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BBI report:Parliament or Referendum?

ODM Leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto in a past event. PHOTO/FILE


The rift between Members of Parliament continue to widen whether the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report should be taken to Parliament or be subjected to a referendum.

The lawmakers allied to Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Leader Raila Odinga want the report are calling for a referendum while those allied to Deputy President William Ruto have rooted for the report to be forwarded to Parliament for deliberation.

But if the report is to take its course to Parliament it must be reduced into a draft bill and follow the law for it to be considered according to National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi.

Muturi who was speaking at Parliament Buildings on Monday has maintained the House will not consider the BBI report unless it is reduced into a draft Bill.

“There is no basis for anyone to even argue that it can be brought to Parliament. How? What is it coming to Parliament to do, is a White Paper (policy documents produced by the Government that set out their proposals for future legislation), is it a national government policy document, it is none of those,” he said.

“Until the owners of the documents decide that, when it is the point for it to reach Parliament, then the procedures both under the Constitution and the Standing Orders will apply,” Muturi explained.

Muturi explained that in his view bringing it directly to Parliament would not deny Kenyans the much-needed space to articulate their demands through the popular initiative.

“If you look through the document, a lot of the proposals in there are really by way of policies; if it is about the implementation of standards and ethics, we already have the Ethics and Integrity Act. In fact, we should be asking why we have not implemented some of the areas the BBI report has highlighted because they are there in the Constitution,” he said.

Prime minister position, new IEBC among main BBI’s proposals

The Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen and a section of North Rift lawmakers led by Caleb Kositany (Soy) who is also the the Vice-chairman of Jubilee party are pushing the report to be taken to Parliament.

Kositany said many aspects contained in the BBI report can be implemented in the Parliament because they touch on the law and not amendment to the Constitution.

“If you are a member of this Parliament and you believe that Parliament has lost the right to enact laws then the best thing for you to do is resign and allow us to elect some who can facilitate the House to do its mandate.” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen said most of recommendations contained in the report touches the law and hence must go to Parliament.

“Most of the BBI recommendations are touching on legislative amendment on EACC Act, IEBC Act, Security Laws, Tax Law, Agriculture laws etc. Besides, all Constitutional Amendment processes must pass through Parliament,” Murkomen stated.

The opposition lawmakers led by National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi has maintained the BBI report calls for a referendum.

Speaking at Ojijo Oteko Secondary School in Karachuonyo on Saturday where he led a fundraiser, Mbadi said parliament is unfit to handle the report.

“Our Parliament is divided by MPs allied to Kieleweke and Tangatanga factions and this will lead to mishandling of the BBI report,” adding:
“All Kenyans should read the report and understand it. It is through this process that the Kenyans will propose amendments in case of any need before it is taken for a referendum.”

Since the BBI report was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday, Raila and Ruto have hold divided opinions on the report and so are their allied politicians.

Raila wants the report subjected to a referendum but Ruto wants the constitutional amendments done by parliament.

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