The Building Bridges initiative taskforce remains buoyant that the planned referendum will be smooth following the close of the signatures collection exercise on Friday.
The secretariat headed by former Dagoretti MP Dennis Waweru and Suna East MP Junet Mohammed said 5.2 million Kenyans had appended their signatures endorsing the proposed amendments to the constitution, through the BBI process, by Friday morning.
Details of the signatures collection were revealed Friday in an event led by ODM leader Raila Odinga who said the hardest part towards ensuring a better future for the country has just began with proponents of the document now expected to spread the BBI gospel across the country.
Those present at the event took issue with those calling for consensus building saying they were presented with an opportunity to present their views but failed to do so, instead opting to oppose the process.
The collection of the over 5 million signatures now paves way for their verification by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) having surpassed the constitutional threshold of 1 million signatures required to have the document proceed to county assemblies.
The BBI secretariat now says the signatures will, in the next one week, be submitted to the electoral body for verification.
The end to the collection of signatures coming as the planned plebiscite continued to divide public opinion with Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria vowing to reject the BBI process if the proposals they have tabled for amendments are not considered. The outspoken MP insisting that further changes to the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2020, among them bringing back 47 Woman Representatives in the National Assembly where resources are allocated and cabinet ministers appointed, must be met.
Thika MP Patrick Wainaina says like-minded political leaders will be running a no campaign against the document if all avenues for a consensus flop.
And former Nairobi county Speaker Alex Magero is accusing Deputy President William Ruto of fence-sitting by allegedly failing to provide clear directions on the process. According to Magero, Ruto’s failure to either accept or totally reject the document was an attempt to hoodwink Kenyans and scuttle the process of giving the country a document he describes as the most progressive.
Meanwhile, Maendeleo Chap Chap party leader and presidential aspirant Dr Alfred Mutua has taken a swipe at those pushing for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) referendum to be held alongside the 2022 general elections saying they are deceitful.
Speaking in Murang’a County on Friday while campaigning for Maendeleo Chap Chap Party candidate for the Gaturi ward by-election, Mutua urged Kenyans to ignore calls for postponement of the referendum to 2022 and instead support the initiative.