Jan, 4th 2020 – Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata has issued an early warning to President Uhuru Kenyatta that the BBI referendum could fail as it is very unpopular in Mt. kenya region.
In a bold letter, he cited opposition to the expanded Executive, the involvement of provincial administration and campaigns by former MPs as some of the issues working against the initiative. He now wants President Kenyatta to take charge of marketing BBI in Mt Kenya region, saying the current campaign is uncoordinated.
The lawmaker said, “Let us emphasize on the soft power and art of persuasion. In my humble view, the provincial administration in BBI process should be invisible.”
Irungu, who took over from Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika as Senate Majority Chief Whip said that the BBI risks suffering ‘spectacular defeat’ if the head of state does not take immediate steps for a charm offensive emphasizing that the political consequences of a NO vote in the region cannot be overemphasized.
In the letter, he said, “I pray we make urgent remedial efforts to avoid such an outcome.” He further added that Jubilee’s performance in the Nairobi governor race will greatly impact the BBI.” He said, “A possible loss by our party’s candidate will have not-so-good political consequences that will permeate into BBI and possibly torpedo it.”
Irungu has rejected the proposal by the Deputy President William Ruto that the referendum be held alongside the 2022 polls. He has however recommended the use of multiple choice referendum warrant against possible total rejection of the Constitution of Kenya, Amendment, Bill 2020.
Irungu said, “The proposed first amendment to our Constitution in 2021, I believe, is a bold path that seeks to lay the foundation for a more just, more inclusive, more equitable and more prosperous Kenya.”
“They (anti-BBI forces) are selling the narrative using the ‘common man’ language. In comparison, the government’s narrative in the region including BBI is being sold by civil servants with limited political skills.”
“This is having a negative knock-on effect on BBI. It appears household incomes have either stagnated or plummeted. Many have blamed the stagnating of tea, coffee and milk prices on the government and thus argue BBI is less of their concern,” he writes.
Irungu added that the internal problems in the Jubilee party may have been weaponized and used to divert people’s views on the benefits of BBI.
Irungu’s warning to the president comes after after a survey he conducted during the festive season where he established that out of 10 people, two say yes to the report, 2 are still undecided and the majority, six, are not for the report with many being women and youth.