JUST GAZETTE COMMITTEE

BBI referendum unstoppable — Coast politicians

Raila urged the country to prepare for a referendum by June

In Summary

• 'We only want President Uhuru to gazette the committee of expert for the BBI that will lead us to the referendum. Everything else will fall into place if the committee is gazetted," Faki said.

• The Coast has been plagued by historical land injustices that supporters of BBI say will be reduced.

DP William Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta, ODM leader Raila Odinga and BBI task force chairman Yusuf Haji at Bomas of Kenya, launching BBI report.
UNVEILED: DP William Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta, ODM leader Raila Odinga and BBI task force chairman Yusuf Haji at Bomas of Kenya, launching BBI report.
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

Two Coast politicians have said a BBI referendum to change the Constitution is unstoppable.

On Sunday, Mombasa Senator Mohammed Faki and his Kilifi counterpart Stewart Madzayo urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to gazette the extended mandate of the changing the Constitution. They were speaking at Bilima Grounds in Kisauni constituency.

The political class is divided into two: those calling for a referendum to change the Constitution using the BBI report proposals and those opposing a referendum.

 

Deputy President William Ruto leads the team opposing the referendum push, whereas President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga supporting the referendum.

President Kenyatta and Raila want the referendum to be held sometimes around June this year, Deputy President Ruto’s team said it is impossible to have the referendum this year.

Faki, who is an ODM legislator and a lawyer by profession, said a referendum can happen any time of the year as long as questions are prepared and signatures are collected and presented to Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

It will also require the drafting of a bill and subjecting it to the 47 counties for approval after the IEBC approves the signatures collected and the referendum questions.

“We only want the President Uhuru to gazette the committee of expert for the BBI that will lead us to the referendum. Everything will fall into place if the committee is gazetted,” Faki said.

The 14-member BBI task force chaired by Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji was gazetted in March 2018 with the mandate expiring on October 23, 2019. The President has extended the mandate.

“We want a referendum that will change our country's style of leadership. Right now, the ethnic group with bigger population have the advantage of winning the presidency. We want a system whereby the minority, like the Coastal people, can also win the presidency,” Faki said.

 
 
 
 

Mazdayo, a retired judicial officer, said the referendum will resolve some of the historical injustice in the country.

“We have so many problems in the Coast region, especially the land issue. We want a referendum that will address this problem. The BBI report is going to address this,” he said.

 

Last Friday, during the rollout of the countrywide BBI meetings in Kisii, Raila urged the country to prepare for a referendum by June.

Raila and Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i led a team of governors, MPs, Senators and MCAs in declaring Nyanza region's support for the BBI.

(Edited by V. Graham)