- The President is also understood to be at the crossroads on whether to allow the contentious process to proceed amid the surge in Covid-19 cases.
- Suna East MP Junet Mohamed dismissed as ‘Tangatanga propaganda’ claims that Uhuru and Ruto’s meeting informed the postponement
The next stage for the BBI report is shrouded in mystery after President Uhuru Kenyatta and his handshake partner Raila Odinga postponed the launch of the signature collection drive.
On Thursday, the two were to roll out the collection of at least one million signatures required to trigger the amendment of the Constitution. The event, which was to take place at the KICC, Nairobi, was called off at the last minute.
In a statement, the joint secretariat spearheading the signature collection cited the failure to publish the Constitution Amendment Bill, 2020, on time. The signature drive will now be launched next week on a day to be communicated soon.
"The postponement has been necessitated by late completion and publication of the Constitution Amendment Bill, 2020, which is scheduled for printing later tonight (Wednesday night),” read a statement by BBI National Secretariat.
“The secretariat is working on a new date with a comprehensive programme of rollout activities, which will be communicated in due course.”
The Star has established that two separate meetings between the President and clerics on Tuesday and a subsequent meeting with Deputy President William Ruto on Wednesday afternoon played a major role in the decision to delay the process.
Both the DP and select clerics have reservations about the BBI report.
Kenyatta, insiders say, is at the crossroads as to whether to let the process roll on even as the coronavirus crisis persists.
But Suna East MP Junet Mohamed—who alongside former Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru co-chairs the BBI secretariat—dismissed as "Tangatanga propaganda" claims that Uhuru and Ruto’s meeting stopped the launch.
“That is Tangatanga propaganda,” Junet told the Star.
The Star has also established that Raila is set to travel abroad tonight and will return on Saturday night, a development that some quarters say informed the next week date.
Junet maintained that the postponement was necessitated by the late completion of the amendment bill, which was to be available on the day of the signature launch.
Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi cautioned against reading too much into the postponement, terming it "more of administrative issues".
“It was just an administrative postponement. There is nothing sinister with the change of date,” he said on the phone.
Another reliable source from Raila’s inner circle concurred. According to the source, a team of lawyers working on the document had yet to finalise work on the bill by Wednesday.
The team holed up in Runda, Nairobi, has been working on the document for weeks now and by the time Raila was making the Thursday announcement; the team was still piecing together the final document.
“The confusion came when the date of the launch was announced without consultation with the team of lawyers who had been working on the document but they had done a significant portion of work and the final bill will be ready soonest,” the source said.
An MP who is also familiar with the preparations told the Star that the postponement had to do with BBI regional and county coordinators.
"As for Raila, he had created his county and regional BBI coordinating teams. This was, however, not the case on Uhuru’s side. So there was a need to allow the other side to also set up its teams before they launched the drive,” the lawmaker said.