You’re missing the point, Wa Iria tells leaders on BBI report

Sunday December 01 2019

Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria who has formed an 18-member technical committee to scrutinise the report by the Building Bridges Initiative task force. PHOTO | FILE GACHANE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria has formed an 18-member technical committee to scrutinise the report by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) task force.

The team will look into issues that have not been addressed and forward the report to the governor in two weeks.

According to the governor, the committee, which comprises experts drawn from the business sector, university student leaders, industrialists, small-scale traders, health professionals, farmers and civil society actors, will be looking into how the report addresses issues in their fields and hand over their recommendations to the county boss.


At the same time, Mr Wa Iria urged other leaders to first read, understand and internalise the report before making utterances for or against it.

He said the BBI report was prepared in good faith.


“The report did not envisage to have supporters and the opposers. Its main mandate was to create a framework to guide the country in solving what has been ailing us. It did not pose a question of yes or no and, therefore, leaders should first read and understand the report, not to support, not to oppose, but to include those views which have not been captured by the report,” the governor said.

Mr Wa Iria, who is also the leader of the Civic Renewal Party (CRP), criticised leaders who are embroiled in a tussle over the next course of action, with one side proposing that the report be implemented through a popular initiative while the other is seeking to amend the constitution through Parliament. He said the debate was immature.


“Our leaders are missing the point. The discussion on the way forward is yet to be arrived at. The report was only released barely a week and we have seen leaders inciting the public over the way forward. Why can’t we read the report and seek to include our views as President Uhuru Kenyatta directed when the report was released at Bomas of Kenya?” the governor posed.

The governor said the discussion that should take the centre stage is where or who to give views after reading the report even as Kenyans wait for the next meeting as promised by the President to chat the way forward.

“The leaders should be seeking to know where to channel their inputs, which they think have not been captured by the report before next year when the President promised to invite us to chart the way forward after reading the document. It’s premature and wrong for leaders to start taking sides,” he said.


He proposed that the Yusuf Haji-led BBI task force should continue with its mandate in order to receive feedback from Kenyans and see ways to incorporate them before seeking the next course of action.

In his presentation to the BBI taskforce on January 20, the governor proposed a constitutional amendment to stipulate a formula for revenue allocation to counties, spelling out how counties endowed with natural resources would get a certain percentage, and establishment of minimum guaranteed returns on agricultural produce to protect farmers even when the prices go down.

“I foresee that the next elephant in the room will be the issue of natural resources. While some counties have water, coal and even oil, they remain with none after the extraction. There should be a legal framework on how each county shall benefit [from] the natural resources even if it will call for the introduction of a levy,” Mr Wa Iria said.


At the same time, Tharaka-Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki has joined leaders allied to President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga in pushing for the BBI report to be subjected to a referendum.

Speaking to the Nation on Sunday, Governor Njuki said the report should not be entrusted to MPs only but that all Kenyans should be involved through a referendum.

“Kenyans need to decide on the proposed fundamental changes and that is why they should be given enough time to read and understand even the meaning of the commas before voting it in a referendum,” Mr Njuki said.


He said he will bring together all Tharaka-Nithi leaders including politicians, the clergy and local elders to discuss the contents of the document in order to to guide the residents appropriately.

“If adopted, the BBI report will stabilise economic, political and the social welfare of this country to avoid post-election conflicts and clamour for change of the Constitution after every five years,” he said.