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Raila Odinga says BBI must be subjected to a referendum

By Betty Njeru | March 31st 2021

ODM leader Raila Odinga (center) meets with the party’s top leadership. [Courtesy]

ODM Leader Raila Odinga asserts that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) must go through a referendum.

Raila surfaced in a meeting with the Party's top leadership since he took time off after contracting the coronavirus, more than a fortnight ago.

“We agreed that the BBI must be subjected to a referendum because it entails a fundamental reorganization of the architecture of the Executive and Kenyans need to have a say in the reorganization. The party therefore fully supports a referendum on the document,” Raila said.

The former Prime Minister also avers that the National Assembly needs to hasten the process and release the document to the public. This, he says will enable Kenyans to have a final say on the proposed changes in the Constitutional of Kenya Amendment Bill, 2020 through a referendum.

Raila met with among others, Senate Minority Leader James Orengo, ODM Chairman John Mbadi, and National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohammed.

ODM leader Raila Odinga (center) meets with the party’s top leadership. [Courtesy]

His sentiments come a day after ODM Deputy Party leader Wycliffe Oparanya signaled the likely collapse of the BBI Bill.  

Governor Oparanya is of the idea that a referendum would be costly for a country gearing up for General elections in 2022, amid the harsh economic times occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.

“If there is no money at the National Treasury, there is no need of pushing to have the referendum this year. We should plan to hold the referendum next year when our economy has stabilised and Covid-19 has been contained,” Oparanya, a close ally of Raila said.

Last week, it emerged that some ODM MPs were divided over the push to effect amendments to the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 in Parliament.

The Sunday Standard reported that there were divisions within ODM leader Raila Odinga’s camp, with some lawmakers faulting contents of the Bill, especially on the proposed creation of 70 constituencies where they claim Luo Nyanza region was shortchanged.

Raila reportedly called the Chair John Mbadi, and Elections Director Junet Mohammed to rally members in the National Assembly to back the Bill in its totality.

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