City lawyer Steve Ogolla on Tuesday, November, 15 poured cold water on the proposal by Kuria East lawmaker to have the number of counties increased from 47 to 52.
The Member of Parliament has sent a notice to National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula to table a Bill seeking to increase the number of devolved units.
The proposal seeks to create Kuria county carved from Migori county, Teso carved from Busia county, East Pokot county hived off from Baringo and West Pokot counties while Mount Elgon county carved from Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties and Mwingi carved from Kitui county.
Ogolla, in an interview on KTN News, told off the legislator that the proposal cannot see the light of day by a single MP but must be through broad consensus, and a popular initiative.
“Looking at the nature of the proposed amendment, such a proposal cannot be raised by a single MP through a bill in the manner it has been proposed. It needs to be incubated through a constitutional forum conversation where there is broad consensus before it can be reduced into a bill,” Ogolla revealed.
He further stated that the collection of signatures cannot be initiated by elected leaders as pronounced by the Supreme Court in its ruling on BBI and that his initiative is parliamentary, and not popular as envisioned in the law.
“Experience from the BBI constitutional amendment process shows you can invite the court to slow down or puncture the process of amending the constitution to reduce the compulsion for frivolous amendments.., one of the questions you can invite the high court to look into is, is there a constitutional justification or rationale for increasing the counties in the manner so proposed? he paused.
The city lawyer further expressed that this proposed push for more counties cannot pass the test for constitutional and legal scrutiny.
Kuria East MP Marwa Kitayama argued that the Bill “will solve the perennial ethnic antagonism and divisive elections”.
“The amendment shall ensure that the objects of devolution are realised and that the rights of minorities and the marginalised are promoted and protected. These amendments allow some specific minorities the right to manage their own affairs and further their own development,” reads the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2022.
Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale rebuffed the MPs’ proposal suggesting that counties should be matched to ten in order to create viable devolved units.
“Attempts to create 5 more counties must be defeated. If anything, counties ought to be matched to ten, creating economically viable devolved units.
- Coast 2. North Eastern 3. Upper Eastern 4. Lower Eastern 5. Central 6. Nairobi 7. North Rift 8. South Rift 9. Nyanza 10. Western,” he stated in a tweet.
This proposal, which requires approval by voters at a referendum, is likely to rekindle the emotions that characterised constitution-making and reopen debate on the thorny issue of domination and marginalisation in counties.
Sourced from Kenyans