Referendum or not? Report elicits mixed reactions

Monday, December 2nd, 2019 00:00 |
Suba South MP John Mbadi. Photo/PD/FILE

The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) has elicited mixed reactions among leaders, with some opposed to the bid to subject the report to a referendum.

 National Assembly Leader of Majority Aden Duale,  Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi and Trade Cabinet secretary Peter Munya dismissed individuals pushing for a referendum, terming the call “ignorant.” 

But on the other hand, ODM National Chairman John Mbadi (pictured)  said the report should be subjected to a referendum, noting that Parliament is “too divided” to implement the proposals. The Suba South MP, however, said the report should be subjected to public participation to allow Kenyans propose amendments before the vote.

And speaking in Garissa on Saturday, Duale said BBI does not stand a  chance of being subjected to a referendum. “Are those calling for a referendum aware it (BBI) has to relate to matters touching Article 255 of the Constitution?,” he asked.

On his part, Murungi  who was accompanied by his Tharaka Nithi counterpart  Muthomi Njuki and   Munya called on the residents to read the report for themselves before making decision.

Speaking on Saturday during a meeting of Njuri Ncheke Council of Elders in Tigania West, the three said the Meru community will speak with one voice in regard to the BBI.

But speaking in Karachuonyo, Mbadi said a public engagement will give everyone an opportunity to propose changes in the report. 

“MPs are currently divided in camps over the BBI. It would be difficult to let them decide on a matter that would affect millions,” he said.

In Kiambu, leaders have differed over a BBI proposal to have December 26 marked as a cultural day.

County Assembly Speaker Stephen Ndicho said the day, marked as Boxing Day, is an important occasion in the biblical calendar and should not be interfered with.

Governor James Nyoro, on the other hand,  said the proposed cultural day should be accommodated within the constitutionally-recognised public holidays including Boxing Day. 

Meanwhile, the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee has started going through the BBI report to enable it guide the National Assembly’s debate on the same.

 Committee chair Jeremiah Kioni said for the report to be accorded the required force of law in implementation, it has to be reduced into a bill.

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