Members of parliament began a debate on the referendum bill ( No2) of 2020 on Thursday. The legislators are working within tight schedule to pass the bill which will legally guide the implementation of the proposals in the Building Bridges Initiative report. The second and third reading of the bill is expected to be done by Tuesday next week According to the vice chairperson of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee Hon Otiende Amollo, the bill consolidates law for conducting referenda. The Speaker of The National Assembly Justin Muturi has directed that the bill by JLAC be given priority, with a possibility of merging it with the one published by the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee.
The Referendum Bill is crucial in that it will provide for a referendum being treated as an election and set 14 days as the time in which the president has to act on a parliamentary initiative bill. It will also provide for the process of verification of signatures, timelines for IEBC and Parliament to act on the referendum ,public participation, inclusivity and accommodation of divergent views while consolidating the draft bill.Besides,it will provide for the procedure for conducting a referendum.President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga's have been crisscrossing the country to popularise the Building Bridges Initiative. They have endeavoured to urge Kenyans to pass the BBI as a means to achieving what was set out in their handshake deal. The two leaders have reiterated that Kenyans stand to gain a lot from the report that will see an end to corruption and political injustices that have haunted the country for years. The deputy president William Ruto has vehemently led his brigade to discredit the BBI claiming it is to benefit selfish individuals. It will be a big win for the president and the former Premier if the legislators will expedite and pass the bill to quicken the whole process to see timely implementation of the proposals in the document.
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