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Building Bridges task force report is ready

Wednesday September 18 2019

Building Bridges Initiative

Building Bridges Initiative task force holds a forum at KICC, Nairobi, on August 6, 2019. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JUSTUS OCHIENG'
By JUSTUS OCHIENG'
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The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) task force has finalised its report that the team says captures the nine-point agenda in a memorandum of understanding signed between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga.

FINAL TOUCHES

The committee’s vice-chairman Adams Oloo, in an exclusive interview with the Nation Tuesday, disclosed that the team was conducting a “data cleaning process” on the report that will be handed over to the two leaders.

The task force co-secretary, lawyer Paul Mwangi, in an earlier interview with the Nation disclosed that they had a timeline expiring at end of October but noted they were working to ensure the report is ready before the end of this month.

Dr Oloo said the report will be handed over to President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga.

“Everything is on track,” he said. “Right now, as we speak, we are still on a retreat doing final touches on the report. We are going through the cleaning process.”

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He said they were still within their time frame, which he said the gazette notice pegged for October 24.

Their final report, he said, would capture and address the nine-point agenda agreed upon by the two leaders.

TREAT EQUALLY

The nine points contained in a joint communique issued by the President and Mr Odinga after their March 9, 2018 pact include ethnic antagonism, lack of a national ethos, inclusivity, devolution and divisive elections.

Others are security, corruption, shared prosperity and responsibility.

Dr Oloo said: “We have no priority issues of the nine points and are not giving prominence to a particular area.”

Their final report, he noted, will treat all the issues equally.

Politicians, led by Deputy President William Ruto and his allies, have been critical of the BBI, claiming it is Mr Odinga’s initiative though it is the brainchild of President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga.

Yesterday, Dr Oloo declined to comment on DP Ruto’s criticism of the team, only stating, “He (Ruto) is a politician and we are not getting involved in what politicians are saying outside issues that were presented before us.”

But even as the team finalises its report, all eyes are now on the Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga, with their allies planning countrywide rallies to popularise the drive.

POPULARISE

Already, a team of lawmakers and governors in Nyanza, Western, Mount Kenya and Coast as well as the Jubilee-allied Kieleweke and ODM parties are brainstorming on the best approach to popularise the initiative once the report is out.

Mr Odinga will be banking on Council of Governors chairman Wycliffe Oparanya, who is also the ODM co-deputy party leader, to market the initiative in Western and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, his deputy, to handle the Coast region.

In Mount Kenya, where DP Ruto has been trying to make inroads, the Nation has established that Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has the blessings of the President to make a road map that will ensure success for the BBI drive.

She said: “We are waiting for the green light to kick off campaigns. I am waiting eagerly for the report as everyone is and am hopeful that as a minimum, the report will have the expansion of the executive with the creation of the prime minister post and two deputies.”

CREDIBILITY

She pointed out that she was also hoping for a provision for a 50:50 seat sharing for women and men in the executive.

“I am also looking forward to the overall reduction of other elective seats.”

ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna said: “We are also waiting to read it first, to understand what Kenyans are saying, then we take it from there.”

Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi was confident that the task force will give Kenyans a good report that a majority of Kenyans will easily support due to the “integrity, credibility and the experience of men and women in the team”.

Senate Deputy Chief Chip and Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata said his support for the initiative will depend on what they propose.

“If they propose ways of making the Judiciary more responsive to public views, I will support it,” he said.