BBI ball now on your court; Uhuru, Raila tell Kenyans

President Uhuru Kenyatta receives a Shabana FC jersey from the team captain Wycliffe Nyangechi at Kisii State Lodge on October 21, 2020. The presented gifted the team with a bus and Sh5 million. He did this after receiving a BBI report from the taskforce team. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga have now thrown the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) ball to the public ahead of the report’s adoption.

The duo yesterday asked the people to read the document so as to make an informed decision once it is presented for a referendum.

And, just like his in a speech during the Mashujaa Day celebrations on Tuesday, President Kenyatta warned politicians against hijacking the constitutional process, saying the decision on the document will be individual.

While receiving the report at the Kisii State Lodge yesterday, the president said a breakdown of the report will be done on Monday next week at the Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi.

The president said the document would ensure prosperity for all Kenyans.

“This should be the end of political conmanship and usher in an era where people vote leaders based on principles, polices and not on individualism,” he said.

Kenyatta urged politicians not to create divisions, saying the country can rise higher and avoid incidents that can break up society.

A day after leading the country in marking Mashujaa Day celebrations, the president urged those seeking leadership positions to first establish an economically empowered society, adding that Kenyans needed to talk with and not at each other.

“Pray for a better nation. Here is an opportunity for a restored Kenya. The glory of God to the people of Kenya.  Let us all read the report,” he said.

“BBI is not a report that is against anybody or any community. At the moment, I’m not interested in the politics of contestation and that is why I’ve always avoided answering some people.”

Raila, who addressed the gathering before inviting President Kenyatta, said the long wait for the release of the document was over.

“Leo ni leo! This is the day that many people have been waiting for. Yesterday (Tuesday) I hesitated to say that we were going to receive the report today (Wednesday) but finally nyoka imetoka. We now have a report that people can talk about,” he said.

The ODM leader said the conversation has just started, and issues such as gender inclusivity, the land question, unemployment and political instability are addressed in the document.

He said Kenya must be born and have a better-equipped society for the next generation.

In reference to the recent remarks by Deputy President William Ruto that the BBI was about positions, Raila said this was not about making him a president or installing President Kenyatta as a PM.

He said Kenyans were consulted in comprehensive public engagement forums, making the document authentic. He said the recommendations are not cast in stone as they were made after engaging Kenyans.

“We will have signatures collected, give them to the IEBC, and take them to county assemblies and Parliament then back to Kenyans to decide,” Raila said.

He took a swipe at Ruto, saying instead of donating wheelbarrows and handcarts he should bequeath his helicopter to the needy Kenyans.

Useless exercise

In an apparent reference to Ruto and his allies, the ODM leader said some people had been speculating about the contents of the BBI report and even opposing it yet they had not read it.

“BBI wasn’t a useless exercise as some people would want us to imagine,” he said.

He accused Ruto of taking advantage of the people’s situation to exploit their emotions by profiling them as poor.

Raila explained how they came up with the concept of regional consultation where elders, women and youth, politicians, religious leaders and business people presented their views to the task force.

“It is at Gusii stadium where the reggae started. Because of this reason the president and I deliberately decided to have the handing over of the report done in Kisii,” he said.

Adams Oloo, the BBI task force vice-chair, said the final report had accommodated all views collected from the youth, the elderly and people from different religions and civil societies.

He said they had received memoranda from across the country apart from Nakuru where they did not hold any public consultative forum.

He added that they invited leaders from the area who presented views on what they believed affected their people. 

The report was read by the task force’s legal adviser, Tom Macharia.

The committee recommended the creation of county ward development fund, solving issues of gender parity, the formation of a youth commission, having a constitutional underpinning on corruption and elevating the police oversight authority.

There are recommendations on controlling the budget through audit checks and strengthening the Judiciary.