Kenya: Odinga Says He Was Involved in Final Changes to BBI Bill

26 November 2020

Nairobi — Orange Democratic Movement Party Leader Raila Odinga says he fully supports the Constitution Amendment Bill (2020) proposed through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), stating that he has been party to all the changes made.

In a statement issued by his Spokesman Dennis Onyango, the former Prime Minister said even though some of his proposals were left out, he remains part of the process and told off critics who blasted him for defending proposals on the electoral commission which were edited out of the final Bill.

The initial report launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Odinga in Kisii had indicated that political parties will play part in the hiring of electoral commissioners, in what was strongly opposed by Deputy President William Ruto and leaders loyal to him.

This is among the proposals dropped from the final Bill whose signatures collection was launched on Wednesday, in an event presided over by the President and the former Prime Minister.

During the launch, Odinga appeared to defend the proposal, in what kicked off a storm in social media, mainly driven by BBI critics who said Odinga was out of touch with the final Bill, even suggesting that he may not have been involved in the changes made in it.

"We wish to clarify that Mr Odinga was party to the changes and in agreement with the contents of the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020," his Spokesman Onyango said.

Onyango said Odinga's statement during the BBI signature collection launch were meant to emphasize that not all views, however strongly held, including his, were included in the document.

"He [Raila] used event to highlight the contested proposals that found their way into the Bill as well as those that were abandoned and also to make the point that not all views, however strongly held, including his, were accepted into the Bill and it should not be a reason for actors to oppose the process," Onyango added.

Odinga has appealed to Kenyans to come out in large numbers and sign the BBI document so that the process can move to the next stage.

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