NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 2 – About 300 Members of Parliament supportive of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) constitution review report have resolved to popularize the adoption of the document without any further amendments.
The resolution was announced on Monday at the end of a two-day retreat which was attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM Leader Raila Odinga.
Members who attended the meeting noted the document which was unveiled on Monday last week is the culmination of a lengthy process that involved an extensive public consultation exercise and was further validated through an equally detailed process.
“We stand here today on behalf of the approximately 300 MPs from both the Senate and the National Assembly to declare our total and unwavering commitment to the BBI. We are ready to proceed popularising the report across the country.
We have a schedule of activities that will culminate in a referendum that will bring very meaningful and very far-reaching amendments to the Constitution,” Senate Minority Leader James Orengo said as he briefed reporters after the closed-door session.
The BBI Consultative Meeting held in Naivasha also agreed on a formula for the allocation of the seats in which counties that are presently under-represented by virtue of having a heavy population, will on the basis of population quota of 132,138 people per MP, receive additional lawmakers.
Among the raft of recommendations was the addition of 70 seats in the National Assembly, to address gender, persons with disabilities and under-representation issues within heavily populated constituencies, especially those in the urban and peri-urban areas.
The lawmakers who constituted the BBI Campaign Steering Team stated that this is great news for Kenyans who have long raised concerns over under-representation and several of whom had made submissions to the BBI steering committee on the need for additional representation.
The resolution to proceed on with the campaigns to popularise the adoption of the implementation report pours cold water on calls by the Deputy President William Ruto and his allies for consensus building negotiations insisting that it was possible to have a non-contested referendum.
“There is absolutely no reason why anybody in this country should put anybody to a divisive debate or to a contentious referendum we can all agree. That is why we are saying come let us reason together,” Ruto said on Sunday while addressing Christian faithful in Nyeri and Tharaka-Nithi Counties.
Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen also lashed at President Uhuru Kenyatta dividing the country through Building Bridges Initiative politics.
The former Senate Majority Leader said President Kenyatta should embrace the spirit of dialogue and consensus building.
“I want to ask President Kenyatta to stop dividing the country. The President should be a statesman and learn to build bridges of unity. The bravado and utado attitude is not a mark of eminence,” Elgeyo Marakwet Senator stated.