MPS VS PEOPLE

Embu MCAs, elders back referendum to enact BBI

They say MPs will hijack BBI if presented in Parliament

In Summary

• Mt Kenya MPs said many aspects contained in the report can be implemented in Parliament because they touch on the law and not an amendment to the Constitution. 

• Elders and ward reps urge that proposals be converted into a bill and brought to people to read and understand then give their views and vote for it in a referendum.

Embu Speaker Josiah Thiriku reads as statement on behalf of Embu MCAs and elders at Mountian Breeze Hotel in Embu Town on Tuesday
'PEOPLE'S DOCUMENT': Embu Speaker Josiah Thiriku reads as statement on behalf of Embu MCAs and elders at Mountian Breeze Hotel in Embu Town on Tuesday
Image: REUBEN GITHINJI

Embu MCAs and elders have rejected a proposal by Mt Kenya lawmakers that the Building Bridges Initiative report be approved for implementation through Parliament. 

The leaders on Tuesday strongly opposed the proposal by 57 MPs and senators made last Saturday that the report’s proposals be ratified for usage in the country through Parliament as opposed to a referendum.

The MCAs, Embu's councils of elders Nyangi Ndiiriri and Kiama Kia Nyangi Ndiiriri; and Mbeere's Ngome Council of Elders spoke at the Mountain Breeze Hotel in Embu.

 

The groups were led by their chairmen Andrew Ireri (Nyangi Ndiiriri), Hesbon Nyagah (Ngome), Gichangi Mbogo (Kiama Kia Nyangi Ndiiriri), assembly speaker Josiah Thirirku and former Senator Lenny Kivuti.

They said if taken to Parliament, MPs might hijack them and either spike or dilute them.

In a joint press statement read by Thiriku, they urged that the proposals be converted into a bill and be brought to the people to read and understand then give their views and vote for it in a referendum.

The group further recommended that all the proposals in the report–whether on law, policy or administration–be improved and fine tuned so that they can be implemented to bring about unity, development and harmony in the country.

The leaders said they fully President Uhuru Kenyatta’s stand that all Kenyans should read the report and understand it before making their decision.

They were reacting to proposals by some leaders who had been joined by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri that Parliament is the way to implement the Building Bridges Initiative. 

The 57 leaders held a two-day retreat at Mountain Breeze Hotel in Embu to discuss the way forward on the report.

 

The legislators on Saturday said any constitutional amendment in relation to BBI report should be Parliament-led.

They said many aspects contained in the report can be implemented in Parliament because they touch on the law and not an amendment to the Constitution.

"Parliament is the sole body constitutionally mandated to pass laws. We commit ourselves to drive legal work in Parliament moving forward," the statement read by Embu Senator Njeru Ndwiga read.

The group said Kenyans are already overburdened and national resources should be spared from a national referendum.

“We must avoid contentions, divisive national process. We must avoid a national process that works against the primary objective of BBI–the unity of our country,” the statement read.

They said the BBI must not be used for politics nor hijacked by 'evil' people.

The legislators said if the country must go to a referendum, then it must be solely based on the issues raised in the current BBI report, a process that unites and not divides.

If a referendum must be conducted, they said, it should be conducted alongside the 2022 general election.  

The statement added, “And for the avoidance of doubt, we shall refuse another committee of experts.”

The legislators have also called upon government agencies to pick up policy areas in the report and implement them. 

They said the county's economy does not allow for a national referendum and instead, such funds should be diverted in various agricultural sectors.

Edited by R.Wamochie