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Uhuru, Raila to unveil BBI referendum roadmap in Naivasha
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|Uhuru, Raila to unveil BBI referendum roadmap in Naivasha by Kenyans247(1): Mon 02, November, 2020 02:56pm|
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga are expected to lead over 200 legislators from the Senate and the National Assembly in a meeting at the Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha to unveil the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) referendum roadmap.
The two principals arrived in Naivasha on Sunday evening and are Monday leading the second day of deliberations over the BBI report.
"President Kenyatta and ODM leader, Mr Odinga, arrived in Naivasha on Sunday evening. Therefore they will be presiding over today's meeting. We shall address the press after the closed-door meeting,” Nakuru Town West MP Samuel told the Nation.
The legislators, who are allied to the Kenyatta-Odinga camp, have been meeting in Naivasha to deliberate on the way forward after the unveiling of the BBI report a week ago.
According to a senator attending the event, Monday's meeting will mainly dwell on the matrix of starting the main BBI process that will involve drafting a referendum Bill, collection of one million signatures and eventually coming up with a referendum question.
"We are almost set for the BBI process and nothing will stop this. We will have discussions on collection of one million signatures among other issues as we kick-start the referendum process,” said the senator.
National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi speaks at the Naivasha meeting.
Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group
The meeting is happening at a time the Senate and the National Assembly are in disagreement over the report. Some senators feel proposals in the report have clipped the powers of the Senate.
The meeting precedes a two-day Senate leadership meeting in which senators led by Speaker Ken Lusaka vowed to push for veto powers through the BBI process.
Among other things, they are pushing for a powerful Senate, regarded as the Upper House, with roles not only well defined but protected.
"As we push for the BBI process, we must position ourselves properly or else this will be our last Senate. Let us put our best foot forward. All we want is a strengthened Senate that can oversight the increased revenue to counties, which now will be 35 percent, and also play other major roles,” said Speaker Lusaka at the end of the retreat last Friday.
The Senate formed a caucus to push for changes in the BBI report before the referendum process begins.
The current retreats have evoked memories of the clamour for a new Constitution in 2010 where MPs met in Naivasha and amended the initial draft by the Committee of Experts and came up with the current Constitution that was ratified in a referendum in August 2010.
After the formal launch of the BBI report at the Bomas of Kenya a week ago, the group supporting it is now working towards the next phase of amending the Constitution through popular initiative.
Already, allies of Deputy President William Ruto are claiming that they have been left out of the key BBI meeting.
But, according to sources at the meeting, President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga are keen to counter resistance to the document, especially following emerging protests by key constituencies like trade unions, women and persons living with disabilities who are unhappy with some proposals in the report.
On Sunday, National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya said the meeting is aimed at familiarising the parliamentarians with the BBI report, with a team of experts at hand to explain the contents.
Mr Kimunya and other leaders attending the meeting also downplayed claims by DP Ruto’s allies of having been side-lined.
Sources say Monday’s meeting is also seeking to rally the Senate and the National Assembly to approve the document.
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