Bishops call for consensus on BBI

The Catholic Church wants contentious issues in the Building Bridges Initiative report ironed out before the referendum. 

The Catholic bishops yesterday said the church was not opposed to the document but concerned about its implementation.

“We are not opposing BBI, we even gave our views and have one of our own in the secretariat. We are now giving our opinion that many of the proposals in BBI are good but there are those that can be implemented later,” said Archbishop Philip Anyolo, the chairperson of the assembly of bishops.

Speaking in Nairobi, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) said the country should not rush to a referendum. 

Anyolo said the country risked being stuck in a constitutional change loop if the issues that have been raised are not addressed. 

“If people still feel that there are important issues for discussion then we should use this time to get solutions instead of saying that we are done with the process yet we shall have to come back to it again,” Archbishop Anyolo said. 

The Catholic Church has given its position on the document for the second time in a month, as the Building Bridges Initiative Secretariat forges ahead with plans to change the Constitution.

As the church was pleading for more time for consensus building, the BBI team was announcing its plans to present to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission the signatures it collected today and shut the door for changing the document further. 

In Subukia mid last month, the bishops gave their reservations on some proposals made in BBI, among them the plan to give more powers to the president, expansion of Parliament, and giving political parties a say in the appointment of IEBC commissioners among other proposals.

The church is now questioning the reasons behind the rush to implement the proposals in the BBI report.

“Let us not rush on issues that mean a lot for the country,” Archbishop Anyolo further said.

Mombasa Archbishop Martin Kivuva said the BBI secretariat needed to ensure that everyone’s views are considered throughout the process. 

Kivuva said proposals such as changing the structure of governance could come after a civic education exercise.

Download the BBI Judgement by all seven Judges - Civil Appeal No. E291 of 2021