Governors from Western meet ahead of planned BBI forum

Western leaders Senator Cleophas Malala, Senator George Khaniri, Senator Amos Wako, Governor Patrick Khaemba, CS Eugene Wamalwa, governors Wycliffe Oparanya, Wycliffe Wangamati, Sospeter Ojamong and Wilber Ottichilo in Bungoma on January 12, 2020. [Benjamin Sakwa]

Over 2,000 delegates from Western Kenya held a consultative meeting in preparation for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) forum slated for Kakamega on Saturday.

The meeting, which brought together elected leaders and professionals from across the political divide, resolved to expand the secretariat tasked with organising the January 18 meeting at Bukhungu sStadium.

Conspicuously missing from the meeting were ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula.

Ford Kenya Secretary-General Eseli Simiyu and some representatives from ANC party led by Kibisu Kabatesi, a close ally of Mudavadi, attended the meeting meant to address suspicion and infighting among local leaders.

SEE ALSO :ANC, Ford-Kenya leaders want BBI report review concluded by end of March

Several lawyers were also present to take the grassroot leaders through the contents of the BBI report.

Five  governors - Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia), Wilbur Ottichilo (Vihiga), Sospeter Ojaamong’ (Busia) and host Wycliffe Wangamati - attended the event.

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa also attended the meeting. Others were Senators Amos Wako (Busia), George Khaniri (Vihiga) and a host of MCAs and former MPs from the region.

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“We had agreed with the governors earlier to conduct a major grassroots leaders meeting and come up with a memorandum of understanding and views that would be incorporate home-grown issues that should be captured in the final BBI document,” said Wamalwa.

He said top legal minds from the region, including Wako, former House Speaker Kenneth Marende and himself were prepared to break down BBI contents for the locals to understand it.

SEE ALSO :Wetang’ula should tame detractors

Wamalwa dismissed leaders opposed to the national BBI conversation meetings, saying such leaders were misleading the public.

“The critics of BBI meetings ought to know that public participation is not a favour, but a right that Kenyans must enjoy, particularly where major decisions are needed like in the case of the BBI,” he said.

He urged locals to support the BBI report since it seeks to address economic revolution that will guarantee setting up of cottage industries in the region and revival of collapsed industries.

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