NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 9 – Uasin Gishu County Assembly has abstained from debating and taking a vote on the Constitution Amendment Bill derived from the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
27 of the County’s ward representatives voted to adopt a report by a delegated legislation Committee that proposed abstinence against 19 MCAs who opposed.
The majority of the MCAs argued that Kenyans should be given a chance to decide on the fate of the document once it is subjected to a national vote.
So far, the Bill which is currently before the bicameral Parliament and awaiting public participation has been passed by 43 County Assemblies and rejected by Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi and Baringo.
Already, the Joint Parliamentary committees on Justice and Legal Affairs tasked with handling the BBI Bill are on Wednesday set to meet on modalities that will guide the Bill’s public participation stage.
The Senate Committee Chair Okong’o Omogeni said part of the agenda will be to decide how long the public participation process which is due to kick off on Thursday will take.
“Courts have ruled in so many occasions that when we are doing public participation it must be qualitative, quantitative and it must be participatory so that the people of Kenya must be given an opportunity to give their views before their elected representatives can pass a decision,” he said.
National Assembly Clerk Michael Sialai and his Senate counterpart Jeremiah Nyegenye have since urged members of the public to submit their views, representations or written memoranda to Parliament on or before Thursday.
The House hearings will be held at the Main Parliament Buildings from 8am to 5pm.
Whereas the Joint Committees have three weeks from Thursday to submit their reports to both Houses, Omogeni assured that the process which will be ultimately subjected to a vote in the bicameral House will be smooth.
“The committee is keen to conduct a process that will not be challenged through a judicial process. And so, once we have received views from members of the public, the committees will jointly do a report to the House and that report will either be positive or negative,” he said.
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 has assured that Parliament will adopt the Bill by March 31 to pave way for a referendum.
The Bill which proposes the expansion of the National Executive by adding the Office of the Prime Minister and two deputies among other changes was borne out of a March 2018 truce between President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Odinga in what ended hostilities sparked by the latter’s rejection of the 2017 presidential election outcome.