Respect one another in the BBI discourse
Tuesday, October 27th, 2020
The Building Bridges Initiative report has finally been launched. The event at Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi brought together different political players to begin the journey of changing the 2010 Constitution.
The proponents of the BBI say it was born out of the need to end election violence, empower the young and weed out corruption, among others.
Opponents of the report, on the other hand, say it will weaken the Judiciary, it is self-serving to the current leadership and that it does not guarantee inclusivity.
Yesterday’s presentations dwelt on many of these and speaker after speaker made it a refrain that Kenyans should read the document to make an informed decision.
Of equal importance is the need to express opinion soberly and respectfully.
Deputy President William Ruto’s cameo performance hallmarked the need to have everyone listened to. The backbone of the BBI is peace and unity and equal opportunity for all.
It is, therefore, central that discussions are levelheaded. That opinions, even those that are against one’s belief, are heard and respected is paramount.
It will be reckless to turn the initiative into a political contest that will negate its very essence.
Lencer Achieng’, the mother who lost her child, Baby Pendo, in the 2017 election violence, moved delegates at Bomas of Kenya with a tribute to her daughter and a message to the political class.
Let it be the last time a life is lost because of politics. Politicians, do not make us kill one another because of you, she pleaded.
Her message rings true of a democratic society where the majority have their way and the minority their say.
Indeed President Uhuru Kenyatta called for a sober, robust debate; one that is informed and respectful.
We reiterate this call and ask politicians and other stakeholders to first read the contents carefully, secondly; listen to contrary views and lastly pass on their information with a view to educate and not choke opinion.
To quote Nelson Mandela; “A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger.
You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.”
If we are to emerge stronger let information be the basis of engagement. Understanding the content of the proposals should be the first step. Arrogance and superficiality will only threaten the nation’s fabric.