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Siaya county assembly becomes the first to pass the BBI bill 

Siaya county assembly on Wednesday became the first to pass the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) constitutional amendment bill 2020.

A session chaired by the speaker, George Okode unanimously voted in support of the Bill which was tabled by the chair of the Justice and legal affairs committee, Francis Otiato.

Among those who witnessed the passage of the bill was Siaya governor, Cornel Rasanga, his deputy, James Okumbe and a host of top county government officials who sat quietly in the speaker’s gallery.

Otiato had called for the support of the report which, he said, had been compiled from public participation forums held in all the six constituencies in the County.

Members of the county assembly, in their contribution, denounced insinuations that they have been bribed by a Sh. 2 million car grant to pass the document, adding that their support had not been influenced by anybody.

Usonga Ward MCA Sylvester Madialo, in his contribution while seconding the motion, said that the document will ensure inclusivity and more funds to the counties and electoral wards through the ward development fund.

Madialo said the document enhances the doctrine of checks and balances for public and state officers and making them more accountable to the public.

He gave an example of the introduction of the office of the Judiciary Ombudsman, adding that whereas the executive is checked through being answerable to parliament and parliament through recall clauses, the third arm of the government has for a long time had no body to check it.

“You do not expect the judiciary service commission, composed of judges and magistrates to check itself. There must be an independent entity to check it,” he said.

Other members said that this was the right time to review the constitution, and not to wait for war times as is the case in most constitution making processes.

Immediately after the adjournment of the assembly, Speaker George Okode and Governor Cornel Rasanga addressed the media and hailed the MCAs for paving the way for other devolved governments to follow suit.

Okode said that his office will compile decisions of the assembly today and forward the same to the speakers of the National assembly and Senate as required by law.

Rasanga hailed Siaya MCAs and called on other assemblies country wide to follow in the footsteps of Siaya to enable the country go for a referendum.

The independent electoral and boundaries commission transmitted the bill to the county assemblies on January 26, 2021.

According to IEBC, the assemblies are required to submit their decisions to the National Assembly and Senate speakers within three months.

by Philip Onyango 

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