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Wako asks Senate to pass BBI bill without amendments

By Hillary Mageka
Sunday, May 9th, 2021 11:43 | 2 mins read
Busia Senator Amos Wako addresses the media in Nairobi, yesterday. PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

Busia Senator Amos Wako has asked his colleagues in the Senate to emulate their counterparts in the National Assembly and pass the constitutional amendment bill 2020 without any amendment.

Wako, a former BBI Task Force member, said senators should put aside their political differences and pass the bill to Kenyans as it is not the moment of political adversity or personal aggrandizement.

“In a constitution amendment, which has so many provisions. One is bound to have one or two amendments that he or she may not like, but your perspective ought to be the overall picture of the amendments.” Wako said in a statement sent to newsrooms on Sunday.

“To me, the overall picture of all these amendments should be to move the country forward if enacted. Therefore, I do agree with the report of the Joint Committee that we should pass this constitutional bill as it is,” he added.

While calling out MPs who are pushing for amendments to the bill, he said that the bill being a popular initiative cannot be amended.

“If you read Article 257(10), it will give you a hint that when it comes to a popular initiative, the intention is not to frustrate or amend it completely by Parliament.

A popular initiative emanates from the citizens of this country in whom the sovereign power of this country is vested. We (parliament) are mere delegates,” he explained.

According to him, Kenyans in their wisdom thought it fit to delegate legislative power to parliament but they can at any time take it.

“When it comes to matters of legislation, they can take the delegated authority to make proposals. That is why Article 257(10) was drafted the way it is” he said, adding that Parliament is not supposed to interfere with a popular initiative.

Citing various instances in past regimes, including the Kanu regime where he served as Attorney General for over 20 years, Wako said that Parliament was interfering a lot with the popular initiatives and it had to be put to an end.

“That is why we drafted Article 257(10) to say that whether or not parliament amends or fails to pass, whatever happens in parliament, it must go to the people the way it is,” he held.

Agreeing with the finding of the joint Justice and Legal Affairs committee of the Senate and the national Assembly, the former Attorney General noted though they pointed out a few errors here and there, they realised that and recommended that it should go to the people as is.

“Therefore, I support the words “as is”. I also support their second amendment, which is that there should be some legislation providing details on how this should be governed and dealt with, and that is for the future. We shall amend and improve it with time. A country that is stagnant does not develop. We must improve all the time,” he concluded.