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House constitutional committees urge sobriety on BBI discourse, insist review doable within parliament

National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee(JLAC) Chairperson William Cheptumo (left) and his Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee(CIOC) counterpart Jeremiah Kioni (right)/FILE


NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 5 – Two National Assembly committees that are critical in constitutional matters have warned political leaders against politicization of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report in order to ensure its implementation is executed soberly and objectively.

Speaking in Parliament Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) Chairperson William Cheptumo (Baringo North) said the unity and peace that has been experienced in the country is paramount and no one should sabotage efforts to create a cohesive country.

“It is one thing to accept those recommendations and it is a different thing altogether to implement them. So, the debate going on currently on whether we should implement them through parliament, or a referendum is premature,” Cheptumo stated.

“I want to appeal to all leaders and Kenyans at large to read and understand the report so that when we are even debating on this issue, we debate from a point of knowledge.”

Cheptumo pointed out that the implementation of the report must be legal and must follow the laid down mechanisms in the constitution for the benefit of the country.

His Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) counterpart Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa MP) urged leaders not to get jittery over the report and take their time to read the document saying issues raised in it can be implemented quickly through committees if they all remain united.

“70 percent of the work here will be done through Bills, Policies and through Administration. 30 per cent will need to have constitutional amendment that can be done in Parliament and constitutional amendment that will need a referendum,” Kioni said.

“If we are able handle it that way, we will definitely do what Kenyans want but again we must stop being suspicious of one another and thinking that there is someone who does not want the best for this country.”

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Earlier, Igembe South lawmaker John Mwirigi had urged the BBI taskforce to provide the report in hardcopies for the ordinary citizens to be able to read, understand and make informed decision.

On Wednesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta lashed out at politicians he accused of going around the country to “poison people against the report” launched last week, saying “they will not succeed.”

“A week before the report was released, they were going around criticizing the report … now that the report is out, they have changed tact … these are people who do not know where they are going,” he said, in what was widely interpreted to be directed to his Deputy Ruto and leaders loyal to him.

He was categorical that Kenyans should “not let any leader dictate to you what you should do.”

“You are not stupid,” he said, “read (BBI report) it for yourselves. You know what you want, Kenyans want peace, unity and the proper use of their resources in a way that will help the local Mwanainchi.”


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