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BBI team says report ready for presentation to Uhuru, Raila

President Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga shook hands on the steps of Harabee House in March 2018. CFM-FILE.

NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 23 – The Taskforce on Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) has confirmed that the final report is ready to be presented to the two leaders who commissioned it.

Joint Secretaries of the Taskforce Martin Kimani and Paul Mwangi said they have already communicated with State House and agreed to have the report presented to President Uhuru Kenyatta at the earliest opportunity once he is back from Russia.

“The Joint Secretaries have officially communicated to the Office of the President that the Building Bridges Initiative report is ready for a handing over to the President,” they said in a statement issued to the media on Wednesday.

Kimani and Mwangi said the report is a product of views from all the 47 counties as well as petitions from various people and organisations on changes they need.

“Having heard how Kenyans seek positive and far-reaching change, the Taskforce believes that Kenyan can utilize this auspicious moment to build the bonds between us that will become a strong foundation for an inclusive, fair and prosperous nation,” they said.

The report to be presented to President Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga was commissioned when the two leaders shook hands at the steps of Harambee House in Nairobi in March last year, ending political animosity that had been blamed for slowing down development in the country.

The BBI team made the announcement on the day Third Way Alliance leader Ekuru Aukot said the party will soon reintroduce the Punguza Mizigo Initiative in a campaign dubbed “Punguza Mizigo Kenya” (PMK), after suffering humiliating defeat.

Thirdway’s second attempt comes after the referendum Bill flopped having failed to secure an endorsement in at least 24 counties as required in law for it to be presented to both Houses of Parliament.

Aukot said despite the Bill being approved by only two out of 47 counties, there is still need for proposals made through the initiative to be effected as majority of Kenyans still support it.

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“We have not abandoned our initiative, Punguza Mzigo Kenya is a reality we must confront now and tomorrow, we are going to re-look at the first Bill improve it with the comments that we have received from the field and we shall proceed from there,” said Aukot.

Aukot described Phase I of his initiative as a learning experience, adding that he learnt a lot during deliberations he had with county assemblies that debated the Bill and noted areas that the party will work on to win the approval of county assemblies.

While admitting that he didn’t widely consult when he was drafting his Bill, Aukot invited Kenyans to give their views as he and his team begins to re-draft the Bill.

“We have re-opened doors for proposals from Kenyans because during phase one we were accused of not consulting,” he said.

Despite the Bill being rejected by most of the counties, Aukot said the journey has been successful appreciating Kenyans and county assemblies that took time to debate the Bill.

Aukot had said Thirdway’s proposals will address the issue of over-representation in a bid to save taxpayers money amounting to billions of shillings.

The Bill was however rejected in most of the county assemblies with some rejecting it on what was viewed technicalities while others were of the view that the Bill was eroding gains made in the 2010 constitution.
Come assemblies described proposals contained in the Bill as ridiculous and unrealistic.

Alongside other reasons blamed for the failure of the Bill, Aukot accused major political players of influencing county assemblies to reject his Bill.

“The need for Punguza Mizigo in Kenya is still a necessity and is very popular on the ground. Most Kenyans still hope that they would have a chance to vote the Bill directly,” said Aukot.

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