Even as the referendum bells crescendo to deafening decibels, the alignments to oppose the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report and its proposed referendum is shaping up, with a host of political leaders and civil society declaring that they will push for the rejection of the bid to amend the constitution. According to the Executive Director of International Center for Policy and Conflict Ndung'u Wainaina, the handshake and the subsequent BBI report was a closed-door private affair between president Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM party leader Raila Odinga, and was therefore not subject to the public dialogue, agreement and endorsement. He said that the 2010 Constitution of Kenya gave Kenyans more inclusive participatory democracy to achieve equality through public expenditure and resource-sharing. "BBI report clearly speaks to and for Mr. Kenyatta and Mr. Odinga's private agreement, without whatsoever speaking to and for the people of Kenya," said Ndung'u Wainaina.
Photo: Executive Director for International Center for Policy and Conflict Ndung'u Wainaina
On sunday, a group of activists met in Ufungamano house in Nairobi and declared the initiative an attempt to overthrow the progressive constitution, saying that the proposals made in the BBI report, if implemented, would significantly weaken our constitution and undermine our democracy. They further added that the proposals are intended to benefit a few members of the political elite and not for the overall benefit for Kenyans.
Others who have rejected the document include economist David Ndii and United Green Movement Party chairperson Malasen Hamida. According to Hamida, BBI doesn't follow the laws of Kenya. "Even the selection of BBI stakeholders was not clear and transparent. Our constitution gives all power to the citizens while in the BBI, the common citizen's rights are taken away and given to politicians. Also, the initiative will interfere with the assembly," said Ms. Malasen Hamida.
Photo: United Green Movement Party chairperson Malasen Hamida
Some senators have also appeared to be spoiling for a fight with the BBI protagonists as they hoped that the senate would be elevated to the Upper House and get additional responsibilities. On twitter, Narok senator Ledama Ole Kina fired the first salvo. "It's absolutely ludicrous for the BBI taskforce to ignore the will of the people and decide for the 50 million people and now someone decides to force us to ratify their stupidity! Who told you we want 94 senators?" stated Ledama in his twitter account. His Elgeyo Marakwet counterpart Kipchumba Murkomen termed the report underwhelming. "If we allow the BBI recommendation of the President appointing the Judiciary Ombudsman, he/she will appoint a National Intelligence Service man/woman who will run it and intimidate magistrates and judges. This alone will kill the Judiciary," noted Murkomen.
Photo: Elgeyo Marakwet senator Kipchumba Murkomen
Former Mukurwe-ini MP Kabando wa Kabando also expressed his disdain for the report. "Referendum 2021 only a few months to the 2022's general elections will mean two elections within a year. First, do we have cash for it? Secondly, do we want to do it amidst Covid-19 economic times when majority of the citizens are scratching bare earth for survival?" Kabando said.
Photo: Former Mukurwe-ini MP Kabando wa Kabando
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