Busia, West Pokot counties pass BBI bill

The Building Bridges Initiative Constitutional (Amendment) Bill Tuesday got a major boost after two more counties endorsed it.

Busia and West Pokot County Assemblies approved the bill that requires the approval of 24 county assemblies for it to be subjected to a referendum.

In Busia, the bill was passed after a majority of the ward representatives supported it, with only one opposing it.

Busia County Assembly Speaker Bernard Wamalwa says he will soon make a formal communication to the Speakers of the National Assembly and the Senate.

The West Pokot County Assembly on the other hand unanimously passed the bill becoming the first county in Rift Valley which is Deputy President’s William Ruto political stronghold to approve the document.

In a debate that took two hours, all the MCA’s adopted the bill saying it would bring good fortunes following the proposed 35pc revenue allocation increment to counties and additional constituencies in West Pokot county.

Assembly Majority Leader Thomas Ngolesia tabled the motion, which was then seconded by Leader of Minority Peter Lokor with every member who stood on the floor lauding the bill, saying it favours marginalized counties like West Pokot.

They argued that the Bill had come at the right time to redeem the marginalized communities.

This comes after MCAs conducted public participation forums across the county for the last one week collecting views from residents.

Siyoi ward MCA Renson Longit tabled findings of the public appraisal exercise saying according to the responses, 31 percent accepted the report, 23 were unaware, 38 per cent rejected, while eight per cent needed to see the document.

“Madam Speaker it appears that members of the public have varied information with regards to the whole process of the constitutional amendment, hence I support the BBI bill for members of the public to have their say at the referendum,” argued Longit.

In her remarks, Assembly Speaker Catherine Mukenyang commended the members for the quality debate, noting that no MCA was intimidated during the process.

“My duty is to sign the certificate of acceptance of the report. The unanimous vote made the bill to sail through to the referendum as every member was given an opportunity to voice their contributions in the house. Most of the members were willing to contribute despite the limited time,” said the Speaker.

She advised other county assemblies to give room for public participation before the Bill is tabled on the floor of their respective legislative Houses.

West Pokot county Governor John Lonyangapuo and Pokot south MP David Pkosing attended the session.

Governor Lonyangapuo also hailed the assembly members for adopting the bill.

“The benefits of BBI are enormous.  An additional constituency is a big win for West Pokot. The 35 per cent revenue allocation increase to counties is also a major boost to us,” said the Governor.

Pokot South MP David Pkosing said the country is overpopulated and the increase in allocation to counties is a boost to the poor counties, vowing to vote yes when the bill is forwarded to the National Assembly.

“MCAs will have 5 per cent as their allocation for ward development. The statement is historical and as minority communities, we want to be counted as part of government,” said Pkosing.

Busia and West Pokot now become the fourth and fifth counties respectively to pass the bill after Homa Bay, Kisumu and Siaya counties.

Additional reporting by Richard Muhambe



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