Kenyans moved closer to a referendum as the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) bill surpassed the 24 county threshold.
38 counties have so far endorsed the BBI constitutional amendment bill and more were expected to pass it, kickstarting the next phase of the process that targets a referendum by June 2021.
26 counties voted yes to the bill on a day labelled by proponents led by ODM leader Raila Odinga as ‘Super Tuesday’ paving the way for the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020, to be introduced in both the National Assembly and the Senate for debate without delay.
Article 157(7) says that if the draft Bill has been approved by a majority of the county assemblies, it shall be introduced in Parliament without delay.
If Parliament passes the Bill, it shall be submitted to the President after which it will be subjected to a referendum.
Even if both houses fail to pass it, the proposed amendments shall be submitted to the people in a referendum.
The IEBC is scheduled to hold a referendum within 60 days falling between April 6 and June 6, 2021.
Bungoma, Narok, Makueni, Machakos, Kitui, Lamu, Garissa, Mombasa, Murang’a, Kirinyaga, Nyeri have become the latest county assemblies to approve the Bill.
Others are Taita Taveta, Nyamira, Nakuru, Nyandarua, Meru, Makueni, Taita Taveta and Machakos counties.
In a surprise move, Bomet county where Deputy President enjoys immense support voted in the affirmative.
Only Baringo county has so far rejected the bill.
The MCAs unanimously approved the Bill during sessions held on Tuesday attended by respective county bosses.
In Narok, all the 47 MCAs voted for the document. The Bill that was tabled in the house by the Justice and Legal committee chairperson Patrick Sossio was passed after a two-hour debate where all members who stood to contribute on the motion supported its approval.
In Kirinyaga, the bill was tabled by the assembly’s Legal, Justice and Delegated Legislation Committee Chairperson, Gudson Muchina, who is also the Member of County Assembly for Tebere Ward.
Governor Ann Waiguru congratulated the MCAs saying they have truly represented the voice of the residents.
In Nyandarua all the 37 members present supported the motion that was tabled by Justice and legal committee affairs chairman Ken Mukira.
There was drama at the assembly after a power outage lasting 20 minutes interrupted debate with a section of MCAs taking on the CEC for Finance for not settling power bills. The MCAs decided to proceed with the debate in total darkness after the backup generator also failed.
Water and Sanitation Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki and Nyandarua governor Francis Kimemia hailed the passage of the bill that would bring about sweeping changes to the constitution.
In Murang’a all 53 MCAs in Murang’a voted for the bill.
In Kitui all the 54 MCAs unanimously voted in favour of the document. The motion was moved by the Assembly’s leader of majority Peter Kilonzo and seconded by minority leader Alex Nganga in the morning session.
On his part, Mr Nganga said, “time has come for us as leaders to promote peaceful coexistence in the country. No single Kenyan should lose their due to violent general elections.”
He, however, registered dissatisfaction with the distribution of the BBI-proposed additional constituencies which sidelined Kitui County.
Mombasa county assembly unanimously passed the Building Bridges initiative BBI constitutional amendment bill,2020 after adopting a public participation report.
MCA’S allied to deputy president William Ruto Camp supported the report attracting jeers and cheers in the assembly.
County Assemblies that have approved the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020
- West Pokot
- Trans Nzoia
- Taita Taveta
- Tharaka Nithi
- Tana River