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Monday, May 10, 2021 – Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga is still coming to terms after the National Treasury CS, Ukur Yattani, failed to provide for cash to hold the much anticipated BBI referendum in this year’s budget.

This comes even as there have been rumours that President Uhuru Kenyatta may be sabotaging the BBI through his actions and inactions.

In his budget, Yattani increased the budget for IEBC by Sh9.1 billion but not for Raila’s BBI, something that is causing Baba sleepless nights.

In budget estimates tabled in Parliament for 2021-22, the IEBC will get Sh1.1 billion for voter education, Sh2.8 billion for voter registration, and Sh3 billion above the current budget for the ICT unit.

The regional election coordination offices get Sh177 million more whereas the secretariat costs rise by Sh2.2 billion.

Purchases of materials and supplies for by-elections account for Sh1.6 billion among other increases for travel during voter registration and education.

The commission has begun preparing for the 2022 General Election, which the current allocations would cater to according to the estimates.

The lack of budgetary allocation deepens the uncertainty surrounding the reforms drive spearheaded by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Senators are expected to vote on the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill on Tuesday and the next phase would be to call for a referendum. 

The National Assembly on Thursday gave the Bill resounding support. The majority — 235 MPs — supported the Bill. Sixty-three opposed it while two abstained.

BBI promoters had projected that the referendum would be held by June 14, a timeline that is uncertain for lack of a budget for the poll. 

According to Budget Committee Chairman Kanini Kega, there is no cause for alarm for the missing BBI budget as the date of the referendum has yet to be set.

Kega said that once the timelines are clear, a decision will be made on how to proceed with the budgetary needs.

Kega said the Constitution foresaw such a situation and Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani may invoke Article 223 to get the cash.

That law provides for a supplementary budget to get funds that are required and were not provided for in the budget.

On his part, Majority leader Amos Kimunya said no one can stop the will of the people as expressed in Article 1 of the Constitution — not even the courts and definitely not Yattani.


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