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BBI team must find ways to allay fears

Saturday December 14 2019

EDITORIAL
By EDITORIAL
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The extension and expansion of the Building Bridges Initiative committee signals the urgency for implementation of the proposals intended to redefine the country’s governance architecture.

However, it has not resolved pertinent concerns about the initiative.

Questions have since emerged why the very team that delivered the report is the one presiding over its implementation.

However, it is crucial to have a clear plan for implementing the proposals. Better still, the proposals ought to be thoroughly interrogated, rethought and reworked.

When the principals, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition Leader Raila Odinga, launched the report at the end of last month, it was widely commended for setting the foundation for national rebirth and renewal.

However, it was also observed that it did not go deep into providing solutions to some of the festering social, economic and political woes that afflicted the country and which have simply refused to go away.

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IMAGE CRISIS

A key proposition is creating an inclusive society, a fact informed by the concern that the country’s governance structure, that is constructed on the model of winner-take-all, and deep ethnic hatred and rivalry, have created a thoroughly exclusionary and fragmented state.

Inevitably, that foments disillusionment that leads to serial ethnic conflicts.

Critics have expressed the view that the report is underwhelming; that it has not broken new ground as most of the proposals are commonplace and well elaborated in the Constitution, while others are mere administrative pronouncements.

Notably, the task force has suffered an image crisis as it is viewed, especially by the political elite, as a vehicle that serves the interests of President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga.

Thus the opposition to it has to an extent been influenced by perception rather that its work.

PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT

With its term renewed, the task force has a chance to relook those issues that have elicited intense public debate.

It has to reach out to its critics to understand and incorporate their views. In its new mandate, the task force is charged to facilitate public engagement.

That requires proper public communication and ensuring the public gets access to and reads the document.

A critical point is that the task force has to rethink its buy-in strategy through the way it organises and handles its activities, and engaging stakeholders.

Given the context that led to its creation, the initiative is paramount for securing national stability and, therefore, has to be made to work.

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