National Assembly Passes BBI Bill

The Members of Parliament (MPs) on Thursday, May 6, 2021 passed the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill after debating on it for several hours.

The 2010 constitution amendment motion sailed through the Parliament by a simple majority as required for a constitutional amendment bill introduced by a popular initiative. 

While declaring the result, the National Assembly speaker Justin Muturi announced that 235 Members of Parliament (MPs) voted yes while 83 voted no and two abstained. The total number of votes cast was 320.

Bahati lawmaker Kimani Ngunjiri, a close ally of the Deputy President William Ruto surprisingly voted yes for the Bill.

“I Onesmus Kimani Ngunjiri, MP Bahati, I vote YES,” the MP stated amid cheers and jeers.

His move could signal a fallout by some members of the Tangatanga wing of the ruling Jubilee Party.

Kiharu Member of Parliament Ndindi Nyoro who is also an ally of the DP Ruto however, voted ‘No’.

The law requires that the bill is passed by both houses of parliament, which mean the Senate will be the new battleground. 

If the bill passes in the Senate too, it will be submitted to the IEBC which will craft question and organise the referendum. Kenyans will then go to a plebiscite to either vote yes or no. If they vote yes, then the constitution will have been amended.

Earlier, a section of senators pushed for an amendment of the document to realign it with the constitution.

The debate on the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 will take place on May 11 2021 at 10 am when the Senate officially breaks from their recess.

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Written by Kennedy Omondi


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  1. While the Bill arising from the Building Building Initiative (BBI) process will still need to go to the National Assembly and the Senate, the referendum is as good as confirmed since the decision of the bicameral Parliament—whether endorsing or rejecting the document—will still result in a referendum, anyway. County assemblies in Mount Kenya region such as Murang’a, Nyeri, Kirinyaga and Tharaka Nithi, which were widely expected to oppose the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2020, joined the growing list of those voting for it, bringing to over 30 the number of counties that have passed the proposed legislation by Tuesday.

  2. While the supplementary budget tabled before Parliament early this month did not capture allocation for the referendum, the Treasury can allocate funds which will later be approved by MPs not later than 60 days after disbursement. “Money has not been allocated but there is nothing to stop the referendum now. We will spend money then as Parliament regularize the expenditure later because it is allowed under law,” Kanini Kega, the chairman of the National Assembly committee on Budget and Appropriations, told the Business Daily yesterday.

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