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Ruto allies should stop misleading Kenyans that BBI is about 2022 succession politics

By Joseph Mutua Ndonga | Nov 26th 2019 | 3 min read

The delay to release the Building Bridges Initiative [BBI] report heightened the level of anxiety and speculations surrounding its contents. The DP and his brigade would come out gun blazing and allege that the report was designed to push the political agenda of the opposition leader Raila Odinga and eventually scuttle the DP’s 2022 presidential ambitions.

They would flag out the position of the Prime Minister stating that once it is created, this would mean that Kenyans would carry a new burden. Raila is the one calling the shot in BBI. This position will be created for him, yet we know he has been an election loser. They will not bother to substantiate these claims.

Allow me to explain why I would disagree with them. First, we all recall that DP Ruto played a leading role in pushing for Raila’s presidency in 2007 general election. When the incumbent, President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner, he immediately disputed his victory. He strongly believed that Raila had won the poll but he was rigged out by Kibaki’s handlers and diehard supporters.

Again, if ODM could have formed the government, he was poised to become the Prime Minister. The party blueprint would also propose that two positions of DPMs would be created. Sometimes back, the DP revealed this when he toured the home turf of ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi.

That is structure that was adopted in aftermath of Koffi Annan led mediation talks that helped to restore peace and normalcy. This time, Raila took over the position of PM and appointed Mudavadi as his deputy.

In light of this, one would not have expected the DP to rally Kenyans to reject BBI on grounds that these positions would be created.

Notably, the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga was rooted in 9-point of shared objectives. I am persuaded to believe the only way we can address the issues of ethnic antagonism, lack of national ethos and inclusivity is by expanding the national executive and ensuring all the communities were given opportunities to serve in the civil service.

So, if this proposal is contained in the BBI report, then it means Kenyans had studied, interrogated the 9-point and made their submissions from a point of knowledge. If Kenya will finally adopt the parliamentary or hybrid system of the government, it will join the league of other advanced democracies across the world. 

Contrary to impression created by Ruto allies, the mandate of BBI was broader. So, I would expect the report to come up with a raft of other recommendations. The major issue is on how to reduce the size of government and create one that our economy can sustain. For now, we have bloated governments at both national and county levels that have been gobbling 70 per cent of the revenues for recurrent expenditures. In an economy that is doing well, a huge chunk of tax-payers money and funds borrowed from outside the country ought to finance the infrastructural development projects.

Since the handshake, Uhuru and Raila have maintained that the unity deal had nothing to do with 2022 succession politics. Our country was going in the wrong direction. The post election chaos triggered by the disputed 2017 twin presidential elections had already claimed the lives of dozens of poor Kenyans and properties worth millions had been destroyed. This is why we agreed to swallow our pride and bury political hatchet because Kenya was more important than any one of us, the duo have since reiterated. 

So, the narrative of Ruto allies is totally misleading and designed to create confusion. The BBI report is not about succession politics. It is about reviewing our constitution and amending the provisions being abused and those that do represent our interests. 9 years is enough to separate the wheat and chaff.

In 2010, Kenyans did not read the draft constitution. They adopt it because Raila and Kibaki gave it a clean bill of health. This time, I would expect them to read and fully interrogate the BBI report.

Joseph Mutua Ndonga is a Political Analyst and Blogger

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