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February 19, 2020 - 20:00
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Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and DP William Ruto chat during the funeral of former Cabinet Minister MP Henry Obwocha in August 2018. /CFM-FILE.

, THIKA, Kenya Nov 25 – The political stage is set, with temperatures rising as the team that was mandated to compile the Building Bridges Initiative Report (BBI) prepares to release it on Tuesday.

The Yusuf Haji-led Task Force will be handing over the report to President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi with key recommendations on inclusivity in the country’s management aimed at restoring unity.

President Kenyatta last week said he was ready to receive the report and urged all Kenyans to read and understand it to enable them to make an informed decision.

“Let us just take time, to go through it together and come out with good things that can make our country even better and united, and our institutions even more inclusive,” he appealed.

Ultimately, the report will be proposing a national referendum to amend the Constitution, in what sections of leaders allied to Deputy President William Ruto are opposed to.

“My only prayer, especially to the political class, let us read it. This is an opportunity to engage in meaningful and peaceful discourse. We don’t want to divide the country,” the President said last week, soon after the task force notified him of its intent to hand it over to him this Tuesday.

He pointed out that, “only a fool will say that there are no issues in this country that do not require to be addressed. Let us address them as adults, as civilized human beings and let us appreciate that we might have divergent views, but our objective is to make our motherland better and improve it. There is no need for insults.”

The task force was formed soon after a handshake between President Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga following long-standing political differences.

Odinga has warned that there will be a ‘political tsunami’ to those opposed to the BBI report recommendations, in what was seen as a message to his archrival Ruto.

But Ruto has told him, including at the weekend in Thika when he said “what tsunami is he talking about, the president has told us to read and understand the report how can someone speak of a tsunami.”

He said the BBI report will not derail the country’s development.

“The most important thing to Kenyans is the fixing of the infrastructure, fighting poverty and generating jobs for youths,” he said Sunday, during a prayer service at the African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa in Thika, Kiambu County.

He was accompanied by MPs Kimani Ichungwa (Kikuyu), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu), Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira), Jayne Kihara (Naivasha), Patrick Wainaina (Thika Town), Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Gabriel Kago (Githunguri) and former Thika Town MP Alice Nganga.

“Every Kenyan would be given a chance to read and understand the report. That way, we would agree on how we would move forward together,” he said and urged leaders to guide Kenyans in holding peaceful national discourse about the BBI report without using divisive politics.

“Our main aim is to bring Kenyans together,” he added.

Nyoro cautioned politicians against using BBI to settle political scores, saying such a scheme would not succeed.

He said Kenyans would have the final say on either the adoption or the rejection of the long-awaited report.

Ng’ang’a said the BBI report should be translated into local languages to give Kenyans an opportunity to understand its content.

On their part, Gachagua and Mr Ichungwa said the report should focus on addressing the most pressing challenges facing Kenyans.

“Our problem is neither political nor constitutional; our problem is economical. Our issues are about the state of tea, coffee and dairy farming and youth unemployment,” explained the Mathira MP.

Ichungwa said if the report would not address the challenges facing Kenyans, it would be rejected.

The Kikuyu lawmaker said Kenyans were more interested in development.

He said it was not practical to have a referendum before 2022 at a time Kenya was under financial strain.

Kuria warned that some of the leaders that were fronting the idea of a review of the constitution were not committed to the country’s unity.

“I could not believe it that the BBI that was supposed to bring Kenyans together would be implemented by use of threats and exclusion,” said the Gatundu South MP.

on his part, Wainana cautioned the BBI committee members against creating two centres of power, saying it was a recipe for disaster.


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