA and a vice chair of the Justice and Legal Affairs committee intimated that the mood on the ground during the public participation exercise pointed towards opposition to the initiative.

“As a committee, we had a successful public participation exercise with residents very keen on the bill. However, by the look of things, the public were against it with an exercise in Karen Ward, for example, having only one person in support,” said Mr Ogeto.

This, coupled with earlier pronouncements by the majority of the county legislators who have adopted a similar stand, points to only one conclusion – rejection of the Bill.

From the word go, ODM MCAs have made it clear that they are opposed to the initiative in line with the party’s overall stand with Minority Leader Elias Otieno saying the bill was dead on arrival and they will officially reject it when it finally comes to the House.

Jubilee Party, led by Majority Leader Abdi Guyo, has adopted a similar stance saying the Bill does not represent the wishes of most people.

The Bill has been rejected by all county assemblies it has been debated except for Uasin Gishu county.