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The two-day People Dialogue Festival (PDF) forum kicked off yesterday with calls for an open dialogue on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) issues.

The forum is organised by the Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD-Kenya) that brings together 28 political parties.

Its objective is to provide a platform for citizens, political and civic leaders to engage in a face-to-face dialogue to strengthen multiparty democracy.

Speaking during the launch of the forum at the National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Amani National Congress party leader Musalia Mudavadi lamented against a wrong perception that BBI was about positions, warning that this was creating divisions.

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“If BBI appears to be divisive, how will a referendum be? This are the questions we need to ask ourselves," said Mudavadi.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi called for stronger political parties.

“If we want to grow our democracy, we must strengthen our political parties and enhance dialogue,” said Muturi.

Former woman representative for Migori County Dennitah Ghati called on BBI to address issues of persons with disability.

“We need to draw a roadmap for people with disability because the issues that affect them also affect the country," she said.

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Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed hailed the participation of the youth in the forum.

“I want to listen to you (the youth) so that we can develop our culture,” she said.

Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua called on the government to ensure that copies of the BBI report were accessible to all Kenyans and supported calls for strengthening political parties.

“Disorganised parties form disorganised governments,” she said.

Politician Chirau Mwakwere cited corruption and ethnicity as the country's biggest challenges.

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“There is need for unity among Kenyans. They should also stop voting in leaders who have integrity issues,” he said.

Among those who attended yesterday's launch were the BBI steering committee chair Yusuf Haji, CMD-Kenya chair Abshiro Halake, UN Resident Coordinator Siddharth Chatterjee and First Deputy Speaker of the Danish Parliament Karen Elleman.

The forum ends tomorrow.

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