BBI is sweet for Raila but bitter for Uhuru

President Uhuru Kenyatta with Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga during the launch of Building Bridges Initiative report at Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi on November 27, 2019. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Kenya is back to factory settings after Baba Moi’s burial. I think the Building Bridges Initiative was derailed forcing the owners to microwave it and make it edible.

Moreover, the news media keyboards seemingly lost the ability to typeset letters ‘B’ and ‘I’ for their headlines. More conspicuous, however, is the way the BBI tastes sweet in Raila Odinga's mouth, but could become bitter in President Uhuru Kenyatta's stomach. I beg to explain.

The 2018 handshake between Uhuru and Raila birthed two kids—one, division within Nasa and Jubilee and two BBI.

The Nasa factions who felt they were not consulted by Baba were seemingly not going to benefit from the handshake after the journey to Canaan aborted.

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On the other hand, Deputy President William Ruto allied Jubilee faction was quick to oppose the deal.

Undoubtedly, the handshake quieted the standoff between Opposition and the Government, which was coagulating into National Resistance Movement under 'General’ Miguna Miguna.

He was later deported after the mock swearing-in of Raila as the 'people’s president'. As a result businesses opened and a clarion call was made for Kenyans to clear streets and stop the boycott of certain products.

Bishop who fought for Kenyans  

Tangatanga and Kieleweke teams were birthed. Team Kieleweke set out as new house helps without portfolio at the State House high table.

This development did not go down well with Tangatanga who considered themselves the rightful First Borns—deserving a double portion of State largesse.

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While Tangatanga were musing about their loss and kicking downstream, BBI was conceived. The Nasa remnants jumped into the deal with gold, myrrh and frankincense as gifts for the new born baby BBI.

They had realised this new-born was to be the saviour of the country and that Raila and President Kenyatta were the rocks upon which all was anchored.

A disreputable narrative is that BBI was created to frustrate DP Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid.

This narrative is sweet in the mouths of Tangatanga. It is coupled with the claim that by pushing for BBI, Uhuru wants to retain power and accommodate Raila in the 2022-2027 government.

If this is true, Ruto has no way but to fight fiercely to remain relevant. This is going to be a tough fight given the many claims of graft buffeting his political career—whether this is propaganda or not is for DP to prove his innocence.

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It is said that BBI is meant to bring inclusivity in country's governance. This is widely hailed by the team allied to Raila and Uhuru.

If that is true, then they have no option, but to welcome the Tangatanga brigade on board to help build more bridges. If BBI truly belongs to Kenyans, then as president Kenyatta had indicated, all Kenyans must be allowed on board and the bridges must be seen.

If they can't be seen, then it is easy to conclude that BBI is a political tool that can cripple Ruto’s 2022 bid with great success.

Raila must be revisiting the biographies and autobiographies of the likes of Nelson Mandela and Jomo Kenyatta who became heads of state at advanced ages. He must also revisit his earlier confessions that he won’t contest in 2022. I believe that Raila will be on the ballot in 2022 and 2027—as long as he is alive, but then again I could be wrong.

However, it is not a walk in the park if Raila wants the top job. He has two hurdles he must clear. One, BBI must succeed and two, President Kenyatta must endorse him as candidate in 2022.

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The first is made an uphill task by the Ruto allied team.  The second could be a nightmare with the recent development of Baringo Senator Gideon Moi being enthroned as former president Moi’s successor.

The candidate

Equally, Ruto in his clever way of getting Uhuru’s support in 2022 tied himself when he said in an interview that he will rally behind Upresident's pick.

This leaves Raila with one option; to sacrifice his 2022 presidential bid and support the candidate endorsed by Uhuru if not him. It will be a daunting task for the son of Jomo—methinks.

It will be better if BBI is seen as a means to make lives better for the ordinary Kenyans. BBI architects were sent back to the drawing board to re-read the times and signs and we hope they will get it right this time round.

BBI must be understood as a document different from Uhuru, Ruto and Raila.

If BBI is a building bridges initiative, then it must allow DP Ruto and Uhuru to have their differences without dragging the process in the mix—although this is impossible in politicking theory.

Dr Ndonye is head of Mass Communication Department, Kabarak University

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