Raila’s party opposes bid by Parliament to take over BBI
Anthony Mwangi and Noven Owiti
The push to have the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill taken over by Parliament has attracted opposition from former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s party which has asked its members to quit a team spearheading the campaign.
A group of MPs wants political parties to come together and rescue the BBI process after the High Court declared it unconstitutional.
Garissa Township MP Aden Duale is among politicians who want political parties to unite and salvage the Bill through a parliamentary initiative.
However, Raila has dismissed the idea saying the Constitution can only be amended by Kenyans through a referendum.
“I oppose any attempt to take the BBI Bill from the people, any change to the Constitution can only be done by the people not a few people in Parliament,” Raila said.
Yesterday, ODM disowned its members in the parliamentary caucus and urged them to withdraw immediately.
ODM chairman John Mbadi said the party had publicly stated that it wants amendments done through a referendum and wondered why some legislators allied to the party were taking a different direction.
Speaking at a fundraising event in Garissa Township, Duale said there was no sufficient time to wait for the ruling of the Court of Appeal and possibly another appeal at the Supreme Court to pave way for the referendum before the 2022 General Election.
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei said the BBI Bill should not be brought back to Parliament.
He said that if there is need for amendments to the Constitution, the document should be taken back to the people.
“The High Court ruling on BBI was clear that anything touching on constitutional reforms must start with the people,” said the senator.
The parliamentary caucus comprises among others Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang’ (ODM), Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina (ODN) and Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo (ODM).
Others are Duale, Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Abdulswamad Nassir (Mvita), Sakwa Bunyasi (Nambale), Shadrack Mose (Kitutu Masaba), Narok Woman Representative Saipan Tuya and nominated MP Cecily Mbarire.
Senators in the caucus are Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi), Mutula Kilonzo Junior (Makueni), Nyamira’s Okong’o Omogeni, Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), Cleophas Malala (Kakamega) and Tharaka Nithi’s Kithure Kindiki.
Proponents of the initiative, which has the backing of National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, describe it as a win-win process that will not divide Kenyans in a charged referendum.
“For a parliamentary initiative, once the Bill is published, it requires 90 days for the public to participate. Those who want to go this route I will give them my support, however, they must achieve two-thirds support from members,” Muturi stated after a church service in Embu
The BBI Bill suffered a blow after a five-judge bench of the High Court ruled that the whole BBI process as unconstitutional, null and void.
Mbadi reiterated that the Bill is a popular initiative which must be enacted by the people through a referendum.
“ODM has neither approved any caucus nor allowed party legislators to go a parliamentary way of amending the constitution. Let ODM MPs in that caucus quit because they don’t serve the party interest,” Mbadi said during a press briefing in Homa Bay town on Monday.
He claimed that the people behind the parliamentary initiative were against BBI.