BBI will secure Kenya’s economic stability — Uhuru

By PSCU | Friday, Feb 7th 2020 at 12:38
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President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga were this week the keynote speakers at a luncheon organised to mark this year's US National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC.

The President recounted the distabilising impact post-election conflicts have had on the country's growth over the last thirty years saying the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) is aimed at finding a homegrown solution to the divisive nature of Kenyan politics.

He noted that divisive politics and the resultant ethnic tensions negatively affect the country's development trajectory saying, "once the election comes, everything stops...business stops one year before an election and restarts one year after an election".

"It is impossible to bring prosperity and long-term economic stability that's required for a nation to develop and grow without stable peace.

"Everybody used to plan their businesses around the election cycle," President Kenyatta told the international audience that comprised mostly of senior American officials.

President Kenyatta, who retraced Kenya's history of election-related ethnic conflicts since the adoption of multiparty democracy in the early 90's, said his coming together with his main political challenger Raila Odinga was motivated by the realisation that the disruption of the economy by electoral tensions every so often was not sustainable.

He narrated the tense and long process leading to the "handshake" with Mr Odinga saying they went against the hard-line positions held by their supporters.

"We sat in a room and it took almost six hours for us to even begin talking anything...it was, what you call, excruciating silence because nobody wanted to be the first to say anything," President Kenyatta said.

The Kenyan leader expressed satisfaction that millions of Kenyans have joined and are participating in the BBI process saying democracy cannot thrive in an environment of political uncertainty.

"We shook hands and embraced and that one single moment changed the whole country. Because nobody would ever have imagined that we would shake hands and embrace," the President said.

He continued: "Since then, we have walked as brothers, we have brought onboard (Kenyans) and said that this process that we've started is not a political process but rather a process that seeks to entrench our democracy."

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