Raila rejects calls by DP Ruto to postpone BBI referendum to 2022

Raila rejects calls by DP Ruto to postpone BBI referendum to 2022

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila odinga on Friday received a total of 5.2 million signatures collected from several parts of the country endorsing the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) referendum bill.

Nyanza region led in the total collection with a total of 893,792 signatures, Western region collected 487,978 signatures while Nairobi brought on board over half a million signatures.

Coast region comprising Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu, Tana river and Taita Taveta counties all collecting a total of 745,033 signatures; North Eastern and Lower Eastern belt both presenting slightly above one million signatures in total.

The Mount Kenya region comprising Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Nyandarua and Kiambu collecting 793,135 while Rift Valley presented 817,00 signatures to the secretariat.

ODM leader Raila Odinga who received the signatures said it is now a race against time to beat the set timelines, further dismissing Deputy President William Ruto’s push to have the referendum alongside the 2022 General Elections.

“Wacha yeye apinge…na awache kutishia wale wanaunga mkono BBI…wacha debe iamue, hiyo ndiyo demokrasia,” said the former premier.

FORD Kenya leader Moses Wetangula also concluded signature collection at the party offices calling on Kenyans to read the proposed changes.

DP Ruto on December 2, 2020 said he wants the BBI referendum to be held in 2022 alongside the General Election to allow for consensus building as well as to save on public funds.

He spoke during a press address at his Karen residence after holding a consultative meeting with his TangaTanga allies include 146 MPs and Senators and 7 governors.

The DP, in his speech as well as a statement read to the press by his allies, questioned the legitimacy of spending billions on a referendum only one year ahead of an election that will cost the taxpayers even billions more.

“We must consider the circumstance which we find ourselves in as a country. We’re in the midst of a deadly pandemic that has ravaged our country killing close to 1,500 Kenyans including our frontline health workers, infecting nearly 100,000 Kenyans, straining the public health sector, and instigating an economic meltdown,” stated a statement by the DP and his team, as read by former National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale.

“It is legitimate to question the wisdom of spending Ksh.14 billion a year before an election that will cost us another Ksh.42 billion going by 2017 figures of IEBC, when a referendum could be conducted as the seventh ballot in a General Election at virtually no cost.”