Opposing lobby groups clash over support of referendum document
Bernard Gitau @benagitau
The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report being popularised by President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga continues to elicit mixed reactions.
Weighing in on the matter, civil society groups are divided on stance to take on the BBI debate. While a section has expressed support for the report, others have vehemently opposed it, saying it would create a bloated government.
Divisions emerge even as Uhuru and Raila Odinga continue to push for the report in its current form while Deputy President William Ruto has called for amendments.
The Church has also warned that they will oppose it if its agendas will not be factored in.
Addressing a press conference recently, civil society groups under Kongamano La Mageuzi (KLM) opposed the BBI, terming it a burden to Kenyans who are already suffering due to poor economy and Covid-19 pandemic.
Led by Wanjira Wanjiru and Njoki Gachanja, KLM officials said even before the Covid-19, the economy was sinking from theft of public resources, careless spending and reckless borrowing.
“Instead of kupunguza mzigo for Kenyans, what we see are initiatives such as BBI that only seek to entrench power,” Wanjira said.
Speaking separately, the Civil Society Reference Group (CSRG) urged Kenyans not to squander the opportunity presented to them by BBI to change the Constitution.
Suba Churchill, Presiding Convener Civil Society Reference Group, has called on Kenyans to shun leaders opposing BBI and engage in soul-searching.
“The soul-searching should be the reflection of contemporary state of the country’s affairs,” he said.
CSRG also opined that BBI should be amended to accommodate more views.
“The reconstitution of IEBC should be in a manner that gives current commissioners an opportunity to continue serving if found qualified, competent and enjoying public trust and confidence,” he said.
They want the establishment of the Office of Public Participation Policy, Law and Rapporteur.
KLM has at the same time announced plans to take over the role of Opposition to hold the government accountable and ensure State functions within the confines of the law.