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Re-start proper inclusive conversation to save BBI, Mudavadi says

By Jacob Ng'etich | May 15th 2021
ANC Party Leader Musalia Mudavadi while on a tour of Kilgoris Constituency in Narok County.[Standard]

Amani National Congress party leader Musalia Mudavadi has called for an inclusive national dialogue to salvage the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) proposals.

He said Kenyans should re-start a proper conversation in the format of the 1997 IPPG arrangement after the High Court ruling declared the BBI process unconstitutional.

"We should not throw out the baby with the bathwater. There must be a silver lining out of the court’s judgment and this is what we must look out for as a nation," said Mudavadi.

The former Vice President said the agenda of the dialogue should be to re-look at the BBI Bill and identify those issues like restructuring the IEBC to make it fit for purpose which are otherwise good for our nation and which do not require a referendum.

He said those issues should then be channeled to a parliamentary initiative process of amending the Constitution.

He noted Kenya was a democracy built on the basic tenets of separation of powers, checks and balances and respect for the rule of law and therefore promoters of BBI should accept and respect the court's decision.

"Where we feel aggrieved, we should prefer an appeal rather than disparage the courts for this does not augur well for the adherence to the rule of law. Naturally, questions are bound to emerge as we grapple with this thunderbolt delivered by the court. Is the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020 effectively dead, without cure?" he posed.

Mudavadi said regardless of the results from any appeals preferred, the bulk of the provisions of the BBI Bill will not, for sure, become operational in next year’s General Election and noted that for instance, the proposed 70 constituencies would not be applicable if a referendum is not concluded before August 2022.

Moreover, the ANC leader said the issue of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) limited capacity to conduct a referendum due to lack of quorum and lack of statutory frameworks, means that a lot more time will be required.

The second legal possibility, he said, would be to start the entire process afresh and seek to be guided by the process as outlined by the High Court verdict.

"As ANC, we are convinced that whereas the court points at some sticky issues in the proposed Bill, there are equally very useful proposals for our nation and people. Indeed, some of the issues raised dovetail with the recommendations we made during the Bomas II forum," he said.

Mudavadi acknowledged the five percent Ward Fund and the increase of sharable revenues to counties to not less than 35 per cent as proposals that would benefit Kenyans.

"Indeed, BBI promised to heal the nation our nation from extremely corrosive politics," said Mudavadi.

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