WHICH WAY?

Only 15 counties debated correct BBI Bill, admits joint team

The errors captured in the report will form part of the discussions when Parliament resumes

In Summary
  • The errors were identified by legal consultants hired by the joint team to advise the Committee on a number of legal issues.
  • The experts were Patricia Kameri-Mbote, a law professor at the University of Nairobi and Collins Odote, also from UoN.

Murang'a Senator Irungu Kangata said the errors are grave and speak directly to the substance of the issues contained in the Bill.

The joint parliamentary team on Building Bridges Initiative heads back to the House after it emerged only 15 county assemblies debated the correct bill.

On Friday, the committee admitted that 32 county assemblies debated a bill containing errors but downplayed the discrepancies as minor and not affecting substance of the document.

At the centre of the contention is the revelations that some copies of the bill had Article 87 (7), which in the book of law does not exist.

The errors were identified by legal consultants hired by the joint team to advise on a number of legal issues.

The experts were Patricia Kameri-Mbote, a law professor at the University of Nairobi and Collins Odote, also from UoN.

Speaking after week-long deliberations, the co-chairs of the joint committee Muturi Kigano (Kangema) and Senator Okong'o Omogeni (Nyamira) told journalists that the errors are correctable.

They said they will send the report to Speakers Justin Muturi (National Assembly) and Kenneth Lusaka (Senate) for approval before it is tabled in the two Houses.

The leaders said the errors are captured in the report and will form part of the discussions when Parliament resumes after a month-long Covid-19 recess.

"We have taken note and that it (errors) affects 32 county assemblies and that is captured in our report," Omogeni said.

Kigano said, "There were no two copies of the Bill. There could be small errors here and there but that is correctable." 

 

Joint parliamentry committee co-chair Muturi Kigano during a press conference on April 23,2021
Joint parliamentry committee co-chair Muturi Kigano during a press conference on April 23,2021
Image: ENOS TECHE

Former Senate Minority Whip Irungu Kang'ata has declined to endorse the report, citing fundamental flaws in the document.

He said the errors are grave. The former Whip said the identified errors cannot be amended and that leaves the country in dilemma on which document to consider.

“If we endorse the bill, we shall have endorsed an erroneous bill. My concern is the inconsistency in various bills we are looking at. Which one is genuine? The bill being considered by the Senate is different from the one in the National Assembly,” Kang'ata said.

He spoke at his Flamingo Towers office in Nairobi’s Upper Hill.

“The bills that were taken to various county assemblies differ. It is only about 13 counties that considered the correct Bill. The rest were not correctly drafted and they contain fundamental errors.”

The Murang'a senator also questioned the rationale of allocating the 70 constituencies proposed in the bill. He claimed some less populated counties received more constituencies than more populated counties.

“Mombasa county, which has about 500,000 registered voters, got three new constituencies, whereas Murang’a, which has about 590,000 registered voters, got only one constituency,” he said

Siaya Senator James Orengo said the House will decide on the report which he noted ‘speaks for itself’.

“We leave it now to the plenary of both Houses and eventually the people will decide in a referendum,” Orengo said.

National Assembly Chief Whip Emmanuel Wangwe said the document will be made public soon after it has been received by the speakers.

“The process has come to an end now, we expect that soon the document will be open to the people,” he said.

Senator Naomi Waqo urged members of both Houses Parliament to look into the report soberly when it will be finally tabled for debate.