BBI Faces Fresh Hurdles in Mt Kenya

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta appending his signature on the Constitution Of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 at KICC on November 25, 2020
    President Uhuru Kenyatta appending his signature on the Constitution Of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 at KICC on November 25, 2020
    PSCU
  • The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) bill faces fresh hurdles in President Uhuru Kenyatta's backyard of the Mt Kenya region after a section of MPs raised concerns over the trajectory the whole process was taking.

    Reports indicate that the legislators have lobbied against the move by Parliament or the two legal committees from the Senate and National Assembly to amend the bill.

    The MPs noted that this might deny the region 15 additional constituencies. Further, they believe that the region would indirectly benefit from surrounding areas such as Nairobi and Nakuru Counties should the bill remain in its current form.

    Mt Kenya region leaders pictured at Pan Afric Hotel in Nairobi on July 8, 2020.
    Mt Kenya region leaders pictured at Pan Afric Hotel in Nairobi on July 8, 2020.
    File

    Among the legislators who have expressed their disaffection include Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, Murang'a Woman Rep Sabina Chege, MP Kigumo Wangari Mwaniki and her counterparts Nduati Ngugi (Gatanga) and Kathuri Murungi (South Imenti).

    Others include Rahim Dawood (North Imenti), Cate Waruguru (Laikipia), and Peter Kimari (Mathioya). The legislators argued that Parliament has no authority to amend the BBI bill. 

    The BBI bill currently proposes 70 new constituencies to be added to counties, a factor that Mt Kenya legislators have noted will be a key determinant in how the region votes in the impending referendum.

    The bill is set to be tabled in both the Senate and National Assembly by joint committee co-chairmen Muturi Kigano and Okong’o Omogeni for a possible amendment of the new constituencies proposal.

    Irungu Kang'ata had initially drafted a letter to Uhuru addressing his concerns over the BBI bill arguing that it would not pass in the Mt Kenya region.

    In the letter, Kang'ata conveyed that out of every 10 persons, six would oppose the bill, two would support and two others would be indifferent according to a survey carried out by the Senator.

    "Your excellency, I concede, I may be wrong. In fact, I wish I was wrong and that my views are merely pessimistic view of things. However, if I am right and we do not take urgent remedial measures, I will pin myself permanently in the pillar of spectacular shame," Kang'ata stated in the letter.

    However, all ten counties from the Central region passed the bill correcting the notion that the constitutional amendment bill would face headwinds within the region.

    Murang'a Senator Irungu Kang'ata speaks at Gatura AIPCA church on February 28, 2021
    Murang'a Senator Irungu Kang'ata speaks at Gatura AIPCA church on February 28, 2021
    File