Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga presided over the much anticipated Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) rally in Garissa town where hundreds of residents turned up for the event.
The rally comes barely a day after the a similar one was last Saturday held in Narok town
Earlier the political leaders from North Eastern urged area residents to seize the opportunity provided for by the BBI to present their views.
Speaking at a Garissa hotel during a delegate meeting ahead of tomorrow’s rally, the leaders from the counties of Garissa, Wajir and Mandera said that apart from the 2010 Constitution that created devolved system of government, the BBI is giving the region another opportunity to present their issues given the marginalization by previous regimes and historical injustices meted on them.
Led by Senator Yussuf Haji, the leaders said that devolution has turned around the economy of the region that used to receive meagre resources.
The leaders expressed hope that the BBI would give them an opportunity to have current predicaments such as insecurity and lack of teachers addressed conclusively.
Haji who chairs the BBI said the initiative was a national discourse that ‘means well for Kenyans and more so the people of North Eastern’.
“I accepted this position because I saw from the word go that it meant good for this country. Today I am here as the Senator of Garissa to also contribute to the recommendations that we shall be presenting in our memorandum to the technical team,” Haji said.
“The BBI is a wave sweeping across the country and anyone who dares to obstruct will be swept away. We must not put ultimatums to the government but have our issues addressed in a sober way,” he added.
Eldas MP Aden Keynan said when issue of North Eastern will be captured in the BBI, historical injustices should be among the top on the list.
“This is another opportunity for us to push for the compensation of those who were maimed in the Wagalla massacre among other atrocities. This will pave way to a national conversation and allow victims to heal,” Keynan said.
Garissa Governor Ali Korane who is also the coordinator said he was happy the way the leadership of the region has remained united in issues to do with BBI.
“I want to commend our leaders for showing unity of purpose. The recommendations they have developed that we shall be presenting tomorrow have covered most of the issues bedeviling the region,” Korane said.
Wajir East MP Rashid Kassim said there was need to make the BBI process people centered initiative adding that as it stands, the political class seems to be running the show.
“There is need to increase the perception that the BBI report and process is people centered. The BBI taskforce ought to simplify the document and format for ease of understanding, translation of report to Kiswahili as well as publication of the report and its wide dissemination,” he said.
Kassim further proposed that the government provides an economic stimulus fund to key growth sectors like livestock, agribusiness, transport among others and value addition to create employment growth, social well-being and equality in the region.
Wajir Senator Abdullahi Ali opposed a move being fronted by some leaders from the region to have security devolved noting that such a move might fuel inter-clan skirmishes in the region and formation of clan militia.
He called for an affirmative action to address the existing education crises by allowing D+ and C- grades to be enrolled in teachers training colleges.
The meeting was also attended by Members of Parliament including Abdi Shurie (Balambala), Dr Mohamed Dahiye (Dadaab), Abdikarim Osman (Fafi), Ahmed Abdisalan (Wajir North), Ahmed Bashane (Tarbaj), Mandera senator Mohamud Mohamed and Wajir women rep Fatuma Gedi among other leaders.
Notable absentee was National Assembly Majority Leader and Garissa Township MP Aden Duale who is on record saying he would present his views to the BBI task force at KICC in Nairobi.
Duale who is a staunch supporter of Deputy President William Ruto said he would not present his views in the countrywide BBI popularization rallies.
By Jacob Songok