IEBC Issues Verdict on BBI Signatures

IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati at the commission's office at Anniversary Towers in Nairobi in June 2017.
IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati at the commission's office at Anniversary Towers in Nairobi in June 2017.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has approved 1.14 million signatures in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) bill.

This is out of the 4.2 million signatures submitted by the BBI secretariat team on December 10, 2020.

In a notice dated Tuesday, January 26, IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati affirmed that the initiative surpassed the threshold needed to proceed to the next stage.

An image of Wafula Chebukati
IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati speaking at the Law Society of Kenya annual Cocktail event at Intercontinental Hotel in December 2018.

"The Commission, through interim verification of data captured as of 19th January 2021, has confirmed and is satisfied that the Initiative has been supported by 1,140,845 registered voters. 

"This is, therefore, to notify you that the Initiative has met the requisite threshold as provided in Article 257 (4) of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010,” read part of the statement.

The bill seeking to amend the constitution will be forwarded to the speakers of the 47 county assemblies for debate within three months from the date of submission by IEBC.

The county speakers will then submit the decisions of the county assemblies to the Speakers of the National Assembly and Senate. For the Bill to proceed to a referendum, it must be passed by at least 24 County Assemblies.

The BBI task force had initially slated the timelines for the BBI process, revealing that County Assemblies would submit their decisions by February 19, 2021. This would set the pace for the referendum to be held between April 6 to June 6.

Various politicians have embarked on various tours across the country to either drum up support for the bill or criticise the proposed amendments.

On the frontline of this initiative are President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga who have appealed to Kenyans to support the BBI citing that it provides long-term solutions to the majority of the problems in the country. 

However, a section of politicians led by Deputy President William Ruto and his allies have suggested that the proposals be revised to avoid a scenario where the referendum will pit Kenyans against each other.

The DP has in the past stated that he would not participate in the referendum if it proved divisive. 

Deputy President William Ruto address a gathering at a Sunday service at Hope Church, Nairobi on January 10, 2021