Ahead of the launch of the long-awaited Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report today, Kenyans have expressed optimism that its contents will help heal the country from the deep of wounds of electoral violence.
Kenyans who spoke to the media said they hoped the report will help address issues of negative ethnicity and that it has the answer to the runway corruption.
Others adopted a wait-and-see attitude, arguing that though noble, similar attempts in the past have been sacrificed at the altar of political expediency.
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru said she anticipates that the report will adopt the views presented by various interest groups.
“The report should facilitate … an expanded executive and factor in the issue of gender equality,” she said, adding that her support for the ‘handshake’, a political pact between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga that birthed the BBI, is founded on the belief that Kenyans deserve to live a better life.
“A country’s development is directly proportional to the extent of its political stability and this is what BBI is all about,” she said.
Majority Leader Aden Duale said he expects that the team has recommended the adoption of a parliamentary system of government as one of the ways of ending the culture of electoral violence.
“If they have not, they will have failed because Kenyans will continue fighting and dying over elections. Let’s get the battle from the national tallying centre and take it to the constituencies,” he said.
National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohamed said he expects the report will finally unite the country and urged Kenyans to support the President and former prime minister in their efforts to ensure peaceful coexistence of all communities.
“This is a rebirth of the Kenyan nation,” said the MP, who was part of the team that accompanied Mr Odinga to the March 9, 2018 meeting with the President where the deal was signed.
Among the issues the report is expected to address are ethnic antagonism, lack of national ethos, exclusivity, devolution, divisive elections, security, corruption and shared prosperity, which form the nine-point agenda agreed upon by the both the President and Mr Odinga.
Murang’a Senator Irungu Kangata said he has little doubt the report captures Kenya’s best interests, and it will ultimately unite the country and promised to rally residents of central Kenya to support the President.
“Whenever Mt Kenya and western communities come together Kenya makes major strides. The alliance between the two delivered independence in 1963, delivered the return to multiparty democracy in 1991 and ousted Kanu from power in 2002. It also ushered in a new Constitution. BBI is what Han Kelsen called grund norm — the supreme constitutional norm,” he said.
The Supreme Council of Kenyan Muslims Central Rift branch chairman Yusuf Athman said Muslims hoped that the BBI report will address hot-potato issues.
Nakuru County Public Opinion Consultative Initiative chairman Dan Murugu called for tolerance among leaders.
Nakuru Council of Elders chairman Simon Kimani asked politicians to desist from reacting on the contents of the report before reading it.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary-General Wilson Sossion asked teachers to read the report and give their views, warning against its politicization.
“If sharing power is what will make our economy and governance better, we are in full support of the BBI,” he said.
Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) Secretary-General Akelo Misori promised to support the report if its proposals promote justice.
Knut had proposed to the BBI task force that teachers be placed under the direct management of the Ministry of Education rather than the Teachers Service Commission.
The proposal was opposed by both Kuppet and the Kenya Women Teachers Association.