President Uhuru's allies back handshake

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga during the official launch of the regeneration and waterfront project at Mama Ngina Drive in Mombasa County in January. [File, Standard]
MPs allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga yesterday stepped up their support for constitutional reforms.

The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), which is expected to propose wide-ranging changes, will table its report in October.

MPs Maina Kamanda (nominated), Samuel Atandi (Alego-Usonga), Jared Okello (Nyando), Mark Nyamita (Uriri) and Tom Kajwang (Ruaraka) who spoke separately rallied Kenyans to support the initiative that is expected to end the cycle of violence that follows every election.

And BBI Task Force Vice Chairman Adams Oloo said the team had now retreated out of Nairobi to write its report.

SEE ALSO :Ruto hails MCAs for rejecting Aukot's Punguza Mizigo

Dr Oloo said they had started compiling the report based on views gathered during public hearings and they expected to complete the task by October. 

"We are asking Kenyans to be patient as we try to do our best to come up with viable suggestions on the nine thematic areas identified as teething problems," he said. 

Speaking at Oljororok catholic church yesterday, Mr Kamanda said Uhuru and Raila would begin nationwide tours dubbed 'handshake mashinani'.

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"My people, nobody was a bigger Raila enemy than me. Today we are great friends, Raila means well for us and that's why he shook hands with Uhuru for what has been baptised the handshake," the lawmaker said.

Huge following

SEE ALSO :BBI: Ruto answers to Uhuru

He added that Raila should never be underestimated as he has a huge following.

"I agree the Constitution is faulty, we apologise to the church and promise to be guided in future," Kamanda said.

Former Dagoretti MP Dennis Waweru who was with him said that BBI has the interests of all Kenyans at heart. "In BBI we have bishops, elders, the youth and politicians. Its encompassing the whole nation. Who is in punguza initiative?" Waweru asked.

Uriri MP Mark Nyamita urged Kenyans to support the BBI proposals on the referendum.

“The real referendum that we have is the one that is being produced by BBI because it the consultative one. Since we now enjoy a new constitutional dispensation, we need it amended to ensure the best interests of the country and her citizens are better addressed,” he said.

SEE ALSO :Uhuru, Ruto reject Raila's bait on BBI

Nyando MP Jared Okello asked Members of County Assemblies not to pass the Punguza Mizigo bill, saying that the proposed reduction of constituencies in the bill will also affect the wards.

Ruaraka counterpart Tom Kajwang' termed the bill sponsored by Thirdway Alliance’s party leader Ekuru Aukot as a diversion from addressing the needs of Kenyans.

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Building Bridges InitiativeUhuru KenyattaRaila Odinga