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The BBI Bill was tabled in the senate and National assembly on April 28, 2021 for debate.


Contestations on BBI popularisation strategy detrimental

The raging debate for or against the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) is a healthy discourse in the country.

In fact, being a people driven and a political process in nature, discussions around it ought not to be muted, instead, constructive input on its pros and cons have to be encouraged.

This can only be achieved through robust civic education of the populace countrywide to create a sense of ownership and belonging of the document right from the grassroots level.

To start with, BBI is timely and presents a ripe moment to not only redefine the country’s constitutional journey but also opens a rare window to rest the national economic fortunes by devolving resources right to mwananchi.

In effect, the socio-economic development of the country will be tied to prevailing economic realities of the mwananchi since there cannot be growth without development.

Though the BBI debate cannot be divorced from politics, the support or rejection of the document should not be reduced to a political mobilisation tool for the 2022 succession politics.

Unfortunately, some political leaders have not shied away to adopt this route and personalising the process as a bait for political mobilisation for sole selfish political interest.

As President Uhuru Kenyatta has repeatedly rallied the country, the BBI process is aimed at addressing the deep-rooted challenges like inclusivity, political representation and the cyclic post-election violence every five years and strengthening devolution.

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Therefore, the rationale of all these important and transformational proposals must be divorced from short-term partisan political interests, ego posturing and instead serve as a clarion call to chat a more lit path for the country’s economic prosperity, social equity, all inclusive political representation to solidify a sense of belonging as one indivisible united Kenyan people.

For example, the proposal for the establishment of a County Ward Development Fund (CWDF) will create greater inclusivity, fairness, equity and accountability in the distribution of resources.

Additionally, increasing resources to counties from the current 15 per cent to at least 35 per cent would ensure more development at the local level, attraction of investment opportunities and money in people’s pockets.

The proposed remodeling of the parliamentary system by bringing the government back into the parliament and the leader of opposition being the person who will be the runner-up in the presidential election provides platform for robust oversight, checks and balances.

Similarly, having cabinet ministers appointed from within and outside the National Assembly will ensure an enhanced level of accountability to the citizenry through the elected leaders as constituents’ representatives in the National Assembly.

Effectively, the rigid government bureaucratic structures and red tapism which are key hindrances to efficient, timely and proactive service delivery would be a thing of the past.

However, the growing contestations on the best approach to popularise the process by emerging factions within the proponents of the constitutional amendment through BBI particularly in the Mount Kenya region risk having detrimental effect not to mention the possibility of veiled move to cast aspersions to the document as a sabotage move or otherwise. 

Continued friction in managing execution of popularisation strategy stands to create more confusion and pave way for distortion as opposed to harnessing understanding and cultivating a sense of ownership of the proposals amongst the electorates.

At this point in time, unity of purpose is key to deliver the beneficial changes the country requires to be anchored on a path of progressive economic trajectory for decades to come.

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Nonetheless, the apparent disconnect and lack of an all-supportive approach that brings together the key leaders among them political leaders, religious leaders, opinion shapers and elders to champion ground mobilisation is a short-sighted deliberate move that must be urgently be addressed.

BBI presents a rare opportunity for Kenyans to cultivate a culture of nationalism and sense of belonging to chart a path of politics of ideology and inclusivity as opposed to ethnic based of personalities and hatred.

It is manifestly clear that the March 2018 political truce between President Kenyatta and his political nemesis, opposition leader Raila Odinga salvaged the country further balkanisation, hatred and provided an opportunity for national healing and dialogue following the divisive 2017 presidential elections.

Undoubtedly, this is the new path the country should chart for the betterment of future generations.

The author is a Diplomacy and Communication Consultant

Kinyuru Munuhe


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