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UGM party wants Kenyans to reject BBI report

By George Kebaso
Friday, October 30th, 2020
Former Nairobi deputy governor, Jonathan Mueke, United Green Movement Party's secretary general (c) and party leader, Agostinho Neto (r) and party members.
In summary

Apprehension continues to grow against the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report unveiled early in the week at the Bomas of Kenya with the United Green Movement Party calling for its total rejection.

The Party’s Secretary General, Jonathan Mueke, the former deputy governor of Nairobi termed the proposed Constitutional (Amendment) Bill 2020 alongside 12 other Acts, a ploy to create positions for the ruling elite.

“The BBI has mischievously bundled together a Constitutional (Amendment) Bill 2020, together with amendments to 12 other Acts as though the two are dependent on each other. They are not. The timing of these amendments amounts to blackmail,” he said.

While outlining about 14 reasons the Party believes should form a basis for Kenyans to reject the BBI, Mueke noted that some of the report’s key highlights of inclusivity; equity, equality and equal opportunities, were a mirage and unachievable.

“These issues are best dealt with; by creation of strong inclusive institutions that foster economic activity, productive growth and economic prosperity. The BBI Constitutional Amendment Bill therefore fails to give the right prescription to these most fundamental problems,” he said in a statement.

He said majority of the contents in the BBI report are opaque and its objective shows little evidence of building bridges to a United Kenya nor does it solve the problems Kenyans said face them when they gave their views to the Task Force.

“Dear Kenyans, we have shown that BBI has brought manifest that our leaders do not mean well for us. We are on our own. Our leaders want to create and entrench extractive institutions to further violate our rights and for their own enrichment,” he said.

For instance, the proposed 35 per cent increase of allocations to the counties from the current 15 per cent, Mueke said is also intended to hoodwink the Governors and county governments to support the BBI.

“It is therefore our view that purporting to allocate counties 35 per cent of national revenue in the BBI is some more blackmail intended to deceive the county chiefs and their governments to support the document,” he added.

Another issue he raised is the bill creating a County Assembly Fund, which he said, exists in Nairobi County through the Nairobi City County Wards Development Fund Act, 2014.

Mueke also said the proposed Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) repayment grace period for university students and Youth Tax Holiday for Businesses, raise questions that needs to be answered immediately.

“Our question therefore is – if the government was acting in good faith and really cared about the youth, why didn’t they make these very urgent legislative amendments in the past 8 years of them being in office?” he posed.

He concluded by saying that the UGM party together with other like minded Kenyans will team up to reject the BBI and constitutional amendment should President Uhuru and former Prime Minister Raila insist on taking it to Kenyans in a referendum.

Following the formal launch of the report last Monday, the next steps for its proponents will be the collection of 1 million signatures needed to prepare Kenyans as they head to a referendum.

The signatures are then expected to be delivered to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) together with the draft BBI Bill for verification.

The BBI Bill will then be sent to all the 47 county assemblies, where at least 24 counties are expected to endorse it in order for it to be subjected to a referendum.

If a county assembly approves the draft Bill, the speaker shall deliver a copy of the draft Bill jointly to the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament, with a certificate that the county assembly has approved it.

If the draft Bill has been approved by a majority of the county assemblies, it shall be introduced in Parliament without delay, and similarly if a majority of the members of each House pass the Bill, it shall be sent to the President for assent.

The President, his Deputy, William Ruto and the former Prime Minister have urged Kenyans to read and understand the BBI report before making a decision.

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