NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 27 – North Rift clerics on Saturday warned against bribery and intimidation of the Members of County Assemblies to vote for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Constitutional amendment Bill.
The Bill had by Thursday been passed by 42 counties county assemblies and rejected by two.
The Regional Committee of the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), through a statement to newsrooms, said the act of bribing legislators offends the principle of free choice as a tenet of democracy. They said the culture of handouts to influence public decisions must end.
“We condemn the trend that has been witnessed of bribery and intimidation especially of the Members of County Assemblies as they were voting on the Bill. This action offends the principle of free choice as a tenet of democracy. We must all end this culture of handouts to influence public decisions,” the clerics said.
NCCK’s North Rift region Chairperson Paul Korir however advised Kenyans to attend civic education events and to read and understand the Bill so as to make an informed decision ahead of the anticipated referendum.
“Do not wait to be informed by politicians who come to you with vested interests, not the interests of the nation,” Korir advised.
At the same time, the council expressed concern over rising insecurity in counties, which NCCK attributed to underdevelopment that has led to youth unemployment.
Korir urged all Kenyans to uphold and maintain peace ahead of the constitutional amendment further urging the government to take action against any individual who incites violence or ethnic hatred on account of the referendum.
“This Regional Committee urges the President to reorganize the security machinery in the region to ensure that any and all individuals who are involved in the criminal activities are brought to book. We especially recommend that action be taken against politicians who are implicated in the insecurity,” the North Rift chapter of NCCK stated.
The Bill requires the approval of 24 county assemblies for it to be presented to both Houses of Parliament for consideration and thereafter be subjected to a national referendum.
National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya on Thursday said Parliament will adopt the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill by March 31 to pave way for a referendum.