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Inside Uhuru, Raila scheme to win 35 county assemblies

By Moses Nyamori and Roselyne Obala | February 3rd 2021
ODM MCAs during a meeting with party leader Raila Odinga at Co-operative University College of Kenya, Nairobi, yesterday. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga yesterday rallied party MCAs to pass the referendum Bill.

The MCAs declared their support for the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 but want the Sh2 million car grant promised by President Uhuru Kenyatta fast tracked.

Raila met the MCAs at Cooperative University in Karen, Nairobi, yesterday alongside constitutional experts who explained benefits of the proposed law changes in strengthening devolution, including the ward development fund and increased county allocations from 15 per cent to 35 per cent.

The consultative meeting is part of an aggressive campaign by Raila and Uhuru to have at least 35 county assemblies support the referendum Bill.

The ODM leader said the MCAs were justified to benefit from the car grant just like Members of National Assembly and the Senate, who are entitled to Sh7 million car grant.

Marani Ward MCA Eric Janganya converses with ODM leader Raila Odinga [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]]

Not a bribe

He, however, told the lawmakers not to use the promise for Sh2 million car grant as a condition to pass the Bill.

Deputy President William Ruto at Tendere in Kisii County on 1/2/2021. [Sammy Omingo,Standard]

“I have heard your issues on car grants, I want to assure you that it will be done. I can tell you this, it is guaranteed but don’t make it a condition for passing the BBI,” said Raila.

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He hit out at Deputy President William Ruto’s allies for claiming that they were bribing MCAs to back the changes using public resources.

“This is not a bribe, if we can justify car grant for MPs why not MCAs? If MPs receive Sh7 million car grant why will it be a crime and you are the people who are in contact with the people?” he posed.

MCAs who spoke pushed for the car grant as well as pension for those who have served for two terms. The MCAs had, during public participation, pushed for the pension but it was not included in the final Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) document.

Raila told the MCAs they hold the key to change the prospects of the country by uniting Kenyans through BBI.

“The decisions we make over the next few weeks and months with regard to BBI will have a great bearing on whether our children grow up in a land of plenty or land of mere survival,” said Raila.

ODM deputy party leader and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya said the party seeks to drum up support for the document in the 16 assemblies it has absolute control.

“We expect that the assemblies where we have majority MCAs will pass the Bill. Although the Constitution requires only 24 assemblies, we are aiming at a minimum of 35 assemblies,” said Oparanya.

National Assembly Deputy Majority Whip and Igembe North Maoka Maore said all the Mt Kenya county assemblies will back the initiative.

He said Uhuru’s visit of the region has changed the political tide and the region was now fully behind the push to change the Constitution.

“All the 10 Mt Kenya assemblies are fully behind this initiative. We will deliver all the assemblies,” he said.

The handshake partners also have absolute control of Nairobi County Assembly while Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka is expected to deliver the counties of Kitui, Mackakos and Makueni with his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetangúla expected to deliver Bungoma County Assembly.

The BBI team is also targeting Kajiado and Narok counties and some assemblies in North Eastern.

Cotu boss Francis Atwoli projects that the BBI will get support of more than 35 assemblies.

He said the visit by Uhuru had changed Mt Kenya’s perception about BBI.

“The BBI will now sail through very early in the morning. The region can miss on any other thing but not the BBI because they are the major beneficiaries,” he said.

ODM leader Raila Odinga at Co-operative University College of Kenya (CUCK) on February 2, 2021, when he met MCAs from across the country. [Edward Kiplimo,Standard]

Raila hit out at Ruto over his Hustler narrative, saying that it was sad for parents to take their children to school only to be promised wheelbarrow by those in power.

“I talk to a lot of Kenyans of all ages and social status. I get the feeling that the majority of Kenyans don’t really fear for themselves. They fear for their children,” he said.

The ODM leader said the conversation Kenyans should be having is helping to bake a bigger national cake to ensure each person gets a fair share.

Nairobi County Assembly Minority Leader assured Raila that Nairobi is going to deliver BBI not just in assembly but during the referendum too.

“Definitely, there is no business here. This Bill has already passed and now will hit the ground running. Will start talking to people. Baba under your guidance, it is going to be difficult for them (opponents),” said Ogada.

NGEC commissioner Priscilla Nyokabi said they have a new declaration after the meeting with the president at Sagana State Lodge.

“It is that shared vision of a better country. BBI is the shared vision where MCAs will receive 5 per cent Ward Development Fund to undertake county functions,” she explained.

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