REFERENDUM BILL READY

Uhuru ‘considering BBI changes’ but Raila still adamant

Church leaders presented petition to Uhuru and he promised to look at their issues.

In Summary
  • The ODM leader said proposals which required minor editorial changes have been considered by the BBI secretariat.
  • Deputy President William Ruto has taken issue with BBI recommendations and called for consensus.
Deputy President William Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga at the launch of the Building Bridges Initiative report at Bomas of Kenya on October 26, 2020.
Deputy President William Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga at the launch of the Building Bridges Initiative report at Bomas of Kenya on October 26, 2020.
Image: PSCU

ODM leader Raila Odinga has insisted there is no room for BBI amendments even as the initiative's  secretariat announced signature collection for a referendum will be launched on Wednesday.

Co-chairs of the secretariat Dennis Waweru and Junet Mohammed said late Monday the collection of signatures will be launched on Wednesday at the KICC in Nairobi.

After the launch, the BBI train will snake its way to all the 47 counties to collect signatures.

 

"We now call upon all Kenyans of good will, those who want to see an end to corruption, ethnic antagonism and marginalisation to join the BBI train," Waweru said.

Junet said the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020 that had halted the launch of signature collection was ready. "Ours is to oversee this process to the next level...after collection of the signatures," Junet said.

The two addressed the press late last evening.

Earlier, Raila said there would be no more amendments to the report. He said the proposals which required minor editorial changes have been considered by the BBI secretariat.

He spoke after a meeting with 21 former and current Central Kenya MPs in Karen, Nairobi. Raila said the signatures drive was halted temporarily last week for consensus building on the amendable issues.

He said the campaigns to popularise signatures collection will follow, adding that the promoters have agreed on strict adherence to Covid-19 prevention protocols.

“We have agreed to create synergy with various players as we move to the next stage of Kenya Express. We will a wear mask, keep social distance and sanitise as we go about the activities,” he said at Karen, Nairobi.

 
 

The ODM leader, accepting an invite by the leaders to tour Central, said he was confident the initiative would get support.

“The leaders (Mt Kenya) have assured that they are standing with the President and the country. There have been fears and unfounded allegations but we have said this is inclusive.

“We are good to go. We are not forcing anyone. If people want a non-contested referendum, why present it in the first place? We must start signature collection and move to referendum,” he said.

Former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, Majority leader Amos Kimunya, Nominated  MP Maina Kamanda, Kiambu Woman Rep Gathoni Wamuchomba, Kieni MP Kanini Kega, Igenbe North MP Maoka Maore, Muturi Kigano (Kangema MP), Joseph Nduati (Gatanga) and Mary Wamaua (Maragua) were among those at the meeting.

Kenneth dismissed those opposed to the BBI, saying they were being dishonest, if the proposals are looked at clause by clause.

“If taken item by item, there are gains such as the ward fund; increased resources to the devolved units; let those criticising point out what is lacking,” Kenneth said.

Kimunya said: “We are committed to this process. We will walk with the two principals to the end. We agree to work together. Members have agreed to be in the mix and to play an active role in getting process delivered.

“We recognise our past marginalisation hence we will stand with the process,” the Kipipiri MP said.

The Star has been told that the President Uhuru Kenyatta is under growing pressure from disgruntle groups to do away with proposals touching on the Judiciary, IEBC and police.

According to multiple sources in government, this is the main reason why collection of one million signatures was halted last week.

The BBI task force has proposed creation of Judiciary Ombudsman appointed by the President and Kenya Police Council chaired by the Interior CS. Political parties will nominate IEBC commissioners.

Deputy President William Ruto, clerics and the civil society groups have particularly taken issue with the recommendations saying they will reverse the gains made so far in terms of governance.

It has emerged that during a meeting with bishops on Tuesday last week President Kenyatta promised them that the issues regarding the three institutions among others will be re-looked at.

The bishops who attended the meeting included David Oginde (Evangelical Alliance of Kenya), Martin Kivuva (Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops) and Charles Kinyanjui (National Council of Churches of Kenya).

Others were Kepha Omae (Kenya Council of Church Alliances and Ministries) , Samwel Mwangi (General Conference of Akorino Churches Assembly) and Stanley Michuki (Kenya National Congress of Pentecostal Churches).

Kinyanjui told the Star that the President promised to look into their reservations against the proposed changes.

“We had a meeting with the President and we presented our memorandum. He committed that our issues will be considered and that there will be consensus on the issues raised by Kenyans,” he said.

He added, “He was open on our issues on IEBC and he asked us for the way forward."

On Monday, Council of Governors chairman Wycliffe Oparanya  said he was aware the bill is being amended.

Governors want the IEBC devolved to the counties, a pension fund for themselves and county assembly speakers and a Senate with veto powers on all bills.

Oparanya said they presented their memorandum to the BBI secretariat and said their views “ will be captured in the ongoing amendments”

He however noted that the team undertaking the amendments should have been a different one and not the one that wrote the BBI report.

“We forwarded our concerns and the report should be amended to capture them. The report was written by experts in their language and we have made recommendations that the language and issues raised should be the language of devolution,” Oparanya told the Star on phone.