BBI reggae stops as IEBC, Parliament and BBI secretariat clash over BBI variations

Reggae in BBI to stop photo

The Reggae in BBI might stop following revelations that county assemblies may have debated different versions of the Constitution Amendment Bill, 2020.

Authorities hired by Parliament to review the bill said only 13 county assemblies got the right report of the legislation for consideration. At least 43 county assemblies approved the bill.

Variances were also cited in marginal notes and references to articles that the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020, seeks to amend.

Constitutional lawyer Bobby Mkangi said if admittedly, only 13 county assemblies deemed the correct version of the bill, then the rest thought what is constitutionally irrelevant and therefore null and void.

“It puts the entire process into disarray if not to a complete stop because one can argue the rest considered thin air,” Mkangi said.

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior, who is a member of the joint Parliamentary committee reviewing the bill, said the variances “are a big issue.” creates a big constitutional issue. It puts the entire process into disarray if not to a complete stop because one can argue the rest considered thin air.

Lawyer Paul Mwangi, former BBI joint secretary, said the IEBC couldn’t have sent different versions because the BBI team sent only one bill.

Mwangi said it would then be a case of “very grave criminal offences against the Constitution.”

“It will be a treasonous act if someone sabotaged the process. Unless we are saying someone interfered with the chairman’s annexure and put some funny things…which is not likely,” Mwangi said.

He stated that there was only one bill that could have been at the IEBC, the very one that went with signatures, adding that there is no room for any other bill.

Mwangi restated that the draft bill submitted with the signatures is what goes to the county assembly once certified to have met the set threshold.

“The draft bill is delivered to the county assemblies by the IEBC. Even the possibility that they could be circulating different versions is impossible since officially they have one document,” the lawyer said.

Lawyer Charles Kanjama said, “If they are clerical changes, that is not a legal minefield but if they are substantive, affecting the contents of the document, then that is a legal minefield.

“If you said Article Two instead of Article Three and it was self-evident you are referring to Article Three, it can be treated as a typographical change that is not significant. But if you are changing content, then that is significant”.

The IEBC now on the spot, being the body mandated to communicate the bill to the assemblies.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati, however, declared that the commission took printed hard copies of the draft Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 from the promoters.

“The Commission forwarded the same to the speakers of the 47 county assemblies as well as Speakers of the Senate and the National Assembly,”

National Assembly Majority leader Amos Kimunya told the Star that the problem could be coming from “two typographical errors which were picked and corrected”.

“It looks like IEBC had the two versions of the bill - the corrected one and the first draft is received. After correction and submission, they may have printed two versions of the bill.”

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