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Joint Parliamentary Committee fails to break the deadlock over BBI Bill standoff

Details have emerged that members of the joint Parliamentary Committee have disagreed on a clear plan over the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill.

National Assembly majority leader Amos Kimunya had requested Speaker Justin Muturi to call for a special sitting on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 to discuss the content of the handshake document.

The Kipipiri lawmaker was however, forced to change the date after realising that the committee had not reached an agreement over the matter.

This come after the joint Parliamentary Committee indefinitely suspended another sitting that was expected on Monday, March 29, 2021.

The joint committee was expected to finalise the report, but the sitting was put on hold following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s new directive that barred both houses from transacting any business due to increase in Covid-19 infections and deaths.

The president had on Friday, March 26, 2021 directed that the parliament sittings be suspended until further notice due to the rising cases of Covid-19.

“The indefinite COVID-19 lockdown has presented a real challenge to the feasibility of the so-called BBI referendum occurring before next year’s elections,” Kithure Kindiki said.

However, on Sunday, April 18, 2021 Suna East Member of Parliament Junet Mohamed who doubles up as the co-chair of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) secretariat hinted that the referendum to amend the 2010 Constitution would be held in July, 2021.

The lawmaker said parliament’s joint committee had agreed on BBI timelines ahead of the 2022 General Election.

“We have agreed that the referendum should now be conducted in July. We expect the joint committee to dispense with the matter in the next two days.

Once the committee is done, we will consult the House leadership if we need a special sitting or just wait for the May 4, when we are set to resume our sittings as the National Assembly,” Junet said.

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Written by Kennedy Omondi

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