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President Uhuru Kenyatta delivers his Seventh State of The Nation Address during a Joint Sitting of Parliament on November 12, 2020/PSCU

BBI

President Kenyatta pleads for BBI referendum support in Parliament address

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 12 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has reiterated that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) constitutional review report is aimed at uniting all Kenyans and bringing political inclusivity in the country.

While rallying support for the report during his State of the National Address to a joint Parliament sitting on Thursday, Kenyatta said the country’s future demands a constitutional change and Kenyans should not be afraid of this change.

“More importantly, let us engage in positive discourse on BBI with a view to effecting far-reaching changes that will address the perennial challenges we have faced as a Nation including negative ethnicity; inclusion; equitable development and our fight against corruption,” Kenyatta urged.

“I have seen  our future and this is how it looks like: a Kenya where no one will ascend  to high public office on account of their tribe, a Kenya where no one will wallow in poverty due to poor governance and a Kenya where will all share equitably in this prosperity of this nation.”

Kenyatta, who admitted that the report has sparked great public debate, called on Kenyans and political leaders at large to raise and resolve issues of concern by consensus building and prioritizing peace while at it.

“This moment in time is our meeting with destiny. When generations come long after we are gone, let them say that we made the right decision at this moment; that we chose unity over division; that we dreamt of and birthed a happier, more harmonious and more prosperous Nation,” said Kenyatta.

The BBI report launched on October 26 has since elicited mixed reactions with all stakeholders calling for amendments to capture their interests and those of the people they represent.

The report has a raft of proposals including the expansion of the national executive through establishment of the Prime Ministers position with two deputies.

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Earlier on Thursday, Catholic Bishops called for a further examination constitution review report particularly four controversial areas touching on the executive, parliament, elections and the independence of police.

In a statement issued to newsrooms following a consultative forum in Subukia, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) cautioned against the reintroduction of an imperial presidency by giving the President sweeping powers including appointing the Prime Minister and his two deputies.

They cautioned that such a constitutional amendment will not solve the ‘winner-takes all’ problem, a key challenge President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga said they wanted to address at the inception of the BBI framework in 2018.

“To give the President the power to appoint a Prime Minister and two Deputies risks consolidating more power around the president thereby creating an imperial presidency,” the Bishops said.

Deputy President William Ruto and his allies have been rooting for a further review on the BBI report to reach a consensus as a means to achieving a non-contested referendum.

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