Politicians must not be let to h****k Building Bridges Initiative

Monday, February 3rd, 2020 00:00 | By
Some BBI Steering Committee members from left Yusuf Haji (chair), Adams Oloo and Paul Mwangi (joint secretary). Photo/PD/FILE

The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) debate has no doubt gained momentum—and of course, politicians have seized the moment to reap its low hanging fruit.

BBI is being sold as the panacea for all the socio-economic and political ills. And indeed, a cursory look at the key highlights of the taskforce report—among them political inclusivity, national unity, empowerment of the youth and fight against corruption—point to a better future. 

Unfortunately, the broad-based discourse that the agenda drivers—President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga—promised Kenyans risks being hijacked by politicians. 

This is compounded by the fact that copies of the report are yet to be widely circulated to the public as envisaged.

Why this has not happened, only the Yusuf Haji-led taskforce can explain. We have for the umpteenth time on this forum urged the team to shake off its bureaucratic inertia and take charge of the process.

Its business-as-usual approach poses the greatest threat to the public ownership and success of the country’s renewal path on which the President has, besides his Big Four agenda on Food Security; Affordable Housing; Manufacturing and Affordable Healthcare, staked his legacy.

This is why the acrimony witnessed at the BBI rally in Kitui on Saturday was not only unfortunate but uncalled for.

That the host governor, Charity Ngilu, attempted to have the so-called unwelcome guests ejected from her function was anti-thesis of what the initiative seeks to achieve.

She and the just-inaugurated Kiambu governor James Nyoro must learn to be tolerant to divergent views even when unpalatable. 

The two and any politician with such mindsets must not be part of the reset Kenya that the Handshake heralded. That is the bitter pill of democracy that all must swallow to cure outdated mannerisms.

On the positive side,  it’s encouraging that the convenors of the last two forums—Mombasa and Kitui—have sifted and isolated issues that touch on their regions with clarity.

They have condensed them into memorandum which they have handed over to the taskforce to consider in its report.

This should be emulated by others going forward. But more importantly, there should be less of political sideshows likely to soil an otherwise noble idea.

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