Otiende Amollo Slams ODM Chairman During BBI Debate

  • Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo
    Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo.
  • The differences of opinion between close allies of ODM Leader Raila Odinga on Thursday, April  29, played out on the floor of the house as Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo slammed ODM Chairman John Mbadi during debate on the BBI Constitutional Amendment Bill

    Mbadi was of the view that the report could be amended by Parliament even after voters had appended their signatures, arguing that it needed to align with the constitution. 

    Amollo, who is a Senior Counsel, ridiculed Mbadi's understanding of the law, noting that a constitutional amendment bill could be valid even if unconstitutional. 

    "Mr. Speaker as a matter of law, and this is where I disagree with my chairman, a constitutional amendment can be unconstitutional.

    "Now what we have done, and professors of law like John Mbadi saying is not true but that is your view. I am talking about the law. John Mbadi you've not stepped in Law school so just allow me," Amollo stated amid cheers from colleagues. 

    ODM Chairman John Mbadi at a press conference in 2019

    Mbadi on Wednesday, April 28, had argued that amending the bill could not be unconstitutional especially coming from a popular initiative.

    Amollo noted that the ultimate recommendation of the report was for the bill to be passed by both Houses without any amendments.

    "It is true that there are members who may have spoken prematurely on this not knowing the conclusion of this report," Amollo pointed out in reference to the ODM chairman.

    The lawyer also clarified that the report presented to the Senate by Justice and Legal Affairs Committee pointed out typographical errors within the BBI bill but he termed them as minor.

    He noted that Parliament ought not to make any substantive change to a document that had come through popular initiative.

    Reports had indicated that there was trouble within the BBI camp over decisions on whether to amend the bill. A section of the BBI proponents pushed for the BBI bill to be amended within Parliament.

    Others, however, argued that the bill should proceed to a referendum without any changes. Among the key issues dividing the BBI camp is the proposed creation of 70 constituencies as various leaders claim some regions were shortchanged.

    National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi had called for special sittings of the National Assembly on Wednesday, April 28, and Thursday, April 29 in order for MPs to debate on the BBI bill. 

    President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga at KICC in Nairobi for the National launch of BBI signatures collection exercise. November 25, 2020.