- Mr Muturi noted that taking it to Parliament would not give citizens the much-needed space to articulate their demands through the popular initiative.
- He further observed that Article 10 of the Constitution on inclusivity would not have been adhered to if the report was left at the mercy of political bigwigs.
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi dealt politicians allied to Deputy President William Ruto a blow by ruling out Parliament as a route for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report, giving the strongest indication yet that the document will be subjected to a referendum.
Following the report's launch on Wednesday, politicians allied to DP Ruto have rooted for a parliamentary process while those who support Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga have called for a referendum.
Mr Muturi said on Sunday that the report belongs to the people, who must have a say on its implementation.
“It has no way of coming to Parliament. Let it be there with the people. You know that before it comes to Parliament, then I must approve, but I've said it belongs to the people and it has no route to Parliament,” Mr Muturi said during a church fundraising meeting in Uriri constituency, Migori.
The Speaker was hosted by area MP Mark Nyamita and Senator Ochillo Ayacko. Other leaders present included ODM chairman John Mbadi, Nyamira Senator Okong’o Omogeni and MPs Tim Wanyonyi (Westlands) and Maisora Kitayama (Kuria East).
Mr Muturi called on Kenyans to read the report and examine it. “They need to find out what is good and how to improve the other (areas).”
He maintained that the report is a people-centred initiative that should be scrutinised by citizens, who, he said, are the biggest beneficiaries.
Mr Muturi noted that taking it to Parliament would not give citizens the much-needed space to articulate their demands through the popular initiative.
He further observed that Article 10 of the Constitution on inclusivity would not have been adhered to if the report was left at the mercy of political bigwigs.
But even as the legislative head made clear the route the report should take, allies of the DP, led by Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, took their push for a parliamentary initiative to Mr Odinga’s turf in Bondo.
Speaking at Bondo Catholic Church, where he presided over a fundraiser, Mr Murkomen suggested that only contentious issues that might emerge during debate on the floor of Parliament should be taken to the public for approval through a referendum.
“Personally, I have no problem with whatever proposal may be put forward by any political [side]. We are prepared to sit down with both the majority and minority sides in Parliament and be able to discuss emerging issues that may be contentious," said the senator, who was accompanied by McDonald Mariga and DP Ruto’s aide Farouk Kibet.
CLEANING UP REPORT
In Ugenya, Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot asked President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga to have a meeting with Mr Ruto to ensure the country does not slide into a stalemate over the BBI report.
Speaking at Yogo Catholic Church, where area MP Dave Ochieng’ hosted him, the senator also asked the three top leaders in the country to openly tell Kenyans which proposals they would wish to see included in the final document instead of engaging in endless sideshows.
“Each of the three leaders [has] said the report is good. We need them to state categorically the sections of the report they want expunged or amended. They must provide the much-needed direction and leadership on this critical debate,” he said.
President Kenyatta's Jubilee Party and Mr Odinga’s ODM have assured Kenyans that the report will be fine-tuned to address their concerns once it is subjected to the technical committee.
This comes amid growing concerns among some leaders across the political divide that the report does not address well the thorny issue of inclusivity, among other proposals by Kenyans.
ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna said the BBI proposals are not cast in stone.
“The dialogue has just started and we will have an opportunity to refine and improve all the proposals,” Mr Sifuna told the Nation.