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Lamu leaders back BBI, say Punguza Mizigo 'deliberately killed'

Sunday November 24 2019

Majority leader Abdalla Baabad.

Lamu County Assembly Majority Leader Abdalla Baabad, who on November 23, 2019 assured that the assembly will back the Building Bridges report. PHOTO | KALUME KAZUNGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

KALUME KAZUNGU
By KALUME KAZUNGU
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The Lamu County Assembly has promised to approve the much-anticipated Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report that is expected to be handed to President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday.

BBI Taskforce chair Yusuf Haji said on Friday that he had secured an appointment with the Office of the President.

Lamu Speaker Abdul Kassim Ahmed and majority leader Abdalla Baabad said on Friday that they are "more than ready" to approve the report since they believe its contents are entirely for the benefit of all Kenyans.

PUNGUZA MIZIGO

On October 9, assembly members unanimously rejected the Punguza Mizigo bill, which was fronted by Thirdway Alliance Party leader Ekuru Aukot.

The bill tabled in the House by Hongwe Ward Representative James Komu flopped on a technicality as nobody seconded it.

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But Mr Ahmed said the assembly "deliberately killed" the bill to make way for the BBI, "which would be more beneficial to wananchi".

“We rejected the bill with a purpose - to approve the BBI report. We have absolutely no issue with the BBI. We are just waiting for the report to be presented to the public. We shall definitely approve it. We believe it’s going to change Kenya for the better."

HANDSHAKE

Majority leader Baabad, also the Kiunga MCA, said they will approve the report as long as President Kenyatta does.

He termed it a crucial document that can end tribalism in the country as it is all inclusive.

Mr Baabad further noted that the initiative is in line with the Constitution and provides room for amendment and enactment of issues that Parliament did not iron out the Constitution was approved.

He added that the assembly supports President Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga and will therefore ensure adoption of the BBI report since it is part of their March 9, 2018 handshake.

Mr Baabad also said Lamu MCAs have faith in the two leaders so they will go in their direction.

“Sincerely speaking, the assembly has no issues with the BBI. We have total faith in the President and his handshake partner," he said.

"I assure them that Lamu MCAs are ready to support their stand on the BBI. We shall walk with them. The BBI is all inclusive and will end tribalism."

DISAGREEMENTS

The BBI taskforce was formed after President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga announced their agreement to pursue national reconciliation and development following the prolonged 2017 elections season.

The committee was tasked with visiting all the 4 counties to collect views and compile a report on how to tackle common matters including corruption, tribalism and fair representation in government.

The Lamu leaders' declaration of support for the report came after Lamu East MP Athman Shariff and Woman Representative Ruweida Obbo, both of Jubilee party, differed publicly over the matter.

Mrs Obbo said she will support the BBI while Mr Sharif vowed to ensure residents reject it, particularly if it fails to address pertinent issues.