Building Bridges Initiative: Follow law in push for a referendum

Friday, August 2nd, 2019 00:00 |
Ekuru Aukot. Photo/Courtesy

The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce  is off to a stuttering start of the process to decide if and when the 2010 Constitution should be reviewed.

At conception, it was loosely mandated to seek the views of Kenyans on the issues they found most contentious, which have since emerged  to include  the lowering of the wage bill, one of the most discussed topics in recent years.

To throw a spanner in the works, the Ekuru Aukot-led  Thirdway Alliance started its own parallel process, known as Punguza Mizigo, to collect a million signatures, which it did, to start a journey to a possible plebiscite.

Predictably, one of the main agenda is to lower the national wage bill, fuelled largely by a multi-layered leadership representation structure that eats away at the nation’s coffers with rare abandon.

Key in its objectives is the proposal to lower the number of MPs to just over 140, which in itself will translate into huge savings, along with a reduction of the number of nominated senators and MCAs.

Ostensibly, this is a good thing. What has started to sound like alarm bells for the Punguza Mizigo initiative is the ganging up of the political class to throw cold water on the endeavour by the Thirdway Alliance to lead the country to a plebiscite.

Arguments have been bandied about, largely led by the major political players and parties that the Punguza Mizigo initiative is premature and ought to give way to the BBI, already on the ground collecting and collating views of Kenyans on the way forward.

Though the latter enjoys government support, it does not lay claim to have legal backing, nor were any known prescribed procedures followed in birthing it.

On the contrary, the Punguza Mizigo team has, as far as anyone can tell, followed the law and clearly has a right to be heard. It, therefore, appears to be leading the pack in the race to woo Kenyans on the journey to the proposed plebiscite.

It is crucial that the political class makes every effort to eschew controversy and mindless hubris even as it seeks to discredit the gains made by the Aukot team.

That it took the trouble to collect some 1.2 million signatures from Kenyans to kick start the process underlies the quest to comply with the law. That is a good thing too.

The rug has been pulled from under their feet and political bigwigs should go back to the drawing board to craft a new road map to the proposed referendum. Everything else is hot air.

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