Kenya: Speaker Justin Muturi Rules Out Amendments to BBI Bill

The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill currently before the house will not be amended by Members of Parliament, Speaker of the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has ruled.

The Speaker on Tuesday ruled out any amendments to the Bill, saying the house should debate it as it is.

"No State organ or person to whom power is delegated by the people under Article 1 of the Constitution can stand in the way of the exercise of the sovereign power of the people of Kenya, to chart the course of their future, in any manner they deem fit within the provisions of the Constitution," Mr Muturi said.

Mr Muturi said the end result of the Bill lies with the people, who should be allowed to have their final say through a referendum.

"The end of the Bill is in the hands of the people who approve the proposed amendments through a referendum, particularly in the event that a House of Parliament fails to pass it," he said.

"This is a process that is people driven, where even this House or its rules cannot bar the exercise of the sovereign power of the people."

The Speaker warned MPs against amendment, saying they may pave the way for new substantive insertions that may ultimately affect the form and substance of the Bill.

MPs in both the Senate and the National Assembly pushed to make amendments to the Bill, with some senators suggesting specific amendments.

The constitutional amendment Bill seeks to, among others, alter Kenya's governance system, create 70 extra constituencies, attain 50-50 representation in the Senate in terms of gender, as well as increase allocations to counties to 35 per cent of national revenue.

Some MPs have been calling for the document to be edited to remove typographical and grammatical errors. Speaker Muturi termed these errors minor, noting they do not affect the substance of the Bill.

The typographical errors were noted by the joint National Assembly and senate legal committee but Mr Muturi said they do not affect the overall text as envisioned by the promoters.

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