The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report on Monday continued to draw varied opinions from leaders, with National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi maintaining it can only be introduced in Parliament after it has been refined by a team of experts.
The report unveiled to Kenyans last week by President Uhuru Kenyatta proposes various amendments to the Constitution.
Mr Muturi’s comments come as politicians allied to ODM leader Raila Odinga demanded the report to have more input from the public while those allied to Deputy President William Ruto are pushing for Parliament to take charge.
But the Speaker said taking it to Parliament runs the risk that it would be mutilated by politicians and effectively dilute the objectives of the initiative, views held by Mr Odinga.
“It is a fact that some of us think that we should take it and run away with it. People will pick areas that interest them and at the end of it we will not be implementing that report,” he said at his office in Parliament.
The Speaker also noted that going by how Parliament has operated since 2013, no constitutional amendment had ever been passed by the House and thus, such an initiative would still suffer the same fate.
But as Mr Muturi spoke, three MPs from the Rift Valley allied to Mr Ruto said they want the report taken to Parliament and urged the National Assembly to discipline Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, whom they accused of blatantly engaging in politics.
Notwithstanding the comments from his MPs, the DP’s social media comments were conciliatory.
“Friends, bravado, hubris and threats not necessary. BBI is ours all. Let’s agree on implementation matrix. Institutions, departments, ministries, commissions, Parliament and Judiciary will handle relevant sections. Those requiring referendums if any, will be taken to the people. No need for us versus them,” Mr Ruto tweeted.
Nandi Senator Samuel Cherargei, who led MPs Nelson Koech (Belgut) and Caleb Kositany (Soy), in attacking Dr Matiang’i, said that he should stop politicking and concentrate on his ministerial duties.
Mr Kositany likened President Kenyatta’s Cabinet to a kindergarten where children are able to do what they want and get away with it.
“When the President was forming his Cabinet, he assured us that only he and his deputy would be the politicians in Cabinet. What we saw in Kirinyaga is very unfortunate and I want to call on the National Assembly to take necessary disciplinary actions against CSs who are politicking,” Mr Cherargei said.
The Nandi senator claimed that Dr Matiang’i was fashioning himself as the team leader of the Kieleweke group, warning that anyone who disrespects the DP does so to the President as well.
“It’s time the President raised his voice … Crack the whip and let people work for Kenyans. Those who want to politic should resign,” said Mr Kositany.
“Dr Matiang’i new team is hell-bent on undermining the DP. The moment an Interior CS and his officers start taking political sides, then as a country we are doomed,” Mr Koech said.
BBI PROMOTES UNITY
On Friday last week, during a public event in Kirinyaga hosted by Governor Anne Waiguru, Dr Matiang’i, with his Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, warned politicians against using the BBI report to divide Kenyans, sentiments that may not have gone down well with Dr Ruto’s camp.
Four days ago, Dr Matiang’i and his Environment counterpart Keriako Tobiko, at a goat auction in Kajiado Town, backed the President and Mr Odinga for uniting Kenyans through the BBI report.
MPs allied to Mr Odinga — Simba Arati (Dagoretti North) and Godfrey Osotsi (nominated) — hit back at Dr Ruto’s allies, likening their utterances to a case of sour grapes.
“We know that by targeting Dr Matiang’i they are attacking the President, because Matiang’i is his loyal CS. They are loose canons who are bitter because the taps to their sources of illicit cash dried and now they have resorted to making noise to get recognition. We know that Dr Matiang’i has been able to stop all avenues where they used to collect money,” Mr Arati said.