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Referendum or Parliament


Opposition chief Raila Odinga at State House, Nairobi when the BBI report was released. Odinga favours a referendum. /PSCU.

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 29 – National leaders are now divided on whether or not the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report should be subjected to a national referendum or taken to Parliament.

While leaders like National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale said the recommendations of the BBI report should be debated in Parliament to determine its suitability, Opposition chief Raila Odinga and leaders loyal to him said it should be subjected to a national referendum.

Duale pointed out that a referendum will polarize the country and have a negative impact on businesses thus affecting the economy.

“For this reason, what next for the Report? Let it come to Parliament for it to be acted on. I rest my case. One cannot, therefore, understand whether those calling for a Referendum are doing so out of ignorance or mere hypocrisy with a hidden agenda,” he stated following calls from Odinga who wants it subjected to a national referendum.

“Are those calling for a Referendum aware of heightened political pressure that is likely to arise from such campaigns?”, Duale posed, and explained that it would be a waste of public funds on matters that do not require a referendum, “Are those calling for a Referendum aware of the cost of conducting a Referendum amidst the tough economic times facing this country?”.

The report has drawn mixed reactions from Kenyans and divided leaders.

Deputy President William Ruto’s close ally Kipchumba Murkomen who is the Majority Leader in the Senate said he prefers the report to be taken to Parliament, signaling a busy political time ahead for the political leaders rotating around Odinga, Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“This process must be people owned. It will not be taken to Parliament. It will be taken to people at the end. Kenyans are the ones who will decide what to do with that report,” Odinga said.

Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, has faulted the BBI report proposal on the manner in which a Prime Minister will be appointed.

According to proposals contained in the report, the President is to appoint an MP from the largest coalition or party as the Prime Minister, who will take up the position after approval by Parliament.

Central Organization of Trade Unions Secretary-General Francis Atwoli said a parliamentary system of governance is better as it will accommodate all Kenyans.

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