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Cabinet secretaries ordered to implement BBI agenda

By Protus Onyango | September 3rd 2019 at 05:35:00 GMT +0300

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga at a past function. [File, Standard]

Cabinet secretaries have been directed to ensure their respective ministries implement interventions envisaged in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, in a circular addressed to all CSs and the Attorney General, lists support for BBI among key areas ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) will have their performance evaluated. 

In the circular dated July 19, 2019, "support (for) the building bridges initiative by implementing interventions aimed at promoting national unity and nationhood" is listed among eight commitments in the 2018 president's annual report against which ministries' performance will be assessed this year.

In performance contracts for the 2019/2020 financial year, MDAs are required to implement at least five commitments relevant to their mandate among them Big Four agenda, fight against corruption, protection of the environment by securing riparian lands and enhancing collaboration between the two levels of government to entrench devolution.

Inclusion of BBI in performance contracts signals its formal recognition as Government priority programme.

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On the political front, the BBI task force is working on its report aimed at proposing constitutional reforms, which is expected to be completed this month.

Uhuru and Raila's March 9, 2018, truce which was sealed with a symbolic handshake to end the tension after disputed presidential election gave rise to the BBI tasked to recommend solutions to nine challenges facing the country, including corruption, divisive politics and inclusivity.

Kinyua in a circular OP/CAB 13/1/1A directs ministries to submit the 16th Cycle of Performance Contracting Guidelines for 2019/2020 financial year.  

“The performance contracting cycle require that performance contracting guidelines be reviewed annually in order to incorporate and align government priorities to planning, budgeting and performance management,” the circular reads in part.

Enhance clarity

“The purpose of the review is to enhance clarity of performance indicators, accelerate the realisation of government priorities including the Big Four initiatives and combat corruption,” Kinyua says in the circular also copied to all Principal Secretaries, Comptroller of State House, Chief of Staff, office of the Deputy President, Principal Administrative Secretary of Cabinet Affairs Office, Chief Executive Officer Public Service Commission (PSC).

The minsters and MDAs are requested to circulate these guidelines to all the institutions under their purview in order to ensure that they are all placed on performance contract

“Request ministries and specialised agencies to negotiate performance targets with the respective institutions before the vetting exercise. In the case of State corporations, National Treasury and Ministry of Planning should participate in the negotiations,” Kinyua said.

Yesterday, Stephen Mutoro, secretary general of Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek), demanded that Kinyua and Public Service Secretary Margaret Kobia recall the inclusion of the specific target on BBI as part of the 16th Cycle Performance Contracting Guidelines for the FY 2019/20 with 14 days.

“We will have limited option than to seek for legal redress in the public interest on this discriminatory move. By sneaking in the BBI into the nerve centre of the Executive, Mr Kinyua now requires all ministries, departments and agencies to budget for BBI and develop targets for the same,” Mutoro said.

He claimed BBI is still amorphous and has no public appeal in it as its inception remain between two individuals.

“In any case, its report is neither out nor its existence was sanctioned by a resolution of the National Assembly. Mr Kinyua's selective move to isolate Punguza Mizigo initiative already endorsed by IEBC and endorse BBI is premature and amounts to politicising the Executive. The origins of BBI cannot be compared with the Big Four Agenda,” Mutoro said. 

However, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale confirmed the order was sent to all ministries and MDAs and supported its implementation, saying the President is keen on implementing Article 10 of the Constitution on national values.

He said the President was preparing his government to be ready to deal with the recommendations of the BBI.

“Some of the BBI recommendations will require legislation by Parliament while others might need a referendum,” Duale said.

Homa Bay Woman Rep Gladys Wanga said she supports the Kinyua circular 100 per cent and accused Cofek of double standards.

“BBI is for the good of all Kenyans. If Cabinet has been ordered to take cognizance of all the BBI nine-point agenda, then there is no problem. It is not political, these are things that affect Kenyans. If Cofek is against this, then it means it is against the fight against corruption, inclusivity and shared prosperity,” Wanga said.

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior said Kinyua's circular is not clear. 

Task force

"If it is referring to the task force or terms of reference, the same is premature. The task force has not issued any reports and the 9-point guidelines is not official policy. If it was, he would refer to the text or paragraph. His letter is ambiguous," Mutula said.

Makueni MP Dan Maanzo supported the order, saying BBI is a government agenda and Cabinet is well positioned to implement it.

“This is a timely call. BBI is a government project and the only best way for it to cascade it to the grassroots is to start with Cabinet. This will allow Kenyans to discuss it and vote on its recommendations. Cofek should know that the handshake gave birth to BBI and the peace we are enjoying now,” Mr Maanzo said.

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