Bwonya: Bungoma, Meru need an extra constituency each while Mombasa, Kisumu city status must be upheld


Bungoma County residents including the civil society, various professional bodies and political leaders are collecting signatures to force the proponents of BBI to give them an extra constituency.

In a memorandum, the residents claim that Bungoma and Meru counties deserve one extra constituencies based on its population while they want city status for Kisumu and Mombasa be recognized.

“We the undersigned have taken time to read and understand the 2020 draft bill to amend the constitution of Kenya, 2010, we remain cognizant and appreciate this opportunity to give some post-mortem/ observation on the report gazetted on the 25th of November 2020,” read the Memorandum.

It continues, “We applaud the task force under your leadership, your efforts and commitment for coming up with such a wonderful document, having now dissected the report, we are largely happy because many of our wishes have been captured and perfectly reflected in the report,”.

The executive director Western Kenya Human Rights Watch Job Bwonya however argues, the petition has been informed by the inconsistencies and rounding up of the proposed 70 constituencies to the nearest whole number and what appears to uniform or selective application of the national population quota regardless of the classifications of the 28 Counties.

“We believe the population quota was obtained by dividing the population of Kenya- 2019 census by the 360 constituencies. Hence, 360/ 47,564,296 =132,123 per constituency as the mean national average,” he said.

Bwonya added, “We further believe that, the BBI task force put into consideration, the criteria and methodology used by IEBC, in the last review of constituency’s boundaries,”.

He stated that it includes; the three classifications of constituencies into; Cities, Sparsely populated areas and other areas and 30 percent or 40 percent.

He said that cities are supposed to be within the limits of 40 percent above the population quota, Sparsely populated areas within the limits of at least 40 percent below the population quota, while other areas within the limits of 30% below or above the population quota.

Sparsely populated counties include; Mandera, Turkana, Kajiado and Narok. The remaining 21 counties are classified as other areas.

“We have no problem with the counties classified as sparsely populated areas, but the discrimination in calculating apportionment of the seventy constituencies’ in counties of the three cities and the 21 counties,” he said.

Bwonya added, “This therefore means that, for cities, 40% above the population quota or national average would be 40 percent/100x 132,123= 52,849 +132,123=184,972 maximum city population quota,”.

He said that they used the Nairobi case, to determine how you obtained the 12 new constituencies for Nairobi city and how the total added up to 29 constituencies.

“To get the 29 constituencies, you apportioned to Nairobi, it appears you used 151,623 as the population quota i.e. 29 divide by the population of Nairobi hence; 29/4,397,073= 151,623,” said Bwonya.

He said that since Mombasa and Kisumu are cities, they should also have been subjected to the same population quota that you used to apportion constituencies to Nairobi. Unfortunately, it appears that this was not the case.

He raises another disturbing issue which is the ranking, If the task force fairly ranked the seven selected counties with below 0.7 constituencies above the whole number, accordingly, it shall be; Meru (11.69),Bungoma (12.64), Bomet (6.63),Kirinyaga (6.62), Embu(4.60), Nyamira (4.58) and Kwale (6.56) respectively.

“It is obvious that the ranking was done with discrimination. This is surprisingly because, the five least ranked counties were upgraded to the nearest whole number; Bomet 7, Kirinyaga 7, Embu 5, Nyamira 5 and Kwale 7,” he said.

The two top ranked counties of Meru and Bungoma with greater average were downgraded to the lowest whole number.

“You cannot round 11.69 and 12.64 to 11 and 12 respectively, and at the same time round up 4.58 and 6.56 to 5 and 7 respectively, which method/criteria did you use to determine that Bungoma’s County mean of 12.64 be downgraded to 12 while Kwale’s County mean of 6.56 be up graded to 7?” he posed.

He added, “May be, there were compelling reasons, which should at least be made public or do we leave it to IEBC to decide?, This raises some questions! Does it mean that we did not have a clear criterion on how the 70 constituencies were reached? Or they could as well be more than 70?

He said that it appears it was Nairobi County that was subjected to the city status population quota, while Mombasa and Kisumu were not treated as cities, yet they have been given the city status. Then why should we call them cities?

We believe that if Mombasa and kisumu were subjected to the City population quota as Nairobi, they would not have been allocated the seats they have now. This discriminative criterion has denied Meru, Bungoma an additional constituency, which they deserve, basing on the rounding up of the figures to the nearest whole number that you used to apportion constituencies to other counties.

“Your honour, different sets of electoral apportionment can produce different election outcomes, even if the underlying vote patterns are identical. Electoral abuses such as malapportioned constituencies can have profound effects on the outcome of elections and distribution of national resources,” said Bwonya.

He said that boundaries by their nature have political and economic implications. They define access and distribution of economic benefits and allocate political power.

“Therefore, allocation of boundaries whether administrative or electoral, has an effect on the incentives of those affected. Denying the two counties of Meru and Bungoma constituencies that they are entitled to get hampers their development,” he said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here