Members of the Coalition of Civil Societies of Northern Keny , have asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to address concerns raised over the delineation of 70 new constituencies as proposed by the BBI Bill.
A spokesman for the lobby that included Northern Pastoralists Association, Hoko and Shalette Shallow Wells Cooperative Society, Northern Land Watch and Waaso Trust, Mr Abdulrahman Abdille, said the Northern Kenya region had been short-changed in the planned changes.
“We need at least three new constituencies in Northern Kenya. They should be created out of Wajir South constituency in Wajir County, Ijara Constituency in Garissa County and North Horr Constituency in Marsabit County,” Mr Abdille said.
He said Wajir South Constituency with a population of 290, 948 residents according to the Kenya Population and Housing Census 2019 has never been reviewed since independence yet four new constituencies that include Eldas, Tarbaj, Wajir West and Wajir East have been created out of Wajir North Constituency.
“This is total marginalization and we are asking President Kenyatta to personally intervene in this matter and ensure the 70 new proposed constituencies are fairly distributed across the country,” he said.
Mr Abdille said Wajir South Constituency occupies an area of 21,596 kilometres squares , which is equivalent to the land mass of Kisumu, Migori, Siaya, Kiambu, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Muranga, Embu, Tharaka Nithi and Nyandarua counties combined.
He said the population quota of a constituency as proposed by Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) was the total enumerated Kenya population against the total number of parliamentary seats.
“The total enumerated Wajir South population is 290,948. This means that Wajir South Constituency meets, passes and exceeds the criteria of population quota of 132, 123 as a constituency thus deserves to be delimited,” he said.
Abdille said their organisations supported sentiments expressed by the chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman, Wafula Chebukati that the work of delineating constituencies belonged to IEBC.
“We are therefore supporting Mr Chebukati’s position that the promoters of the BBI Bill usurped the powers of the commission to set constituency boundaries, contrary to provisions of the Constitution,” he said.
Mr Abdille said if their grievances are not going to be addressed, they will have no option but to seek legal redress.
“And if we fail to get justice in the courts, we will have no option but to mobilise our people to reject the BBI constitutional amendments at the referendum,” he added.
According to the BBI, Kenya will have 70 more constituencies, which are to be located in 28 select counties.
Abdille said the distribution of the constituencies in the select counties is the jurisdiction of the IEBC, as outlined in Articles 84 (4c) and 89 of the Constitution.
The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 indicates that the larger Rift Valley will get 23 new constituencies, Nairobi 12, Central Kenya 11 and Coast 10.
“We differ with the promoters of the BBI for saying that they used population to decide the counties to get the additional constituencies, with priority given to those under-represented in the National Assembly,” he said.
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