By KARANJA KABAGE
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The 2010 Constitution mandates the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to periodically review electoral units. This is reinforced by Section 36 of the IEBC Act, 2011, which lays out the procedure for delimitation of electoral boundaries.

In accordance with Article 89 (2) of the Constitution, the IEBC has to review the names and boundaries of constituencies at intervals of no less than eight and no more than 12 years. Such reviews must be completed at least 12 months before the general election for Members of Parliament.

Bearing this in mind, the next review should take place between next year and 2022 since the last time that IEBC reviewed electoral boundaries was in 2008.

Currently, Kenya has 416 members of the National Assembly, including the Senate, and 1,450 elected Members of County Assemblies (MCAs). The question is, are we over-represented or under-represented?

It is my considered view that we have over-representation across the board. There are constituencies and/or wards that need rationalisation during the next review.

POLITICAL MISCHIEF

A typical example is cities and urban areas. Nairobi is a glaring one with 17 constituencies and 85 wards. A close review of the last delimitations of boundaries reflects gerrymandering that reeks of political mischief. Against the backdrop our economic status, there is no justification for Nairobi to have more than eight to 10 constituencies and no more than 40 to 50 wards.

The USA has 535 house of representatives members and 100 senators and a total of 635 members of Congress. The country has a size of 9.8 million square kilometres with over 325 million people and a GDP of $18.75 trillion. Kenya, by contrast, has 347 members of the National Assembly and 67 Senators plus two Speakers totalling to of 416. It has a geographical size of only 582,000 square kilometres and a population of 48.46 million. Its GDP was $70.53 billion, according to the World Bank report for 2016. By comparison, we cannot justify the current level of over-representation as our economy can ill-afford to meet the demands of too many elected leaders.

If we do not change course, our economy will not grow, yet the demand of the population will increasingly outstrip our capacity to generate sufficient goods and services.

The consequence will be higher levels of poverty and a greater propensity for corruption characterised by exclusive economic and political extraction for the benefit of a very small minority, principally the elected leaders. Under this scenario, we shall witness instability because a majority will feel excluded and crime levels will rise with an increasingly shrinking number of investors, both local and foreign.

The political class is likely to become extremely rich, isolated and preoccupied with its own security.

Therefore, we must seize the opportunity in 2018 to urgently address the downsising of Parliament and county assemblies to take effect in the 2022 general election. Our principal focus should be to grow the economy.

When one travels through our country, you notice it has all the fundamentals to realise growth to benefit majority of its citizens.

INVESTMENT

However, this can only be possible if we are candid with each other and are willing to cut down on unnecessary public recurrent expenditures while making sure the largest portion of our budget is directed towards investment.

We must also inculcate in every person, from childhood, a culture of hard work, meritocracy and of earning whatever we want as an absolute imperative because we cannot have a nation where leaders take advantage of the nation’s resources and get away with it. We must be a nation that defers to due process and rule of law.

A time has come for everybody to be held responsible, irrespective of their status in life. We must be a nation where everyone of us knows we must live by the rules. Then we shall be on a path to building a Kenya we can all be proud of. However, the first step is to agree that IEBC cannot afford additional counties, constituencies and wards.

 Mr Kabage is an advocate of the High Court

As David and Louise Turpin’s criminal case proceeds, the questions of their parental rights and their children’s long-term future will likely be decided in another courtroom. The Southern California couple is charged with torturing and starving 12 of their 13 children over a prolonged period of time. They have pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Fake degree case: PHC quashes FIR against ex-teacher of Bacha Khan University

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has quashed a first information report (FIR) registered against a former assistant professor of the Bacha Khan University Charsadda in a fake degree case with observation that the Federal Investigation Agency had no jurisdiction in the matter.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Roohul Amin Khan and Justice Younas Thaheem Khan allowed the writ petition filed for cancellation of the FIR by the FIA.

The court was hearing the quashment petition filed by Dr Fawad Jan. During hearing, counsel for the petitioner Barrister Ameerullah Khan Chamkani submitted that the FIA had no authority to interfere in the affairs of an independent body. He said the university was an independent body.

The lawyer argued that after the 18th Constitutional Amendment, the universities were devolved to provinces and if there was any irregularity or corruption, it came under the jurisdiction of the provincial anti-corruption body. He said that verification of the professors’ degrees in the province rested with the provincial government and its agencies.

Furthermore, he submitted that the FIA officials on an unnamed complaint had started investigation against the degree of the assistant professor.

The lawyer submitted that the FIA officials started investigation of the professor’s PhD degree and finally declared his degree as fake, which he had got from California, US.

The lawyer stated that the FIA assistant director, Shahid Ilyas, and investigation officer Asfandyar had misused powers by investigating the degree and then lodging the FIR and arresting the petitioner. He submitted that the professor’s degree is genuine.

The FIA had registered the FIR against Dr Fawad Jan on the basis of an inquiry in which he was found guilty of having a fake doctorate degree.

The FIA official explained that the accused official had secured job in the university on the basis of a Ph.D degree from the “non-existent” Paramount University California, USA, through a controversial firm, Axact. The FIA officials said that they had formally probed the matter and the case was registered against him after gathering proof.