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Politicians still divided on BBI proposals even after review

By Mercy Mwai
Thursday, November 26th, 2020
Homa Bay County Women Rep Gladys Wanga.
In summary

Leaders from across the political divide yesterday expressed mixed reactions over the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report following the launch of the signature collection.

While some welcomed the final report, others insisted the country is not ready for a round of political campaigns especially at this time of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Supporters of the final report unveiled yesterday by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga said it had addressed some of the issues raised previously by dessenting voices.

Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi said most of the contentious issues he raised had been addressed. “I attended the official launch of the signature collection at KICC where the BBI Gazetted Bill was released. My quick scrutiny indicates some of the concerns I and other Kenyans expressed have been largely addressed.”

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr also echoed Mudavadi’s comments, saying most of the contentious issues had been amended.

“The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill is a marked improvement of the previous document. Most contentious issues, including but not limited to additional constituencies, Senate, Judiciary Ombudsman, division of revenue, Nairobi county functions are now clear.”

Homa Bay Woman Rep Gladys Wanga said the BBI report would deal with gender representation in Parliament. “Since independence, women have struggled with gender parity and the BBI promises to resolve this conclusively. Big victory for the women of Kenya.”

But senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet) and Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho), former Mukurwe-ini MP Kabando wa Kabando and lawyer Ahmednassir Abdullahi opposed the report, saying it does not address the plight of Kenyans.

“Under BBI, Parliament will have at least 520 members for the next 15 years with the National Assembly having between 420 and 430 members,” said Murkomen.

Cheruiyot termed “BBI as the real tower of Babel”.

Kabando said Kenyans will reject the report during the referendum because the process has been rushed.

He said it was wrong for the country to focus on BBI when there are more urgent matters such as the Covid-19 pandemic, insecurity, loss of jobs, evictions, failed Universal Health Care (UHC), graft impunity and political thuggery.

“Since greed, myopia of BBI fraud overrides common sense and logic; since #BBI is a desperate do-or-die conspiracy for 2022 Cartel that’s ignoring all the cries and all advisories for reason, let them bring it, they’ll know majority Kenyans are fed-up. BBI deception must, will fall,” he said.

Ahmednassir on his part maintained that the BBI was a big mess and asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to abandon the exercise. “BBI is chaos and shambolic. Uhuru must keep his distance from this dirt,” he said.

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