What you need to know:
- The ruling party’s top brass met the nominated MCAs at the party headquarters Pangani, Nairobi.
- During the meeting the MCAs were warned that they risk punishment if they vote against the BBI Bill.
Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju on Friday asked nominated Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) from Deputy President William Ruto’s political bastion of Uasin Gishu to adopt the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) draft constitutional amendment Bill or face punishment.
The ruling party’s top brass met the nominated MCAs at the party headquarters Pangani, Nairobi. During the meeting, the MCAs were warned that they risk punishment if they vote against the Bill.
A brief letter dated February 19, 2021 sent to the assembly and seen by the Nation, indicates that the ward reps had been invited to attend the meeting, whose agenda emerged to be adoption of the Bill.
But details have emerged that during the meeting, which was attended by all the 17 nominated MCAs, Mr Tuju directed them to vote in favour of the Bill or risk losing their seats.
“Tuju told us that we must follow the party position on the BBI Bill, failure of which, we will face disciplinary action,” said Edwin Misoi, who is a nominated MCA.
Endorse BBI Bill
Mr Misoi said although the party wants them to endorse the BBI, the Bill has been subjected to public participation and its adoption or rejection will depend on what the locals want.
“We are for public participation, the views we get from wananchi is what we will follow,” the MCA said.
The BBI Bill was tabled at the assembly a week ago and it has been going through a public participation process before the MCAs debate and vote on it.
A similar meeting last week between Mr Tuju and Baringo ward reps raised jitters among them after the nominated members were allegedly sanctioned to vote in favour of the document or risk losing their seats.
This comes even as a number of ward reps from the vote-rich Rift Valley are pushing for a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto over the Bill.
The ward reps are of the view that a meeting with Jubilee Party’s top brass will help in defusing the current tension over the Bill.
Ward reps from Elgeyo Marakwet, Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Kericho and Bomet have also asked Mr Tuju to desist from meddling with their legislative role, arguing that there is nothing like party position on the matter.
Bomet Majority Leader Josphat Kirui told the Nation that matters of Constitutional Amendment should be personal decisions.
Mr Kirui challenged the party to emulate ODM boss Raila Odinga and persuade ward reps rather than issuing threats.
He said such a move is likely to see a repeat of happenings at Baringo County Assembly in other assemblies.
“President should convene a caucus with Jubilee leaders, the same way he did with MCAs from his Mount Kenya backyard. Mr Odinga has also been doing the same with ODM leaders in an effort to persuade them to support the Bill," he said.
“Issuing threats will be counter-productive and Mr Tuju's actions are likely to lead to the Bill's rejection," he added.
Mr Kirui, however, admitted that it should not be perceived that assemblies allied to Dr Ruto will automatically shoot down the Bill.
He noted that the Bill's passage will depend on how best BBI will address the welfare of MCAs.
“We have met Ruto before but he never told us to reject this BBI. The Bill's adoption will depend on other factors. Some ward reps have been already been won over with car grants. But it is the wananchi who will decide. The 2022 succession politics must be delinked from this BBI,” he said.
At the same time, Kericho Majority Leader Hezron Ngetich has said there is no party position on the matter and Mr Tuju should desist from giving them orders. He further said that as elected leaders they will only do what the electorate want.