Wednesday, February 17, 2021 – Deputy President William Ruto has suffered yet another blow after Members of Parliament struck a deal to block his quest for multiple questions in the BBI referendum.

MPs allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader, Raila Odinga, ganged up to delete the provision initially put forth by the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, in the draft Referendum Bill, 2020.

JLAC and the Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee unanimously agreed that there would be no referendum options — which other people call multiple questions.

In supporting the move, Minority leader, John Mbadi, said having a multi-choice referendum will provide legislative challenges, especially where a number of issues are being addressed. 

“We know how our polling stations are structured or how they are.”

“We need to at least put some systems, where those who are supporting, those who are taking similar stand on a Bill state whether it is yes or no,” Mbadi said.

“Those who are taking similar stand need to find a way of coming together not necessarily to take responsibility but for ease of conducting a referendum. Otherwise, you would definitely cause a lot of confusion in the process,” he added.

On his part, JLAC vice-chairman and Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo noted that they explored the question of whether there can be more than one question or more than one bill.

“We agreed that under Article 257, whoever is promoting an initiative and has suggestions must reduce it into a bill.”

“The question has to be only one – adopt, or not,” Amollo said.

“We agreed that you cannot have a general question or suggestion in a referendum.”

“Promoters of such must reduce it into a bill as required by the Constitution,” he said.

He added that the only provisions of the Constitution that contemplate a referendum are in respect of amendment to the Constitution.


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