The electoral commission this week published two files of the individuals who signed up their support for the proposal to amend the Constitution as recommended by the Building Bridges Initiative.
The lists caused a stir in political circles as some questioned the decision by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. The main concern was that IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati did not do the same thing when The Thirdway Alliance and NASA previously made attempts to initiate a change to the Constitution.
Mr Chebukati fed the ire further when he said in an advertisement: “Anyone who has been captured as a supporter without their consent can report to the Commission by writing to the Acting Commission Secretary/CEO indicating their objections.” The objection letters should be submitted physically or using email by Monday.
The chairman’s decisions caught the eye of proponents of the BBI because of the perception in some circles that he supports the Jubilee Party faction that sides with Deputy President William Ruto. While their desire had been to remove him and the two remaining commissioners as part of the reforms, that option was shelved, partly because it would have caused protracted political fighting.
Because there is no referendum law in place, it is difficult to question the decisions of the electoral commission regarding the verification of signatures and other parts of the process. The referendum Bill is still in the legislative pipeline in Parliament.
Still, the BBI proponents are confident they have the one million signatures needed to initiate an amendment to the Constitution.
For them, the next front in their battle to amend the supreme law will be at the county assemblies, where they need more than half of the 47 counties to support their Bill for it to go to the next stage.
It means they will have to work with the leaders in those assemblies and in some cases the Governors, whose influence over the elected representatives is well known.
Their concerns over the speed and method of verifying signatures aside, the road to a referendum is still long, and there is as yet nothing that suggests the June date they intend for it is realistic.
In the meantime, the whispered question amongst lieutenants of Raila Odinga, who has taken to the campaign trail for BBI, is whether the President will be joining him soon.