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BBI narrative key for Kenya’s transformation path

By Shadrack Agaki
Tuesday, December 8th, 2020
President Uhuru Kenyatta receives the BBI report from the taskforce vice chair Adams Oloo at Kisii State Lodge on Wednesday. With them is ODM party leader Raila Odinga. Photo/PD/GERALD ITHANA
In summary

Development of a nation is a continuous process with constant changes and progress.

Kenyans, amidst a ravaging global pandemic, have been invited to consider changes to the 2010 Constitution, with many divided on the best course of action.

Just like the world is calling stakeholders to consider building a narrative towards achieving Agenda 2030, Kenyans must not shy away from the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) conversation of building a nation of ideals.

A narrative is telling a cohesive story of a situation rather than sharing a set of disarticulated facts.

These narratives change over time as new information emerges. Critical among issues that must be made right is developmental inequality.

Basic infrastructure such as roads was given as tokens to regions that kowtowed to political leaders’ whims.

This resulted in marginalisation and underdevelopment of many regions. Increasing allocation to counties from 15 per cent to 35 per cent, establishment of Ward Fund and anchoring the Constituency National Development Fund in the constitution with targeted equalisation projects for areas previously neglected is key to dispelling fear of retraction of gains achieved so far.

Citizen responsibilities and rights is a critical element that could shape the narrative on the country’s development.

The call to have an office of public participation rapporteur to balance need for economic growth with that of  protecting the environment and biodiversity is realigned with global vision of Sustainable Development.

For  this to happen, Kenya must create political spaces for balanced debate. Citizens must hold political leaders socially accountable for their actions and policies. 

The BBI narrative on shared prosperity must add impetus to the national conversation.

The recommendation to have a national 50 years developmental plan is particularly important given that a clear political long-term vision is essential for economic growth.

Kenyans must also appreciate and support the recommendation that a ratio of 70:30 resources spent on development and bureaucracy respectively.

Harmonious working relation between the national and county governments especially on research and development is critical in identifying high priority areas for joint investment.

The reintroduction of agricultural activities such as extension services and health and its inclusion in development budget could transform rural economies. 

The Kubadili plan must spark a conversation of product development in counties.

An open discussion on regional blocs is essential if counties have to tap into scalability of projects and processes.

With specialisation, counties can increase revenue and improve services.

What the BBI terms as “Skin in the Game” where leaders are obligated to use services from public facilities such as hospitals and schools could alter the game.

Preferential treatment of leaders contributed to low development of public facilities, with embezzlement of resources in key government offices becoming the norm.

Therefore, the call for leaders to take political responsibility by resigning when irregularities occur in their department is a bold step that requires a continuous conversation.  

 The call for a 100 per cent e-government service delivery could contribute to enhanced accountability and better governance.

It will also reduce redundancies, which could free resources for development of digital infrastructure.

It is imperative, therefore, that all Kenyans engage in the conversation, since all views play a role in building a narrative that could shape national development. [email protected]

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