Kenya: All Eyes on President Kenyatta as Senate Passes BBI Bill

All eyes are now on President Uhuru Kenyatta as senators on Tuesday joined their colleagues in the National Assembly in approving the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

The move means that Speakers Justin Muturi (National Assembly) and Kenneth Lusaka (Senate) will submit the Bill to the President for assent as detailed in Article 257 of the Constitution, which details procedures of amending the Constitution through a popular initiative.

Having styled it as his legacy project, the President now holds the key on the date of the referendum.

Article 256 (5) provides that before assenting to the Bill, the President will have to request the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to conduct a referendum within three months.

The time will start running the moment he receives the Bill and forwards it to the electoral commission.

Moving fast and transmitting the Bill to the commission as soon as he gets it will indicate the President's support and could determine how soon the country will go to a referendum.

A total of 65 senators voted in all the three stages - second reading, amendments stage (Committee of the Whole) and the third reading.

In the second reading, 52 senators voted in support of the Bill while 12 opposed and one - Mary Seneta - abstained in all the three stages.

In the final two stages, 51 senators voted for, 11 against.

And for the umpteenth time, Deputy President William Ruto and his Hustler Movement were left leaking their wounds as they fell short of shooting down the Bill, as umbilical cord of President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, proved too strong.

Tangatanga's double tragedy

It was a double tragedy for the Tangatanga senators as they soon found themselves on the back heel after the vote on the second reading.

Soon after the vote, it dawned on them that they had lost one of their own after the Speaker implemented the decision of the Political Parties Tribunal which upheld the expulsion of Nominated senator Isaac Mwaura as a member of Jubilee party.

Senators Aaron Cheruiyot, Kipchumba Murkopmen, Susan Kihika, Irungu Kangata, Kithure Kindiki, all dyed-in-the-wool supporters of the DP railed at the Speaker, accusing him of taking the decision to remove Mr Mwaura even though the senator had a preexisting court order.

Mr Mwaura had attended the morning session and even voted in support of the Bill during the second reading. But tables were turned when at the resumption of the debate on the Bill during the afternoon session,

Tangatanga Mps raised questions on the validity of his vote because the notice in the Kenya Gazette indicated that the senator ceased being a lawmaker on May 7, four days earlier.

The Ruto group also claimed Mr Mwaura had a preexisting court order which stayed the findings of the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal. which upheld Jubilee's decision to expel him.

The party, which is divided between the forces that support President Kenyatta and DP Ruto, has accused the senator of violating the party's constitution and membership oath by describing it as a dead party and shifting loyalty to the United Democratic Alliance.

More From: Nation

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 900 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.