BBI: Raila, Ruto allies agree on a referendum

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, ODM leader Raila Odinga and a section of governors during the BBI rally at Mama Ngina Waterfront in Mombasa County. (Kelvin Karani, Standard)
They came from all corners. Sworn rivals who had been trading barbs in the name of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

But yesterday, allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga, and Deputy President William Ruto shared a podium to show support for the BBI.

The rally at Mama Ngina Waterfront in Mombasa may as well pave the way for a referendum on the law reforms that had seen rivals read from different scripts.

Thirty two governors and more than 100 MPs among other leaders were all praising BBI, the President and Raila.

SEE ALSO :Pro-democracy group now supports BBI report

The ODM leader said views collected in the ongoing regional consultation forums will be captured in what he termed as BBI 2 report that is expected to propose legislative and policy changes.

Consultative forums

“We are collecting views to improve the ‘BBI One’.... Land is a factor of production and we cannot allow few people to own swathes of land at the expense of the locals,” Raila said.

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He noted that each region in the country had unique views or challenges that should be captured in the final BBI report thus the need to hold nation-wide consultative forums.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Ford-Kenya party leader and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula also supported calls for a referendum.

SEE ALSO :Murkomen clashes with ODM leaders over BBI

“It is time to unite the country. We cannot touch some chapters in the Constitution without going for a referendum. We must also send the current IEBC officials home,” Kalonzo said.

Mr Wetangula who attended the recent Kakamega meeting said the BBI will end political and economic exclusion that the Coast people and other regions have been complaining about.

“For us to implement what Kenyans have proposed, the referendum is inevitable,” said the Ford Kenya leader adding that issues raised in the BBI report should be addressed before the 2022 polls.

Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru said the BBI will end the dominance of two tribes in the country’s leadership.  

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and other Ruto allies beat a hasty retreat and declared their support for a parliamentary system and a referendum which they said was inevitable.

SEE ALSO :Raila: Be ready for BBI vote next year

“I have read the BBI report and for Kenyans to get their desired changes in the Executive, we must have a referendum. We should conclude the BBI issue before 2022,” Mr Murkomen said.

He said that the Mombasa BBI meeting will go down in history as the momentum that brought together all Kenyans to address issues affecting the country.

“You know what it means when I’m here. The only condition we must fulfill for us to attend pro-BBI rallies is that we must be Kenyans,” Murkomen said in reference to the conditions the ODM had spelt out for Tanga Tanga team to fulfill before attending the rallies.

Kanu leaders led by Nick Salat, Tiaty MP William Kamket, Gladwell Jesire, Mohamed Dahir, Halake Abshiro Soka also declared support for BBI.

Mr Salat said Kanu chairman Gideon Moi had been vindicated that “Rift Valley was fully behind the BBI” and supports the Handshake between Uhuru and Raila.

SEE ALSO :Why Gusii Politicians are no longer at ease

“I bring to you the greetings of Senator Gideon Moi. We said that Rift Valley supports BBI and I want to welcome my friend Murkomen for finally seeing the light,” he said.

Other Tanga Tanga leaders who attended the rally are MPs Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Mohamed Ali (Nyali), Aisha Jumwa (Malindi) and Stanley Muthama (Lamu West).

Others were Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika and Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi. Only Murkomen was given the opportunity to address the gathering.

Earlier, there was a near fist-fight between Ali and Suna East MP Junet Mohamed after the Nyali legislature refused to move from the front row seats that were preserved for the governors.

United country

It took the intervention of former Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim and Busia Senator James Orengo and Murkomen to separate Ali and Mohamed who were pulling and pushing each other on the dais.

Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and Likoni MP Mishi Mboko said it was time for Kenyans to end the “us versus them debate” on the BBI to ensure a united country for prosperity.

“Even those who are joining the BBI late should be accepted unconditionally,” Prof Kibwana said.

Cheranganyi MP Joshua Kutuny however accused the Tanga Tanga team of paying lips service because they have failed to unequivocally support the Handshake. “They should apologise for insulting the former PM and President Uhuru if they are genuinely supporting BBI,” Mr Kutuny said.

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Building Bridges InitiativeBBIPresident Uhuru KenyattaRaila OdingaWilliam Ruto