NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 12 – The Council of Governors (CoG) on Thursday endorsed the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill saying it addressed the interests of the ordinary Kenyans.
The Governors’ council cited the proposed increase of the equitable share allocated to devolved units from a minimum of 15 per cent to 35 per cent and the proposes creation of the ward development fund.
While giving views on the BBI before a joint Justice and Legal Affairs Committee in Parliament, CoG Chairperson Governor Martin Wambora said more resources at the counties will stimulate development at the grassroots and ensure smooth service delivery.
“This Bill will strengthen devolution and ensure that County governments have adequate funds to carry out operations and developments,” Wambora said.
He further stated that the Council supports the Bill because it proposes creation of Office of the Prime Minister, saying it will reduce unhealthy competition for the presidential position.
ODM Party also appeared before the committee and urged Members of Parliament to support the Bill saying it will not only ensure that those involved in corruption are brought to book.
“From the onset, our party has supported the whole BBI process and we will continue doing so because we believe this Bill is going to benefit every Kenyan. We will have peace in our country and a peaceful country is a prosperous country,” ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna said.
Others who appeared before the committee include promoters of the BBI led by steering committee joint Secretaries Denis Waweru and Junet Mohamed who called on Parliament to pass the Bill regardless of their political affiliation.
“You know people have different inclination politically and I think we should desist from politicizing this document in a manner that will make Kenyans feel confused,” Junet said
Jubilee Party also drummed up support for the Bill.
Party’s Secretary General Raphael Tuju said the Party supports the Bill in its totality as it guarantees inclusivity and end of post election violence.
“We have had very divisive elections in 2007 to 2017 and we have had several divisive elections dating back to 1992. Any attempt including this amendment to try and address the root causes of this polarization that we experience after every five years is worthy of our support,” Tuju said.
The BBI Bill was approved by 43 County Assemblies, rejected by three – Baringo, Nandi and Elgeyo Marakwet – as Deputy President William Ruto’s home County Uasin Gishu opted to abstain from debating and voting on the document whose proponents are hopeful will be subjected to a national referendum in June.
The Joint Committee which kicked off public participation on Thursday has three weeks to submit the reports to both Houses.
The Bill that aims to change the country’s governance structure was formally introduced in the two Houses last week.
National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya assured that Parliament will adopt the Bill by March 31 to pave way for a referendum.