MPs, senators back proposal to increase House numbers
A section of MPs and senators allied to the Kieleweke wing of the Jubilee Party have defended the increased number of representatives in Parliament as proposed in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report, saying Kenyans asked for it.
Led by National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya, the MPs said it was a constitutional requirement, for the people to be properly represented and that was the reason why the drafters of the report make the proposal.
“In 2010, Kenyans asked for 80 MPs and they were given. They decided to increase the number of MPs from 210 to 349 so as to increase the level of representation and for the purpose of the gender rule.
“If they feel that they are overrepresented, they will make their ultimate decision at the ballot,” Kimunya told a press conference at Parliament Buildings.
The final BBI report proposes for an expanded Legislature and abolishing nominated seats.
In the National Assembly, the BBI proposes 360 parliamentarians elected from the 290 constituencies in a single and multiple-member constituencies.
The balance of 70 MPs will be drawn from larger constituencies, said to be under-represented and also address the gender parity quagmire. Some constituencies will have more than one MP.
Currently, there are 290 elected parliamentarians, 47 women representatives and 12 nominated MPs making a total of 349 legislators.
At the Senate, the report has a radical proposal that counties be compelled to elect both a female and male senator, so that there are 94 senators out of the 47 counties.
Kimunya who was accompanied by among others Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata , said the MPs believe that the report captured the aspirations, a majority of Kenyans expected in regards to national ethos, responsibilities and rights.
“The report came up with suggestions on how to deal with ethnic antagonism and competition, inclusivity, divisive elections, shared prosperity, fighting corruption, devolution and the safety and security of all Kenyans,” read a statement by the MPs.
They urged Kenyans to read the report before making their decision to either reject or support the report and shun politicians who were out to mislead them for their own selfish interests.
“We emphasise that you read the report yourselves. Do not allow politicians pursuing interests to misguide and confuse you,” Kang’ata said.
The report, the MPs maintained has addressed the needs of people from all spheres of life including those in small-scale enterprises to “mama mbogas” to boda boda operators.
The report also provides that there will be the office of the Leader of the Opposition who will be the runner up of the presidential election.