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Three ward reps file case over rejection of BBI Bill in Baringo

By Julius Chepkwony | February 16th 2021

Lawyer Gordon Ogola (centre) with a section of Baringo MCAs and residents when they walked to the Kabarnet Law Courts yesterday. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

A petition challenging the decision by Baringo County Assembly to reject the Building Bridges Initiative Constitutional (Amendment) Bill was yesterday filed at the Kabarnet High Court.

Three ward representatives filed the petition seeking orders to stop Speaker David Kerich from certifying the results of the February 11 sittings that turned chaotic.

They want him not to act in any manner whatsoever in implementing the decision of the members on the day the Bill was rejected.

The debate

MCAs Ameja Zelemoi (Churo Amaya Ward), Ernerst Tarus (Kabarnet Ward) and Jebet Birchogo (nominated) were joined by former MCA Christine Ndoigo, and residents Finis Obai and Vincent Korir in filing the suit.

They have sued the speaker of the assembly, the clerk, the speaker of the Senate and the National Assembly. 

Through lawyer Gordon Ogola, the six in their petition said the conduct of the speaker and the clerk, and the proceedings of February 11 concerning the debate of the BBI Bill contravened the provisions of the Section 9 of the County Governments Act.

Ogola said they are challenging the constitutionality of the proceedings that led to the rejection of the Bill.

Over 30 MCA had voted to reject the document in a session that was marred by chaos. The Bill was tabled in the assembly on February 9 by Leader of Majority Lawi Kipchumba.

They claim failure to subject the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill 2020 to public participation contravened provisions of Article 94 (1) and (4) that provide, among others, that the Legislative Authority of the public is derived from the people, and that Parliament shall protect the Constitution and promote democratic governance.

The three MCAs and three locals in their petition stated that once the Bill was filed in the assembly, the clerk committed it to the Assembly Justice, Cohesion and Legal Affairs Committee for consideration and to table the report.

Birchugo, who is also a member of the Legal Affairs Committee, said views of the assembly did not reflect views of the people of Baringo.

“Ordinarily, once the Bill is committed for consideration by a committee or a budget proposal, for instance, the clerk of the assembly is supposed to publish in a newspaper of nationwide circulation notice of the same inviting members of the public to submit their views on the proposals,” reads the suit in part.

The six said the committee did not sit nor consider the Bill at the committee stage, neither did it involve members of the public.

The committee was allegedly to hold a sitting on February 10, but Jubilee Party summoned its members for a meeting in Nairobi.

It is on February 11 that the MCAs learnt through the Order paper that the Bill had been listed for debate. They noted that though they raised an objection, the debate proceeded.

“During the debate, there was chaos in the assembly and at one point teargas canisters were thrown into the assembly; it was impossible for proper debate to be undertaken due to chaos witnessed in the assembly,” the petition reads in part.

The MCAs said they want to be supplied with a copy of the Hansard and minutes of the day, but the assembly declined.

The Standard has also established that the MCAs who filed the petition wrote a protest letter to speakers of both the National Assembly and the Senate.

“This protest letter is thus geared to bring to your attention the illegalities and fraud resulting in the impugned resolution you will be asked to act upon,” reads the letter.

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