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Let’s embrace all divergent views on BBI, says Waiguru

By Ndungu Gachane | January 21st 2021 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300


Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru after meeting members of Daughters of the Mountain group comprising young professionals and entrepreneurs from Mt Kenya region. [Courtesy]

Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru wants an all-inclusive team to lead the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) campaigns in Mt Kenya region.

She said there is need to embrace all leaders, including those with varied opinions, if efforts to sell the document in the vote-rich region will succeed.

Waiguru spoke even as the Mt Kenya BBI secretariat met leaders from the region in efforts to calm discontent arising from alleged exclusion of some of the leaders.

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The claim emerged after a five-member team was picked to popularise the BBI in the region.

Yesterday’s meeting was chaired by Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru with most of those who attended refusing to divulge details.

However, in an interview with The Standard, Waiguru cast aspersions on the newly-selected secretariat saying: “BBI is a political process that must be led by people the community recognises as political influencers.”

She added: “While I wish them all the best, I must remind them and their appointers that BBI is a political process and if it is not led by people the community recognises as political influencers, it will have challenges, and that is the nature of politics.”

The team selected a fortnight ago comprises Kibiru, MPs Maoka Maore (Ntonyiri), Ruth Mwaniki (Kigumo), Peter Mwathi (Limuru) and Jane Njiru (Embu). The five have pledged allegiance to Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration, but are accused of not being strong defenders of the president.

Waiguru was a member of Team Embrace that brought together women parliamentarians from Jubilee and ODM which drummed up support for the BBI.

Asked whether she was among the leaders that selected the Mt Kenya BBI secretariat and what she felt about it, Waiguru said she was not invited at Thika Greens meeting where the matter was discussed. She said she is not worried about being excluded as she is busy pushing development projects in Kirinyaga.

“I was not invited to Thika Greens in the meeting that selected the BBI popularisation team. However, I’m too busy to worry about being excluded. I wish the team all the best,” she said.

The governor said for the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020 to get approval, there is need to make the process as collaborative as possible. “This will entail bringing on board leaders with divergent views so that all leaders can own the document.”

She warned that the process should not be made competitive as that would end up bringing more opposition to the BBI project which will spell doom to agenda and the mission of amending the 2010 Constitution.

“It is my view that for it to pass smoothly, we need to move from making BBI a competitive to a collaborative process by bringing everyone on board, including those with divergent views, so that we all own the document as opposed to having competing internal and external camps,” Waiguru said.

On whether she will continue supporting the proposed constitutional amendments, the governor said: “I will wait to be advised and then make decisions on how best to engage.” 

Her sentiments come days after Senate majority whip Irung’u Kang’ata, in a leaked letter to President Kenyatta, warned that the initiative faced turbulence in the region.

Kibiru yesterday said the secretariat asked the leaders they met, including governors, and asked them to select their representatives who will then join the five-member committee for further discussions on how to push the BBI agenda in the region.

Speaking during an interview with four vernacular radio stations in the region on Monday, the President lashed out at the BBI opponents accusing them of stirring up incitement among Kenyans through the dynasty versus hustler narrative which he warned will divide Kenyans.

“Someone wants to use the logic that because my father was president and now I am president, now our family is a dynasty. Does it mean if your father was a doctor that you should not be one? Uhuru said adding; “I will take insults any day but anyone who thinks he will cause violence in Kenya for political expediency, will face a different Uhuru. My silence should not be mistaken for cowardice”.

Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, who was also among the leaders who spearheaded the handshake and the BBI drive in Mt Kenya region but has been left out of the secretariat, said he would continue campaigning for BBI at the grassroots.

“We led during the first phase and got to where we are. We need to get people to understand the need for unity, the importance of avoiding distractions of premature campaigns and the constitutional moments that is here with us. Now we are leading in the next phase, of taking BBI to each individual,” Wambugu said.

Anne Waiguru BBI Building Bridges Initiative Mt Kenya region odm leader raila odinga
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