•The BBI Bill has been tabled in all Rift Valley assemblies where MCAs insist it will be subjected to public participation before they vote.
•Most MCAS support DP Ruto – Rift Valley is his backyard – who has called the BBI process a waste of time and money but declined to lead the 'No' campaign.
Pressure is mounting on MCAs allied to DP William Ruto to pass the BBI Bill so the region can benefit from more money, more constituencies and stronger devolution.
Businessman Bundotich Kiprop, popularly known as Buzeki, told the Star on Tuesday MCAs must delink the BBI Bill from 2022 politics and Ruto's run for the presidency.
“If the BBI is passed, Uasin Gishu will get an extra Sh300 million and three more constituencies, among many other benefits. Those who oppose it, especially MCAs, must have better alternatives," Buzeki said.
Buzeki said BBI is not about Ruto or any individual and MCAs in the North Rift should not be narrow-minded and reject it.
He said children from poor families will get larger bursaries and other support under BBI. MCAs who reject it should be ready to bear the burden of paying these children's fees, he said.
Buzeki says he will come out strongly to support the BBI in the region and explain its benefits.
The tycoon is expected to run for governor of Uasin Gishu and will announce in April which party he will join. He quit CCM.
DP Ruto has called BBI a waste of time and money, saying Covid-19 and jobs are more important. He raised many questions about it and had wanted a consensus document but declined to lead the no campaign.
Most MCAS support DP Ruto – Rift Valley is his backyard.
Buzeki said his companies pay more than Sh3 million to pay fees for poor children and says BBI will lighten families' burden.
Most MCAs in the region have threatened to shoot down the BBI Bill and warned Jubilee secretary general Raphael Tuju to stop trying to intimidate them and force them to pass it. He had directed all Jubilee members to support it.
The BBI Bill is before county assemblies; 24 of the 47 must pass it for the Bill to go to Parliament and then a likely referendum.
Chairman of the majority leaders of all county assemblies Josphat Lowoi and Cheptiret MCA Gilbert Tenai said they would independently vote on the Bill after public participation.
“We are asking all majority leaders not to be intimidated by anyone. They should ensure assemblies follow the law and enforce public participation before dealing with the BBI," Lowoi said
He said Jubilee leaders had never met and taken a position on the BBI.
“We urge Tuju to let us do our work, just as they did not interfere with signature verification by the IEBC," Lowoi said in a statement.
MCAs resumed sittings last week after a long recess.
The Uasin Gishu deputy speaker reminded MCAs they have three months to decide on the Bill.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga want the process rushed so a referendum can be held in June.
(Edited by V. Graham)