NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 24 – The County Assemblies of Kericho and Nandi on Monday filed advisory opinion applications at the Supreme Court seeking clarity on how to consider and process a Bill to amend the Constitution through a popular Initiative.
In a statement signed by respective County Assembly Speakers Dominic Rono and Joshua Kiptoo, the two sought to understand whether county assemblies are obligated to conduct public participation when considering the Bill and use views received alongside those of the Members of the County Assembly to make a decision whether to adopt or reject the Bill.
Further the two county assemblies sought a clarification on the applicable procedure for consideration and processing of a Constitutional Amendment Bill under the popular initiative process by parliament.
“The questions relating to consideration of a bill to amend the constitution through a popular initiative by and at the County Assembly are especially necessitated by the difficulties our and all County Assemblies faced when they were presented with the Punguza Mizigo Constitutional Amendment Bill,” they stated.
“We are hoping that the Supreme Court’s guidance will not only bring clarity to the procedure and consideration that the constitution anticipates of county assemblies, but will also help standardize the processes undertaken by all 47 County Assemblies when considering such bills in future.”
Nandi and Kericho counties also asked the Supreme Court to offer guidance on whether to a single question or multi-choice referendum should ensue when an Amendment Bill contains a multiplicity of issues addressing different constitutional matters.
“We have noted that, while Article 256 which guides constitutional amendment through a parliamentary initiative is detailed on procedure and process of processing a constitutional amendment, Article 257 which relates to popular initiative seems silent on the process and procedure parliament has to use in consideration and passage of a bill to amend the constitution,” a part of the statement read.
The application by the two county assemblies came a day after the Bulding Bridges Initiative (BBI) Secretariat announced that a signature collection exercise will be launched Wednesday by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Railla Odinga.
The launch was slated to take place at the Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC).
At least one million signatures are needed for the Bill to be sent to the County Assemblies for debate and consideration.
The Amendment Bill will require 24 counties to pass it, for it to go to the next level.