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February 22, 2020 - 20:34
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Inside Uhuru, Raila plan to woo grassroots

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JUSTUS OCHIENG'

By JUSTUS OCHIENG’
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President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga have drawn up an elaborate plan to reach out to the grassroots through Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) consultative forums and rallies as the country gears up for a referendum.

This follows the gazettement of the BBI team, which is expected to, among other things, ensure consultations with citizens, civil society, faith-based organisations, cultural leaders, the private sector and experts.

It will then propose administrative, policy, statutory or constitutional changes that might be necessary for the implementation of their recommendations.

During his address to the nation on Tuesday, President Kenyatta said that during renegotiations, no voice will be wrong; that everybody will be heard.

“The BBI process is inclusive. It should spell the end of ethnic majoritarianism. It will be the end of winner-takes-all politics. We are on a path to end the cycles of election crises. This is the only path to winning the economic kingdom,” he said.

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“I am not against anybody. I am for the 47 million Kenyans and it is my hope that all political leaders will start to focus and say, ‘let’s work together; let’s get this thing going,’” he added.

Already, Mr Odinga has mapped out the country as he develops a road map for a referendum through consultative forums and rallies amid protests by Deputy President William Ruto and party leaders Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) and Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya).

Mr Odinga launched the road map at a regional convention in Kisii County last Friday and will be heading to Kakamega County on Saturday with the BBI brigade for a consultative meeting with the local leadership and a rally at Bukhungu Stadium.

Meanwhile, 10 governors from Mt Kenya region met on Monday to plan a meeting where they can all speak with one voice on the BBI.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru on Thursday said that they would continue to educate people at the grassroots on the contents of the BBI report as they gather their feedback.

“We have been to Nyanza and will traverse the country to ensure that as many Kenyans’ views as possible are captured in the final report,” she said.

“We remain optimistic that Kenya is on the right path, and hopeful that the constitutional and institutional changes will transform Kenya into a better nation.”

Nominated MP Maina Kamanda said it was “very clear that the country is headed for a referendum before the end of the year to tackle inclusivity, poverty, job opportunities and enhance the general empowerment of the people.”

“The consultative meetings bringing leaders together will encourage residents to read the document and understand its contents and thus be informed,” Mr Kamanda said.

ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna said they were happy that the BBI team had been gazetted, and that its terms of reference had been made clear.

But even as the Odinga-lead team heads for Western, another rally led by ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula will be held at the Nabongo Grounds in Mumias.

It is expected to draw the DP’s supporters, setting the stage for possible clashes. The meeting, to be chaired by the two leaders, will address the issues ailing the region’s economy.

Mumias West sub-county police commander Peter Katam said the security committee was reviewing the situation before making a decision on whether both meetings should be allowed.

“The two groups have notified us of their intentions to hold separate meetings on the same day. The security committee is meeting to review the situation and come up with a decision on the matter,” said Mr Katam.

Additional reporting by Benson Amadala



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