Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The entrance to Kenya's Parliament/FILE


Indefinite closure of Parliament over virus concerns puts BBI reggae on hold

Dealing a major blow to the proponents of the BBI who were keen to have a national referendum by June, the Head of State asked Speakers Justin Muturi (National Assembly) and Ken Lusaka (Senate) to effect the decision immediately.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 26 – The clamour for constitutional changes in the country under the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) was put on hold on Friday after President Uhuru Kenyatta directed both Speakers of the bicameral Parliament to suspend their sittings indefinitely owing to the recent spike in the number of COVID-19 infections in the country.

Dealing a major blow to the proponents of the BBI who were keen to have a national referendum by June, the Head of State asked Speakers Justin Muturi (National Assembly) and Ken Lusaka (Senate) to effect the decision immediately.

“That with the concurrence of the parliamentary leadership of both Houses of Parliament, and with the concurrence of County leadership; the Ordinary Sessions of the August Houses including those of their Committees,” he said.

While singling out the counties of Nairobi, Machakos, Kajiado, Kiambu and Nakuru as regions which have in recent days proved to be hotspots for the virus, the Head of State also directed the leadership of county assemblies to suspend their operations until further notice.

Speaker Muturi notified his members that the sitting which was scheduled for next week on Tuesday will proceed as planned but thereafter, the House will suspend its sittings as directed by the Head of State.

“In furtherance to the Proclamation of the President asking the House to consider suspending its Sittings in order to curb the spread of COVID-19, you are notified that the House will hold its next Sitting on Tuesday, 30th March, 2021 at 2.30pm as earlier scheduled to conclude any urgent business and consider a motion to alter its Calendar in accordance with the Standing Orders. Arrangements will also be made for Hon. Members to have uninterrupted travel to Parliament. Let us all play our part as national leaders to contain the spread of the virus and keep our beloved nation and its people safe,” he said.

The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was due to come up for debate in the National Assembly on April 1, 2021.

A joint Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs which had been conducting public hearings on the Bill on Tuesday requested Speaker Muturi for an additional ten days to finalize the preparation of their report before tabling it in Parliament.

The committee had finalized the public participation hearings after receiving views and memoranda from 65 individuals’ groups and institutions.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The committee co-chaired by Nyamira Senator Okong’o Omogeni and Kangema MP Muturi Kigano held a retreat in Mombasa but returned to Nairobi after they failed to strike a consensus on contentious clauses on the Bill.

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.

The National Assembly on February adjusted its calendar where it introduced evening sittings for Tuesdays and Thursdays. The lawmakers have been having morning sittings as well.

In the revised calendar, the House suspended Wednesday sittings.

The lawmakers had on Thursday asked Speaker Muturi to revise the House calendar and scale down its operations.

The Senate on its part had earlier adopted a motion to revise its calendar and resolved to only have sittings on Tuesday until June 15. The motion that reduced the plenary sittings was introduced by the House Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio.

While giving the directives, President Kenyatta underscored the need for Kenyans to take individual responsibility in fighting the virus and flatten the curve and more importantly have the number of fatalities in the country reduced.

“In moments like this, as a caring Government, it is our solemn duty and cardinal responsibility to protect life above all else. One life lost is one too many. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who have succumbed to this disease,” he said.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

More on Capital News


Kyiv (Ukraine) (AFP), Sep 27 – Kremlin-installed authorities in four Ukrainian regions under Russian control claimed victory Tuesday in annexation votes, drawing global outrage,...


Havana (AFP), Sep 26 – Powerful Hurricane Ian left a trail of destruction after battering western Cuba on Tuesday, while Florida battened down in...


Paris (AFP), Sep 24 – Iranians staged a 12th straight night of women-led protests on Tuesday over the death of Mahsa Amini, despite fears...


Liverpool (AFP), Sep 27 – Labour leader Keir Starmer Tuesday accused the ruling Conservatives of presiding over “endless” crises as he vowed to steer...


NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 27 – President William Ruto on Tuesday named his first cabinet after winning a divisive election in August and defending his...


NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 27 – President William Ruto has named seven women to his 22-member cabinet, which is far short of the 50 percent...


NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 27 – Former Acting Communications Authority of Kenya Director-General Mercy Wanjau has been nominated as the new Secretary to the Cabinet....


Nairobi, Kenya, Sept 27-President William Ruto has nominated former Nairobi County Police boss Japheth Koome to the position of Inspector General of Police. Koome...