Kenyans may no longer directly elect Senators if a proposal by a taskforce auditing the socio-economic impact of the 2010 constitution is adopted.Â The taskforce is recommending a reduction in the number of wards by half to just 725 in a move aimed at cutting costs.
The team also recommends that presidential candidates be allowed to run for other elective posts.
If proposals by the working group chaired by Auditor General Edward Ouko are adopted by Parliament and a majority of the electorate, then Kenyans will no longer elect their senators directly.
The committee recommends that members of the county assembly elect 47 senators, one per county. This means one will have to be elected as an MCA, to be eligible for election as a senator.
Alternatively, the Ouko team proposes that senators be elected by constituent assemblies in the 47 counties. The Senate, whose key function is protecting devolution has 67 members; 47 elected and 20 nominated.
The working group has also recommended a reduction on the number of wards in the country, and by extension a slash in the number of members of the 47 county assemblies.
Currently there are 2,224 MCAs; 1450 elected and 774 nominated. The working group observed that the high number of nominated MCAs was diluting the competitive nature of electoral politics, and recommended that elected ward representatives must at all times be more than those picked to represent various interests in the county assemblies.
The committee recommends wards be reduced from 1450 to 725. And to achieve the one third-two thirds gender principle, the working group recommended that each ward elects a man and a woman. This effectively reduces the number of MCAs by 774.
The cost of implementing the constitution enacted in 2010 has been the subject of debate, and the need for all positions created by countryâ€™s supreme law. The working group also delved into the functions of the various office holders elected in 2013, just two years before Kenyans return to the ballot.
The working group has also recommended amendments to electoral laws to enable presidential candidates vie for more than one elective seat.
This means those who miss out on the countryâ€™s top job can land other seats such as governor, senator or members of the national assembly.
The Ouko team has also recommended that the Attorney General be delinked from the executive and granted security of tenure, to insulate the office holder from interference.
The working group is expected to submit its final report to the budget committee in the national Assembly by the end of June this year.