CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE

Civic education needed before BBI referendum

In Summary

• The BBI Bill has already been approved by 40 counties and only opposed by one county

• The turnout in the referendum has to be at least 20 percent of the electorate in 24 counties

Sauti Mashinani chair Catherine Irungu with Nyeri open-air-market traders when she distributed copies of the translated BBI report on Monday, January 3, 2020
CIVIC EDUCATION: Sauti Mashinani chair Catherine Irungu with Nyeri open-air-market traders when she distributed copies of the translated BBI report on Monday, January 3, 2020
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI

The onward march to the BBI referendum has begun this week with the landslide passage of the BBI Constitution (Amendment) Bill through the counties. 

Some claimed this as a 'victory' over DP William Ruto who had questioned the cost and necessity of some constitutional changes in the Bill.

However we will be doing a disservice to the Bill if we consider the referendum just as a proxy vote on who should be the next President of Kenya.

We should decide for ourselves whether the proposals are good or bad for Kenya in the long run and not consider who benefits in the short run. We should not let our vote be driven by hostile emotions and kneejerk reactions.

Many voters are also still unclear about what is in the BBI Bill. For the BBI Bill to pass in the referendum, 20 percent of the electorate needs to vote in at least 24 counties. This might be a challenge if voter apathy stops people from going to the polling station.

There must be enhanced voter education in the next months before the referendum so that voters can make a calm, informed and objective decision.

Quote of the day: "Whoever knows himself knows God."

Elijah Muhammad
The founder of the Nation of Islam in the USA died on February 25, 1975