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Developing Story: How county assemblies are voting for the BBI Bill

By Betty Njeru and Mercy Asamba | February 23rd 2021

It is all systems go as county assemblies across the country debate the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

The  Bill has already surpassed the constitutional threshold of at least 24 counties. This means it will now move to the Senate and National Assembly whose voting is mainly ceremonial because whether they approve it or not, it will still end up at the referendum level here voters have the final say on its fate.

At least 21 counties are expected to debate the Bill today, in what is looking to be a ‘Super Tuesday’.

By 10.30am, Narok and Kakamega County assemblies had unanimously passed the BBI Bill, raising the number of counties that have voted yes to 28.

Bungoma, Nyeri, Murang’a, Machakos, Makueni, Nyamira, Nyandarua, Garissa, Kirinyaga, Kitui and Mombasa counties are the latest to pass the Bill.

Meru, Nakuru and Lamu counties have also joined the bandwagon.

Sixty-two Nakuru ward representatives voted Yes while 11 voted No. Three were absent during the session.  

In Murang’a, all 53 MCAs unanimously voted yes. Only three MCAs in Nyeri County Assembly voted against the bill.

Garissa County is the first Assembly to pass the Bill in the North Eastern Region. Speaking moments after the decision,  MCAs here urged their colleagues in remaining assemblies to follow their footsteps. All 50 MCAs voted yes.

Nyeri residents celebrated outside the county assembly moments after the MCAs passed the bill during a morning session that was largely peaceful.

Standard Digital has confirmed that Nakuru, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Mombasa and Garissa county assemblies are already debating the Bill. Earlier, the media was barred from covering proceedings at the Garissa County Assembly. 

Nakuru MCAs waiting to debate the BBI Bill on Tuesday 23, February 2021. [Kennedy Gachuhi, Standard]

In the Nyandarua County Assembly, the High Court upheld the impeachment of Speaker Ndegwa Wahome and declared him unfit to preside over the BBI Bill that is set to be tabled this morning. Deputy Speaker Zachary Njeru presided over the session. 

Those from Mombasa joined in chanting celebratory slogans, holding placards outside the Assembly grounds.

During the debate, Mombasa MCA Ibrahim Oyugi Omondi argued that “BBI is just like a beautiful girl that has just been born in a village where every man wants to be attached to.”

Governors Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri), Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Mwangi wa Iria (Murang’a) and Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru) have made their way to the respective assemblies ahead of the bill tabling.

Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria at the assembly’s chamber ahead of debating of the BBI Bill. [Boniface Gikandi, Standard]

There are indications that a majority of these 21 county assemblies will pass the Bill, helping it cruise past the 24 counties threshold required to proceed to Parliament.

So far, 28 county assemblies have passed the Bill with only one rejecting it.

Nairobi, Vihiga, Laikipia, Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Busia, West Pokot, Trans Nzoia, Kajiado, Kisii, Samburu, Narok, Kakamega, Makueni, Murang’a, Bungoma, Nyeri, Machakos, Nyamira, Nyandarua, Garissa, Kirinyaga, Kitui, Mombasa, Meru, Nakuru and Lamu counties voted to pass the bill while Baringo voted to oppose it.

Meru MCAs debate the BBI Bill. [Edwin Gitonga, Standard]

This article is being updated as events unfold…

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