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Kang'ata urges BBI promoters to explore parliamentary route

CENTRAL
By Jacinta Mutura | May 15th 2021
Murang'a Senator Irungu Kang'ata when he arrived for the Jubilee parliamentary group meeting at KICC, Nairobi on February 09, 2021.[David Njaaga, Standard]

Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata has urged BBI proponents not to appeal the five-judge Bench ruling on the document and explore the parliamentary initiative route.

Kang’ata argued that the BBI Bill had fundamental and positive proposals that can be implemented without a referendum. “The proposals concerning increasing constituencies is possible but we need to reconstitute the IEBC and they start the process of delimiting the constituencies,” he told a presser in Nairobi yesterday.

He said implementation of Ward Development Fund and Two-Third Gender Rule as proposed in the BBI did not require a referendum adding that there are Bills on the two issues pending in Parliament.

“There is also a proposal to increase county funds from 15 per cent to 35 per cent. The Treasury needs to come up with county revenue allocation proposal to increase money disbursed to counties,” he added.

However, the Senator said the problematic proposals in BBI such as increasing the size of Parliament and creating institutions that would cost Kenyans billions in taxes annually should be dropped.

The BBI had proposed expanding the Executive by creating powerful posts of a prime minister, two deputies and an official opposition leader to promote sharing of power among various ethnic regions as a way to address the cyclic election violence.

“I suggest we drop some of the contentious issues that would have burdened Kenyans who are already heavily taxed,” he said.

Further, Kangata said if the process was to be salvaged uncontested through parliamentary initiative, the pro-BBI politicians should stop weaponising it as if it is intended to exclude Deputy President William Ruto.

Justices Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Jairus Ngaah, Teresia Matheka and Chacha Mwita Jairus Ngaah, declared the BBI process unconstitutional and the option to seek reprieve from the court of appeal has been fronted by those pushing the initiative.

“The BBI morale has been punctured by the court ruling because the people embraced the court’s decision. I would advise the promoters to drop the appeal because chances of success in the court of appeal are very minimal and if it succeed don’t see an appeal that vacates all the findings of the High Court,” said Kangata.

He added: “The High Court agreed on so many grounds that have also been supported by majority report in parliament and experts who advise Parliament.”

Judge Ngaah who was among the five judges who slammed brakes on the process, ruled the process as illegal saying Present Uhuru Kenyatta was using a constitutional privilege reserved for citizens to initiate a constitutional amendment process.

“Popular initiative refers to a constitutional amendment process commenced by the ordinary citizens who are not part of the government and people whose initiative is not funded by the government,” Kangata argued.

The senator also said his earlier letter to President Kenyatta on the BBI proposals was now vindicated after the High Court ruling. “Some of the issues I had raised in my letter was that the BBI process is problematic and had legal handicaps. I advised that unless the President takes certain remedial actions, we may come into a major political and legal crisis," said Kangata.

“It was a polite letter but when the county assemblies passed the document, people laughed at me and when the two Houses passed the BBI Bill, people continued mocking me but what I said has been affirmed by a court of law,” said the senator yesterday.

Kang’ata said the legal outcome was anticipated, citing glaring legal issues in the document and which were pointed out by legal minds adding that the President and leader ODM Raila Odinga were mis-advised.

“People are describing the judgment by the court as shocking but it is not because it mirrors some of the submissions made by some senior counsels," he said.

“The difference is that we were courageous but my colleagues, despite raising fundamental issues about the document, changed their stand changed during voting,” he added.

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