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Public warned on BBI report speculations

Wednesday October 2 2019

BBI REPORT

The Building Bridges Imitative Task Force holds a consultative forum with the Ethiopian Federal Reconciliation Commission at Intercontinental Hotel on June 13, 2019. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JUSTUS OCHIENG'
By JUSTUS OCHIENG'
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RUSHDIE OUDIA
By RUSHDIE OUDIA
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The government has cautioned against speculation of the outcome of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report that is expected to be made public this month.

The task force has until October 24 to finalise the report and hand it over to President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga.

CLARIFICATIONS

The team that was formed following the peace deal between the two leaders, had criss-crossed the country seeking Kenyans’ views on the possible steps to address their nine-point-agenda.

Don’t know the issues

Mr Odinga has repeatedly stated that Kenyans should prepare for a referendum next year, a position which has been vehemently rejected by Deputy President (DP) William Ruto.

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On Tuesday, government spokesperson Colonel (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna cautioned against speculation of the report. “Since the report has not been publicised, we don’t want to speculate because we don’t know the issues they are considering,” he said.

He pointed out that the leadership of the task force was better placed to make clarifications on the progress of their work.

“The BBI has got a secretariat headed by a team,” Mr Oguna said.

Mr Ruto had on Sunday maintained his stand against plans for a referendum to amend the Constitution, saying, politicians pushing for this were only interested in creating positions for selfish gains.

REJECTED

He warned those crusading for constitutional amendments to prepare to suffer the same fate as the Punguza Mizigo amendment) Bill, 2019, which has so far been rejected by seven county assemblies.

The bill sponsored by Thirdway Alliance leader Ekuro Aukot is currently being debated by the 47 county assemblies and has since been rejected by MCAs in Nyamira, Siaya, Kirinyaga, Homa Bay, Muranga, Kiambu and Kisii.

Yesterday, ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna said they were still awaiting the outcome of the BBI report before taking the next move.

Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju is on record stating that the BBI was a government initiative “created procedurally and anchored in law.”

On Tuesday, Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli scoffed at politicians opposed to the BBI warning that failure to embrace it will plunge the country into violence again.

TURMOIL

The Cotu boss singled out the DP, whom he accused of secretly sponsoring the Ekuru Aukot’s Punguza Mizigo initiative in an attempt to undermine the BBI, a brain child of President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga.

“Kenya will go through turmoil just because some people are happy when others complain that their votes have been stolen,” Mr Atwoli said.

He warned politicians against chest thumping on matters to do with constitutional change, urging them to embrace the report by the BBI team, which is yet to be made public.

He also urged the public to reject the Punguza Mizigo initiative. Mr Atwoli was speaking in Kisumu during a tour of the Tom Mboya Labour College, which is currently undergoing a Sh500 million facelift.

Mr Opiyo Wandayi, the ODM Director of political affairs told the Nation that they will cross the BBI bridge when they reach there.

UNDERMINE

“One sure thing, however, is that we shall support the report’s recommendations aggressively since it has gone through a most consultative process,” Mr Wandayi said.

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Meanwhile Dr Aukot’s Thirdway Alliance has launched a scathing attack on Mr Ruto, accusing him of misleading the public on the fate of the Punguza Mizigo Bill and denied claims that the Bill has hit a dead end.

Dr Aukot said the DP was propagating misinformation and claimed that the DP is sponsoring content in the media to undermine the initiative.

He faulted the DP over his weekend claims that the initiative had reached a dead end and instead asked him to focus his energies on problems Kenyans are facing now.

Additional reporting by Ibrahim Oruko