NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party Leader Raila Odinga on Thursday dismissed claims a plebiscite on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) constitutional review process is untenable under existing economic conditions saying a vote on proposed amendments would not cost more than Sh2 billion.
Speaking during the swearing in of ODM’s new National Elections Board and Disciplinary Committee members, Odinga asserted a referendum will be conducted by August 2022.
“A referrendum does not need to cost more than Sh2 billion ,so we should not be told, we have no money, there is no money to do, we can teach Chebukati how to do it so we have everything needed for a country to do a referendum, we will do it before the next General election,” he said.
“It is not the desire for anyone to make it any more difficult and costly than it is, a referendum doesn’t have to cost billions,” Odinga added.
His remarks are in conflict with Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairperson Wafula Chebukati who said the commission would need Sh12 billion to conduct a referendum.
Odinga reiterated that the BBI constitutional review will deliver free and fair 2022 election and prevent any post-election violence.
“The purpose of the BBI is to have a free and fair election and that no Kenyan blood is shed because of an election,” he added.
Odinga further defended the ODM party whose role as the lead opposition party has been termed as ineffective saying all Members of Parliament are duty bound to check the government.
“It is not only the responsibility of the Minority Party to oversight, even the Majority Party is part and parcel of the oversight. The Parliament is playing the role of oversight. ‘Its not that ODM is not doing its role. What about Jubilee? They have a role to oversight,” the former PM said.
During the event, Odinga oversaw the swearing in of Florence Omosa, Mumbi Ng’aru, Seth Kakusye, Ramadhani Abubakar and Ben Sihanya as members of the Disciplinary Committee.
Catherine Mumma replaceD Senator Judy Pareno as the Chairperson of the National Elections Board leading a team composing of Syntei Nchoe, Abdulahi Mohammed Diriye, Emily Awita and Richard Tairo.
The former Prime Minister lauded the outgoing officials for serving diligently and being patriotic.
The party’s Director of Elections and Campaigns, Junet Mohammed, Secretary General Edwin Sifuna and Chairperson John Mbadi were among officials present.