PROPOSED LAW CHANGE

All eyes on Nairobi as MCAs debate BBI Bill on Thursday

Assembly leaders express confidence bill will be passed by over 90 per cent of the vote

In Summary

• Some 118 MCAs expected to participate in the voting process; three are suspended.

• Majority leader Guyo and whip Kados express confidence that the bill will be passed resoundingly. 

The Nairobi county assembly.
The Nairobi county assembly.

Nairobi MCAs on Thursday debate and vote on the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

The bill was tabled by Majority leader Abdi Guyo on Tuesday last week and committed to the assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs committee.

On Wednesday, public participation was held and residents urged to submit their views. 

By Tuesday, six of the seven assemblies that have voted on the bill passed it. They are Siaya, West Pokot, Homa Bay, Kisumu, Busia and Trans Nzoia. Only Baringo has rejected the bill. 

Nominated MCA Anne Thumbi said although the bill pledges many goodies, some are not practical, questioning how the national government will ensure 35 per cent of revenue gets to the counties, yet sending them 15 per cent has been a struggle.

“Most of the proposals in the report only require political goodwill and not a referendum to be implemented. How practical is the 35 per cent allocation going by the country’s debt situation?” she asked.

Silvia Museiya, another nominated MCA, was of the view the bill be left to the public to decide. “As a leader, I will maintain neutrality and let the people decide,” she said.

The assembly has 122 MCAs. However, 118 of them will be expected to participate in voting, either physically or virtually.

Three Jubilee nominated MCAs—Thumbi, Museiya and Millicent Jagero—were suspended from the party in December for three months and assembly committees for six months. They will, therefore, not take part.

Another Jubilee nominated MCA, Habiba Ibrahim Hussein, lost her seat last March after she failed to attend plenary sittings for two years.

Majority Whip Paul Kados said the House leadership is optimistic that the bill will be passed by over 90 per cent of the vote.

“Those opposing the bill will be insignificant. I will personally be in charge of mobilising yes votes,” he said.

Guyo shared similar sentiments, expressing confidence that the bill will sail through. It means well for devolution and ensures uniform development across the 85 wards in Nairobi, he said.

“By this, power will be given to residents back in the ward to identify projects they want to be implemented. This will ensure development in the ward will not be at the mercy of the governor as funds for the projects will be made available to MCAs regardless of whether they are in a governor's good books," he said.