Lobby group gives voice on Building Bridges report
Barry Silah @obel_barry
A lobby group has praised the Building Bridges Report that was launched yesterday dubbing it progressive and transformational.
Imagine Kenya Trust; a national organization that works with over forty-five Community Based Organizations around the country on social mentorship through a statement said the whole process was an important milestone for the country.
“We wish to congratulate H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Hon. Raila Odinga for successfully overseeing the Building Bridges Initiative over the last two and a half years.
We appreciate that this process, which was borne of the handshake, brought about peace and stability and more importantly, seeks to find a lasting solution to the issue of perennial violence that we witness every election year.
The release of the final BBI report is, therefore, an important milestone in this journey and we can confidently say so far so good,” read part of the statement.
Since its release in Kisii on 21st October 2020, Imagine Kenya Trust has been going through the report, as advised by the two principals, in order to understand the contents.
“This is an exercise that every Kenyan needs to take part in as an act of patriotism and to also engage in constructive and objective conversations devoid of negativity, blanket condemnation and partisan politics.”
However the organization has picked out a number of issues that are in this report which are both great and some others that are contentious and have thus called for concerted efforts to build consensus on.
“The document contains legislative, policy, administrative and constitutional matters and our observations are largely centred around three issues that touch on grassroots development, national governance and the composition of parliament and the youth,” the statement read further.
The lobby group praised the emphasis of the report on Grassroots Development with budgetary allocation set for increment in counties.”
We are elated that the report proposes increasing the budgetary allocation to counties from the current minimum of 15% of the last audited accounts to35%.
Even more importantly, the report also recommends the introduction of the Ward Development Fund that is designed to ensure that the smallest devolved units get their deserved development without having to rely on the goodwill of the sitting governors.
The County Wards Development Fund Bill, 2020 provides that at least five per cent of all the county government's revenue in each financial year be allocated to the fund with a caveat that the money therein can only be used for development expenditure. “
The Trust is of the opinion that changes can be made through a legislative process; one that can be passed through parliament without necessarily going through a referendum.
“This bill, however, is already in the National Assembly under the County Wards Development Equalisation Bill,2018 introduced by Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata but unfortunately died of natural causes at the second reading.
Our view, therefore, is that since there now exists political goodwill, the bill ought to be revisited and passed without hesitation so that we can get the process of implementing the BBI report underway,” added the statement which also lauded the embracing of youth needs.