Kenya: Odinga Confident of BBI Success

30 November 2020

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga is confident that the ongoing push to change the constitution will garner the requisite one million signatures. He said an overwhelming number of Kenyans have come out in support of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report.

"I want to thank Kenyans who have willingly come out in large numbers to sign for the BBI. From the reports that I receive from all corners of the country, we are confident of getting more than the one million signatures that are required," said Mr Odinga.

Speaking when he met Muslim leaders in Mombasa, Mr Odinga who was accompanied by Jomvu MP Badi Twalib representing Governor Hassan Joho, said the process will be concluded on time: "We will get to the second phase, third and fourth as we expected. We will complete this process as per our target."

Digital platform

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Odinga launched the BBI signature collection drive last week, in an event that also saw a digital platform set up for the initiative.

Booklets for signatures have also been distributed countrywide.

Yesterday, Mr Odinga said he and President Kenyatta would not force people to support the idea, saying that democracy allows for its opposition.

"In any democracy there will be those who will be opposing. You cannot force people to support any idea," he said.

He added that "no document made by man is a perfect document" hence the need to amend the 2010 constitution through a referendum. He cited the US constitution, hailed as one of the best, but that has been amended several times. Mr Odinga said the current referendum is aimed at changing critical sections which many feel need to be addressed.

Lancaster constitution

"In 2010, we were doing away with the Lancaster constitution. This time we are just amending our constitution. If there are sections that we have not touched, then we will continue doing the amendments in future," he said in response to calls by Muslims leaders to include their issues.

Among the main issues that the Muslim leaders want addressed is the recognition and elevation of the Kadhi's court. Mr Odinga said there currently wasn't room for further amendments as the document was already out. Mr Twalib said Coast leaders were in support of the BBI and that recent amendment which touched on issues of cash crops and blue economy will help the region.

"The issues touching on agriculture and the blue economy have now been considered and that's why we are saying BBI has come to improve our 2010 constitution," he said.

Among the Muslim leaders were Sheikh Juma Ngao, a Mombasa-based cleric.

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