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Race to pass BBI bill in counties gathers pace

By Bernard Gitau
Friday, February 5th, 2021
ODM leader Raila Odinga (centre) addresses journalists after he held a consultative meeting with politicians from Kajiado led by Governor Joseph ole Lenku (second left) in Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/NJENGA KUNG’U
In summary

The race to pass the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) amendment bill intensified yesterday with ODM leader Raila Odinga meeting Kajiado county leaders to rally their support behind it.

The law requires that at least 24 county assemblies pass the bill for it to be subjected to a national referendum.

Already, Siaya county assembly has approved the bill, with Kisumu, Homa Bay, Kakamega and Kilifi counties expected to follow suit in the next few days.

Addressing the Kajiado delegation, Raila said the BBI campaign train would be  in Turkana county for the next four days to rally support for the bill.

“We will be in Turkana county for four days to spread the same message of BBI, we will cover every corner of this country,” Raila said. 

The Kajiado delegation, which was led by governor Joseph Ole Lenku assured Raila that the county assembly was ready to pass the bill.

According to Lenku, Kajiado MCAs had resolved to pass the bill after their grievances were factored in. 

“We have agreed as Kajiado leaders to support BBI and have assured President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga to count on our support,” said Lenku.

He said some of their grievances which have been addressed in the bill touch on land, resources sharing and unity of the county.

 Those who accompanied Lenku included MPs Peris Tobiko (Kajiado East), Elijah Memusi (Kajiado Central), Judy Pareno (East African Legislative Assembly) and former Nairobi Speaker Alex Ole Magelo among others.

On his part, Raila assured that the bill would get the support of the 24 counties required for it to sail through.

“We have the momentum on our side in support of BBI, I see a big win in the assemblies and also at the referendum,” said Raila.

He castigated those opposed to the BBI claiming they were hell-bent on bribing MCAs to reject the bill.

“For those who want to oppose, do not know what to do or are lukewarm on BBI, we know there are people running around trying to bribe them, but the BBI will pass,” said Raila.

“We have said the source of this money is suspicious. It is part of the money looted or stolen from the taxpayers, do not reject it, take it but do not say thank you, say BBI,” he added.

Speaking earlier in the day during a radio talk show, Raila defended the speed with which the Siaya County assembly debated and passed the BBI document, saying he is confident that the right procedures were followed.

The Siaya county assembly on Wednesday became the first in the country to approve the BBI amendment bill.

The draft bill was passed during a special sitting that had earlier been gazetted by Speaker George Okode.

Raila said that unlike other counties, Siaya published the document immediately after the IEBC sent it to counties and conducted a public participation exercise before eventually passing it on Wednesday.

“People have their own way of doing things and there is a desire to finish the work.

You must remember that when I met MCAs in Nairobi on Monday, Siaya was among the county assemblies that did not show up, alongside Vihiga, Kakamega and Kilifi, because they told me that they wanted to carry out the public participation exercise.

They wanted to be number one, and have now paved the way for other counties. We hope to get 24 counties before the end of this month,” he said.

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