Nairobi county assembly


County assemblies threaten to scuttle the BBI referendum push if the document is presented to them without amendments.

The county assemblies want changes made to the recommendations made by the BBI steering committee.

However, a meeting of pro-BBI lawmakers in Naivasha on Monday determined to push for the approval of the recommendations without additional amendments.

That decision does not sit well with the county assemblies forum. County assemblies are crucial to the process because they must approve the referendum push.

On Wednesday, the County Assemblies Forum(CAF) said they will seek a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta to ask him to open another window for deliberations and consensus-building.

Kajiado county assembly speaker Johnson Osoi said there are issues they had raised with the BBI taskforce but were not included in the final report which was launched on October 27 at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi.

“Let it be known clearly that MCAs are the ones who will decide if the country will have a referendum or not,” Speaker Osoi said.

CAF had formed a 13-member team to examine the BBI report and come up with a common stand. Osoi, a former chairman of the forum was picked to led the team.

The forum brings together over 2,000 MCAs and 47 county assembly speakers.

“We are major stakeholders in the process and we believe there is still room for amendments. We have heard that this window has been closed but our needs must be addressed if Kenyans are to go to a referendum,” he said.

“County assemblies hold the key to the referendum. We have a critical role to play in this process.”

With the report officially launched, the next task its proponents is to collect one million signatures to be presented to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission together with the draft BBI bill for verification.

The bill will then be sent to all the 47 county assemblies for approval. At least 24 of the 47 counties are required to approve the bill.

He said they will raise concerns regarding the proposed ward development fund, allocations from the national government to counties and guaranteed minimum returns on agriculture among other issues.

“A lot of money will come to counties and assemblies must be facilitated to provide oversight, the same way it happens for MPs. As things stand right now, county assemblies cannot even hire analysts or order special audits,” Osoi said.

CAF chairman Ndegwa Wahome said they want the best for counties and are therefore demanding that assemblies be empowered.

“We are the eyes of the President at the grassroots. I am sure he will want to address our concerns,” Wahome said.

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