Kang’ata in the Spotlight as Wrong BBI Document Debate Escalates

President Kenyatta and Raila recieving the BBI report
  • Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata was put in the spotlight by his fellow Senators and MPs who form the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) as the debate over a wrong Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) document escalated. 

    On Friday, April 23, the lawmakers met to approve the document that would be sent to Speakers of the National Assembly and Senate, after reports emerged that the two houses received different bills. It was further alleged that the majority of County Assemblies passed the wrong document. 

    Out of the 27 JLAC members, Kang’ata was the only lawmaker who declined to append his signature to verify the document. JLAC has 19 MPs and 9 Senators including lawyers Otiende Amolo (Rarieda MP), Kigano Muturi (Kangema MP) and James Orengo (Siaya Senator).

    “As you can see, we represent the whole committee. The report we are forwarding is approved by the two committees. Senator Kang’ata is the only one who did not agree with the approval and decided to abstain. We do not know what his feelings are at the moment. 

    ODM leader Raila Odinga (left) and President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) receive the BBI report in 2020

    “All others have approved the report and the bill and we have our recommendations and observations. The speakers will guide the debate when both houses resume. Therefore, those reporting that the BBI has failed should be aware that problems arise, but that does not necessarily mean that we are having any disagreements,” National Assembly JLAC Chair Kigano Muturi assured. 

    He, however, did not disclose why Kang’ata abstained. The Senator could not be reached for comment by kenyagist.comSenate JLAC committee Chairman, Okongo Omogeni added that they had collectively agreed on the contents of the report presented. 

    “I want to allay the rumours and clarify that we do not have saboteurs within the committee. All of us are proponents. The errors noted in the bills were typing and not factual errors,” the Nyamira Senator explained. 

    “We have had an amicable but challenging task. I have signed the report and so has Otiende Amollo. It will be taken to the plenary and then the referendum,” ODM’s Senate Minority Leader James Orengo added.

    Kang’ata, while then serving as Senate Majority Whip wrote to President Uhuru Kenyatta, cautioning him that BBI was unpopular and was poised to fail. At first, the lawyer distanced himself from the controversial letter but later on admitted that he scripted but did not leak it. 

    The letter elicited mixed reactions in the country forcing President Uhuru Kenyatta to lash out at the Senator and other BBI critics. 

    Msione simba amenyeshewa muone ni paka, kila kitu na wakati wake. Sisi ni wanademokrasia. Watu wapige pige ile wanataka kupiga, waandike ile mabarua wanataka kuandika.

    “Don’t assume that a lion that has been rained on is a cat. Some people have written letters to me thinking that I don’t know what I am doing. I am in charge of this government and I am in control of what we are doing,” Uhuru said while addressing mourners at the burial of ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi’s mother, Mama Hannah Atsianzale. 

    Kang’ata was ejected as the Senate Majority Whip and was replaced with Kiambu Senator, Kimani Wamatangi. However, he was retained in the JLAC committee. Kang’ata later jumped ship and joined Deputy President William Ruto’s hustler camp. 

    Deputy President William Ruto (centre) with his allies at a rally in Kiambu County on Friday, February 12, 2021

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