Kenyatta Party Threatens to Punish MCAs Over BBI

12 February 2021

Jubilee has threatened to punish MCAs who vote against the Building Bridges Initiative as it rolled out a carrot-and-stick strategy to woo the ward reps.

At least 24 county assemblies must pass the BBI Constitutional Amendment Bill for it to proceed to Parliament. The party has rolled out a Sh2m grant to the MCAs, but it also threatened on Thursday to punish nominated ward reps in Baringo County if they go against what Jubilee secretary-general Raphael Tuju called the party position.

Details have emerged that in the meeting that was attended by more than 32 members allied to the party, Mr Tuju directed all the 12 nominated MCAs to vote in favour of the BBI or risk losing their slots.

"We want to put it clear to whoever is trying to dictate how we do things in Baringo that this won't work. Whatever the threats, we are going to stop this much hyped Reggae. Take our word," Baringo majority leader Lawi Tallam told the Nation.

Outspoken Mochongoi MCA Kipruto Kimosop warned party officials against dictating to MCAs what they should do on pertinent matters.

"We have basically rejected the threats and intimidation from Tuju and we can only take instructions from the electorate who voted us in. We have a right to choose what is good for us and Kenyans as well," said Mr Kimosop.

On Wednesday, Mr Tuju said they would meet other Jubilee MCAs from assemblies where the party has the majority and explain to them its position on the BBI drive.

He spoke after hosting Baringo MCAs at the Jubilee headquarters in Pangani where he rallied them behind the document.

He said they expect to have another meeting today and will meet other MCAs next week. Baringo County assembly has 45 MCAs with 32 being from the ruling party. Kanu has 10 members.

MCAs from Deputy President William Ruto's Rift Valley political bastion have found themselves at a crossroads on whether to oppose or support the Building Bridges Initiative Bill, amid enticement from the State to back the document.

This comes as ward representatives from most of the 14 Rift Valley counties on Tuesday began debating the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

Dr Ruto himself has remained silent and failed to offer direction. He had in the past, however, maintained that BBI is a waste of time and resources and raised numerous issues, but declined to lead the "No" campaign.

Whereas about five county assemblies from the region have indicated that they may endorse the document, interviews with several MCAs from the region revealed, that most of them fear, that should they give in to the state coercion to pass the Bill, they risk putting their careers on the line.

Trans Nzoia, Nakuru, Nyandarua, West Pokot and Samburu MCAs have given a clear indication that will endorse the document.

However, their colleagues from Narok, Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Turkana, Kericho, Bomet, Baringo, and Elgeyo Marakwet, remain guarded and are still on the fence, maintaining that the outcome will depend on the outcome of public participation meetings.

Reported by Eric Matara, Flora Koech, Justus Ochieng and Stanley Ngotho

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