Thirdway Alliance leader Ekuru Aukot on Tuesday spoke to Kenyans.co.ke on the push for a referendum seeking to reduce the national wage bill dubbed ‘Punguza Mizigo’.
Aukot’s proposal tackles perceived over-representation, and would see legislators reduced to 194 from the current 416 with each county considered a single constituency for purposes of elections to the Senate and National Assembly.
The former Committee of Experts (CoE) Director argues that this alone would cut the cost of Parliament to Ksh5 Billion from the current Ksh36.8B.
In a conversation with Kenyans.co.ke, Aukot stated that Thirdway had collected just over 500,000 signatures so far as they look for the 1 million required by the constitution to compel the electoral body to organize a referendum.
The signatures, he explained, were collected via an online platform launched by Thirdway earlier this year and the party’s activities on the ground in several counties.
“So far we have over 500,000 signatures.
“We’ve been to Samburu North, Nakuru, Kiambu, Nairobi and in all these places Kenyans are tired,” Aukot stated.
While acknowledging challenges in marshaling sufficient resources for the drive, Aukot remained confident that the referendum would take place in 2019.
“Our target is to have it before 2022. We are collecting signatures on the ground and online and by next year we can have a referendum,” he stated.
Aukot alongside other Thirdway Alliance officials held a meeting with Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairperson Wafula Chebukati on Thursday concerning the proposed referendum which has sharply divided opinion.