Third Eye

Building Bridges Initiative has awaken Kenyans consciousness on issues

Monday, August 23rd, 2021 00:00 |
President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) and ODM leader Raila Odinga display BBI document when they toured Kisii County to popularise the document. Photo/PD/File

There is obviously mixed reactions as the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) hits the end of the road.

The appellate court in upholding the decision by the High Court, seem to have underscored one of the key tenets of BBI - uniting Kenyans and fostering shared prosperity. 

Nothing has awaken Kenyans consciousness on political issues, more than the realisation the last four years have been characterised by the political class endeavours to address the plight, or at least speak to their plight, than the BBI rulings.

The fact that ODM leader Raila Odinga has made it clear that his team will not appeal the decision, but certainly find ways of addressing the key issues they had intended to address, puts everything in perspective. 

The launch of Azimio la Umoja, appears to be the next vehicle poised to capture the aspirations of Kenyans and as it were, push the conversation to the political public domain where the power rests with the people.  

In retrospect, Kenyans will hear and even advance different interpretations of the appeal’s court.

The dimming of the BBI in itself, sets up interesting conversations in our public domain. 

However, it is worth noting Justice Daniel Musinga unequivocal statement that - under our constitutional architecture, the President cannot initiate the process of amendment of the Constitution as a popular initiative. His intentions were noble but the execution was not in line with the Constitution . 

Political leadership is about noble intentions and it does appear,  that the very people who have frustrated efforts to fight corruption, unite Kenyans and deliver on the promises they made to Kenyans-were out to frustrate the BBI process.

They have used the ambiguity in the Constitution and the Attorney General’s intention to move to the Supreme Court is another step that will iron out such ambiguities. 

Both the Court of Appeal and the High Court, have not only expanded our jurisprudence, but created critical, legal pathways, that will guide future amendments to our Constitution. 

Granted, they say sometimes you win sometimes you lose and on paper, it does look like a few guys on one side of the political divide, assume that they have won.

Unbeknownst to many, noble intentions by political leadership are translated to policies underpinned in ideology with the ultimate aim of building a desired outcome. 

Therefore, the surest way to ensure that noble intentions are enforced is to provide a legal framework and Justice Musinga’s profound statement-should be situated just within what the President’s noble intentions were. 

Without going back to what is good for the mwananchi in the BBI; the President and Raila  can still find avenues to deliver on those noble intentions. 

For us Kenyans, it is a question of exercising our civic duty of interrogating these noble intentions and evaluating the next course of action, these two leaders take. 

Nevertheless, more legal clarity on the popular initiative is needed because the process of amending the Constitution as it is globally, requires political clout, a Wanjiku walking along the streets of Nairobi, Nyamira, Chwele or anywhere else in Kenya will find it impossible to marshal anything close to a popular initiative amendment. 

The good news is that BBI and the questions it raised will elicit insightful conversations around critical societal issues and Kenyans appear to be not only engaged, but fairly conscious of what is happening in the public domain.

The next few months will require intelligible and illuminating interrogation of emergent political formations and coalitions and their blueprints on the noble solutions, meant to address the fundamental issues that even judges agree BBI was poised to address. 

Let no politician lie to us that “wakenya wameamua” because decisions are made in an election.

And there are fairly germane issues that have emerged; it does appear that we are set for one of the most issue-based campaigns period.  [email protected] 

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