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Nyanza leaders: We are now focusing on 2022

By Standard Team | August 23rd 2021
Suna East MP Junet Mohamed (third-left) , who was also the co-chair of the BBI Secretariat, said their lawyers will have to advise on the way forward. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

ODM leaders say their agenda is to have party leader Raila Odinga ascend to power despite Friday’s appellate court decision to throw out Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) appeal.

Their remarks came hours after Raila called for calm, saying it was time to move on. The party leader had earlier said he was not interested in moving to the Supreme Court to challenge the Court of Appeal judgement.

However, their critics argue that ODM wanted to use shortcuts in changing the Constitution, a move they say has been put to a halt by the courts.

There had been grumbles from a section of Nyanza leaders over the fact that BBI has allocated the region only four of the 70 proposed additional constituencies. The disgruntled leaders had said they had got the short end of the stick in the deal.

Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, who was also the co-chair of the BBI Secretariat, said their lawyers will have to advise on the way forward.

“There were many appellants in the matter. Raila was one of them and he has made his decision,” said Junet.

“Amendment of the Constitution will not end with BBI. We never saw it anywhere that we were supposed to do civic education. What we did was to have a signature collection and take the Bill to the county assemblies and Parliament.”

Hew said they appreciate the Judiciary’s independence. “We will have to look at it afresh and maybe move to the higher court. The courts have only given a certain threshold to meet.”

Borabu MP Ben Momanyi said the country has lost the opportunity of increasing funding to counties to at least 35 per cent, fixing governance, among others.

“Let’s now focus ahead. The BBI Bill was going to improve a number of things in the country, no doubt about that. Because it’s now over, I urge Abagusii to find a way of working together so that we can get a fair share of the national cake,” said Momanyi.

According to nominated MP Denitah Ghati, they have accepted the decision and are moving on. “The judgment will not stop Raila from expressing his best interest for the country. The intention of BBI was good.”

Nominated MP Denitah Ghati. [File, Standard]

Migori Woman Representative Pamela Odhiambo said they will accept the court’s decision and turn their focus on drumming up support for Raila. “Kenyans will live to regret these decisions from the courts. Very serious implications. Statements like IEBC has been unconstitutional since 2018 does not sound well for the country.”

For Kuria West MP Mathias Robi, they had foreseen the failure of BBI. “We knew it would fail, and that is why we also rejected it in Parliament. Reggae has stopped,” Robi said.

His Kuria East counterpart Marwa Kitayama said despite the BBI being rejected by the Court of Appeal, everyone has won regardless of the verdict.

According to the MP, it is a clear manifestation that however powerful a person is, they should not take Kenyans for granted.

“President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga took Kenyans for granted. It is a lesson that people should listen to everyone,” said Kitayama. 

“The two leaders were united by their hate for Deputy President William Ruto whom they are determined to stop at all costs from becoming the next president in 2022. Electing a leader is a decision that should be left to voters.”

Bobasi MP Innocent Obiri said: “With this Court of Appeal ruling, Bobasi Constituency will have a chance of being subdivided since it was set to wait for another 10 years if the BBI process would have been allowed to go through.”

In Western, some residents said they were excited by the proposal to increase number of constituencies through the BBI process.

At least three counties in Western would have benefited from the proposed 70 additional constituencies.

Malava MP Malulu Injendi said he does not think the Court of Appeal verdict will stand in the way of splitting constituencies in future.

He said the judgement is not a big deal.

“I know it will come some other time,” said the lawmaker when asked whether he thinks the court verdict had denied the people he represents the opportunity to have additional constituency.

[Anne Atieno, Edwin Nyarangi, Eric Abuga and John Shilitsa]

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