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Inclusivity and socioeconomic boost big for youth

By Hesbon Owilla
Friday, October 23rd, 2020
President Uhuru Kenyatta (centre) with ODM leader Raila Odinga (left) and BBI taskforce vice chair Adams Oloo during the handing over of the report at the Kisii State Lodge. Photo/PD/GERALD ITHANA
In summary

The BBI is finally out, and politics aside, we can finally have a sober debate on a document now in the public domain.

There has been a narrative about creation of positions for the political class, but for us, the generation born and spent our first 18 years during Moi’s Nyayo era, what matters is socioeconomic security and the document is big on that front. 

You see, the generation that voted first in the 2002 general elections is now on the verge of getting to fourth floor and I can tell you, we have had enough of politics; we know it does play a role in what matters to us in life.

The truth is,  a generation that has voted in three general elections and in two landmark referendums. We have seen it all and silently our politics now revolves around issues. 

Therefore, in the BBI, we are definitely celebrating the 35 per cent going to counties, five percent ward development fund, business incubation centres in each county and the seven-year tax break.

This four-layered economic impetus at the county level will not only address economic inequality but also spur development in almost every hamlet in this country.

One thing a guy hitting 40 will tell you is that they don’t cares as much about earning money, as they do about making it.

The counties are going to be the next business frontiers .

But because a few politicians will mute the socioeconomic conversations and skew interpretations, we may want to unbundle the political discourse at the national level before we get lost in political rhetoric.

Foremost is inclusivity, which has raised questions such as what if the president and the PM are from the same party? What are the checks and balances and who wields what power? 

The report is unequivocal on a unitary centre of power with an executive president who appoints the PM in a clearly spelt out framework that respects sovereignty of the people as enshrined in article one of our constitution.

The president as the ultimate authority is popularly elected and therefore, the idea that positions are created for individuals seems to be a fallacy.

The people will decide who becomes the presidents. Secondly, the position of the PM is a lot more dependent on the people vote than an appointing authority and it defeats logic to think the same position as enshrined in the BBI can be a creation with a person in mind. 

You see, for the president to get the powers to appoint the PM, he or she must first have that power from the people; and that power has to be 50 plus one of the vote.

Then for him to appoint someone a PM, that person must be a member of the political party with a majority in parliament, most probably the leader of the party.

Now for a party to have a majority in parliament, the people must overwhelmingly express their power through the vote and even when the PM is nominated by the president, it will still be incumbent upon parliament, representatives of the people to ratify this appointment. 

But the clincher for inclusivity at the top is twofold. First, the president will have the PM and his deputies from parliament and they will draw popular mandate from the people and with that comes a responsibility to deliver at very little cost.

Two, a powerful and well-resourced office of the official opposition leader will be in parliament to provided institutionalised checks and balances on the executive.

The benefits of this at both representation and oversight role cannot be gainsaid. 

In the current constitution, a losing presidential candidate loses everything and does not have any recognised official position in the governance structure.

This winner takes all structure has left a big gap that a lost minority in parliament has struggled to fill.

This has polarised the country and bred a sense of disenchantment among ardent followers of the losing candidates, especially in the last two elections.

The BBI provisions cure this and for many Kenyans who have lost their loved ones and businesses in post-election skirmishes, there is a sense of optimism.

There will be no losers, only competitors who will have a fairly democratic structure that gives both the platform to articulate the aspirations of Kenyans with respect to the powers Kenyans give them. — The writer is a PhD candidate in political communication

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