BBI referendum no longer tenable before 2022 General Election, Oparanya says

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Finance CAS Eric Wafukho on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 in his Kakamega office/ GOVERNOR PRESS

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya has said it is not tenable to hold a BBI referendum before 2022 General Election.

The ODM deputy party leader on Tuesday said it is also not possible to hold the vote amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, with cases surging in the third wave.

He now wants the referendum pushed to next year so that the available resources can be used to deal with the pandemic.

Oparanya said that there is no need of putting a lot of pressure on the Treasury to raise money for the referendum when Covid-19 is killing people.

“If there is no money at the National Treasury, there is no need of pushing to have the referendum this year. We should plan to hold the referendum next year when our economy has stabilised and Covid-19 contained,” Oparanya said in his office when he met Finance and CAS Eric Wafukho.

ODM party leader Raila Odinga has, however, insisted in the past that the vote will go on.

Oparanya said the Covid-19 containment measures put in place by President Uhuru Kenyatta will hinder referendum campaigns.

“It is a requirement that public awareness be done and politicians will be conducting the exercise through public meetings…this cannot work in the state the country is in now in regards to Covid-19,” he said.

“Funds that are being set aside to finance referendum should be disbursed to counties for Covid-19 preparedness and provision of medical care to those who contract the virus.”

The referendum was set to be held in June this year.

BBI process faces headwinds as MPs insist on amending Bill

It is, however, proving to be an uphill task, especially after President Kenyatta imposed new restriction to contain Covid-19 spread.

There is also the infighting in Parliament. While some lawmakers insist on amemding the BBI Bill, other say it can’t be changed because it is a popular initiative.

Oparanya also asked the President to negotiate with international financial lenders to defer their debts to Kenya for two years so the country to meet its domestic financial obligations.

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

The Brief will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.