The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) has bumped into another headwind, this time not by Deputy President William Ruto, but ODM members themselves; something that is threatening to kill it completely.
This is after Members of Parliament allied to former Prime Minister Raila Odinga differed with the proposal on the additional 70 constituencies, saying ODM was duped.
Led by Siaya Senator James Orengo and Ruaraka MP TJ Kajwang, the legislators, the majority of whom are from Raila Odinga’s Luo Nyanza, vowed never to pass BBI in Parliament if amendments are not done.
Others who may be on Ruto’s payroll include Kisumu West MP Olago Aluoch, Jared Okelo (Nyando) and Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay Town)
They reminded Raila and those pushing for the BBI that they are not voting robots and will therefore not be intimidated to endorse BBI without re-looking at it.
Kajwang said Parliament had a duty under article 95 and 96 to re-look the Bill.
“I get worried when I hear members speak as if they are not members of this House.”
“We will deal with it as the National Assembly, we have a voice.”
“How we deal with this thing is what we have charged the committee to let us know.”
“So you can’t say we are ceremonial, you cannot speak politics when we are speaking a parliamentary language,” he added.
On his part, Orengo led the ODM charge in the Senate to have the committee take another week to finalise on the report.
He said Parliament played a limited role during the 2010 constitutional process and the same should not happen now.
Orengo, while denying there was any attempt to hijack the BBI process, gave the clearest indication yet that Parliament would seek to assert itself in the process.
“After the Constitution of Kenya Bill went through the experts wasn’t it brought to Parliament? It was and the House debated it and proposed amendments.”
“Therefore, it is not something that you can wish away,” said the senator.
“In my view, Parliament is not a voting machine, it has a duty to the people so when there is an issue before it the people will want to hear what Parliament says about it,” said Orengo.