Divided opinion over motive of extending time for BBI team
Controversy: Weeks after receiving the report hailed by its authors as a product of extensive public consultations, Uhuru and Raila ask taskforce to collect more views. What exactly do they want? Was the report they launched a doctored version as has been claimed?A decision by President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga to extend the term of the Building Bridges Initiative task force has sparked controversy. Some leaders said they expected a new team and others questioned the move.
SEE ALSO :Renewables top 90pc of Kenya’s powerNandi Senator Samson Cherargei suggested that Uhuru and Raila had opened a new battlefront in the clamour for constitutional change. “What did we launch in Bomas?” asked Cherargei on his Twitter page. Reached by The Standard, he said: “The intention was to have some people oppose the report, but they did not succeed. Instead, it has gone further to divide the country. The leaders were not genuine in the process. What happened at Bomas was a fraud to the public.” Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru supported the extension. “They are best suited to capture the further views and input of the public with neutrality as they are non-partisan. So far they have done a commendable job,” she said. Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetangula said he was surprised Uhuru and Raila decided to retain the Haji team arguing that ‘the BBI report has been clouded by issues of 2022 succession politics’.” “I’m surprised that the president has retained this team. I expected that this process was for sieving and synthesising of views collected from the public by the Haji team. This stage is more technical. With the retention of the team without the technocrats, it will be no different from what we had in Bomas,” said Wetangula.
SEE ALSO :It pays to put cash in empowering peopleA source within the Presidency, however, explained that the extension was arrived at after carefully considering the repercussions of bringing onboard a new team. “There were four issues that came up, including the criteria for appointing a team of experts, suspicion among key political players and limited time for implementation of the team’s recommendations. It was believed that the Haji team has already established a good infrastructure for town hall meetings. A new team would be required to establish its own infrastructure and understand the document,” he explained. Nyeri town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, a strong backer of the BBI process, congratulated the committee “for getting the mandate to move us forward to the next phase of this process.” Report exposed void National Assembly Minority leader John Mbadi said the release of the report exposed a void that needed to be clarified by a committee of experts, going by the divergent views. “The team comprises a group of wise men and women needed to provide general guidance. The experts will incorporate the technical assistance needed and I hope they will be roped in at some point,” Mbadi said. Head of Anglican Church in Kenya Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit said the president should have appointed a new team of experts. “What Kenyans want is more expertise on what is dear to the people. The process should take into consideration the economic and social needs of Kenyans,” he argued. Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya said: “The team has done its work. Preferably, a team of lawyers should have been given the work to do the validation and the time pegged to two months. The lawyers should advise on the areas of the constitution that require changes and the views put together.”
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