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Delay in handing BBI report raises queries on status

By Eric Wainaina
Thursday, August 6th, 2020
Some BBI Steering Committee members from left Yusuf Haji (chair), Adams Oloo and Paul Mwangi (joint secretary). Photo/PD/FILE
In summary
    • Secretariat said on June 30 that they had wrapped up their duty and were waiting for a date to hand over the report.
    • Two members of the committee now claim the report is not ready and are waiting to be told when it will be finalised.

Uncertainty surrounds the status of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report.

The BBI process, whose impetus appears to have slowed down with some of its supporters already casting doubts as to whether the cohesion project was still on course, was supposed to be concluded on June 30 when the mandate of the team expired.

And as the rigmarole drags on, members of the Task Force, mandated by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition chief Raila Odinga to oversee the process, continue to send mixed signals as to whether the final report that is expected to lead to a constitutional change was ready.

While the secretariat, jointly headed by Martin Kimani and Paul Mwangi who are secretaries issued a statement saying the report, which ought to have been handed over by the end of June, was ready some of the members of the Task-Force say that the document was yet to be finalised.

James Matundura and Maj (rtd) John Seii, who are members of the 14-member steering committee whose term was renewed in January to oversee the implementation launched in November last year at Bomas of Kenya to a United Kenya Taskforce Report suggested that the report was yet to be concluded.

Tuesday, Matundura, who is also the chairman of the Kisii Council of Elders, said the report was still with the technical team for fine tuning, adding that once they are done, the document will be handed back to the steering committee for consensus and approval before its handed over to the two top leaders.

However, the member, who said he was in Kisii attending to personal; business, said he was not aware of what had led to the delay, saying its only their chairman Yusuf Haji, who is also the Garissa Senator or Mwangi and Kimani who were in a better position to shed light on the matter.

Fine tuning

“Our chairman Yusuf Haji I think will answer the question well because they are the ones who know what has happened in between.

Even if the momentum has gone down, you may find certain circumstances, which I don’t know (what caused a delay),” Matundura told People Daily.

He added: “But when they are over with that, we shall be called to make final sentiments and then make the formal handing over.”

Yesterday neither Haji, his deputy Adams Oloo who was seconded to the team by Raila nor Mwangi and Kimani responded to our calls and messages on the matter.

But Mwangi and Kimani had on June 30 in a joint press statement, the day their term ended officially said they the Steering Committee has concluded its work and now awaits to present the report to President Uhuru and Raila.

“The committee is now prepared to present its comprehensive advice to the government in line with the indicated times and venues, subject to ongoing unexpected regulations on the prevention of Covid-19 infections.

Members are profoundly conscious of the importance of this moment as Kenya and many countries around the world look to undertake reforms that unite citizens, stabilise politics and combat corruption,” the secretariat said. 

This position has also been disputed by Seii, a former chairman of the Myoot Kalenjin Council, who holds a similar position with Matundura that the final report was still pending.

“Members of the task force are yet to have the final eye on the final document. 

We have to look at it, endorse the content and sign it for handover to the President and Uhuru.

We finalized the report and left it to the technicians for clean-up, especially by legal exports. 

It is at the alignment level to ensure consistency with the Constitution and our laws. 

The final report cannot be handed over to the two leaders until all of us sign it,” Major Seii said.

He added: “When we reached at the end, we said the experts should first work on the document, maybe, and I’m just guessing, maybe they could have wanted also the, from our team through our chairman brief the principals to know when they will call us for the handing over.”

Revenue debate

Contacted yesterday, National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi gave the impression of someone in the dark over the matter, noting that the life of the steering committee had ended and therefore ought to have concluded its task.

“What I would imagine because I am not a member of the Steering Committee is that they are waiting to hand over the report.

They cannot be working on it. Their term is over and the report cannot be with the technical committee,” said Mbadi who is also the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) national chairman.

Recently, the BBI appeared to have been shaken by the debate on the controversial third generation formula with leaders who have been championing for the course, which is a product of the March 9, 2018 handshake between Uhuru, and Raila already divided.

Former Mukuwe-ini MP Kabando wa Kabando, a fierce supporter of Uhuru said the initiative was dead and accused some of the president’s confidants and the ODM brigade of taking advantage of the process to steal and advance their political agenda.

“Is BBI on course? Methinks not. Truth is, Uhuru is marooned by hypocrites. Buck stops at UK’s (Uhuru’s) desk.

And, ODM is craftily off loading Uhuru’s train. Unfortunate but BBI fell. Bad,” the former lawmaker said.

Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata had warned that should the new revenue formula fail to sail through, he will mobilise other senators affiliated to Jubilee party to vote against the BBI.

“If for any reason the bill does not sail through, then we might have to reconsider our stand on the BBI” he warned.

He argued that one of the things stipulated in the BBI is increased revenue allocation to the counties and it goes in line with the recommendation by the Commission for Revenue Allocation.

“We cannot fail to support the bill which promotes equitable sharing of resources and on the other hand we are supporting BBI, which has a similar agenda,” he said.

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