BBI could set up a political team ahead of referendum

The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) is considering incorporating some aspects of the defunct Punguza Mizigo initiative from Third Way Alliance supremo Ekuru Aukot (pictured).

The view is that the initiative that collapsed in county assemblies had good ideas, such as strengthening devolution, fighting corruption and elevating the Senate to an Upper House with veto power.

A source has now intimated that Dr Aukot could be included in an expanded BBI taskforce that will lead the implementation of recommendations, albeit on the political wing.

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Apart from Aukot, sources confided in The Standard that Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and his Kirinyaga counterpart Anne Waiguru, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, former Nyeri Woman Representative Priscilla Nyokabi and Trade Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya could form part of the political team.

Dr Mutua said he would accept to be part of the BBI political technical team, adding that the process was about bringing the country back on track.

This came even as the Committee of Experts is expected to be gazetted in January. The team, akin to the squad that midwifed the 2010 Constitution, will have a duty to comb through the BBI report and provide a roadmap to a plebiscite.

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The source, who requested anonymity, said the recent turn-about of Deputy President William Ruto and his allies that has seen them supporting the BBI report has necessitated the change of tack in the process.

Sources revealed to The Standard that those who had studied the BBI report felt that some aspects of the Punguza Mizigo Bill, especially on the elevation of the Senate to Upper House, strengthening devolution, fighting corruption and using the ward level as the unit for accelerated development, were sound proposals that should be adopted.

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Asked whether such proposals had been received, Paul Mwangi, the co-secretary to the BBI team, said until and unless the gazette notice was done, it would be difficult to comment.

“I am aware that the President said the term of the BBI team will be extended, but I don’t know when the gazette notice will be done. Until and unless that is done, it will be premature to talk about anything,” said Mr Mwangi.

In his Bill, Aukot argued that by severely punishing those who stole public funds, the country would be saving Sh3.5 trillion.

In his draft Bill, Aukot had suggested that Senate be an Upper House with veto powers.

In strengthening devolution, Aukot had proposed an increase in counties’ revenue share allocation to at least 35 per cent from 15 per cent.

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“Devolution of more funds therefore will ensure each county or community will not need a “negotiator” to get access to public services,” read the rejected Bill.

It also proposed use of each of the 1,450 wards as primary units of accelerated development to replace the Constituency Development Fund.

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BBIPunguza MizigoThird Way AllianceReferendumEkuru Aukot