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Senator Johnson Sakaja.

BBI

Sakaja Says National Dialogue on BBI key Before Referendum

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 27- The debate on the Building Bridges Initiative(BBI) report continues to elicit mixed reactions among leaders with Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja saying it should be subjected to a national dialogue where Kenyans will have an opportunity to give their opinion on the raft of proposals made by the Steering Committee.

Sakaja said the report has hits and misses which need to be addressed urgently.

“There are a lot of positive provisions and also some that leave much to be desired. This is an amazing opportunity to see what has been ailing our country. It is a generational moment where we can see how can we move together as a society. We cannot have cohesion without equalization of opportunities for all Kenyans,” said Sakaja.

The report was launched at the Bomas of Kenya on Monday, at a ceremony attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga among others.

“I feel like the proposals would have been more stronger and more radical. I am glad that all proponents have agreed a ndsaid that now we have an opportunity to strengthen this document,” he said.

Sakaja raised concerns with Senate being weakened following a recommendation by the Taskforce that the Senate should not determine the Counties Revenue Allocation but rather focus on its oversight role.

“Devolution is being highlighted as the main focus of this BBI but the report is giving with one hand and taking away with the other hand because you cannot have strong and meaningful devolution with a weakened Senate. We have seen the weakening of the Senate in that report and it is even creating confusion,” Sakaja said.

On the expanded executive, the Nairobi Senator said that the Prime Minister, the two deputies should not be drawn from one community.

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On the issue of gender, the Nairobi senator argues that it will not be resolved by electing a female and a male senator but rather political parties should be strengthened and ensure nomination positions are given to women

Speaking during the launch of the BBI report at the Bomas of Kenya on Monday, Deputy President William Ruto expressed reservations over the modeling of the Senate under the BBI constitutional review process, saying the proposed structure creates a weaken Senate.

Ruto said Senate should instead be strengthened into an Upper House to confer it adequate oversight functions.

“I agree that the increase of shareable revenue to 35 percent is progressive and that we must devolve more resources to counties. But we must also ensure the Senate has the necessary constitutional power to ensure these monies are not only availed but properly utilize,” he told the audience.

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