Kisumu becomes second county to approve BBI Bill - Beaking Kenya News

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Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Kisumu becomes second county to approve BBI Bill


Kisumu ward representatives have approved the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2020 becoming the second after Siaya to pass it. 

The MCAs unanimously voted for the proposed amendments endorsing the Bill in a sitting held on Tuesday.

The House resumed on Tuesday afternoon at 2.30 p.m. after a long recess with the consideration of the proposed constitutional changes being the main business of the day.

The MCAs approved the Bill amidst uncertainty on the referendum push following a High Court ruling on Monday that barred the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from subjecting the BBI Bill to a referendum, pending hearing and determination of seven cases filed.

Justices Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Jairus Ngaah, Janet Mulwa and Chacha Mwita, however, ordered that the process to pass the Bill to amend the Constitution can continue before the 47 county assemblies and Parliament.

This gave the Kisumu county assembly, under the leadership of Speaker Elisha Oraro the greenlight to continue with the process.

Mr Oraro said they carried out public participation last week from February 5 to February 8 paving way for the Bill to be passed on Tuesday.

According to the report of the public participation carried on the Bill by the Legal and Justice Affairs Committee and tabled by East Seme MCA Seth Okumu, the public felt there is a need to have such documents available in good time for thorough perusal.

According to Mr Okumu, the public were n approval of the establishment of a ward development fund.

"It was the prayer that the county assembly of Kisumu considers the approval of the BBI Bill," said Mr Okumu.

The committee resolved that the assembly resoundingly approves the Bill.

MCA Beatrice Pamela who seconded the motion, said the interests of all groups have been taken care of.

"The draft is taking care of the gender issues since there will be representation of women in the Senate," said Ms Pamela.

Kondele MCA Joachim Oketch said he supported the Bill for the sake of peace in his ward, which is usually hard hit by violence every electioneering period

Majority leader Mr Kenneth Onyango said the passing of this Bill was only the first step and there was need for civic education before referendum.

"Let’s resume assembly mashinani to give us a good opportunity to meet the people and carrying out a comprehensive civic education to make them understand the benefits of BBI," said Mr Onyango.

Immediately after the Bill was passed, Speaker Elisha Jack Oraro held a press conference together with the MCAs and stated he would forward the certificate, the approved committee report and the bill to the National Assembly and the Senate on Thursday as required.

Homa Bay County Assembly members will debate the Building Bridge Initiative (BBI) constitutional amendment Bill 2020 at a special sitting on Thursday.

MCAs are expected to pass the Bill, following intense lobbying by the Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga.

Initially the House had planned to debate the Bill after February 19 according to an advertisement the office of the clerk of the assembly had place in local dailies.

However, after a meeting convened by Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti, his deputy Hamilton Orata, the County Assembly Speaker Elizabeth Ayoo, Majority Leader John Kiasa last week, the House leadership amended its timetable to pass the Bill this week.

A new advertisement has since been published asking county residents to present their views about the report by close of business on Wednesday before a debate on Thursday.

Mr Odinga visited Homa Bay on Tuesday where he asked the church to embrace and support BBI.

Ms Ayoo accompanied him to Homa Bay high school when they both witnessed the installation of the new Homa Bay Catholic Diocese Bishop Micheal Odiwa.

In Busia, the County Assembly has subjected the BBI Bill, 2020 to the public participation process across all the seven sub-counties in the county.

The exercise will run for three days before the Bill goes back to the assembly for and debate and possible adoption.

Nominated Member of the County Assembly Florence Ologi (ODM) tabled the Bill last Wednesday after the MCAs were taken through the draft during their meeting with ODM party leader Raila Odinga in Nairobi a fortnight ago.

Legal and Human Rights Committee chairman David Kokonya said the draft Bill is a public document which the public must be given a chance to understand its contents to enable them make informed decisions.

In an advertisement in the daily newspapers, the county assembly invited the public to submit their views on the proposed Bill.

The first public participation meetings were held at Funyula CDF hall yesterday on February 9 and in Bunyala at Port Victoria Town hall.

On Wednesday, February 10, the exercise will be held in Butula at Family Life hall and Nambale at the Deputy County Commissioner’s office and on Thursday, in Teso South and Teso North constituencies at the Deputy County Commissioners’ offices at Amukura and Amagoro respectively.

The last meeting will be held in Matayos constituency at the Agricultural Training Center in Busia town on February 12.

Nangina Ward MCA John Obwogo said they have hit the road to sensitise county residents on the contents of the draft Bill to enable them make informed decisions.

“We don’t want our people to vote on what they don’t know. That is why we are exposing the draft report to them so that they give their views before we make a final decision as the assembly,” said Mr Obwogo.

Speaking separately on Tuesday at Kocholia during the launch of Kenya Medical Training College, Teso campus, Busia governor Sospeter Ojaamong said the document is good for vast development.

“With the elevation of funds to counties from 15 percent to 35 percent and introduction of the Ward Fund, the Bill is the best for Kenyans. Development will be realised fast at the grassroots level,” said Mr Ojaamong.

In Vihiga, residents have up to Tuesday next week to give their views about the Bill.

During the one-week period, locals will only make their views through submission of memoranda as their will be no gatherings to conduct public participation.

Assembly Clerk Ambaka Kilinga said the decision was taken in line with the government protocols aimed at containing the spread of Covid-19.

Mr Kilinga said the memoranda will be considered by the Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs before the draft is considered by the 38-member assembly.

Majority Leader Henry Asava said the 38-member assembly is in support of the Bill.

The majority coalition in the House is made of Musalia Mudavadi's ANC, Raila Odinga's ODM and Ford Kenya of Moses Wetang'ula.

Mr Asava (ANC) observed that the parties that form the majority at the assembly resolved they will endorse the document in line with the decision taken by their party leaderships.

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