BBI DIVIDE

Muturi: Why BBI should go to the people

Speaker says not a single constitutional amendment has been passed in Parliament since 2013 and doubts if BBI will sail through.

In Summary

• National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has poured cold water on a push by a section of politicians to implement the Building Bridges Initiative through Parliament.

• Muturi said politicians will not allow wholesale implementation of the report, but will mutilate it to suit their interests.

National Assembly Speaker Justine Muturi addressing the media in his office on November 2, 2019.
National Assembly Speaker Justine Muturi addressing the media in his office on November 2, 2019.
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has said politicians will mutilate the Building Bridges Initiative proposals to suit their interests if it is brought to Parliament. 

The remarks came amid heightened calls by a section of politicians to have the report's recommendations implemented through Parliament.

We have some of us who think we should take it and run away with it.  I think it is not good because we will start mutilating the proposals in the report,” he said.

He added, “A member will just pick that which is juicy for themselves, another one will pick something else and then at the end of the day we will not be implementing that report.”

The result, Muturi told journalists in Parliament yesterday, would be a piecemeal implementation process that risks losing the people.

The speaker said that not a single constitutional amendment has been passed in Parliament since 2013 and doubted if BBI will sail through.  

The report, launched last  Wednesday by President Uhuru Kenyatta, has made a proposal to change the country’ governance structure.

In particular, the report recommends the introduction of a prime minister to be appointed by the President.

Politicians are, however, divided on how the report should be implemented.

Those allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga want the report implemented through a referendum.

But those allied to Deputy President William Ruto say the report should be implemented through Parliament.

However, Muturi explained that the report cannot be brought to Parliament in its current form.

The speaker said that the process was initiated by the Executive and can only be brought to the House through a bill or a policy for adoption.

“Parliament can only receive the document in the form of a policy or a bill. We did not originate the document. It is owned by the Executive. As it is, it does not have legs to walk to Parliament. It has to be distilled into a Bill,” Muturi said.

Muturi said that Parliament will be usurping the powers of the President who formed the BBI task-force team if it decides to take the document in its current form.

The speaker said that Article 10 of the Constitution on exclusivity would not have been adhered to if the report was left at the mercy of political bigwigs.

He, however, noted that some recommendations in the report only require policies and amendment to the existing laws. 

For instance, the proposal that public servants' wealth declaration forms be made public only requires an amendment to the Public Officers Ethics Act 2003.

Senate Majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen is among the leaders pushing for the implementation of the report through Parliament.

“Personally, I have no problem with whatever proposal may be put forward by any political side. We are prepared to sit down with both the majority and minority sides in Parliament and be able to discuss emerging issues that may be contentious," the speaker said.

The speaker hit out at politicians who have accused Parliament of being 'too corrupt' to be trusted with the implementation of the report.

“If you feel that the institution you are in is so corrupt and filthy then you have no business being there. The most honourable thing to do is to resign,” Muturi said.

Muturi dared Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria to bring forth his impeachment motion saying that he is beyond intimidation.

“What you need to do is draft a motion and bring it here and I will approve it. Some of us are beyond intimidation. You don’t impeach a speaker through social media or in funerals,” he said.