NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 29 – ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga says he will accept the outcome of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) referendum which is scheduled for next year if Kenyans vote against it.
The former Prime Minister underscored that whereas it is his hope that Kenyans will endorse the document owing to the benefits it will bring forth once its contents are implemented, the verdict of the people will be final.
“The world will not stop moving because the country has said no. There will be different reasons why Kenyans will say no,” he said in a Monday night interview.
Odinga was speaking to Citizen Television’s Events 2020 news segment.
The ODM chief who has been at the forefront in championing for the passage of the BBI constitutional review Bill which seeks to alter the country’s governance structure however exuded confidence that Kenyans will ultimately make the right choice.
“I believe Kenyans when given an opportunity they will make the right choice. I know Kenyans and they know what is good for them,” he said.
While defending the urgency of its passage, Odinga dismissed claims that there was an ulterior motive behind the push for the plebiscite in mid 2021.
“Once passed it will have a direct impact on the 2022 General Election more importantly in ensuring the two thirds gender rule is effected,” he said.
He in particular took a swipe at Deputy President William Ruto and his allies who have been rooting for a postponement of the exercise.
Odinga poked holes into Ruto’s proposal to have a multi-choice referendum insisting hat it was far fetched and impractical.
He said it would prove to be an uphill task for the electorate to vote for five or more referendum questions independently claiming illiterate voters would take as long as an hour to cast their ballot.
“DP Ruto is not being factual and he is simply playing to the gallery and I am sure he knows that his proposal is practically impossible,” he said.
Odinga at the same time defended his position to have the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) reconstituted noting that its overhaul would bring sanity in the country’s election cycle.
He took issue with the agency’s Chairperson Wafula Chebukati who has disagreed with him on how much it would cost the country to hold a referendum, even as he maintained that only Sh2 billion is needed to have the exercise conducted.
“It is only in Africa particularly in Kenya where the cost is always inflated with a huge chuck of the funds going to people’s pockets,” he said.
The electoral body is currently verifying 4.4 million signatures which were collected in support of the BBI Bill.
Once the verification is over, the IEBC will send the Bill to all the 47 County Assemblies for debate and consideration.
The Bill will require a majority vote of 24 counties in its favor for it to move to Parliament and once Parliament passes it, the IEBC will then come up with a question where Kenyans will vote in support or against it during a referendum scheduled for April 2021.