Raila urges counties to speedily pass BBI bill

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021 00:00 |
ODM leader Raila Odinga addresses hundreds of leaders at a consultative meeting held at Ciala Resort in Kisumu to drum up support for BBI, yesterday. Photo/PD/Viola Kosome

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga has moved to consolidate support for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report in his Luo Nyanza backyard.

ODM leader yesterday directed Homa Bay, Migori and Kisumu county assemblies to pass the Bill as soon as possible.

 His home county Siaya Assembly set the pace by unanimously passing the Bill last week.

Kisumu and Homa Bay county assemblies are also expected to pass the Bill today after completion of public participation forums.

 Yesterday, Raila who chaired a consultative forum attended by governors, senators, women reps and Ward Reps from Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori and Siaya counties said their move would set the pace for other assemblies.

  “I want all the assemblies to set an example by preaching the BBI gospel and do what is required of them by law and pass this document so that we can move to the next stage,” he said.

The former Premier said proposals contained in the Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2020 are seeking to improve the living standards of Kenyans and create more job opportunities.

 “Through this document we shall have more money in counties and more jobs for the youth. We want to change the lives of Kenyans in an appropriate way,” he said.

Similar meeting

Raila also held a similar meeting with all ODM Ward Reps in Nairobi last week. The Members of County Assembly (MCAs) agreed to support the document.

 Earlier, there was an awkward moment when Raila ordered Siaya Governor Cornell Rasanga and his Migori counterpart Okoth Obado out of the podium after they arrived late.

Raila ordered the two county chiefs to sit where other delegates were.  “Governor.  Governor,” he said, pointing at Obado.

“Just sit where other people are. We have already started the meeting so just sit down there,” he said.

Delegates were thrown into laughter as Obado looked for a seat for nearly two minutes before a volunteer surrendered his. And when he rose to speak, Obado downplayed the incident.

“I call upon the organisers of such a vital forum to consider Migori as an important county because we also have Kurias and other tribes, who would also want to feel respected,” he said. 

The ODM party, through its Director of Communication Philip Etale, denied reports that Obado had been kicked out of the meeting. 

“Obado and Rasanga came late and that is why they were told to sit elsewhere since the meeting had kicked off,” said Etale. 

Raila also castigated remarks by Deputy President William Ruto and his allies that BBI was calculated to create more positions to benefit a few leaders.  

The Bill has proposed radical changes to the Constitution, including creation of the position of Prime Minister and two deputies. 

“The Prime Minister position is not new in the country. I wonder why some people are opposing it.

The same people who opposed a new constitution in 2010 are now spreading propaganda that President Uhuru Kenyatta and myself want power,” he said.

Possible means 

Governors Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu), Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay), Obado and Rasanga promised to rally their county assemblies behind the Bill.

 “As counties from the lower Nyanza region, we want to announce that we shall use any possible means to ensure the Bill is passed because its benefits are clear for us to see,” said Nyong’o.

The Migori County Assembly is set to pass the Bill on Tuesday next week. 

“We cannot afford to oppose BBI, because it will enrich counties by adding more funds,” said Obado.

Siaya Senator James Orengo lashed out at Ruto’s persistent criticism of the BBI document. “The DP should stop misleading Kenyans about this document just because it is being spearheaded by the President and Raila. He should be man enough and declare his stand instead of undermining the President.”

Homa Bay County Women Rep Gladys Wanga condemned remarks by her colleagues allied to Ruto for misleading the public on the women seat.

“It is sad that my fellow women leaders who are enjoying the fruits of devolution and the 2010 Constitution are the same ones spreading lies on how women will lose through BBI,” Wanga said.

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