NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 25 – 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.
Speaking to Capital News, Kimunya stated that the House will start considering the Bill after receiving resolutions of county assemblies which have approved the proposed amendments.
“By Tuesday next week we shall be having the usual House Business Committee where we shall review the progress in terms of what we would have received and when we reach the threshold of the 24 counties, we will be good to go,” Kimunya said.
“Then we will allocate the time on modalities of when the Bill will be introduced but we will be happy to finish with it by the end of March.”
With 41 counties having passed the Bill so far, Kimunya pointed out that both the National Assembly and the Senate have agreed to form a joint Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) to conduct public participation.
“Considering that we are talking about the same Bill and there is no option of amending it, receiving public views on it in a centralized manner is far more efficient than getting the same people attending two different sittings. The two Speakers are aligned to that and the communication on concurrence will be made by next week,” Kimunya said.
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. So far, only Baringo County Assembly has voted to reject it.
Kimunya called on Members of Parliament to support the Bill due to its benefits including the devolution of 35 per cent equitable share to the counties.
He exuded confidence that the Bill will be adopted by both houses and be supported by Kenyans in the much awaited referendum.
The Bill which proposes the expansion of the National Executive by adding the Office of the Prime Minister and two deputies was borne out of a March 2018 truce between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Odinga which ended hostilities sparked by the latter’s rejection of the 2017 presidential election outcome.
On Tuesday, more than 25 county assemblies approved the Bill including Makueni, Kitui, Narok, Kakamega, Mombasa, Bungoma, Nyamira, Taita Taveta and Murang’a.
Others which passed the Bill Tuesday were Machakos, Nyeri, Lamu, Nyandarua, Kirinyaga, Tharaka Nithi and Garissa.
Five counties – Nandi, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Mandera and Kilifi – are yet to give consider the Bill.