The fate of Kenya’s Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2020, is being debated in Parliament and now hangs in the balance.
Members of the National Assembly (MPs) seem to agree that Parliament can]t interfere with the bill, but Senators, on the contrary, are pushing to amend the document.
In a move that could strike a blow against the BBI founders, President Uhuru Kenyatta and former prime minister Raila Odinga, the Senators claimed the bill has “several fundamental flaws” that should be amended before it is taken to a referendum.
In rare political solidarity, the Senators put aside their political affiliations, appearing unanimous that Parliament can’t be subjected to a referendum without specific changes.
The legislators noted that besides typographical and referential errors, the document has several unconstitutional clauses that Parliament ought to change before it is subjected to a referendum.
They added that some proposed amendments would rill back the gains the country has made, thus eroding the Constitution’s fundamental structure and spirit.
Nyamira County Senator Okong’o Omogeni, a close ally to Raila and co-chaired the joint parliamentary group that considered the bill, sparked the heated debate after picking holes in the bill.
Omogeni pointed out the errors and the reportedly unconstitutional clauses.
“How will we look in the face of Kenyans if we present to them a bill that has errors,” Omogeni asked.
The senior counsel cited clause 13 (b) of the bill that seeks to amend Article 97 of the Constitution.
Omogeni further claimed that the Senate’s bill erroneously references clause (3), while that in the Parliament correctly references clause (2).
“I am certain that even the President and Raila, the owners of the handshake, are not going to kill us before we have corrected these errors. The bill being considered in the NA doesn’t have these errors,” he noted.
Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata, on his part, said the schedule creating the constituencies does not indicate the schedule to which it is attached.
Kang’ata argued that the bill shouldn’t be amended or struck out its totality, adding that the irregularities and illegalities contained therein are fundamental.