Convert BBI into Bill, policies before bringing it to MPs - Speaker Muturi

In Summary

• Raila has vouched for a referendum, saying the people must be included, rather than Parliament.

• On the other hand, politicians allied to Deputy President William Ruto have been opposed to a referendum.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi in his office on Monday, December 2, 2019.
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi in his office on Monday, December 2, 2019.
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

Politicians allied to Deputy President William Ruto have been dealt a blow in the debate on implementation of the BBI report.

This is after National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi said the report cannot be introduced in Parliament in its current form.

Muturi on Monday said the document has to be converted into a Bill or policy for it to get its way into Parliament.

"We haven't reached there yet. It (the report) is still very embryonic by way of being a legislative document... Whichever method - through a parliamentary or a public initiative from the people like the Punguza Mizigo - even if there are those proposals in the report, they have not been reduced into something that can be legislation," he said.

The Speaker added that if the report went the public initiative way, it would require collecting of one million signatures.

Muturi said if the debate on a referendum came up, there would be need to take it to the county assemblies first before it goes to Parliament.

"Before that, what is it coming to Parliament to do? Is it a white paper or a policy paper? It's none of those," he said.

"We did not originate the BBI. It is owned by the Executive. As it is, it does have the legs to walk to Parliament. It has to be distilled into a Bill."

ODM leader Raila Odinga has vouched for a referendum, saying the people must be included, rather than Parliament.

On the other hand, politicians allied to Ruto have been opposed to a referendum, and instead supported a parliamentary process.

Muturi said the report is 'executive' in nature as most of the items in the document can be implemented by policies.

"Most of the items do not require legislation. There are some issues that would just require legislation. But in the Constitution, public participation is one of the public values," he said.

"One cannot wish away the need to engage as many people as possible. There are concerns in the public that there are many laws that area not implemented. Why should be pass more laws?" 

Last week, Ruto had indicated changes can be implemented in line with the Constitution without necessarily calling for a referendum.

 

Ruto’s allies–National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale and his Senate Counterpart Kipchumba Murkomen–have both advocated for the parliamentary route.

However, last Thursday, Raila dismissed the push for a parliamentary initiative saying Kenyans will vote for the improved document in a referendum.

“The process must be people-owned; it must not be taken to Parliament,” he said.

A number of party officials backed Raila's remarks and voiced fears of the document being frustrated in Parliament by lawmakers oscillating around the Deputy President.