NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 25 – Orange Democratic Movement Party leader Raila Odinga has told off critics of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), declaring “Reggae is Back, and No one can stop it.”
Odinga castigated leaders opposed to the initiative borne out of his March 2018 handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta, saying they do not have the interests of Kenya at heart.
“They are going around misleading Kenyans about this report,” Odinga said, “I have heard them even claim that BBI is introducing an imperial presidency.”
“How is a Prime Minister nominated by the President and approved by Parliament going to introduce an imperial Presidency,” Odinga posed, in an apparent reference to criticism from leaders in the Tanga Tanga wing of the Jubilee government led by Deputy President William Ruto.
The leaders have been demanding ammendments, arguing that giving the President sweeping powers including appointing the Prime Minister and his two deputies is not good for the country’s progressive reforms.
Catholic Bishops also expressed similar concerns, cautioning that such a move is dangerous.
Speaking during the launch of BBI’s signatures collection exercise at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) in Nairobi on Wednesday, Odinga also reminisced how he enjoyed the moments when he used to sit in Parliament with MPs during his times as a Prime Minister.
“If you have a PM nominated by the President but appointed by Parliament and can only be removed by Parliament how does that increase the powers of the President? That actually reduces the powers of the President, “he said and recalled, “How I enjoyed interactions with MPs and how they enjoyed government provoking me so that I can blunder.”
Odinga exuded confidence that the exercise of collecting signatures will be concluded in record time, and urged Kenyans to turn up in large numbers to append their signatures.
“I appeal to the patriotic Kenyans to come out in large numbers and append their approval so that we can conclude the exercise in record time so that we move to the next chapter, and I know Kenyans are not slow learners when it comes to seizing the moment for change,” stated Odinga.
Governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos) Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Charity Ngilu (Kitui), Senators Gideon Moi (Baringo) Moses Wetangula (Bungoma) and former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto were among leaders who signed for BBI.
Deputy President William Ruto who has been pushing for a consensus did not attend the event.
BBI Secretariat’s Joint Secretaries Dennis Waweru and Junet Mohammed unveiled www.bbisignatures.org for Kenyans to sign for the next one week from Wednesday.
“For those who have advanced technologically can use the website and follow instructions to put their signature. Once you sign in, your details including your Identity Card will be captured and they will be used as part of the signatures,” Junet said.
The Constitution requires at least 1 million signatures to endorse the initiative for it to proceed to County Assemblies and eventually to a national referendum.
The signatures will however, have to be verified by Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for verification.
Once the signatures are verified, the Bill will be sent to County Assemblies for Debate and consideration.
It will require a majority vote of 24 counties to approve it before it is sent back to Parliament.
If Parliament approves the Amendment Bill, it will then be sent to the electoral commission which will come up with the referendum question for Kenyans to vote either for it or against it.