Kenya: Speaker Muturi to Determine Fate of BBI

Nairobi — National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi is on Tuesday afternoon set to issue seven key rulings that will determine the fate of the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020 also known as the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill.

During the onset of the debate's second reading of the Bill last week, members raised serious constitutional weighty issues on the Bill including whether there is need for the document to be amended further.

Debate has been rife on whether the bicameral Parliament should amend the Bill after it emerged that some provisions contained in it were unconstitutional.

In particular, the provision that stipulates the creation of additional 70 new constituencies which some members want expunged arguing that it is the mandate of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Consequently, Speaker Muturi is expected to give directions on whether the Bill offends the "basic structure" of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and whether it actually contains "unconstitutional" amendments.

He will rule on whether a bill to amend the Constitution by popular initiative such as the BBI Bill can be amended.

The Speaker is also expected to give directions on whether due process was followed in the initial stages of the Bill from public participation stage to the debate of the Bill in the 47 County Assemblies amid reports that only 13 devolved units passed the correct Bill.

He is also expected to determine whether the House should proceed to voting on the Bill in the wake of pending court cases that are challenging the constitutionality of the Bill.

If the House decides to proceed with the voting notwithstanding the court cases, Speaker Muturi will make a decision on the voting threshold in each stage namely the first, second and third reading.

While the outcome of the vote in the House on the Bill is inconsequential, Kenyans will have the ultimate say on its fate once the Bill is subjected to a national referendum.

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