Raila rubbishes Punguza Mizigo, rallies behind BBI team

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Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga on Thursday moved to rally his troops behind the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) in the wake of efforts by the Thirdway Alliance Party to change the Constitution through a referendum.

He met ODM senators at his office and beseeched them to back the BBI.

Mr Odinga, whose pact with President Uhuru Kenyatta in March last year gave birth to the BBI, is uncomfortable with the Ekuru Aukot-led Punguza Mizigo referendum push that threatens to steal the show from their initiative.

“I had a consultative meeting with senators drawn from ODM on a number of party and national issues,” Mr Odinga said on his Facebook page.

He asked the senators to go to the grassroots and educate ward reps on BBI to deflate attention from Punguza Mizigo.

Reducing the number of constituencies could also result in fewer wards, he added.

At the requiem mass for Kibra MP Ken Okoth, the ODM leader referred to Aukot’s initiative as “punguza gunia”.

A senator who attended the meeting said Mr Odinga punctured holes in the bill, arguing that the process leading to it was not consultative, and that it was conceived to undermine the BBI.

“We are going to embark on a tour of counties to talk to MCAs. We have a feeling that the provisions of Punguza Mizigo may be attractive to them but they might not know its implication,” the senator told the Nation.

Senators James Orengo (Siaya), Ledama ole Kina (Narok), Moses Kajwang’ (Homa Bay), Judith Pareno (nominated), Ochilo Ayacko (Migori), Sam Ongeri (Kisii), Rose Nyamunga (Kisumu) and Mohamed Faki (Mombasa) attended the meeting.

Mr Odinga’s spokesman, Mr Dennis Onyango, said the leaders “consulted on a range of issues, including the division of revenue, the progress of the BBI, and legislation in the context of the close working relationship between Mr Odinga and President Kenyatta”.

The meeting came as the Senate and the National Assembly are involved in a major battle over the amount of money to be given to counties from the equitable share, which could cripple operations of the devolved units.

Council of Governors chairman Wycliffe Oparanya on Thursday warned that July salaries might be delayed due to the impasse.

Mr Odinga urged the senators to work with National Assembly to find a quick solution for devolution to succeed.

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