The members of pastoralists political leaders gathered in Nairobi make a public pronouncement and add their voices to the ongoing public debate on the Building Bridges Initiative Report (BBI). The Governors under the FCDC umbrella and MPs that form the Pastoralists Parliamentary Group represent more than 10 million people spread in a region that covers 80% of Kenya’s landmass.
The leaders were concerned that the BBI report ignored the detailed presentations to the taskforce and reduced citizens’ gains on equity in resource allocation, representation, gender parity, needs of the Persons With Disabilities, and protection of the community land among others. They demanded that their issues be part of the ongoing debates and their proposed amendments be constituted.
The following are the minimums proposed by the pastoralist leaders:
- Resource Allocation: The proposed amendment on Article 203 (1) of the constitution be deleted and Article 203 of the constitution be retained as it is stipulated in the 2010 constitution.
- Representation: Secure and protect the 290 existing constituencies as they are, and entrench them in the constitution. On the proposed additional 70 seats – a distribution that guarantees each of the 47 Counties has at least one slot. The leaders oppose the use of party lists in party primaries. 47 women representatives in the National Assembly be retained.
- Community land protection: Pastoralism is the most viable land use practice in the drylands and Pastoralists’ land must be recognized by government and policy-makers as a key factor of production and an important sector. Protect land-use policies for pastoral lands for grazing and agriculture. Protect game reserves and wildlife corridors -land adjacent to parks set aside.
- Health Service Commission: The proposal to create the Health Service Commission undermines the gains made by devolution as Health is a devolved function.
- Equalization Fund: Increase the sunset clause and restart the 20 year period for the Fund from the date of commencement of the fund disbursement for it to achieve original constitutional intent that aimed to equalize infrastructure of marginalized regions.
- Senate: Propose Senate as an Upper House. The delegation model of voting must be retained. The leaders reject the proposed deletion of Article 123. Senate to approve all constitutional appointments.
- Judiciary: Independence of the Judiciary is paramount to the protection rights of the people of Kenya. The leaders want the Ombudsman proposal to be removed. Independence of the judiciary must be protected through the operationalization of the Judiciary Fund.
- IEBC: The independence of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as an election arbiter is paramount and must be devoid of political party interference.
- Discrimination: Funds be set aside for registration of persons and issuance of National Identity Cards and other crucial documents to make sure all pastoralists of age are registered and can access services as any other citizen without discriminatory vetting. Address issues of Human Rights violations.
- Education: Guarantee access to education is right for the people of North Eastern and ASALS. TSC has withdrawn ALL teachers from North-Eastern counties and no back to school strategies in place, thus putting the future of our children at risk. We would like to propose the localization recruitment of teachers.
- Pastoralist livelihood: The establishment of Livestock Marketing Authority with the capacity of vessels for exporting live animals to competitive markets.