NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 23 – Despite earlier warnings by a section of leaders that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) was unpopular in the Mount Kenya region, eight out of ten counties from the area passed the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020 in unanimous votes Tuesday, with the remaining two widely expected to approve it.
The eight: Laikipia, Nyeri, Murang’a, Nyandarua, Tharaka Nithi, Nakuru and Kirinyaga and Meru passed the Bill on Tuesday morning.
Embu and Kiambu County assemblies were yet to subject the Bill to a vote.
“People have seen today Mt Kenya voting as one block, Kirinyaga voted unanimously and other counties have also voted the same,” said Anne Waiguru, the Governor of Kirinyaga County.
Kieni MP Kanini Kega said “I am very happy because of the decision taken by MCAs from our region, we had no doubt that they were going to vote yes.”
Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata had written to President Uhuru Kenyatta warning that the Bill was unpopular in the region, in what cost him his Majority Whip seat at the Senate.
30 County assemblies had approved the vote by Tuesday afternoon, with only Baringo having rejected it.
Other county assemblies which have so far passed include Makueni, Kitui, Narok, Kakamega, Mombasa, Bungoma, Nyamira and Taita Taveta.
Others are Machakos, Lamu, Garissa, Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Busia, West Pokot, Trans Nzoia, Kajiado, Kisii, Nairobi, Vihiga and Samburu.
The Bill which proposes the expansion of the National Executive by adding the Office of the Prime Minister and two deputies was borne out of a March 2018 truce between Kenyatta and Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga which ended hostilities sparked by the latter’s rejection of the 2017 presidential election outcome.
In his letter, Kang’ata pointed out that only two in ten people in Central Kenya supported the BBI.
He said the finding was based on his own personal observations during the Christmas and the New Year holidays.
Kang’ata was removed as the Senate Majority Chief Whip on February 9.
Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju said Kangata had been leaking party secrets and could not be trusted any more.
Mount Kenya Region is largely divided in Kieleweke and Tanga Tanga factions who are affiliated to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.
Ruto and his allies have been opposing some of the BBI proposals insisting that it should be subjected to a multiple choice referendum; a recommendation that has been rejected by proponents of the BBI including Odinga.
Kanga’ata’s letter sparked mixed reactions from leaders which prompted President Kenyatta who hails from the region to convene a meeting late last month with over 5000 leaders including Governors, MPs and MCAs from the area to drum up support for the Bill.