Inclusive Building Bridges Initiative rallies good for the country
Monday, January 27th, 2020
The decision by leaders allied to Deputy President William Ruto to join the Saturday rally in Mombasa to drum up support for the Building Bridges Initiative was commendable.
The Ruto surrogates had initially expressed reservations with the national unity project.
Their decision has deflated the suspicions that were threatening to defeat the spirit of the Building Bridges Initiative.
It is also a demonstration that the politics of conflict can give way to constructive cooperation that advances public interest.
Also notable is that unlike the BBI meetings in Kakamega and Kisii which were overshadowed by political rhetoric, organisers of the Mombasa event were keen to ensure it was issue-based.
Among other issues, the Coast leaders demanded that the government buys land from absentee landlords and resettle affected communities and ensure the region benefits from the Mombasa Port.
They also want the government to implement the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission and Ndung’u Commission reports.
The two reports contain radical proposals that could address some of the historical injustices touching on Coast people, particularly on land.
In their 16-point resolution, Coast leaders also asked the government to undertake a rapid result initiative programme of titling all untitled land to avert further land grabbing.
Moreover, they asked the government to provide an economic stimulus fund for the growth sectors of the blue economy, including tourism, transport and logistics and ports.
They also called for the revival of defunct industries in the region, particularly those related to cotton, coconut, cashewnuts, rice, simsim and sugar.
These are salient issues that speak to the sharing of wealth challenge at the heart of the BBI report. The other is the expansion of the Executive to create positions that can to ensure inclusivity in government.
The rallies are part of the second phase of BBI public hearings meant to collect feedback from wananchi. The views were supposed to be presented to the Yusuf Haji-lead taskforce after being distilled by experts.
Though the task force had indicated that it will send its representatives to the BBI meetings, it failed to rise to the occasion in Mombasa.
It has a duty to take charge of the forums to cure the process of the political toxicity that could be inimical to the BBI spirit.