Sapit calls for new BBI team to head report execution

Tuesday, December 17th, 2019 00:00 |
A section of political leaders including governors, their deputies and MPs who attended the BBI report launch at the Bomas of Kenya. Photo/PD/JOHN OCHIENG

Irene Githinji and Alvin Mwangi

The decision to extend the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce’s term has continued to elicit mixed reactions, with politicians and religious leaders differing on whether a new team should be picked to spearhead the implementation process.

While the Head of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Jackson ole Sapit called for the formation of a new team to push the process forward, more than 30 former legislators said the question as to whether there should be an extension of the taskforce’s tenure does not arise at the moment.

Addressing a press conference yesterday, Sapit said there is a need to have a new team of experts  with youth representation to implement findings of 156-page document.

“Senator Haji and his team have done a marvellous job as the report addresses critical issues, which have continued to challenge us as a society.

However, as a church we are calling on President Uhuru Kenyatta and former premier Raila Odinga to reconsider their decision of extending its term. They should appoint a new team to shepherd the recommendations,” he said.

But in another press conference, the former MPs said focus should now be on fine tuning the report released last month.

Led by former Nyeri Senator Mutahi Kagwe, the former lawmakers said what can be discussed at the moment is whether the task force will expand into a special technical team that can assist in the process.

Domesticate masses

“A team must come together to refine the document into a workable, implementable question for a referendum or whatever process that will take place.

It is not either the existing team or a technical team because the latter must be there,” said Kagwe, who spoke at a Nairobi hotel where the former Mt Kenya region MPs met to discuss the BBI report.

The MPs said in a political process there will always be differing views and opinions.

Similarly, the leaders said the proposed system in the BBI report is mixed member representation because it talks about maintaining the 290 constituencies but with an effective parliamentary system of government, a system where one person one vote is the principle of democracy.

Kagwe said these are some of the issues that will form the debate going forward.

He added that constitutions across the world are amended with time depending on circumstances of respective countries but said Kenya is not writing a new one.

The former lawmaker said people will agree with some of the issues, disagree on others but by the end of the day any constitutional amendment is a negotiated process where nobody gets everything or nothing and “that is the whole purpose of a negotiation”.

Meanwhile, the US Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter has asked Nandi residents to have sober discussions on the BBI report that was launched last month.

Speaking yesterday when he visited the county to tour projects sponsored by the US government through USAid, McCarter said it would be prudent that the conversations on how to chart the way forward as a country be given room since it is a means to unity among Kenyans.

“You do not have to agree with everything but at least give a chance for people’s diverse voices to be heard,” he said. Additional reporting by KNA

More on National