BUILDING BRIDGES INITIATIVE: Why Kenyans need to talk
BBI DEBATE SHOULD UNITE AND NOT DIVIDE KENYANS
By Nancy Wainaina
As the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) debate continues, the spotlight on the initiative has shifted to its directive, and has been heightened up by a section of Kenyans who are already anticipating its probable outcome.
This directed interest and anticipation of the process led to two widely circulated documents on social media on July 15, which the BBI team, led by its chairman, Senator Yusuf Haji, promptly denied.
The documents, titled BBI Technical Team Proposals and Proposed Changes to The Constitution were declared “fake” by Senator Haji.
Conflicting reports have emerged that the team has recommended a total overhaul of the governance system from presidential to parliamentary.
The Building Bridges Initiative was constituted after President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, his chief political opponent, shook hands on March 9, 2018.
BBI was the highlight of the 2018 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and the former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
It came in the heat of the disputed 2017 election that was already spewing into violence. On May 24, 2018, BBI was gazetted and soon commenced its countrywide solicitations of public opinion.
Since then, BBI has received support from the majority of Kenyans. However, it has also been opposed by some in and out of government.
In the recent, Mt. Kenya region leaders have continued to express their uncertainties saying they will not support the report if it won’t address key issues which include unfairness of the vote saying some regions have been under-represented as compared to others.
Led by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri the politicians said that Mt Kenya residents were ready to support Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) but only if it fulfilled their conditions, adding that they have no problem with the BBI but it must ensure national resources benefit all people equally.
The church leaders on the other hand have not been left behind in the heated Building Bridges Initiative debate even as legislators are take positions either to fight or support the expected BBI taskforce report.
Led by Mombasa Catholic Archbishop Martin Kivuva, the church has urged politicians to focus on service delivery and stop dwelling on debating a report which is not yet out.
He accused the group for dividing the nation through the BBI talk, urging them to focus on development. Archbishop Kivuva pointed out that the debate is likely to undo the peace being enjoyed after the handshake. His remarks come at a time when leaders associated to President Uhuru Kenyatta and those from Deputy President William Ruto’s camp are trading barbs concerning the yet to be released BBI report.
Kenya’s political background has been misty for the longest time possible, and that is why Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) was not only welcomed but also timely. The country has been a host of all types of hostility – ethnic, political, religious and even economical.
Kenya was always on the path to conflict and destruction, even with the slightest triggers.
With the help of BBI, Kenya will be able to overcome the negative cycle by understanding that in itself, an election is not the solution to the national challenges. Kenyans ought to obey the constitution and the laws of the land.
This way, it would be easy to bring an end to ethnic hatred while encouraging inclusivity, decentralization, and transparency.
Ms Wainaina is a freelance journalists based in Nairobi. Contact her via: email@example.com