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ODM asks leaders to pass bill promptly

By Rawlings Otieno
Tuesday, April 6th, 2021
Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi. Photo/PD/FILE
In summary

ODM has asked Parliament to quickly pass the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2020.

Political Affairs Secretary Opiyo Wandayi said time was critical in the drive to implement the constitutional, legal and administrative reforms within the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) framework.

“Parliament must move with speed and play its part by dispensing with the BBI bill 2020. We cannot afford to lose any single day in this crucial journey,” he said.

Wandayi wants the National Assembly and Senate Majority and Minority leaders to convene special sittings to dispense with the BBI matter.

“I want to persuade the Leaders of Majority and Minority Parties in the National Assembly and Senate to petition the respective Speakers to convene special sittings of the two Houses not later than Thursday 8th April 2021 to deal with this Bill.

Anything short of this would be an abdication of duty by the House leadership. The Houses can, and should, debate the Bill and vote on it on a single afternoon,” said Wandayi.

He said this should be irrespective of the outcome of the deliberations of the joint Committee on Justice, Legal and Constitutional Affairs.

“The Houses do not need to wait for a report from the Committee. If the Committee is unable to generate one, it can as well just table the materials it has received from the public during its public hearings in the form of memoranda, petitions, reports and presentations among others for consideration by the House,”he said.

Personal opinion

Wandayi said the roadmap for the amendment of the Constitution as set out under Article 257 is clear.

“The two major remaining steps are a vote on the Bill in Parliament and the people’s verdict at the referendum,” he said.

The Ugunja MP said not everything that everyone had wanted to be captured in the proposed constitutional amendments saw the light of the day.

Wandayi said his party boss Raila Odinga has been clear about his stand on BBI and the Handshake.

“In ODM, we have only one leader, Raila. He is the one who gives us direction.

The rest of us can only express personal opinions. But such opinions must be carefully managed in order not to create confusion,” said the MP who chairs the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee.

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