Senate now backs BBI constitutional changes

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(The senate sitting)

By Victor Githambo

As the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) comes to a close (the last town hall meeting is slated for July 28, 2019, in Nairobi County) the spotlight on the initiative has shifted to its mandate, and has been heightened up by a section of Kenyans who are already anticipating its probable outcome.

This directed interest and anticipation of the process led to two widely circulated documents on social media on July 15, which the BBI team, led by its chairman, Senator Yusuf Haji, promptly denied. 

Senators on Thursday said they are ready for constitutional changes through the President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga-led Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) process.

The Senators – in a leadership meeting chaired by Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka, Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio and his Minority counterpart James Orengo – called on their counterparts to brace themselves for a vigorous debate on changes to the constitution.

“You heard the President (Uhuru Kenyatta) talk about expected constitutional changes during his Madaraka Day speech, and Parliament – National Assembly and Senate – will be expected to play a key role in these bills that will be coming to the Senate,” said Speaker Lusaka.

Poghisio, who is also the West Pokot Senator, urged both Houses of Parliament to cooperate for the betterment of the constitutional process so as to cement the legacy of President Kenyatta’s government.Minority Leader and Siaya Senator Orengo, on his part, said:

“There are going to be many changes requiring the participation of the people and the institutions of government including Parliament.”

“Already there were certain topics that were identified which can be dealt with either through ordinary legislation or through constitutional enactment,” he added.

Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata, also the Murang’a Senator, said the Jubilee Party purge in the House would continue to ensure that “people who occupy various positions of committee are people who support the handshake and the agenda of the government.

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