NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 2 – The Building Bridges Initiative Taskforce on Friday began holding public consultations with stakeholders in the religious, business and youth sectors.
Taskforce Joint Secretary Paul Mwangi says the sittings which kicked off at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre are the first in a series which will take the team around the country.
He however clarified that they will not be able to collect views from Kenyans in all the 47 counties.
The 14-member taskforce last month postponed public forums in the counties of Machakos, Kitui, and Makueni to allow time for further consultations on availability of funds.
Mwangi said their activities will not be swayed or influenced by the ongoing clamour for a referendum to change the Constitution.
“We are aware that political parties and politicians will continue to do what they do best; we can’t stop debates that are of grave national issues. But we have divorced ourselves from that. We will have our say to it after we have listened to the public. We might as well affirm what the politicians are saying or we might not affirm.”
“In the report is when we shall take a position on whether we feel that the public supports what the politicians are saying and in what respects,” said Mwangi, who co-chairs the secretariat for the unity initiative.
The team is expected to meet the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, Evangelical Alliance of Kenya and Hindu Council of Kenya during Friday’s morning session.
The Centre for Multiparty Democracy which is expected to submit the views of political parties will kick off the afternoon session and will be followed by the business community represented by Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) while the Governors Watch and the Kenya Universities Student Association will be make submissions.
The taskforce which was given a year to submit its proposals to President Uhuru Kenyatta on how to tackle negative ethnicity, corruption, divisive politics and other challenges facing the nation on Friday published a detailed itinerary for public engagements across the country.
The initiative, born out of a March 9 unity pact between President Kenyatta and his rival in last year’s election Raila Odinga, was recently funded to the tune of Sh100 million to enable it discharge its mandate.