Raila allies split on role of Parliament in Constitution review process
Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka
Differences between allies of ODM leader Raila Odinga over the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill played out in the open yesterday.
Senate Minority leader James Orengo and his National Assembly counterpart Suba South MP John Mbadi differed sharply over the document with the former maintaining that the document be reviewed by a team of legal experts while the latter maintained that not even a “comma or full stop should be touched.”
“Parliament, or any of its committees, has no capacity to amend it, even a comma or a full stop,” Mbadi told People Daily.
On Tuesday, Mbadi accused the joint committee co-chaired Kangema MP Muturi Kigano and Nyamira Senator Okong’o O’mogeni of derailing the process.
“I am surprised that they can make such a request when they know the provisions of the Constitution. Article 257 was put there to stop people who want to derail any Kenyan who wants to amend the constitution,” he said.
Suba East MP Junet Mohamed wondered why the committee needed experts to inspect a Bill that already had the input of constitutional experts.
“This committee has many lawyers and wants to hire other lawyers? It may need to be dissolved,” he said.
But Orengo defended the committee saying “nobody in this country should say that the role of Parliament is ceremonial.”
He said it was up to the two Houses of Parliament to make a decision on whether the Bill can be altered.
Ruaraka MP Tom Kajwang’ sided with Orengo saying Parliament does not play a ceremonial role.
“We have heard about this thing and waited for it, and now it has come. We are still trying to understand the animal of public participation and we should give the Committee time to deal with it,” Kajwang said in support of the joint committee.
O’mogeni defended his team, saying it has some of the best legal minds.
“I want to assure the country that the process will be midwifed taking into account the fact that the two committees have some of the most experienced legal minds,” he said.
“I also want to assure the country and promoters of BBI that there is no intention whatsoever by the two committees to scuttle the BBI process but we want to undertake a process that can stand any constitutional test,” he added.