BBI report should mirror the ideals of our heroes

Thursday, October 24th, 2019 06:37 |
President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga. Photo/File

Sunday’s Mashujaa Day celebrations coincided with the time the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce had just completed its deliberations. 

When we were celebrating our distinguished heroes, who left an indelible mark in the fight for independence and a stamp of national identity, the BBI was preparing to present its recommendations on how to fix Kenya.

As the BBI team finalises its report, it is instructive that this is yet another historic step in the country’s tortuous journey in constitutionalism, cohesion and democracy. The heroes who fought for independence in a protracted struggle against colonial subjugation, political oppression and economic exploitation would turn in their graves if they learned that Kenyans are still grappling with the quest for unity and prosperity, 56 years after attaining self-rule.

Yet, we have come a long way.

The BBI mirrors the Lancaster House conferences that gave birth to Kenya’s independence and the country’s first Constitution. The most befitting way to achieve the proposals of the BBI report would be to reflect on the ideals of the independence heroes and heroines.

Paramount for our mashujaa was the elimination of colonialism was forging national cohesion and unity, and fostering economic liberation —ideals which remains elusive since the Kenyan flag was hoisted.

Some heroes, such as the legendary athlete Eliud Kipchoge, have kept the national flag flying high.

As the BBI team prepares to hand over its report to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga, all Kenyans should remember the ideals of our nation’s founding heroes. Wananchi must also learn from the lessons of the Bomas process that arose out of the Second Liberation and the birth of the 2010 Constitution.

While the new Constitution rejuvenated our democratic credentials and renewed hope for all-inclusive growth, it has been hampered by the same tendencies that ravaged our previous Constitution.

They include political deceit, intolerance, negative ethnicity, impunity, corruption, inequality, skewed development, lack of social and economic opportunities and poor service delivery.

We might have all the best plans in the supreme law, but we will still be confronted with these evils against national unity and economic prosperity if we do not strictly adhere to the letter and spirit of the tenets of constitutionalism.

All Kenyans, regardless of their status, must fully engage in the process of charting the nation’s destiny as envisaged when the BBI taskforce was formed.

That is why Deputy President William Ruto’s point on what Kenyans expect from BBI is valid. He noted that to build a genuine and permanent culture of national cohesion, unity and democracy, the BBI report must go for another round of validation by Kenyans, saying:

“As a democratic society, the proposals of the BBI should be subjected to an open national conversation where every voice (the weak/strong, the small/big will be heard.”

That sounds like a pretty logical way to banish the ghosts of national disunity for good.

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