Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga last Saturday told off critics of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) who have started campaigning against the report before its contents are revealed.
He urged Kenyans to be patient and wait for the BBI team to present its report to him and President Uhuru Kenyatta, who initiated the process following their handshake on March 9 last year.
Mr. Odinga said even he and President Uhuru Kenyatta did not know the contents of the report and wondered why the critics had started traversing the country campaigning against the proposals contained therein.
“Some people have already started going across the country campaigning against the BBI even before the contents are out,” he said adding, “Uhuru and Raila do not know what is contained in the report; who are you to say you know?”
The former Prime Minister said the contents of the report would be made public once the team presents the report to the two principals; after which a team would be formed to collect the views of wananchi before a bill is drafted for consideration by voters.
He was speaking at Pendukiani village in Kilifi County during the burial of Mr. Michael Ngumbao Jola, who was gunned down at the height of campaigns for the Ganda Ward by-election.
Mr. Jola, an uncle to Mr. Reuben Katana, who emerged the winner during the October 17, 2019 on an ODM ticket, was shot dead when Malindi Member of Parliament Aisha Jumwa stormed a meeting at Katana’s home ostensibly to stop a campaign meeting she claimed was being held after the campaign deadline.
“I urge you to be patient. The report will be presented to us and we shall publish it for all Kenyans to read and know the contents and give their views through public participation,” Mr. Odinga said.
He said after the public participation, a team would be formed to draft a bill that will be presented to all the 47 county assemblies, the National Assembly and the Senate for consideration.
Mr. Odinga said he and President Kenyatta had agreed, through the Handshake, to eradicate tribalism, vote theft (rigging) and corruption, vices, he said, had made Kenya lag behind in development, adding that this would be achieved through the BBI.
“We want to do this so that Kenya will be prosperous and move out of the league of poor nations,” Mr. Odinga said.
He condoled with the family of Mr. Jola and noted that through the recommendation of the BBI team, he and President Kenyatta were determined to ensure that no Kenyan loses their lives due to political competitions.
Governors Amason Kingi (Kilifi) and Hassan Ali Joho (Mombasa) as well as MPs Junet Mohamed (Suna), Owen Baya (Kilifi North), Michael Kingi (Magarini), Ken Chonga (Kilifi South) and Gertrude Mbeyu (Kilifi Woman Representative) said they would rally Coast residents in supporting the proposals of the BBI.
Kingi said the BBI would ensure unity among Kenyans and a stop to bloodshed during electioneering. He said Jola’s death should act as a lesson to politicians who still think they can ascend to power through violence and bloodshed.
“The BBI team traversed the entire Coast region and listened to our views, which we believe are contained in the report,” he said.
Joho said the BBI was geared towards creating a system of government that would include all Kenyans, and vowed to rally Coast residents in supporting the process.
Junet said those opposing the BBI report even before it is handed over to President Kenyatta and Mr. Odinga were competing on ignorance and urged them to be patient.
By Emmanuel Masha