Hasten release of BBI report, Central governors urge Uhuru

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019 09:39 |
President Uhuru Kenyatta. Photo/Courtesy

Governors from Mt Kenya region have asked President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga to release the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report “as fast as possible” to end political anxiety. 

They said the delayed release of the recommendations of the task force was causing unwarranted speculations on its contents and quarrelling among the political elite either for or against it. 

In a joint statement read by Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia at Panafric Hotel yesterday, the county chiefs cautioned the region’s lawmakers, who are spurring over the initiative, to stop fighting “over a document whose content they don’t know”. 

“We note with concern that the BBI report whose contents are yet to be released has elicited heated, potentially divisive anticipatory debate full of emotions and innuendos which could undermine the good intentions of our leaders (through the BBI),” said Kimenia. 

The governor said the statement had been endorsed by all governors from the region, which comprises Kiambu, Murang’a, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Nyandarua, Embu, Meru, Tharaka Nithi and Laikipia counties under the Central Region Economic Bloc (CEREB).

Reconsider support

Last week, some 42 Mt Kenya legislators, who are allied to Deputy President William Ruto’s Tanga Tanga group, vowed to oppose the BBI unless it addresses the region’s under-representation. 

The leaders, who are said to have been mobilised by Agriculture Cabinet secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, outlined conditions which they said should first be addressed for them to support the BBI report.

“We are giving our irreducible minimums which must be addressed, failure to which we will reconsider our support for the report,” said the MPs in a statement at Parliament Buildings, Nairobi.

Among the issues the MPs have been citing as being unpalatable to their electorate is introduction of the prime minister’s post and adoption of a parliamentary system of government to ostensibly tackle divisive politics.

Take position

“Universal suffrage and the equality of the vote remain cardinal principles of representation within the framework of any mode of government. One-man-one-vote,” said the statement that was read by Ndaragua MP Jeremiah Kioni.

And some leaders from Rift Valley have also vowed to reject the BBI, saying the whole exercise is aimed at scuttling Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid.

But Kimemia said the leaders should first wait for the report to be released, interrogate the recommendations before they can take a position, which should be informed by interests of the country and not self.

“There is no need of raising political temperatures over issues that are yet to be made public. Until we look at the report and see the recommendations, we should not speculate,” Kimemia said, adding that their recommendation is that the report should be released as fast as possible.  

The BBI joint task-force led by Paul Mwangi, who is the secretary of the team that was created by President Uhuru and the former premier, has maintained that the report is ready, but they have been waiting for an advisory from the President’s protocol on when they will hand it over to him.

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi, who is the co-chair of the bloc’s caucus, said the President’s move to form BBI was good because it will ensure unity and cohesiveness in the country. 

He asked the political class to be “a little more patient” and await the release of the report.

Some of the recommendations which the governors said they are hoping will be captured is increased allocations to the counties and expedited disbursement of funds.

More on Politics & Analysis