Residents of Kilifi given chance to decide fate of BBI referendum bill

The County Assembly of Kilifi has subjected the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill 2020 to public participation starting Thursday to give residents a chance to give their views.

The Bill, also referred to as the BBI referendum bill, was tabled for the first time in the assembly Wednesday by Deputy Majority leader Sammy Ndago before it was referred to seven committees that will go to all the 35 wards where residents will be expected to give their input.

Speaker Jimmy Kahindi Kadhua who presided over the session said though the bill should have been referred to the Justice Committee of the Assembly, the house had seen it fit to form the committees which will go round all the seven constituencies collecting the views of the public.

Area residents will have the chance to either approve or reject the bill before the assembly gives its final decision on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, with Kahindi saying the voice of the people will be considered in the final report.

“We received the bill last week, but we had to take all the members of the county assembly through the document so they can make an informed decision. We will then take it to the people who will decide its fate,” he said.

Kadhua said residents who will attend the public participation session in each ward will be asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and that the final outcome from the sessions would carry the day when the assembly reconvenes to consider the bill.

“This is what we did with the Punguza Mizigo Bill. We subjected the Bill to wananchi and what they decided is what the assembly upheld,” he said adding that as representatives of the people, Members of County Assemblies were obligated to carry the voices of those they represent.

Kadhua called on the residents of Kilifi County to turn out in large numbers in order to have a chance to give their views before the assembly delivers its final verdict.

Elsewhere, the Laikipia County Assembly has also subjected the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020 on BBI to Public Participation to give residents a chance to air their views.

The exercise was carried out in all the five sub-counties where the public came out in large numbers to give their views before the bill is debated at the county assembly for discussion.

According to Umande ward MCA Daniel Mugweru it is the obligation of the County Assembly to give the public a chance to air their concerns so that the members can be informed on the decision to take once deliberating starts.

Mugweru said that some County Assemblies have gone ahead to pass the bill without consulting the electorate something he termed as against the law and the Public Participation Act that was passed by the same assemblies.

His sentiments were echoed by Nominated MCA Chris Mark who noted that it is only advisable for the county assemblies to educate and supply the Bill to the public and give them a chance to scrutinise the BBI.

The Legal Committee will come up with the Public participation Report that will be tabled in the Assembly before the Bill is discussed and subjected to a vote.



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