BITTER TRUTHS ABOUT THE BBI BILL AND WHY I VOTED YES

Enoch Kiio Wambua, Kitui senator

By Enoch Kiio Wambua

The writing has all along been on the wall. Only that this time it was not the hand of God. The BBI Bill was going to sail through the county and national legislatures because it was so designed.

But not without a fight. I thank God most sincerely for the opportunity to represent and fight as hard as I could for the interests of the people of Kitui County.

The people of Kitui County, through their elected representatives, asked for the following from the BBI process:
1. Mwingi County
2. An extra constituency
3. Sub County codes for Tharaka/Thagicu and Mutito North sub-counties.

For unexplained reasons we haven’t benefited from any of the above requests in the proposed legislative and administrative changes.

As the BBI Bill now moves to the counties, I will be watching with more than passing interest to see why at least the two sub-county codes can’t be given. These are quick but very important wins for our people.

No less than the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics made a presentation to Parliament indicating that Kitui County was unjustifiably denied an extra constituency.

I made a detailed oral and written submission to the joint parliamentary committee on Justice and Legal Affairs highlighting the needs and aspirations of my people.

I drafted and tabled proposed amendments to the BBI Bill but Speakers of both houses of Parliament have ruled that Parliament can’t amend the Bill. I totally disagree with the ruling but I am bound by it.

In my proposed amendments I wanted the second schedule of the Bill which allocates constituencies to counties deleted to pave the way for the IEBC to do its work.

I also wanted the process of appointing the Judiciary Ombudsman to be amended to reflect the constitutional principle of separation of powers in the different arms of government.

I wanted the roles and responsibilities of the National Police Service Commission to be retained and not transferred to the office of the Inspector General of Police to avoid creating a monster IG.

I wanted Article 203(n) in the Bill deleted to ward off lose of revenue to counties and cure a conflict with Article 217 of the 2010 Constitution on the role of the Senate in determining the revenue sharing basis among counties.

There is no denying that there are very good proposals in the proposed administrative, policy and legislative changes. Top on the list of the good proposals are:

1. The 35 per cent minimum allocation to counties up from 15 per cent.

2. Creation of the Ward Development Fund

3. Entrenching the National Government Constituency Development Fund in the Constitution.

4. An expanded national Executive for greater inclusivity in government.
But in the context of Kitui County, the benefits of these goodies are significantly eroded by a denial of what is clearly an entitlement to our people (Mwingi County and an extra constituency).

I have had candid, long and serious conversations with my Party Leader H.E. Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, SC, on what final position to take on the floor of the Senate.

My Party Leader appreciates the fight I have waged for the benefit of the people of Kitui County and the Kamba nation at large. And that is why he never stopped me from digging in for our people.

According to my Party Leader, my point is already made and matters concerning my county are being discussed in the right offices where action will be taken. I have no reason to doubt my PL and the source of his assurance.

My private member’s proposed Constitutional Amendment Bill for the creation of Mwingi County is going through the Senate procedure.

The proposal went from the legal department to the Speaker who okayed it and sent it to the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee for processing.

I have already appeared before the committee and defended my Bill. I am awaiting the committee report before the Bill can be published and tabled for debate.

I will need the support of my colleagues in both houses for my Bill to sail through.

The Ndengu Bill that I sponsored received overwhelming support from colleagues in the Senate and sailed through very smoothly.

It is now in the National Assembly and I am lobbying members there to pass it for the benefit of all Ndengu farmers in Kenya.

At the critical stage of voting on the BBI Bill, we must not lose focus of the big picture. We must continue to fight from within to get our share of the national revenue but be cautious not to lose the small gains we have so far made.

We can’t successfully fight from outside. And on this score, I must provide the right leadership.

I have pushed very hard for my county and the message has arrived home. We can’t solve our challenges through isolation. The struggle must continue from within.

My PL has rightly reminded me of the ongoing delicate negotiations at the national level regarding the leadership of this country and how my hard position on the BBI Bill at the voting stage would be very rich fodder for our political enemies to exclude the Kamba nation from the centre.

My PL is seated at the negotiating table as an equal and worthy contender for the top prize. Those who think he could be an escort of honour for other people to ascend to the presidency can continue entertaining themselves in their dreams.

Following closely in the footsteps of my PL, I am a loyal servant of the people of Kitui County; not their boss.

The true spirit of servant leadership must now flourish and tramp the marginalisation that my community has suffered in the hands of people who mistake our humility for cowardice.

And for the avoidance of doubt I fully, without apology, support H.E. Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, SC, for the position of President of the Republic of Kenya from August 9, 2022.

And those thinking that they can drive a wedge between me and my PL over this BBI Bill should be ashamed of themselves.

H.E. Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, SC, and Senator Enoch Kiio Wambua are inseparable. The ties that bind the two of us run a lot deeper than our detractors can ever imagine.

Aluta continua! The struggle continues, victory is assured! Bado mapambano!

Enoch Kiio Wambua is the Senator for Kitui County.

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