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Haji pleads for implementation of BBI report for a better Kenya

President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and Senator Yusuf Haji during the presentation of the BBI report on November 26, 2019. /PSCU.

NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 27 – The Chairman of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce Yusuf Haji has pleaded for the implementation of the report they presented to President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday with far-reaching recommendations.

“We hope this report will be implemented so that it doesn’t end up gathering dust in the shelves,” Haji said, “It is a good report because it has views from all Kenyans and it is aimed at ensuring inclusivity for a better Kenya,” he said at the launch of the report at the Bomas of Kenya, attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Haji said Kenyans did not want the report to suffer a similar fate as that of the previous reports touching on outstanding national issues, whose implementation has never even started like the case of the Waki report, the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) and the Kriegler report.

“We have done our work, we have handed the report to President Kenyatta who has asked all Kenyans to read and understand it and make their decision,” he said, “but we urge that it be implemented because it is good for Kenya.”

The report, with several far-reaching recommendations, is a culmination of March 2018 handshake between the President and Odinga, after a prolonged electioneering period, that was characterized by violence and deaths.

Senator Haji said the report will ensure inclusivity for a better Kenya, having collected views from across the country, on what the people want.

In a departure from the winner takes it all culture after a presidential election, the report proposes that the runners-up of the Presidential election become an ex-officio Member of Parliament and the Leader of the Official Opposition.

His or her party, the report recommends, must not be represented in the Government, or of a coalition of Parliamentary parties not represented in the Government.

“The party or coalition of parties that are not in Government shall be the Official Opposition,” reads part the report.

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The leader of the official opposition, the report suggests, shall be enabled to have a Shadow Cabinet.

The report covers on 7 thematic areas, that focus on empowering devolution, need for a lean government that invests on the people as the central mandate, inclusive and accountable politics that will see the creation of a ceremonial Prime Minister’s position, equitable distribution of resources and ways of empowering national ethics.

In a bid to fight corruption, the report proposes that whistleblowers are rewarded with 5 percent of recovered proceeds.

The report recommends 6 measures, that the 14-member committee believes that they will help in slaying the graft dragon, which has seen billions of taxpayer’s resources embezzled.

Other recommendations include a requirement to make all wealth declaration forms open to public scrutiny and enable court procedures that guarantee the protection of the safety and security of informants, whistleblowers and witnesses, particularly regarding terrorism, serious transnational crimes and corruption.

It also seeks to make the country 100 percent e-service nation by digitalizing all government services, processes, payment systems, and record-keeping, protecting the independence of media and judiciary.

If adopted, the proposal will come at a time key Government agencies–the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) and the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) are making efforts to fight the vice.

“The growing public perception of Kenya having a rigged system that rewards cronyism and corruption is the greatest risk to Kenya’s cohesion and security. Tackling corruption is the single most important mission Kenya has now. The Taskforce makes major and actionable recommendations, a few that are captured below,” the report states in part.

Kenya is the 144 least corrupt nation out of 175 countries, according to the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International.

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On the creation of a Prime Minister’s seat, the BBI report reads that; “Within a set number of days following the summoning of Parliament after an election, the President shall appoint a Prime Minister, an elected Member of the National Assembly from a political party having a majority of Members in the National Assembly or, if no political party has a majority, one who appears to have the support of a majority of MPs.”

READ: No winner takes it all, Kenya should have an Official Leader of Opposition-BBI

The nominee for Prime Minister, the report reads, “shall not assume office until his or her appointment is first confirmed by a resolution of the National Assembly supported by an absolute majority vote of MPs.”

“If the Prime Minister nominee is not confirmed, the President shall have another set number of days to make another appointment. This process shall continue until there is a successful nomination for Prime Minister. A measure to ensure that this process is not indefinite, and that governance is continuous should be considered.”

The Prime Minister may be dismissed by the President or through a vote of no confidence in the National Assembly according to the set of recommendations.

To ensure the Cabinet represents the face of Kenya, the President will only appoint Cabinet Ministers after consultation with the Prime Minister.

“The Ministers shall be responsible for the offices that the President establishes in line with the Constitution,” reads the recommendations.

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