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Monday, December 6, 2021

Orengo and Raila allies clash over BBI

By The Frontier Post Reporter

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Opposition Chief Raila Odinga’s allies now claims the initial BBI report was altered by some individuals for selfish interests. 

Siaya Senator James Orengo maintained that the current turbulence within the Orange party is deliberate and shall in the end create what he termed as ‘divisive’ document that will be shoved down the throats of innocent Kenyans.

According to the Senate Minority leader, the simmering tension within the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party is meant to derail review and implementation of the Building Bridges Initiative report. 

“Debate on the BBI Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020 report at the Senate and National Assembly during special sittings on Wednesday and Thursday left legislators divided over a few clauses in the proposed law termed as controversial,” said Orengo.

Orengo has been at logger heads with a section of ODM members of his stance of the report of the joint Justice and legal affairs committee.

Orengo took issue with a section the BBI sponsored Constitutional amendment Bill 2020 which proposes subdivision of Nyatike constituency saying it is missing in the current document being circulated.

Orengo’s sentiments come against the backdrop of a divided parliament.

However, Orengo dotingly referred to as the ‘Walking constitution’ has come under intense scrutiny by the same base of people on the accusation of working at cross purposes with the party leadership on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

After questioning the authenticity of the BBI document released to the public as well as the legality and distribution of the proposed 70 new constituencies, high-ranking members of the ODM party are calling the seasoned lawyer out for what they call betrayal and dishonesty.

“Orengo co-chaired the committee that produced the final Bill. He cannot turn around now to say we didn’t agree on this or that. He cannot run away from his baby. He is essentially trying to disown a document he himself by the virtue of being a co-captain author. It is the height of political dishonesty,” Minority Whip at the National Assembly Junet Mohamed.

According to Junet, those who want the two Houses of Parliament to have their input captured were only out to derail the BBI train.

“That story only came up when the joint parliamentary committee was formed the other day. Before that, nobody raised any issue and they all knew how minimal their participation in the popular initiative is. Article 257 of the Constitution clearly stipulates this. Even IEBC advised us that you cannot change this Bill once you present it to them and the political class knew this, including those in the Runda committee.”

Orengo camp have been interpreted to mean that some monkey business must have been at play between when they were done with the Bill and when it was taken to the county assemblies for voting.

“I have seen people accuse me that I may have sold out ODM by not signing the document page by page to guard against possible alterations, but it was the work of chairman to sign if at all, not me as an ordinary member,” said  Mohammed, adding that his role as a co-chair of the secretariat was different from that of Orengo’s committee.

Siaya Senator says he is out to ensure that the constitutional amendments cater to all, not just a few.

“We are focused on ensuring that the BBI Bill safeguards the agenda of the common Mwananchi. I stated categorically that Migori, Kisii, Busia and Homa Bay should have additional constituencies.

“We have to ensure that the BBI document reflects what was captured in the original document,” said Orengo.

Ugunja MP and ODM secretary for political affairs Opiyo Wandayi said even though it is true that not everyone got everything they wanted, political, social and economic gains have always been incremental.

“Therefore, the task we have at hand is to pass the BBI Bill as it is in Parliament and at the referendum. The rest we can deal with later,” he said.

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