BBI Signature Collection Launch Canceled After UhuRuto Meeting at State House

The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) secretariat has called off the launch of the signature collection drive that was set for Thursday, November 19.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga was to lead Kenyans in the launch of BBI signatures at Kasarani Stadium later today.

The last-minute u-turn on the event comes after a reported three-hour long meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto at State House Nairobi on Wednesday, November 18.

BBI Secretariat joint chairpersons Junet Moamed and Dennis Waweru stated that the cancellation of today’s event was occasioned by late completion and publication of the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020 that was scheduled for Wednesday night.

“The postponement has been necessitated by late completion and publication of the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020 that is scheduled for printing later tonight (Wednesday night),” the joint chairpersons of the National BBI Secretariat – Dennis Waweru and Junet Mohamed said.

Raila and Uhuru during BBI unveiling in Kisii
President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga as they received the BBI report at the Kisii State Lodge on October 21. 2020. Photo/Courtesy

Junet and Waweru further indicated that the secretariat will communicate a new date for the launch of the exercise.

While announcing the date for the launch of BBI signatures collection, ODM boss Raila Odinga stated that there is need to do the exercise as quick as possible to pave way for a referendum come April 2021.

According to reports, Uhuru and Ruto discussed the ongoing BBI debate and how Ruto’s concerns can be accommodated in the report before it’s subjected to a referendum.

It is said that President Uhuru is open to a consensus building a move that is opposed by his handshake partner Raila who has maintained that the window for negotiations had elapsed.

Sources close to the President and his deputy, yesterday’s meeting was triggered by the pressure the religious leaders mounted on Uhuru during a meeting on Tuesday, November 17.

Odinga in Nyanza
Western Kenya & Nyanza governors today held a meeting with Raila Odinga
& the national government (represented by CS Matiang’i in Kisumu. Image/Courtesy

“The religious leaders told the President to work closely with his deputy to ensure that the country is not plunged into a political crisis over the BBI and the possible approaching referendum,” one source told the Star.

According to the publication, the religious leaders expressed a concern on the perceived isolation of the deputy president from the BBI process which was likely to divide the country further.

“They told the President that the more Ruto appears isolated, the more his agenda of uniting Kenyans appear to just be talk,” the publication quoted a source.

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