The Service Party, TSP leader Mwangi Kiunjuri appeared before the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee of the National Assembly, to dissect his proposed amendment to the IEBC Act, in a proposed Bill dubbed Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2023.
The Bill according to Kiunjuri seeks to introduce a raft of amendments that if passed by parliament would help to resolve population inequalities within constituencies ,that according to him undermines the requirements for universal suffrage based on the aspiration for fair representation and equality of the vote.
‘’Fundamental to realisation of this principle and to resolving inequalities in constituency sizes in Kenya is the recognition that the equal opportunity to cast a vote – which is fully realised in Kenya- can mean very little if the strength of that vote is not equal. Critical to fair constituency boundary is the fact that even though the Constitution permits other factors-‘geography, economics, urban-rural conflict, and other non-legal factors – to be considered in the drawing of constituency boundaries, these other factors are weighting factors.’’ Said Kiunjuri
Kiunjuri who doubles up as the Member of the National assembly for Laikipia East said the changes if effected would cure the inequalities, and further protect the fundamental right to representation as guaranteed in the constitution of Kenya
‘’Current electoral inequalities cannot be resolved within a single member constituency system like ours: Inter-county differences in constituency sizes cannot be resolved by an electoral system – like ours- that is only based on territorial constituencies. In urban areas, one could end up with unreasonably small constituencies- a few high-rise apartments- whilst in rural areas- the size of constituencies would make representation impossible.’’ Said Kiunjuri
‘’This legislative proposal recommends that Parliament fundamentally re-think the design of our electoral system and adopt constitutional reforms that embrace a combination of territorial constituencies and political party lists. That would mean moving Kenya from the single member constituency-based system we now have to a Mixed Member Proportional Representation System, MMR. In such a system, parties would present MPs for election in single-member constituencies and then after those elections they would be allocated seats in proportion to the number of votes they get.’’Kiunjuri said
The Justice and legal Affairs Committee is expected to deliberate on the Bill, before making a determination of whether it will be presented before the plenary for debate.