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Eyes on Senate as Uhuru, Raila ask parliamentarians to pass BBI bill

By Patrick Vidija | May 6th 2021
President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga when they officially opened the 48km Ngong-Kiserian-Isinya and the 43km Kajiado-Imaroro roads in Kajiado County.[Courtesy Twitter]

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga have asked Members of Parliament in the National Assembly and Senate to pass the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

In a joint statement on Wednesday, the two principals asked the parliamentarians to listen to the voice of the people.

While urging them to put aside their political differences, Uhuru and Raila said it is not the time for political adversity nor for personal aggrandizement. 

"This is the time to listen to the people and to remember that it is their sovereignty we exercise as their servants. We are asking them to stand up with their countrymen in charting a non-partisan and selfless way forward for all of us,' the duo said.

The handshake partners said the Bill that the BBI National Secretariat launched has gone through the motions provided for in the Constitution, beginning with the obtaining of 3,188,001 verified signatures in support, approval by 44 of 47 County Assemblies, and it now sits at the door of Parliament awaiting approval.

“We are making a joint appeal to members of the National assembly and the Senate to join the 3,188,001 Kenyans who supported the Bill, and the 44 County Assemblies who approved it, in upholding what represents the hopes and aspirations of all those who participated in the various public forums seeking long term solutions to this country’s problems," read part of the joint statement.

They said after the two houses adopt the Bill, it shall be going directly to the people to confirm that indeed they are satisfied that we have been listening to them as they talk. 

"Let us, therefore, be the faithful servants we were all elected to be," they said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga’s appeal comes amid calls by a section of the legislators to amend the bill.

Those calling for the amendments say some of the BBI provisions are unconstitutional hence their removal.

At least three senators have written to Speaker Ken Lusaka recommending a raft of amendments to realign the bill and remove the offensive clauses.

This comes even as the Senate is today afternoon expected to vote to either adopt or reject the bill.

Lusaka is yet to pronounce himself on the Bill but his National Assembly counterpart Justin Muturi ruled out any possibility of amending the bill.

Muturi said the bill was developed through a popular initiative and that parliament has no mandate to interfere with the aspirations of the promoters.

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