BBI IN NAIROBI

Nairobi residents poke holes into BBI Bill as MCAs vow to pass it

Nairobi residents give their views as MCAs vow to pass the BBI bill

In Summary

•Only 118 MCAs will be expected to participate in the voting process of BBI  either physically or virtually.

•Residents claimed they have not yet accessed the BBI Bill for better scrutinity

A section of Nairobi residents have poked holes into the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 arising from the Building Bridges Initiative that is set to be debated today.

A section of Nairobi residents have poked holes into the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 arising from the Building Bridges Initiative that is set to be debated on Thursday.

This comes as majority of the  MCAs vow to overwhelmingly pass the bill.

Residents drawn from all the 85 wards while attending the public participation forum at Charter hall on Wednesday,  felt that their needs had not been addressed in the bill while majority said they had not accessed copies of the document.

"We do not have copies of the BBI bill yet the process will proceed regardless. Copies should be made available for us to go through it thoroughly and understand what we are dealing with," said Jemima Wambui, a Roysambu resident.

“We want copies of the documents at the ward level for purposes of distribution to people to read and understand the content of the bill. We do not have the copies with us yet the process continues regardless,” she said.

Jackson Mugambi raised queries that the Bill had not proposed nor given what charges or penalties those in office will face If they abuse the bill itself.

"Which assurance do we have that people at the top such as the President will not appoint his or her cronies in those newly created positions as proposed in the BBI? he posed.

Mugambi added that the citizens are worried that those who get appointed to various positions might ask for higher salaries, yet the BBI doesn't address such.

“What do you think will prevent the president from appointing a person who is not a youth as a member of the youth commission or his or her cronies to those newly created positions?” posed Njoroge Francis from Roysambu.

“How will Kenyans be assured that individuals who will be appointed as prime minister and deputies will not ask for more salaries once they get into office?” he added.

Nairobi County Assembly Majority Whip Paul Kados addressing memebrs of the public during BBI publc participation forum at Charter Hall on February 17, 2021
Nairobi County Assembly Majority Whip Paul Kados addressing memebrs of the public during BBI publc participation forum at Charter Hall on February 17, 2021
Image: EZEKIEL AMINGA

Swaleh Njoroge, a resident from Matopeni ward was of the opinion that the pro- BBI politicians had focused too much on the anti- BBI counterparts, forgetting to popularize the document to the voters.

"I have gone through the document and I support it but I'm deeply concerned that our politicians have turned it into a Uhuru-Raila versus Ruto debate which has already divided Kenyans," he noted.

Njoroge urged that the executive should keep off BBI affairs, claiming it was a political process that should be left to MCAs and Members of parliament.

Onesmus Ondiek from Mathare highlighted that despite the document having the purpose of unity and inclusivity, it failed to address how it would be achieved.

"Tribalism at the moment in Kenya is rife but the document has failed to address how it can be dealt with...what can we as a country borrow from Tanzania which got rid of this deadly disease called tribalism?" he questioned.

A Nairobi resident reading a summarized coppy of the Building Bridges Initiative at Charter Hall on February 17, 2021
A Nairobi resident reading a summarized coppy of the Building Bridges Initiative at Charter Hall on February 17, 2021
Image: EZEKIEL AMINGA

Residents were also curious on how the pro- BBI team was considering the illiterate people in the country noting that they needed to be updated on the happenings.

Caroline Wanja from Mihango said that there was no civic education that had been done in the wards, with many people only hearing about the bill from politicians and the media.

"The illiterate people deserve to know what the Bill is also about but no one has addressed this issue. Copies of the Bill should be made accessible at the grassroots in  English and can be translated to other languages for people in remote areas," said Pauline Visaza, Zimmerman resident.

MCAs who also attended the forum led by the house leadership said they will rally behind the document.

Majority leader Abdi Hassan Guyo was optimistic that the bill will be passed with 90 per cent support of the members.

“I can assure that with mobilizing done both on the ground and in the house the bill pass unopposed since two members who are against it are currently on suspensions...and come referendum more than one million residents will support BBI through the ballot,” he said.

Guyo said that come tomorrow since the assembly has  122 MCAs, only 118 MCAs will be expected to participate in the voting process either physically or virtually.

Three  Jubilee Nominated  MCAs; - Anna Thumbi, Silvia Museiya and Millicent Jagero - were suspended from the Party in December last year for three months and from all the assembly committees for a period of six months will not take part in the voting.

Jubilee Nominated MCA Habiba Ibrahim Hussein who lost her seat last year in March after she failed to attend the plenary sittings for two years.

Three nominated members of the Jubilee party are currently suspended from the house for six months.

Minority leader Michael Ogada said the ODM MCAs had been meeting with their party leader and pledged to pass the BBI report without hesitation.

"As a party, we have been guided and directed by our party leader and BBI will have no opposition from ODM members come tomorrow afternoon," he said,

A section of Nairobi MCAs and members of the public during the BBI public particpation forum at Charter Hall on February 17, 2021
A section of Nairobi MCAs and members of the public during the BBI public particpation forum at Charter Hall on February 17, 2021
Image: EZEKIEL AMINGA