Mt Kenya leaders seek ways of bringing back aspects of BBI
Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 00:00 | 3 mins read
Anthony Mwangi and Mercy Mwai
Leaders spearheading unity talks in the Mt Kenya region now want to revive sections of the proposals in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) touching on creation of more constituencies and distribution of resources.
The leaders, who met yesterday, said they will convene a key meeting in Naivasha on Monday to also discuss the political future of the region with strong indications it might not field a presidential candidate.
Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, who is also the leader of the Chama cha Kazi, said they are concerned about issues of equity in the distribution of resources and constituencies now that the BBI is dead.
Kuria has been instrumental in spearheading the “one-vote-one shilling” call that seeks to have counties allocated resources based on population.
He has singled out Kiambu and Nakuru counties, which he claims are underfunded despite their huge populations
Kuria, who was the convener of yesterday’s meeting at a Nairobi hotel said the leaders have been consulting about the future of Mt Kenya after President Uhuru Kenyatta’s exit from State House next year.
According to Kuria it is important the presidential candidates declare what is in store for the region.
Kuria said: “Our meeting was meant to come up with an agenda. We held a meeting seeking to chart our final destination in the next election.
We came up with an agenda that will be adopted during a Mt Kenya leader’s meeting in Naivasha on Monday.”
“The agenda will be simple. What will be there for the Mt Kenya region in the future government? In which part of the house will Mt Kenya sit?”
Former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary and The Service Party (TSP) leader Mwangi Kiunjuri, Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo, former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, People’s Party of Kenya leader Jacob Gitau, former Tetu MP Ndung’u Gethenji and TSP Secretary-General Mwenda Makathimo were in attendance.
The Court of Appeal last month held that the BBI initiative was unconstitutional and restricted the national electoral agency from conducting a referendum on it.
Had the proposals in the BBI been passed, central Kenya would have benefited from additional constituencies and more resources.
There would have been tax breaks to small businesses and a Ward fund for the assemblies.
A source privy to the Naivasha meeting said they will set conditions to be met by presidential candidates before the region endorses one.
The meeting had been scheduled to take place in Embu yesterday but aborted after some of the leaders claimed that National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi’s supporters were to use it to launch his presidential bid.
“We agreed that as a matter of urgency we will be convening soon and we will not allow what happened to our Embu meeting to happen.
This time we will take full control and it is where we will make known our demands,” said the source.
Kiunjiri said after the meeting that the leaders were determined to have the region united before facing “suitors” who want their votes.
“The Mt Kenya unity conversation continues; as leaders, we are determined to keep it growing… something inside so strong… we all agree that we owe it to our people,” Kiunjuri said.
Kabogo said via a tweet: “This afternoon I joined some leaders from Mt Kenya to map the way forward for ruririi (the people). The unity of Mt Kenya is paramount. United we stand, divided we fall.”
Kabogo is said to have registered his own party the Tujibebe Wakenya Party, which is yet to be launched.
President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga have said though they respect the courts, they strongly feel that the decision blocked an initiative that could have transformed people’s lives.
In his recent tour of Murang’a, Raila said the BBI would have unlocked more cash to counties.
And in a recent interview, Uhuru told journalists the court decision was a huge blow to ordinary folk.
“The biggest disappointment is what the people have lost. And what the courts have done.
This is not my baby. This is the people’s baby. If those things we envisaged did not happen now they will happen in the future,” he said.