, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 21 – The Building Bridges Initiative team says it’s on course in seeking proposals from members of the public on how best the country can be unified, an objective that was precipitated by the March 9 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition chief Raila Odinga.
Speaking to Capital FM News, the task-force’s joint Secretary Paul Mwangi disclosed the team is in its final stretch in achieving its mandate prior to expiry of its tenure in May this year.
The 14-member task force was gazetted in May 2018 through Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua to among other things tackle negative ethnicity, corruption, divisive politics and other challenges that face the country.
The team is expected to submit its findings to President Uhuru Kenyatta and former PM Odinga in four months’ time, with the recommendations likely to tilt the narrative on the need to have a referendum on not.
While responding to questions on whether the team will share its recommendations to the Justice and Legal Affairs Parliamentary Committee that handles issues regarding any changes in the Constitution, Mwangi hinted they will not.
Mwangi’s team had already been funded to the tune of Sh100 million to enable it discharge its mandate.
“We will only submit whatever we would have gathered to the people who gave us the mandate,” he said on Monday.
Several leaders have since proposed different amendments that touch on the presidency and representation of the people, a debate that continues to ignite the possibility of a referendum.
In his suggestions for instance, Tiaty MP Kassait Kamket who has been very vocal on the need to have the 2010 Constitution reviewed wants a single seven-year ceremonial presidency and introduction of an Executive Prime Minister’s post.
Kamket wants the position of the Deputy President scrapped with the Prime Minister assuming the role of Leader of Government Business in Parliament.
In a memorandum last week, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria supported the creation of a hybrid system of government that roots for the position of a Prime Minister.
He proposed that the Prime Minister should be appointed by the President and wants the Cabinet to be appointed from sitting Members of Parliament.
Others like Thirdway Alliance party leader Ekuru Aukot with his ‘Punguza Mzigo initiative’ want the number of elected legislators reduced citing its high cost implication.
The National Assembly currently has 349 members comprising MPs and Woman Representatives while the Senate had 67 Senators, 47 elected and 20 nominated.
Aukot is already in court to challenge the legality of Mwangi’s team 0 on grounds that whatever they are doing is unconstitutional and a waste of public resources.
Among the issues Aukot is opposed to is failure to vet the task-force members in order to establish if they are competent enough and their compliance with Chapter 6 of the Constitution that touches on leadership and integrity.
In his petition, he has questioned President Kenyatta’s mandate to implement his shared objectives through an agreement between him and Odinga, who he says has no elected office.
Mwangi has however dismissed Aukot’s attack towards the taskforce and termed them as baseless.