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Leaders back BBI report in public, secretly oppose it

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Leaders back BBI report in public, secretly oppose it by Kenyans247(1): Sat 07, November, 2020 06:54pm
What you need to know:
The DP’s handlers admitted that should their demands for dialogue and consensus building be ignored, their boss has no qualms leading the NO camp.
To solidify the support for the BBI, President Kenyatta on Wednesday hosted political leaders who support it at State House.
kenyans247
A new constituency of those opposing the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report, but are cautious about coming out in the open, seems to be attracting more members.

The Saturday Nation talked with a number of governors and politicians who are concerned that by coming out to oppose the project sponsored by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, they may have the State machinery unleashed on them.

On Tuesday, governors are set to take a position on the report after failing to reach a consensus last Thursday as a number of sticky issues on the document came up that called for further deliberations.

The county chiefs were holed up in a meeting at the Movenpick Hotel in Naiorbi for the better part of the day with BBI experts, who took them through the document and were later joined by ODM leader Raila Odinga.


Mr Odinga, however, left at around 1pm and the governors held another meeting, which ended at around 4.30pm

Sources confided in the Saturday Nation that Mr Odinga urged the governors to support the document, as it will strengthen devolution due the proposal of increasing money sent to counties from 15 per cent to 35 per cent.

Read: Ruto and allies threaten to shoot down BBI

Council of Governors chair Wycliffe Oparanya said they will address the press on Tuesday after another meeting.

“We shall address you next week after another meeting,” Mr Oparanya said as he left the venue.

The Saturday Nation understands that the governors expressed some concerns including that the Senate, as the protector of devolution, must be the upper House to strengthen its oversight role.

They said there is a need to tighten the impeachment process so that it is not subject to abuse by the Members of the County Assemblies.

Read: Ruto woos religious leaders to oppose BBI reforms

On health, governors are reportedly not pleased with the national government as they argued that most resources have remained at the top despite health being a devolved function. Governors, according to the source, unanimously resolved that recruitment of health workers should be purely left to them.

“How do you explain that huge resources are still with the national government yet functions are devolved?” posed a governor from the Rift Valley at the Thursday meeting.

Most of the county chiefs also expressed their concern over the immense power the proposal in the BBI report seeks to give to the Controller of Budget in regards to the projects in counties.

The BBI report, through the Controller of Budget Act, 2016 seeks to empower the CoB to carry due diligence of all projects in the counties to ascertain if money allocated has been prudently used.

“The Controller of Budget Act, 2016 (No. 26 of 2016) Bill seeks to amend the Act to require the Controller of Budget to carry out due diligence on all ongoing projects, to ascertain whether money previously approved for the project has been utilised prudently, before the office authorises release of more funds for the projects,” reads the report.


The expression of the reservations by governors, together with ward reps who are critical in the passage of the report, now puts President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga in a tight position on whether to open the document for amendments despite ruling out any more negotiations on the report.

The National Council of Elders, who have recently shown some cracks over the stand to take on the debate, yesterday came out to support it but asked for the pertinent issues to be addressed.

While they appear to endorse the document in public, some individuals are quietly mobilising their supporters to shoot it down in what may worry those spearheading the push to amend the constitution in a referendum. Other than saying their proposals were not factored in the final report and others insisting the Senate must be made the upper House, a number of the politicians confessed to quietly supporting Deputy President William Ruto’s push to succeed Mr Kenyatta.

Read: Women leaders laud BBI report for promoting gender equality

“We know the DCI has been put on standby to arrest some of us depending on what we say about the BBI,” said a governor recently arrested and arraigned.

He was in the meeting hosted by Mr Odinga, but confesses to having nothing to do with the push to amend the laws.

Leading No camp
At the same time, the DP’s handlers admitted that should their demands for dialogue and consensus building be ignored, their boss has no qualms leading the NO camp.

The revelations by Elder John Seii, a member of the National Council of Elders, who was also a member of the BBI task force, that the report was doctored has only helped energised the Ruto base, who have latched on the issue to question the legitimacy of the process.

To solidify the support for the BBI, President Kenyatta on Wednesday hosted political leaders who support it at State House.

Apart from the President, others in the attendance in the meeting that took two hours were Mr Odinga, Charity Ngilu (Narc), Isaac Ruto (CCM), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) Peter Kenneth, Alfred Mutua (Maendeleo Chap Chap) and Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya).


The purpose of the meeting, held ahead of the National Covid-19 pandemic emergency meeting, was how to proceed in the face of the pandemic and get the necessary mass required to ensure that the process is successful with the timelines already developed. They are keen to outwit the forces against the push.

“The leaders available agreed to support the process and provide leadership from their regions,” a source who attended told the Saturday Nation.

Some accounts have suggested that Mr Mudavadi gave an undertaking to support the process but only if the issues he had raised during the official launch are addressed.

One of the issues touches on the proposal to establish the Office of the Ombudsman of the Judiciary. While the holder will be answerable to the President, Mr Mudavadi’s pick is that he should be answerable to the Chief Justice.

In response, the President insisted that the office is meant to ensure accountability in the Judiciary and there is no way the holder can be answerable to the CJ.

“The CJ is not exempt from accusations of malpractices in the Judiciary and there is no way he can be in-charge of the office,” the President is reported to have said.

Pay lip service
Those opposed to the BBI but wouldn’t come out intimate that, if need be, they will channel their resources to the NO camp as they pay lip service to the President’s side. “When the BBI team supported the document in Naivasha without room for amendments, we became suspicious. What’s it BBI that cannot be discussed and amended? That’s how good ideas get hijacked,” said Sammy Wainaina, the Provost of All Saints Cathedral, the seat of power of the Anglican Province .

DP Ruto is working to enlist the support of the church to give more power and legitimacy to the questions he has raised about the BBI. The second in command and his troops want fresh talks on the involvement of political parties in the nomination of electoral commissioners, the independence of police and the Judiciary as well as making the Senate the Upper House with indispensable powers arguing that it will help in enhancing and strengthening devolution.


However, President Kenyatta has emphatically rejected, saying there is no window to open the report for further discussions.

The leadership of the pastoralist communities is divided over the BBI proposals, with one side led by Mr Samuel Poghisio, Senate Leader of Majority, supporting the report. Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali said that theDP’s troops are ready to help the Head of State accomplish his legacy, but not the BBI.

“Sovereignty of this country belongs to the people and in case there is a need for an amendment in our constitution, it should emanate from them,” he said.

Tiaty MP William Kamket and Moitalel ole Kenta (Narok North), who supports the report, dared the DP to make good his threat and oppose the document.

Political struggle
“The lines are drawn and the DP should man up or face the bitter reality that he is opposing. We all know that is engaged in a political struggle for 2022. We can only tell him to bring it on” ole Kenta said.

Mr Kamket, a known critic of the DP, said Tangatanga group has bastardised the report and was using it to pursue its agenda for 2022.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei said for the country to achieve uncontested constitutional review, there must be dialogue on a raft of issues which they have raised, failure to that, Yes-No referendum is on the off-ling.

Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono told the Saturday Nation that BBI proponents had been “ceaselessly” looking for opposition for the proposed constitutional changes.

“By not inviting people perceived to be holding divergent views, the BBI architects are simply being dictatorial. They want to bulldoze this thing (BBI report) on Kenyans. And if they bulldoze, we will oppose it,” he said. “When they fail to include in discussing the BBI report and eventually fail to factor in our views, they will have automatically sent us to join Kenyans in opposing the document in its entirety,” added Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa.

Additional reporting by Onyango K’Onyango and Ibrahim Oruko

https://nation.africa/kenya/news/politics/leaders-back-bbi-report-in-public-secretly-oppose-it-2733258

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