Nairobi residents have faulted the manner in which the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Constitutional (Amendment) Bill, 2020, is being popularised.
This comes as the initiative received a mixed reception by the city residents with two camps emerging during the public participation phase, with many poking holes into the Bill.
However, the Nairobi County Assembly leadership vowed to pass the Bill today (Thursday) when it is tabled for debate.
Mr Swaleh Njoroge, a resident of Matopeni Ward, faulted the manner in which the pro-BBI faction has been going about their business, saying by always attacking those opposed to it, it has left a lot to be desired.
This, he said, has allowed propaganda to creep into the process with opponents of the Bill taking advantage to entrench their propaganda that the initiative is President Uhuru Kenyatta’s project to hand over power to ODM leader Raila Odinga as well as create more seats for certain individuals.
“I support the document but I am concerned by our leaders who have turned the debate into a Raila-Uhuru versus Ruto thing. Stop attacking those opposed to the Bill as it creates a bad impression,” said Mr Njoroge.
He further criticised the government for using State machinery to advance the BBI agenda, saying a referendum is a political process which should be left to politicians and not the executive.
Support from the MCAs
Nonetheless, Majority Leader Abdi Guyo said that the Bill enjoys 90 per cent support from the MCAs, adding that out of an eligible 118 members who will vote for or against it, less than 10 are opposed to it.
“I can assure you that we will pass the bill before 3pm today (Thursday) as the opposing members, if any, are inconsequential,” said the Matopeni Ward MCA.
John Otieno, a resident of Mathare, said even though the initiative was intended to foster unity and inclusivity in the country, it has failed to address how the same will be achieved.
“BBI has not addressed how tribalism, which is rife in the country, will be dealt with and unity fostered. What good could we have borrowed from Tanzania which seems to have got it better?” asked Mr Otieno.
Lucy Wanja from Mihang’o Ward wondered why the pro-BBI team has not seen it fit to translate the document into all ethnic languages for those unable to understand either English or Kiswahili so that they can understand the contents of the Bill in order to make informed decisions.
“Most people at the grassroots have not had a chance to read the document in order to distinguish the truth from lies?” she said.
No hard copies
Ms Wanja’s sentiments were echoed by Elizabeth Wambui from Zimmerman, Roysambu, who decried lack of access to copies by those at the grassroots which she said has also compounded their woes given that no civic education is being conducted at the ward level.
Another resident said the Bill has not touched on how some of the proposals contained therein will be implemented while another one asked what assurances there are that those who will be in office then will not abuse the document when it is implemented.
“What do you think will prevent the President from appointing a person who is not a youth as a member of the youth commission or his or her cronies to those newly created positions?” asked Mr Njoroge Francis from Roysambu.
“How will Kenyans be assured that individuals who will be appointed as prime minister and deputies will not ask for more salaries once they get into office?” he posed.