A section of Rift Valley leaders have declared support for the Building Bridges Initiative and called for a national conference to harmonise any contentious issues before the document is taken to a referendum.
Led by former Bomet governor Isaac Ruto, the leaders said they would move around the region to encourage people to read and support the document “because it is a pro-people document”.
“We have read the proposals in the BBI report and we believe that the document is good and needs to be adopted. The proposals are meant to generally empower people as the grassroots, groups like women and the youth who have in the past been sidelined,” said Ruto, who is also Chama Cha Mashinani partly leader.
The leaders said the introduction of a hybrid system of government, increase in allocation for counties from 15 to 35 per cent and youth and women empowerment would spur development.
“Strengthening devolution with the increase in the billions going to the counties and a further five per cent trickling down to the ward level is a silver bullet,” said Ruto.
Ruto was accompanied by Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny, his Chepalungu counterpart Gideon Sonko, former Baringo governor Benjamin Cheboi, and businessman Zedekiah Bundotich.
Ruto said other competing issues in the document should be subjected to a national consultative conference bringing together stakeholders to ensure the document that goes to the referendum captures the aspiration of Kenyans.
He said the document does not increase the wage bill as ministers will only be earning allowances above their salary as MPs.
“Even when we served in the government as ministers, we never used to get salaries; it was just an allowance given but you would receive salary as an MP,” said Ruto.
Kutuny said the national conference would look at any grey area in the document and thrash out any disagreements before the final report is handed over to the people.
“Let’s divorce this process from the 2022 elections. As Rift Valley leaders, we will urge our people to look at the proposals objectively and make an informed decision,” said Kutuny.
He said the proposal to allocate 30 per cent of the annual budget to agriculture would benefit farmers from the region.
“The issues of money to buy maize, allocations to spur growth in tea, coffee and milk sectors will be sorted out through a legislation,” said Kutuny.