Referendum possible before end of July, says Orengo

Senator says collection of signatures and consideration of bill by county assemblies can be done within two months

In Summary

"But by dint of Article 257 which proposes popular initiative, you can even do it (the referendum) in two months."

Siaya Senator James Orengo
OPTIMISTIC: Siaya Senator James Orengo
Image: FILE


It is possible for Kenyans to conclude the BBI process and have a referendum before the end of July, Senate Minority leader James Orengo has said.

Orengo on Saturday said the referendum "could be conducted even in the next two months" if the popular initiative route is activated as required in law.

Orengo was speaking in Ugenya, Siaya County during the burial of Kahawa Wendani MCA Cyrus Omondi.

The push to amend the Constitution is centered on the BBI process which has made a raft of proposals to alter the structure of governance. It has proposed the creation of the prime minister's office with two deputies.

Orengo dismissed claims by politicians opposed to the Building Bridges Initiative that holding a referendum by end of June was impossible.

Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua this week said the call to have a "referendum by end of June a pipe dream."

“A popular initiative requires a million signatures which require to be collected and verified by IEBC before debate by County Assemblies. Talking of a referendum by June is a pipe dream,” Karua said on Friday.

Politicians allied to Deputy President William Ruto say there is no need for a referendum. They claim the BBI process is meant to scheme for ODM leader Raila Odinga ahead of 2022.

But Orengo said the push to amend the law can only run into difficulties if a parliamentary initiative is used.

"If you use a parliamentary initiative before the bill can be read for the second time after publication and the first reading, there is a mandatory period of 90 days which can occasion a delay," Orengo said.

"But by dint of Article 257 which proposes popular initiative, you can even do it (the referendum) in two months."

Raila and Kiambu Governor James Nyoro were among the mourners. Omondi's ward is in Kiambu county. 

Orengo said the collection of a million signature for handing over to the IEBC and consideration of the amendment bill by the county assemblies can be done within 60 days. 

"The law says it is within 60 days, not a minimum (of 60 days). This means it can be done even within a month.  This means a referendum is possible within the month of July or even within June," the Siaya Senator said.


edited by peter obuya