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Uhuru, Raila men in new strategy for BBI campaigns

POLITICS
By Moses Nyamori | March 16th 2021
ODM Leader Raila Odinga addressing Likoni residents at Caltex Grounds in Mombasa County on Thursday 4th March 2021.  [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Proponents of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) have crafted a new strategy to popularise the Bill that will see top leaders and experts dispatched to radio talk shows.

BBI Secretariat co-chair Junet Mohammed said they may seek a review of some of the Covid-19 protocols after President Uhuru Kenyatta capped the number of attendees of social events at 100, essentially blocking town hall meetings.

The President banned political rallies for 30 days, a move that dealt a blow to the BBI campaigns.

In the new game plan, the President and ODM leader Raila Odinga will identify influential political figures and constitutional experts to make appearance on vernacular and national radio stations to champion BBI. “We are going to use radio and other electronic media and we shall review with the Ministry of Health protocols,” said Junet.

Uhuru has also dispatched some Cabinet Secretaries to launch development projects across the country but they use the platform to rally the public to support constitutional amendments.

“Cabinet Secretaries, in their capacity as members of the National Development Implementation Communication Cabinet Committee, will visit National Government funded projects from Tuesday, March 16 to Friday, March 19,” states a press invite by Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government President’s Delivery Unit.

“The objective of the visits is to assess progress of the projects and to acquaint themselves with challenges affecting the effective implementation of some of the projects with a view to recommend/implement appropriate solutions,” read the statement in part.

Slammed breaks

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Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya will be today visit Gachoka irrigation project, civil servants housing project and Kyeni - Kathanjure - Karurumo road in Embu while his Environment counterpart Keriako Tobiko will be in Kajiado tomorrow to inspect the Ngong - Suswa road project.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala will on Thursday inspect Dongo Kundu water supply project, Old Nairobi road (Jomvu Kuu-Mazeras) and Modern Cruise Ship terminal project in Mombasa.

And on Friday, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe will inspect Thiba dam and Mwea irrigation scheme projects in Kirinyaga County.  

Proponents of BBI had planned to roll out political rallies this month to seek public support for constitutional reforms ahead of the referendum.

But on Friday, the President slammed breaks on the plan by banning political rallies for 30 days following the rise in Covid-19 cases in the country.

Uhuru said should the cases continue to rise; he would not hesitate to extend the ban on rallies a factor that could affect timelines for the planned June referendum. “Cognizant that the propagation of the coronavirus disease within our borders has been fuelled by political gatherings and large social gatherings, I direct that all forms of political gatherings be and are hereby prohibited for a period of 30 days,” Uhuru said in his address.

“That the escalation or de-escalation of the containment measure in regard to Prohibition of political gatherings is dependent on whether the national endeavour to break the chain of transmissions will have been achieved,” he added.

BBI co-chair Dennis Waweru yesterday said that the team had to re-strategise campaign plans so as not to jeopardise the planned referendum. 

Mr Waweru said all the radio talk shows will be coordinated by the secretariat. “Part of our new strategy following the ban of political rallies is to use the mass media to communicate to Kenyans. We will involve the political figures in these campaigns but they have to be coordinated by the secretariat,” he said.

 

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