NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 2 – Deputy President William Ruto has drawn a battle line, vowing to push further amendments in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) even as its proponents declared the train has left the station.
The BBI ammendment Bill, that is a product of the March 2018 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, was unveiled last week, with the secratariat now seeking at least 1 million signatures to validate it.
Raila has declared “the train has left the station” vowing that “there is no room for further amendments.”
But Ruto, who addressed a press conference alongside political leaders allied to him, said “there is no hurry to have a national referendum.”
“What is the hurry, a door should not be shut for better ideas,” he said, “we are happy that some of the proposals we wanted done have been done but there is still much more room for improvement of the Bill.”
He said the proposed referendum should be shelved to be held alongside the General Election in 2022.
The resolution was made after the DP met with 146 Members of Parliament, seven Governors and other leaders during a meeting to deliberate on the BBI.
Ruto and his allies want funds for the referendum set aside and directed to other “urgent issued like the COVID-19 pandemic and as well as support small micro-enterprises.”
Ruto and his team wants the proposed referrendum to be structured in a way that will enable Kenyans to vote for specific issues.
“This is possible, we can have a referendum that is well structured with specific issues to be voted on as opposed to have a YES/NO contest on all the issues,” Ruto said.
As part of their proposals, the leaders want the number of nominated Members of Parliament reduced by at least 60 members and have more members elected by Kenyans.
While the BBi proposal fronted the removal of Women representatives, the DP’s faction proposes bringing back the 47 women representatives so as to have 94 elected women in both houses.