The team of advisers appointed to steer the implementation of the “handshake” pact between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga will be seeking extension of their term.
With the one year they had been granted almost coming to an end, the Building Bridges to Unity Advisory Task Force has only covered about 21 counties, with 26 still left to go.
Analysis of the views from the public and final report writing have also not started.
Lawyer Paul Mwangi, who with Mr Martin Kimani are the joint secretaries of the task force, says that it is obvious an extension of their term should be granted to complete their task.
“We have not yet been granted an extension because we have not officially sought one. But when we were in State House, the President reiterated that should we be in a position where we think we might need some more time, then we should let him know,” Mr Mwangi said in an interview with Sunday Nation.
Now it is becoming clear that an extension must happen. “Our county visits are going to take us up to mid-June, which will mean that we will have exceeded our one-year term by a month. I think we need about two to three months extension so as to complete our task,” he said.
The task force was formed shortly after the much-heralded “handshake” between the President and Mr Odinga on March 9, 2018.
The two leaders, in their joint statement, had committed that they would use their new-found cooperation to unite Kenyans after the divisive 2017 elections.
“Intent on not witnessing the country suffer similar future cycles of tribulations it has experienced since 1963, they (Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga) are determined to offer the leadership that prevents future generations inheriting dangerous division and offers them a path to a bright future for all.
“Both President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga have agreed to launch this initiative that aims to create a united nation for all Kenyans living today and all future generations,” they said in the joint statement.
The 14-member task force was gazetted on May 24, 2018, with three terms of references: “To evaluate the national challenges outlined in the Joint Communiqué of Building Bridges to a New Kenyan Nation. And having done so, make practical recommendations and reform proposals that build lasting unity; to outline the policy, administrative reform proposals, and implementation modalities for each identified challenge area; and to conduct consultations with citizens, the faith-based sector, cultural leaders, the private sector and experts at both the county and national levels.
Members of the task force are Adams Oloo, Agnes Kavindu, Busia Senator Amos Wako, Florence Omose, Saeed Mwanguni, James Matundura, Major John Seii, Bishop Lawi Imathiu, Maison Leshomo, Garissa Senator Mohamed Yusuf Haji, Morompi ole Ronk, Prof Bishop Peter Njenga, Rose Moseu and Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth.
Since it started the county visits, the task force has been accused of only using the public engagements to legitimise a pre-determined outcome which the principals had spelt out to them.
However, in the interview, the team refuted the claim, as well as another one that they were secretly drafting amendments to the Constitution which the task force intends to present to the principals.