BBI team targets June referendum - Beaking Kenya News

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Friday, 12 February 2021

BBI team targets June referendum


The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Secretariat on Thursday exuded confidence that the Bill will be endorsed by no less than 35 county assemblies by the end of this month, kickstarting the next phase of the process that targets a referendum by June 2021.

Already, the Bill has been tabled in 22 regional Houses, with SiayaKisumu, and Homa Bay already having endorsed it as the team eyes the constitutional threshold of 24 county assemblies required to endorse the Bill before it can move to the next stage.

“We wish to emphasise that we are within the timelines we had communicated earlier, and we are on course to hold the referendum by June 2021. We are confident of obtaining approvals from at least 35 county assemblies, way above the constitutional threshold of 24 counties,” BBI secretariat co-chairman Dennis Waweru told journalists at the secretariat offices in Nairobi.

The other county assemblies where the BBI Bill has been tabled are Murang’a, West Pokot, Kajiado, Vihiga, Busia, Embu, Laikipia, Meru, Nakuru, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Tharaka Nithi, Nairobi, Kirinyaga, Makueni, Machakos, Kiambu, Kitui and Baringo.

In Baringo County, however, the Bill was shot down amidst chaos on Thursday evening. 

“We urge the county assemblies to provide adequate time and space for public participation. We equally encourage members of the public to turn up for such forums and take ownership of the process,” said Mr Waweru. 

The secretariat was also confident that even with a court ruling that Monday barred the electoral commission from taking any action to conduct a referendum on the proposed change of the Constitution, the timelines will still be upheld, with the case coming up for hearing next week.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has three crucial roles in the process to amend the Constitution through a popular initiative: to verify signatures submitted by its promoters, submit the draft Bill to county assemblies and, once Parliament considers the Bill, act on a notification by the President to hold a referendum within 90 days.

The commission has already dispensed with the first two roles, the only one remaining being to conduct the plebiscite.

On Wednesday, ODM leader Raila Odinga, whose handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta bore the BBI process, also exuded confidence that the BBI drive will be successful, noting that they were not worried about the court stopping the electoral commission from subjecting the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill to a referendum until petitions against the proposed changes are determined.

“Courts will be reasonable in the matter. We are not worried in any case we have not reached the referendum stage. We are still at the county level then National assembly then IEBC. We hope that by that time, courts will have dealt with this matter considering the urgency it deserves,” Mr Odinga said.

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