Uhuru, Raila pick 30 experts to analyse and simplify BBI report

Friday, December 20th, 2019 00:14 |
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition chief Raila Odinga during the official launch of Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report in Nairobi last month. Also present were Deputy President William Ruto (left) and Chairman of the Building Bridges Initiative taskforce Yusuf Haji. Photo/PD/FILE

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition chief Raila Odinga have set up a 30-member technical team that will transverse the country to collect, compile and analyse Kenyans’ feedback on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report.

The team, Committee of Experts (CoE), which will present its fine-tuned report to the Garissa senator Yusuf Haji-led BBI taskforce, is now waiting to be gazetted.

At the same time, a source yesterday told People Daily that Uhuru and Raila extended the life of the Haji team to stem heightening disquiet and jostling by various political groups and organisations who were angling for inclusion in a new team to midwife the task force report.

Uhuru announced the extension last Thursday after the previous day’s meeting at State House in Nairobi with members of BBI technical team and Raila.

Implementable document

According to the Raila-led Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Executive director Oduor Ong’wen, who was among those picked to the technical team, the experts from diverse fields will fine-tune the report in order to come up with a consensus and implementable document.

“Since everybody wanted a piece of action in the BBI process, and what had remained is actually to get people’s feedback, the President and the ODM leader chose the 30-man technical team to shepherd the next phase,” he said, adding: “The experts will advise what requires policy, ordinary legislation or an amendment to the constitution.”

The team includes Raila Odinga’s close political ally Prof Larry Gumbe, a Nairobi-based consultant Awour Achoka, Constitutional expert Kenneth Rotich, Technical University don Dr Patrick Kiliku, Political Scientist Cess Mutua and Ong’wen.

They will be assisted by three senior lawyers Prof Ben Sihanya, the Dean school of law at Kabarak University, Dr Catherine Mumma of the University of Nairobi and Tom Macharia, a lead counsel in the taskforce.

Among the activities expected to be undertaken by the CoE will be holding town hall meetings across the country collating, analysing and compiling views on the BBI report before it hands over its findings to the Haji team.

Contacted, Macharia declined to divulge further details saying; “We are awaiting gazettement, we don’t want to anticipate who will be in the new team”. 

The extension of the mandate of the Haji–led group comes barely three weeks after the team unveiled its report at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi, at a ceremony shadowed by political undertones.

According to a State House communication, the extension could see an expanded mandate of the team, creating technical committees to turn the report’s recommendations into the legal policy and administrative measures required for implementation.

And yesterday, fresh details emerged that a push and pull among competing interests of parties which are not limited to Jubilee Party (JP) may have informed the decision by Uhuru and ODM leader to extend the term of the BBI taskforce.

Dr Ong’wen said National Super Alliance (Nasa) party affiliates wanted to have their representatives were Uhuru and Raila to constitute a new taskforce.

“The two principals decided that given the kind of political environment that we live in, the team that has interacted with the process long enough, should have its mandate renewed,” he said on Monday.

Highly placed sources have told People Daily that Deputy President William Ruto, whose allies have been critical of the report, had nominated former Kakamega Senator Bonnie Khalwale, former CS David Chirchir to join a new taskforce.

Amani National Congress (ANC) had proposed lawyer Dan Ameyo, a close ally of the Party Leader Musalia Mudavadi to be part of the team to drive the second phase of BBI.

Gender rule

Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula’s Ford Kenya had nominated Patrick Wangamati, a former nominated MP and current chair of Luhya Council of Elders.

However, both teams were rejected with Uhuru and Raila choosing to stick with the team that originated the document.

Meanwhile, Jubilee party Secretary General Raphael Tuju has urged women leaders to use the BBI report to champion for their 50:50 gender representation in the elective and appointive leadership positions.

Tuju, who was speaking yesterday during a High-Level women leaders consensus building on common women agenda in Nairobi, said the report has put in place a recommendation for the government to comply with the two-thirds gender rule.

Further, the SG underscored the need to have men involved in the venture in as much as women want a fair balance.

“Women have a big opportunity to meet their agenda as the report addresses issues of inclusivity and gender balance,” he said.

At the same time, former Minister and Narc Party leader Martha Karua challenged Uhuru and Raila to vouch for gender balance by mobilising their political parties to ensure more elective posts are filled by women.

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