Moment of truth for Uhuru, Raila and Ruto as counties vote on BBI - Beaking Kenya News

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Monday, 22 February 2021

Moment of truth for Uhuru, Raila and Ruto as counties vote on BBI


It's a defining moment for President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and ODM boss Raila Odinga as more county assemblies are expected to vote on the BBI Bill this week.

So far, 11 counties have endorsed the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 with only one – Baringo – rejecting the proposed constitutional changes.

Some 13 more counties are needed to hit the magic 24 to propel the constitutional amendment process to the next stage en route to a referendum.

At least 12 county assemblies are set to take the crucial vote this week – between Tuesday and Thursday – after they successfully conducted public participation forums on the Bill.

The assemblies include Muranga, Nyeri, Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Nakuru, Migori, Bungoma, Kakamega, Taita Taveta, Lamu and Kitui.

Nairobi, Laikipia, Vihiga, Busia, Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, West Pokot, Kajiado, Kisii and Trans Nzoia have passed the Bill.

Raila, whose handshake with Uhuru birthed BBI, was at the weekend resolute more counties are going to approve the Bill and surpass 24 by Tuesday.

“Get ready with your vote because Super Tuesday is coming where we’re going to get 24 counties approving the Bill and help us move to the next level,” Raila said at a burial in Homa Bay on Saturday.

Uhuru and Raila have been on a charm offensive rooting for the constitutional changes to fix the problems bedeviling the country and send more money to the grassroots.

They have separately consolidated their backyards and rallied the MCAs across the country to approve the Bill.

However, DP Ruto and his Tangatanga brigade have been critical of the drive and have been on the road poking holes and terming the push as ill-timed.

Ruto has met several MCAs, MPs and leaders from across the country and traversed their regions including the President’s Mt Kenya backyard, trashing the BBI.

Migori, the only county in Raila’s Luo Nyanza home turf yet to endorse the Bill, is schedule to vote on the Bill on Tuesday after completion of public participation last week.

Speaker Boaz Okoth has called for patience from Kenyans as the assembly is set to pass the BBI bill on Tuesday.

“BBI will be passed on Tuesday. We just had to ensure the process is followed,” the speaker said.

Bungoma, Kitui, Muranga and Tharaka Nithi are also scheduled to debate and vote on the Bill on Tuesday.

In Murang’a, the MCAs concluded public participation forums on Thursday.

Heavy police presence was recorded at the Kandara forum whose MP Alice Wahome, a close ally of the DP, is a strong opponent of the Bill.

Majority leader Eric Kamande told the Star that locals who attended the forums overwhelmingly voiced their support for the Bill in all the forums and expressed confidence that it will be smoothly passed in the house.

Previously, there were concerns over growing rebellion of locals against the government despite the county being considered a bedrock of the President’s support.

Governor Mwangi wa Iria said many people had not familiarised themselves with the contents of the Bill but readily supported it once they were sensitised to it.

Wa Iria further dismissed claims that the Mt Kenya region is against the BBI, saying locals want more resources devolved.

In Kiambu, MCAs are scheduled to debate and take a vote on the Bill on Wednesday after they concluded a two-day public participation meeting on Thursday.

Majority leader Gideon Gachara expressed confidence that the document will pass, saying residents are in support of the changes.

“We represent the people as MCAs and we do as per the wishes of the people. I have lobbied far and wide amongst the MCAs and I am sure come Wednesday the Bill will pass overwhelmingly,” he said.

In Embu, the ward reps are compiling a report from public participation forums and are scheduled to convene anytime next week to debate and vote.

Majority leader Michael Njeru said they received varied opinions from residents and were now working on a report to be tabled in the House.

The assembly held the forums in Embu East, Embu West, Embu North, Mbeere South and Mbeere North sub-counties.

Nakuru MCAs are also voting on the Bill this week after public engagements and consultation.

Governor Lee Kinyanjui and Speaker Joel Maina Kairu expressed confidence that the MCAs will pass the Bill.

“The purpose of this event was to inform the people on what is contained in the document and collect their views before the assembly can vote,” Kairu said.

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya has convened a one-day retreat with the MCAs in Kisumu to discuss BBI Bill.

Majority leader Joel Ongoro said the assembly will pass the Bill on Tuesday.

“We are going to be in Kisumu for one day and we come back and pass the Bill,” Ongoro said

In Lamu, Speaker Abdul Kassim told the Star that the MCAs will vote on the Bill on Tuesday.

“Members of the public have been given an opportunity to discuss the bill on Friday and Saturday. On Tuesday, all the 18 MCAs will be discussing the Bill in the assembly,” Kassim said.

In Taita Taveta, deputy speaker Crispus Tondoo said the Bill has undergone the first reading and committed to the relevant committee to plan for public participation.

The Bill will come before the assembly before the end of the week, said Tondoo.

“It is all clear that members will unanimously pass the bill. It is the only way to safeguard our constituencies that were almost merged,” Tondoo said. By THE STAR 

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