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Uhuru, Raila face litmus test as Senators vote on BBI

President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga face a litmus test as senators vote on the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment Bill) 2020 amid a push to make changes in the document.

In a schedule of the business for Tuesday, May 11, the senators are expected to take two votes on the bill in the second reading and the last one in the third reading stage.

However, before the vote, Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka is set to make a landmark ruling on whether the legislators can change the bill in what may shape the voting pattern.

“At a second stage, there are no amendments that have been proposed. I will make a ruling when the bill gets to the Committee of the Whole House. I am not a Speaker by chance. I will give a detailed and researched ruling,” Lusaka said.

The Speaker will make a determination on whether the senators can amend the “unconstitutional and undesirable clauses as well as referential and typographical errors in the bill before the senate.

A host of senators are clamoring to amend the bill, with three of them officially writing to the Speaker recommending a raft of changes-creation and distribution of 70 additional constituencies being the elephant in the room.

Last week, members of the National Assembly passed the bill with an overwhelming majority after Speaker Justin Muturi earlier ruled out any possibility of Parliament amending the bill.

During the debate on the floor that enters its third week today, various other senators, including supporters of the ‘Handshake’, demanded to amend the document arguing that Parliament’s role cannot be ceremonial.

The ‘Handshake’ partners’ allies are Kipchumba Murkomen, (Elgeyo Marakwet), Moses Wetangula (Bungoma), Petronilla Were (nominated), Mithika Linturi (Meru), Kithure Kindiki (Tharaka Nithi), Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho) and George Khaniri (Vihiga).

Senators James Orengo and Okongo Omogeni picked several holes in the document and questioned the criteria used to allocate the proposed additional 70 constituencies.

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