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Read report first before taking positions, leaders urge Kenyans

By Roselyne Obala and Jacob Ngetich | November 23rd 2019

Expectations are high on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report to be officially received by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga on Tuesday.

After a one-month delay, leaders allied to the ‘Tangatanga’ and ‘Kieleweke’ wings rallied their supporters while remaining unanimous that they should read the contents of the report before taking any a stand.

Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula said his party supported the reason the BBI had been formed. He said they were waiting to see if the report would capture the aspirations of Kenyans.

“We know the purpose of the BBI was to create a unified country, all inclusive and fair. Our view is that we support it but we want to see the final product,” said Mr Wetang’ula.

He said he would support it if it was strengthening devolution, introducing a hybrid government that would include a parliamentary system and strengthening institutions to fight corruption.

Senate Minority Leader Mutula Kilonzo Jnr said they expect the report to be comprehensive and addressing the nine-point agenda assigned to the task force chaired by Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji.

Divisive polls

Mutula said he hoped the issues of ethnic antagonism and competition, lack of national ethos, inclusivity, devolution, divisive elections, safety and security, corruption, shared prosperity, responsibilities and rights would be well documented.

“The team should also come up with a plan on how to achieve the nine-point agenda, and how the objectives will be implemented, with proper guidelines and timelines,” he said.

The Makueni Senator said he hoped the task force would come up with a draft Bill, which would be introduced in parliament. 

Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen said the BBI debate should be conducted with tolerance and respect. “There are those who have a problem ab initio on matters processes. There are those who even don’t like the word BBI, yet there those who support it without reading and won’t read. Like the President said, let’s do it with honour and humility,” said Murkomen.

He, however, faulted Raila over the recent Kibra by-election, where Jubilee’s McDonald Mariga lost to incumbent Imran Okoth.

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“Before receiving the BBI report on Tuesday, I am hoping the former PM will have issued a public apology for presiding over and/or acquiescing in the Kibra violence,” he said.

The Elgeyo Marakwet Senator warned that if the ODM leader fails to give a public apology, the Tangatanga team will treat BBI as another exercise founded on hypocrisy. “He must lead by example not mere lip service,” he said.

Former Mukurweini MP Kabando wa Kabando said he respectfully disagrees with Senator Murkomen because he is “just posturing”. “He is doing his job loyally, only knows the die is cast. Murkomen is angling smartly,” he said.

Former Nyatike MP Omondi Anyanga said the release of the BBI report should now chance Kenyans to open a honest debate about where they have come from and where they are heading.

“Uhuru and Raila have the best interest of the nation at heart. I am confident BBI will capture their aspirations,” Anyanga said. Former presidential candidate James ole Kiyapi urged Kenyans to read the BBI report once it is out on Tuesday.

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