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ODM legislators criticise Catholic Church for opposing BBI

Church opposes 'imperial presidency,', PM's post, enlarged Parliament, says it's wrong time for referendum.

In Summary

•Amolo denied BBI will create an imperial presidency, saying powers distributed between the president and deputy, prime minister and two deputy PMs. President picks PM.

• Kajwang' said most critics didn't present recommendations. Were said BBI opponents should be shunned. 

 

Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang', Kasipul MP Ongondo Were, ODM leader Raila Odinga's wife Ida and Rarieda MP Otiende Amolo in Kasipul constituency on November 13.
WE BACK BBI: Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang', Kasipul MP Ongondo Were, ODM leader Raila Odinga's wife Ida and Rarieda MP Otiende Amolo in Kasipul constituency on November 13.
Image: ROBERT OMOLLO

Three ODM legislators have criticised the Catholic Church for opposing the BBI recommendation to create an 'imperial presidency'.

They are Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang’, Rarieda MP Otiende Amolo and Kasipul MP Ong'ondo Were.

They were joined on Friday by Lake Basin Development Authority chairman Odoyo Owidi and Siaya Roads executive Jaoko Oburu.

They accused the church of unfairly judging the BBI report and saying this was the wrong time for a referendum because of Covid-19.

Conference of Catholic Bishops chairman Rev Philip Anyolo said they don’t support the entire BBI report because it gives the presidency too much power. The President picks the PM and two deputies and enlarges Parliament by 70 members.

The church also opposes political parties' role in nominating IEBC commissioners and putting the National Police Council under the Interior ministry

But speaking during the burial of Homa Bay Luo Council of Elders chairman Odak Mbaka on Friday, the leaders said the church erred in criticising the report and referendum push.

Amolo denied BBI will create an imperial presidency, saying powers will be distributed between the president and deputy, prime minister and two deputy prime ministers. The president picks the PM and deputies.

“The document has recommended sharing of the powers of the president with five people. I don’t see any contentious issues in that,” Amolo said.

He said the BBI report has not expanded the Executive and Parliament.

“The total number of MPs, Cabinet Secretaries and the CASs in the current Constitution is more than their number in the report," Amolo said.

The BBI will ensure MPs become ministers, hence, the Executive and Legislature are not bloated, he said.

Kajwang' said BBI opponents were not ready to present BBI recommendations and came up with their own constitutional initiatives.

He said many leaders came up with many demands with the intention of scuttling implementation of the BBI report.

“It’s wrong to put the country in the mode of analysis of the BBI report forever. We’ll not move forward, hence, those opposed to the report should start their own initiative,” Kajwang’ said.

He told political leaders to be sincere in demanding their input be incorporated in BBI.

“Even Third Way Alliance party leader Okuru Aukot started his initiative. Just be bold and start yours if you are not satisfied by the BBI,” Kajwang’ said.

MP Were told Kenyans to shun political leaders oppose the report, saying many previously refused to present their views.

“The BBI task force had given time for negotiation but they refused to do it. Let us enact the document into law as soon as possible,” Were said.

Owidi argued those opposed to the BBI report are anti-development. “If you want economic development in Kenya, then support the BBI report,” he said.

(Edited by V. Graham)