You have right to vote No, Raila tells BBI opponents
Alvin Mwangi and George Kebaso
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga will launch the signature collection exercise for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report today.
Making the announcement after meeting a section of leaders from Central Kenya yesterday, Raila was categorical that BBI taskforce will not waste any more time addressing demands from those opposed to the report that it be amended further.
He instead challenged those opposed to the report in its current form to a political duel during the referendum.
“If we allow this thing to continue until next year, we will not have a consensus and that is why we are a democracy.
I think enough is enough and we are good to go. You can’t just agree with everybody,” he said.
ODM leader said those opposed to the document were within their democratic right to vote “No” during the referendum, saying the majority will carry the day at the ballot.
“We have agreed on how to create synergy and we are good to go,” he said.
And speaking at a separate press conference, BBI Secretariat chaired by former Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru and Suna East lawmaker Junet Mohammed said tomorrow’s launch will be held in strict observation of Covid -19 rules.
“We now wish to inform all Kenyans that we will launch the collection of signatures as is required by law for the BBI Constitutional amendment Bill 2020 on November 25. The bill is ready,” statement from the duo.
Duo called upon Kenyans of goodwill to come forward and append their signatures in order to change the law and usher in a country “devoid of corruption, ethnic antagonism and marginalisation of sections of the society.”
While the law requires that the process attracts at least a million signatures, Junet and Waweru said they were targeting to collect four million just to assert its popularity among Kenyans.
Raila on his part said the report reflected views of the vast majority of Kenyans, suggesting that those opposed to it are in the minority.
Present during the meeting at a city hotel were; Nominated MP Maina Kamanda, Kieni MP Kanini Kega, his Mathioya and Maragua counterparts Peter Kimari and Mary Wangari Wamaua respectively.
Others included Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata, National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya, politician Peter Kenneth, Senate Minority Leader James Orengo, Igembe North MP Maoka Maore, Kangema MP Muturi Kigano, and Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru.
Peter Kenneth urged those opposed to the document to look at the benefits it offered Kenyans and avoid dismissing it without any basis. “We should be honest and sincere sometimes.
This document has a lot of benefits to us, especially now that we will be getting more money to our counties. Proposals like establishment of a ward fund are good for Kenyans,” he said.
Kimunya said he will mobilise leaders from Central Kenya to support the document as it seeks to address past marginalisation.
“We have been neglected in the past, but we are happy that finally BBI has come to save us.
As Mt Kenya leaders, we are ready to go and we will mobilise our residents to support this document,” he said.
And separately, a group of Mt Kenya MPs, led by Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata also met yesterday to strategise on how to popularise the document in the region.
The Murang’a Senator said part of their strategy will be to educate people about the merits of BBI.
Kiambaa MP Paul Koinange, who is the Mt Kenya BBI mobiliser, urged MPs to desist from chest-thumping and instead skillfully sell the document.
“The ground might be hostile because it has been poisoned through propaganda, but that should not scare you because we all know that it is more than beneficial to our people,” he said.
The MP, who is also the Parliamentary Security Committee chairman, said the document has very effective proposals in the fight against corruption; a vice he said had retarded general development in the country.
“Parliament will provide an effective and expeditious framework for the trial and conclusion of corruption cases and there will be a constitutional provision for the expeditious and efficient prosecution of corruption cases,” he explained.
Other leaders at the conference were: MPs, Peter Mwathi (Limuru), Cate Waruguru (Laikipia), Wangari Mwaniki (Kigumo), Ngunjiri Wambugu (Nyeri Town) and Mercy Gakuya (Kasarani).
Raila’s move to rule out any changes to the document is set to irk various interest groups that have been advocating for amendments including a section of politicians and religious groups.