Differences in opinion between members in ODM party leader Raila Odinga’s camp were displayed on Thursday, April 29, as Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo slammed ODM Chairman John Mbadi during debate on the BBI Constitutional Amendment Bill.
Mbadi was of the opinion that the report could be amended by Parliament even after voters had appended their signatures, stating that it needed to align with the Constitution.
Amollo, a Senior Counsel, ridiculed Mbadi’s understanding of the law, saying that a constitutional amendment bill could be valid even if unconstitutional.
“As a matter of law, Mr. Speaker, and this is where I differ with my Chairman, a constitutional amendment can be unconstitutional,” Otiende said.
He added amid cheers from colleagues, “Now what we have done, and professors of law like John Mbadi saying is false, but that is your opinion. I am talking about the law. Mbadi, you’ve not stepped into Law school so just allow me.”
On Wednesday, April 28, the ODM chair argued that amending the bill could not be unconstitutional, especially coming from a popular initiative.
Otiende stated that the definitive recommendation of the report was for the bill to be passed by both Houses without any amendments.
“It is true that there are individuals who may have spoken prematurely on this, not knowing the conclusion of this report,” Amollo said in reference to Mbadi.
The lawyer also explained that the report presented to the Senate by Justice and Legal Affairs Committee pointed out typographical errors within the BBI bill, but he described them as minor.
Ammollo said that Parliament should make any substantive change to a document that had come through the popular initiative.
Reports divulged that there was trouble within the BBI camp over decisions on whether to amend the bill.
A section of the BBI proponents pushed for the bill to be amended within Parliament.
However, other BBI proponents argued that the bill should proceed to a referendum without any amendments.