Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua has distanced himself from the ongoing Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) rallies being spearheaded by his colleagues in Ukambani region.
Dr Mutua said in a statement that the essence of BBI is inclusivity and that leaders are sending the wrong message when they hold factional meetings based on political support to discuss the same issue.
The governor cautioned his colleagues Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) against defeating the very purpose of building bridges in the country by creating more political divisions in Ukambani while pushing for public validation of the BBI report.
He said he is not persuaded that planning parallel events in Ukambani is contributing to the BBI agenda of unity.
The parallel rallies are seen as a political confrontation between the governors and Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka.
Mrs Ngilu and Prof Kibwana had vowed to lead a parallel public participation process from the one fronted by Mr Musyoka and have since addressed two rallies that have left the region divided and confused.
But Governor Mutua, who skipped both rallies held on Monday, said every effort should be made to bring leaders of all political persuasions together, proposing a joint meeting between the Wiper leader and county chiefs to adopt a common approach in marketing BBI in the region.
“I propose a meeting involving His Excellency Kalonzo Musyoka, the three governors, senators and all MPs to speak with one voice because it is this form of unity of purpose for BBI that President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga envisaged,” he said.
Dr Mutua suggested that the fourth national BBI rally scheduled for February 1 be postponed to allow for the setting up of a good environment for working together.
“We will be sending the wrong message when we hold different regional meetings based on political following to discuss the same issue. We need one meeting that brings all of us together,” he said.
The county chiefs kicked off their BBI meetings last week where they addressed the first joint rally in Kitui, which brought together about 4,000 grassroots opinion leaders drawn from 40 electoral wards.
A second rally was convened at Unoa grounds in Wote town on Friday where the chiefs reiterated that they had settled on Governor Ngilu as the coordinator of the BBI campaigns in Ukambani.
On the other hand, Mr Musyoka announced that the first BBI rally for lower eastern region will be held at Wote market in Makueni on February 7, which Prof Kibwana said he will not attend.
Governor Mutua’s position reflects the behind-the-scenes efforts by business tycoon Peter Muthoka aimed at getting all the leaders to speak with one voice in the spirit of inclusivity. Mr Musyoka will convene a meeting at Stoni Athi in Machakos this Wednesday.
Mr Muthoka hopes to unite the two camps pitting the Wiper party leader and the governors and end the political brinkmanship that is prevailing in the region.
“This is a moment for all leaders to dialogue among themselves, even those they disagree with, because the overriding spirit of BBI is inclusivity and every effort should be made to bring leaders of all political persuasions together,” Mr Muthoka said.
He said BBI is a national conversation to bring together all communities and that it is wrong for leaders to use the public participation process to perpetuate political divisions and further polarise Ukambani region.
“On Wednesday, we would like to urge all leaders, governors included, to set aside their small regional differences and speak with one voice for the greater good of the region,” said Mr Muthoka.
The tycoon said he had reached out to both factions to bring them together ahead of Saturday’s rally to be addressed by Mr Odinga and other national leaders.