Haji: Referendum not possible in 3 months

Yusuf Haji says referendum not possible in 3 months
Building Bridges Initiative chief administrator Stephen Karau, chairman Yusuf Haji and vice-chairman Adams Oloo during a consultative meeting with stakeholders at KICC in Nairobi |Photo Courtesy

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has been dealt a huge blow after the Chairman of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) task force committee Yusuf Haji said referendum was not possible within 3 months.

Raila Odinga and his ODM party has called for a referendum on BBI report by June, 2020, and with only 3 months remaining, chances of having a referendum are getting dimmer.

Yusuf Haji was responding to submission from members of the public at KICC during validation hearing meetings.

One of the members making submission under the umbrella “Ladies for Equality” had brought up the topic urging the Haji led BBI task force committee to speed up the process and give Kenyans a referendum by June, 2020

Haji while responding said although organizing a referendum was not part of their mandate, having a referendum by June is not possible.

“Let’s be realistic. Although its not part of our mandate, I think having a referendum in 3 months is not possible”, Haji said

The BBI task force have kicked off validation hearings as they seek to get more input to improve on the BBI report.

The process to a referendum is often a rigorous one and constitutional lawyers believe the earliest Kenya can have a referendum is August, 2021.

With the BBI task force expected to complete validation hearings by July, what follows is converting the report into a referendum bill and that’s where disagreement and squabbles may derail the process.

The proponents of the referendum will also have to collect signatures and IEBC will need at least 3 months to verify assuming they will have the efficiency of a machine.

The county assemblies are required to debate the referendum bill within 3 months and both houses of parliament will also need at least 2 months to debate the matter.

In the absence of a referendum bill, things could get murkier if either parliament or the President decides to sit on the bill as there are no constitutional timelines given to them.

Lastly but not least, IEBC will need at least 3 months to conduct a referendum.

Raila’s push for a referendum by June as said by Senator Yusuf Haji is thus a pipe dream.

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