Reduce counties to 40 and enhance Economic Blocs; Democratic Party of Kenya Memorandum to The Building Bridges Initiative read in part.
Two decades after Raila said Kibaki Tosha! His party is returning the favour by supporting Baba’s 3 tier government proposal. Referendum seems unstoppable if what was given as memorandum to the building bridges initiative by Kibaki’s DP party is anything to go by.
Reduction of Counties to 40, Move Nairobi County to National Government, Replace Senate with Official Opposition in Counties, Scrap Women Representative Position, Scrap Nominated MCA position says DP Party to Building Bridges Initiative in their memorandum.
For efficiency in operation as opposed to having many counties, DP calls for the support of the newly formed Economic Blocs which include: the North Rift Economic Bloc (NOREB), the Central Kenya Economic Bloc (CKEB), the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB), Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani (JKP), South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc (SEKEB), Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC).
After the highly contested 2017 presidential election which ended up in Supreme Court and subsequent nullification of the presidential results which saw second round presidential polls, the political temperatures, hatred, protests, loss of lives including of children it was evident that something drastic need to be done.
The political leaders of the two largest parties had only two options either to sit down reason and get the country back to normalcy or continue taking hard-line and plunge the country into anarchy. In their own wisdom they choose to obey the good book in Isaiah 1:18 which say: Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
The two leader’s president Uhuru Kenyatta and Hon. Raila Odinga formed a team to look into issues that has been diving the country along tribal, political and social lines every 5 years since the inception of multiparty democracy in Kenya in 1992.
The 14-member team was unveiled in late April last year to set a roadmap to for the realisation of the nine-point plan of the unity deal. The team was to look into the following key areas; ethnic antagonism and competition, lack of national ethos, inclusivity, devolution, divisive elections, safety and security, corruption, shared prosperity and responsibilities and rights. Ambassador Martin Kimani and laywer James Mwangi were appointed to head the team and represent the two leaders respectively.
The team comprised of Dr Adams Oloo, Agnes Kavindu, Senator Amos Wako, Ms Florence Omose, Professor Saeed Mwanguni, Mzee James Matundura, Major (rtd) John Seii, Bishop Lawi Imathiu, Hon Maison Leshomo, Senator Mohamed Yusuf Haji, Morompi ole Ronkai, Bishop Peter Njenga, RoseMoseu and Zacheus Okoth who were charged with responsibility of visiting different parts of the country and collect views of the public on the nine grounds of contention identified by the two leaders.
Since its inception the team has been conducting County meeting and collecting memoranda from individuals, groups, parties, communities and organizations as to how they intend the nine points to be addressed.
On 7th March 2019 The Democratic Party of Kenya (“DP”) had an opportunity to present its memorandum to the team. They gave proposals of weighty matters that they considered if they are addressed the county could be saved of the ever threatening post election violence that has been recurring after every five years.
DP addressed expressly three issues put forward by BBI namely: Devolution, Shared Prosperity and Divisive Elections.
On Devolution; DP identified 6 devolution related areas that need review and updating to allow Kenyans enjoy sweeter fruits of devolution. These are:
- Commission for Revenue Allocation Formula; DP proposes a more equitable formula that is 80% focused on the population, 15% on equalization, and with all the other factors comprising the balance 5%.
- Reduction of Counties; DP proposes that the country reverts to the 40 districts that existed in the 1963 constitution which would mean eliminating seven counties some being Bomet, Vihiga, Nyamira, Siaya,Migori etc. and adding back Thika to end up with 40 counties.
- Nairobi County be moved to National Government; DP proposes that Nairobi should be run under the national government. In this case, the President of Kenya should be empowered to nominate a Cabinet Secretary or Principal responsible for its management.
- Replace Senate with Official Opposition in Counties; DP proposes that the senate role be scrapped and the role of oversight to be given to the runner up in the gubernatorial race
- Scrap Women Representative Position; DP proposes that the National government comes up with mechanisms that support and give women a level playing field to compete with men while running for elective positions.
- Scrap Nominated MCA position; assuming each MCA takes home Kes. 400,000 a month including allowances, scraping the position will save the Wanjiku 3.7 billion annually plus vehicle grants close to Kes. 2.3 billion, the party said in their memorandum.
On shared prosperity; DP identified areas that can spur the economy and enlarge the national cake to be enjoyed by all. These include:
- Youth Empowerment; DP, proposes a bill to be put into law for both National and County governments to provide bank guaranteed for AGPO tenders so that, upon completion and certification of the supplies or works, the youth can go to the bank and receive payment, the proposal read. Government conducts Public Sector Reforms which includes lowering of the retirement age for public servants from the current 60 years to 50 years.
- Supporting SME Businesses; DP proposes that the government supports SME businesses through the following: Harmonize taxes and reduce overlapping licensing requirements, require that all banks lend at least 10% of their loan portfolio to SMEs at preferential rates, cap the amount of money banks can loan to government at 25% of their loan book, establish and gazette an SME development council constituted by Cabinet Secretaries (inter-ministerial) who are entrusted with respective functions of the SME Sector. DP proposes Business/ Employment Requirements; They proposes digitizing through government portal information relating to job applications by youth such that employers can check these documents online at no cost to the job seeker. Also HELB nonpayment penalties and interests for unemployed youth should be waived.
- Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Allocation; DP proposes review of the CDF allocation to be based purely on population. They further say that regulation of government borrowing should be enacted. On Natural Resource Benefits, they proposes establishment of a framework that will possibly end the emerging conflicts among the counties amidst demand for fair share of natural resources that fall within their territories.
Finally on Divisive Elections; DP’s reference to divisive elections addresses not only opposition demands for electoral justice, but also an electoral system that greatly favors incumbency and installs a governing system built on ethnical alliances. Also, a faulty system that is sadly a winner takes all.
DP proposes that we maintain a Presidential system of government but expand the executive branch of government by re-introducing the office of the Prime Minister and two deputies, a proposal that could be key to achieving a more inclusive top leadership. All the five positions with a regional balance should be in the ballot as the lineup for the presidential candidate. “Recent history of the country shows faster development can be achieved with establishment of a more regionally balanced government” the party alluded.
In addition to this, DP proposes the runner’s up in the presidential election to take up the role of the official Leader of Opposition which will command a paid package. The leader of opposition will pick a “shadow cabinet” from MPs of the opposition parties. The role of the shadow cabinet will be to follow and examine the work of each government department and develop policies in their specific areas as well as hold the government accountable to the public. The opposition will also represent an alternative government and is responsible for challenging the policies of the seating government and coming up with alternative policies where appropriate.