Kenya: Ruto to MPs - Save Us From BBI As Bill Heads to Parliament

Deputy President William Ruto has asked MPs to remove contentious issues in the Constitution (Amendment) Bill that is to be taken to both Houses today.

But that will not be possible as Parliament has to pass it as it is or reject it in toto.

Once a constitutional amendment bill has been passed by a majority of county assemblies, the decision of the National Assembly and Senate are inconsequential.

"Making changes to contentious clauses in the document before it is subjected to a referendum would lead to a win-win situation," Dr Ruto said in Narok yesterday.

The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) draft Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2020 will be introduced in Parliament as the country's marches towards a plebiscite gains momentum.

In a joint communication but delivered separately, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and his Senate colleague Kenneth Lusaka said they made the decision after the threshold for introducing the bill in Parliament was met.

They said the changes to the Constitution propelled by a popular initiative contemplates a fast process.

Priority to Kenya

"The need for an expeditious process provided for under the popular initiative route is borne out of the lengthy route attached to the consideration of the bill in terms of collection of signatures, verification of signatures, public participation and the subsequent approval," the two said in their respective Houses.

To ensure the process is speeded up, the Speakers agreed that the two Committees on Justice and Legal Affairs would have joint sittings during public participation.

Senate Clerk Senate Jeremiah Nyegenye will publish an advert in major dailies tomorrow, inviting the public to submit views on the bill.

By close of business on March 1, some 42 of the 47 county assemblies had submitted their decision to approve the draft bill to Mr Muturi and Mr Lusaka as set out in the Constitution.

In Narok, Dr Ruto said the changes through the BBI backed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga are not a priority to Kenya.

He said the changes would not solve joblessness and other problems facing the country.

The DP said he would ensure more jobs are created if he becomes president next year.

Development track record

He added that his opponents do not have any development track record "and that it is the reason they are promoting tribalism".

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and his Kericho colleague Aaron Cheruyiot said the country's economy should be driven from the grassroots.

Mr Murkomen said time has come to put an end to the politics of deceit.

"Leaders must learn to say 'yes' or 'no' to issues and stick to their positions," Mr Murkomen said.

Mr Cheruiyot said Mr Kenyatta would be remembered for evicting thousands of families from

Former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto said he changed tune to support the DP "in order to bring people together".

MPs Soipan Kudate (Woman Rep), Lemanken Aramat (Narok East), Korei Lemein (Narok South) and Johanna Ngeno (Emurua Dikirr) attended the rallies.

Reported by George Sayagie, David Mwere and Ibrahim Oruko

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