Coast counties to start BBI bill debate next Tuesday

MCAs in all the six counties have endorsed the bill.

In Summary

• Five governors have been pushing for it to succeed. It's only the Kwale governor, who has remained non-committal on its support.

• MCAs have refuted claims that the Sh2 million car grant is meant to bribe them to support the BBI bill. 

Coast region governors Dhadho Godhana (Tana River), Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Granton Samboja (Taita Taveta) and Amason Kingi (Kilifi)
Coast region governors Dhadho Godhana (Tana River), Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Granton Samboja (Taita Taveta) and Amason Kingi (Kilifi)

The six counties in the coastal region will from Tuesday next week start debating on the Constitution (Amendment Bill) 2020.

This comes as the Coast leadership comprising of governors, MPs and senators converge on Saturday in Lamu to discuss the BBI and the political future of the region.

The meeting in Lamu will be attended by five governors. They are Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Amason Kingi (Kilifi), Granton Samboja (Taita Taveta), Dhadho Godhana (Tana River) and Lamu's Fahim Twaha.

The five have openly endorsed the BBI.

However, Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya, who is said to have endorsed the BBI, but has remained non-committal on its grassroots support, might not attend the meeting.

Two weeks ago, governors Joho, Godhana, Kingi and Samboja met in Wudanyi, Taita Taveta, to deliberate on the coastal politics. They agreed to support one of their own for the top seat and push the BBI agenda.

Mombasa county assembly last week on Tuesday presented the document to the members of the public so as to capture their views.

Speaker Aharub Khatri said they will allow members of the public to share their views on the bill before it is debated on the floor of the House.

“The Justice and Legal Committee will plan for public participation. The assembly will then debate on the report which will be tabled by the committee," Khatri said.

"Our views as the assembly will be a reflection of what the Mombasa residents would have said.” 

The Mombasa assembly organised a two-day public participation on Thursday and Friday in all the six subcounties - Nyali, Mvita, Likoni, Jomvu, Changamwe and Kisauni.

Mombasa deputy speaker Fadhili Makarani told the Star they are awaiting a report of the public views.

“Probably, next week the bill will be brought before the house again. I don't know on which day, because residents are still giving out their views," Makarani said.

Mombasa MCAs opposed to BBI said they do not have numbers to oppose the bill, when it comes before the assembly.

There are only seven opposition MCAs in Mombasa out of the 41 members. 

Lamu assembly speaker Abdul Kassim told the Star that they will next week Tuesday debate on the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill 2020.

“Members of the public have been given an opportunity to discuss the bill on Friday and Saturday. On Tuesday, all the 18 MCAs will be discussing the bill in the assembly,” Kassim said.

In Taita Taveta, deputy speaker Crispus Tondoo said the bill has undergone the first reading and committed to the relevant committee to plan for public participation.

The bill will come before the assembly before the end of the week, said Tondoo.

“It is all clear that members will unanimously pass the bill. It is the only way to safeguard our constituencies that were almost merged,” Tondoo said.

Tondoo said increased county allocation from 15 to 35 per cent will enhance service delivery and further strengthen devolution in the country.

In Kilifi county assembly, speaker Jimmy Kahindi said they have subjected the bill to public participation.

He said the assembly will adopt what the public will recommend.

“We cannot change the document. What is needed is for us to support or reject it. We have lined up five days to cover all the 35 wards in the county. Everyday for the five days we will have seven public participation forums in a different location,” Kahindi said.

He said the impression that MCAs will pass the BBI bill because of the Sh2 million car grant has been created by the anti-BBI faction to paint assemblies in a bad way.

Kahindi said the car grant is not a bribe to MCAs.

“This is something we have been pushing for and it just came as a coincidence. We have been pushing it for years. If senators and MPs are getting car grants, why not MCAs?” posed Kahindi.