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Raila trashes imperial presidency talk

By Baraka Karama
Monday, November 16th, 2020
Opposition leader Raila Odinga addresses the media after meeting Governors from Wester Kenya region in Kisumu yesterday. Photo/PD/VIOLA KOSOME
In summary
    • Odinga said they are ready to face off with those opposing the BBI in a contested national referendum.
    • Vice-chairman of the BBI task force Prof Adams Oloo said it is only the two principals who had the final decision on whether or not the document should be amended.

ODM party leader Raila Odinga has challenged those opposed to Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report to brace for a duel.

Raila said they are ready to face off with those opposing the BBI in a contested national referendum.

His announcement is a clear indicator that the document will not be amended as demanded by several groups who threatened to shoot it down.

 “Even the last time when we were changing the constitution, they came with so many issues and propaganda to confuse the public.

This document is the best for Kenya and we can only tell the naysayers to meet us in the field,” Raila said.

Deputy President William Ruto who has been leading calls on the amendment of the document has taken issue with the president appointing Judiciary, the senate, the election of 47 women senators and the appointment of the IEBC commissioners.

Apart from the DP, the governors also want the IEBC devolved to the counties and a senate with veto powers on all bills.

Catholic clerics also said that the proposal would re- introduce imperial presidency and opposed the creation of a police council.

Ward representatives through the County Assembly Forum had also threatened to shoot down the report unless it is reviewed to enhance the powers of the county assembly

Yesterday, Raila dismissed the assertions by a section of groups saying that they were spreading propaganda to discredit the report.

“Even last time when we had the 2010 Constitution was allowing gay marriages and it legalised abortion and it was also criminal to have Kadhis court. It is a similar propaganda being given out and I am surprised that some institutions are falling into the trap of these people” He said.

The former premier also dismissed allegations that the report would give president imperial powers.

“I have been part and parcel of the struggle for change and would never be party to any amendment that would create an imperial presidency. People should just say the truth”.

Spreading propaganda

Raila supported the re-introduction of the prime minister’s position saying that it would help in improving service delivery.

“We want a scenario where a senior member of the government can be in parliament and answer questions from members who will hold him accountable and by so doing we will have an efficient delivery of service to our people.”

The opposition chief also re-iterated that the report was not meant to benefit him and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“I have said time and again that this document is not about me. Other people are also spreading propaganda that through this report the government will be bloated.”

Vice-chairman of the BBI task force Prof Adams Oloo said it is only the two principals who had the final decision on whether or not the document should be amended.

“Our mandate ended as soon as we presented the report and as per now it’s only the president and the former prime minister who will decide.

For now we are only working on the few editorial changes as instructed.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila are expected to kick start the process to launch the exercise of the collection of signatures and later forward it to the county assemblies for approval. 

Yesterday, Raila together with Interior CS Fred Matiang’i and his devolution counterpart Eugene Wamalwa held a meeting in his Kisumu county backyard with eight governors from the larger western region who resolved to fully back the BBI report.

Matiang’i said: “We had a successful deliberation with the governors from this region who have agreed to support the report without any reservations. This means the exercise to collect the signatures will commence as soon as possible.” 

Governors Anyang’ Nyong’o ( Kisumu), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma), Wilbur Otichillo (Vihiga), Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia), Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega),  Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia), James Ongwae (Kisii) and Cornel Rasanga (Siaya) attended the meeting.

Khaemba who read the governors resolutions after a five-hour closed door meeting said, “as governors from this region we have agreed in totality that this document is good for us and our people and we will do everything possible to pass it.”

Oparanya who is also the chairman of the council of governors said, “This document will move this country from a third developing country to a super developing country because it has taken the views of all the stakeholders including the youth, women and the top leadership”

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