INCLUSIVITY AND PEACE

Support BBI for development, Nyanza leaders rally residents

Leaders who have been championing for the bill said the increase of funds allocated to counties will be enhanced

In Summary
  • The leaders said the region will not be left out in the top five positions being created in the Bill.
  • Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyongo said the BBI will bring more funding to the counties.
A delegate reads the BBI report during its launch at Bomas of Kenya on October 26, 2020.
BBI REPORT: A delegate reads the BBI report during its launch at Bomas of Kenya on October 26, 2020.
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

The development and transformation of Nyanza will be realized should the BBI be approved, leaders in the region have said.

However, the division of constituencies has elicited divergent views from different leaders and locals who vow not to support the Bill.

The leaders said the region will not be left out in the top five positions being created in the Bill.

Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyongo said the BBI will bring more funding to the counties with the Treasury allocation to the county set to rise to 35 per cent up from the current 15.

“This BBI will spur more development projects in the devolved units. It will also bring peace to Nyanza which has borne the brunt of violence every election year. We need peaceful elections and only BBI can bring this peace‚” he said.

Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti said that Homa Bay falls among the counties which have been marginalised by previous regimes and BBI through its recommendations is their saviour.

“Homa Bay government spends about 75 per cent of its yearly budget on recurrent expenditure. Our hopes lie on BBI because there will be more funds to the county,” he said.

His deputy Hamilton Orata said they have been struggling with development because of limited funds.

Kisii Governor James Ongwae said changes in the country's political processes inform the need for time to time assessment of the laws that govern its people.

He spoke of increased funding to the counties from the exchequer to help spur development in the regional governments.

Ongwae said Kisii county will, for instance, get upward of Sh22 billion from the current Sh9 billion if BBI sails through.

Neighbouring Nyamira will receive up to Sh14 to  Sh16 billion in allocation from Treasury from the current Sh6.5 billion.

John Mbadi, Suba South MP, Senator Moses Kajwang and Woman Representative Gladys Wanga said BBI will unite Kenyans.

Mbadi said the introduction of WDF and entrenchment of CDF is a reasonable ground why they support the Bill.

He argued that it's only those who don’t want economic progress of other regions who are opposed to the document. 

 “Let IEBC not delay Kenyans in approving signatures. We should end the plebiscite by June,” Mbadi said.

In Kisii where President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM party leader Raila Odinga unveiled copies of the initiative, a section of leaders want two more constituencies.

There had been clamour that  Bobasi and South Mugirango be split to increase representation in the National Assembly.

MP Richard Onyonka of Kitutu Chache South, Innocent Obiri of Bobasi and Ezekiel Machogu of Nyaribari Masaba said though BBI is good, it could serve the region better if the additional constituencies were created.

In Bobasi, MP Obiri said the fund allocations from the national government to the enormous constituency fail to break even against the demands of the growing population and even schools that are crying out for infrastructural upgrade.

There is more disquiet among other legislators, some who feel the taxpayer would break his back with the increased representation envisaged in the report.

Nyamira Senator Okong'o O'Mogeni had earlier told a BBI forum in Kisii of his worry and sympathy for the taxpayer in the eventuality that it is passed in its current form.

“On this account, I seek indulgence from those concerned that these things be looked into before it heads to the plebiscite,” O'Mogeni said.

Separately,  Onyonka said with the BBI, small communities like the Abagusii would have a chance at the presidency.

The community has constantly marketed Interior CS Fred Matiang'i as the candidate of choice for the presidency.

Senator Sam Ongeri said BBI creates a dynamic shift in the country's political process adding that the youth would now play an integral part in the process.

“Through the Youth Commission as envisaged in the BBI, they will have a chance to be integrated fully into the country's political process. Let us all append our signatures,” he said

Nyamira Woman Representative Jerusha Momanyi called upon leaders from Nyanza to drum support for BBI so that they can go miles in development, in terms of education, infrastructure and development projects.

Kitutu Masaba MP Shadrack Mose said Nyanza as a region will have squandered a great opportunity if they will not support BBI.

“Everything that is good for us is contained in BBI, from improved education systems, the administration is also catered and infrastructure will also be improved in our region and that is only if we as a region support BBI,” Mose said.

However, Mose cautioned a section of leaders from the region who are calling on residents to reject BBI saying they should look at the benefits of BBI and not politicise everything.

“Especially on the additional constituency in some counties like Nyamira will go a long way in ensuring residents benefit in development as more resources will be allocated to the constituencies, ” he said.

In Migori county, the forthcoming referendum has divided the area on the division of boundaries.

Migori Woman Representative Pamela Odhiambo called on IEBC to ensure the strict timeline for the BBI referendum is followed.

“We have had public spat between the commission and Kenyans over their budget for passing through the referendum push, any delays will be seen in a bad light to the commission,” Odhiambo said.

The minority Kuria community in Migori, an ODM stronghold, has vowed to reject the report for not giving them their own county.

The community through Kuria East MP Marwa Kitayama and elders said when the country was giving their proposals for change of the 2010 Constitution their calls for having a Kuria county were ignored.

The report did not add any new county of existing 47 as requested by other minority communities like Sabaot and Teso in Bungoma and Busia counties respectively.

Kitayama said as a community they have been marginalised by majority Luo in Migori county and are demanding for the proposal to be revised to include a Kuria county.

The legislator, elected on a Jubilee ticket, called on ODM leader Raila Odinga who is “the de facto leader in Nyanza to give the Kuria community a county."

"led by Matiko Bohoko, a former Kuria West constituency aspirant and Tyson Kemege, a deputy governor aspirant in last polls, said the report will not sail in the area which commands 25 per cent of the county population.

Migori Governor Okoth Obado, Senator Ochillo Ayacko, Woman Representative Pamela Odhiambo and speaker Boaz Okoth all hail from the Luo community.

“We have special issues as a community which are not fully addressed by the report. We want our own county,” Kemege said.

Speaking at Lwanda Magwar Secondary School on Monday when he checking development projects Nyatike MP Tom Odege said the division has created a loophole for rivals to use against BBI referendum push.

“There is an impression that in Migori county, Nyatike was to be divided into one or more constituencies. Politicians are picking on this and building rebellion against the report,” Odege said.

He said when the BBI report secretariat was in the region no Migori politician called for any addition of a constituency and Raila as the architect of the handshake and the report did not include it.

“We will not allow any pressure to divert the attention of voters for the BBI report, nobody in Migori or Nyatike recommended any addition,” Odege said.

He said since Raila negotiated the report on behalf of Kenyans and the Luo community “and anybody trying to mix our thinking is going against the community and Raila and is working with TangaTanga wing led by Deputy President William Ruto.”

Odiso Ogenga, who campaigned against Odege in last polls, banked on the promise of a division of Nyatike between Lower and Upper region along River Kuja.

“Nyatike should have been divided long time ago. The call to have more constituencies is a call for more development in Nyatike and there is no politics in it,” Ogenga said.

 

Edited by Kiilu Damaris