The official launch of the Building bridges initiative Steering committee report is underway at the Bomas of Kenya in a ceremony attended by political leaders and delegates from across the 47 counties.
Today’s event comes barely six days after President Kenyatta received the report at the Kisii state lodge alongside ODM leader Raila Odinga.
The president and the former Prime Minister have been championing for the report since its handover urging Kenyans to read it before making a decision on the document saying it will lead to a more cohesive, equal and progressive Kenya.
The two leaders say the country is staring at a constitutional moment that if embraced will answer the questions of lopsided development, ethnic conflict, runaway corruption, divisive politics, economic inequities, and marginalisation.
The duo is expected to roll out joint BBI rallies to popularize the report and lobby for national support in coming days to counter opponents, in a move that is expected to set the stage for a major political showdown with political observers saying the formal launch could be the beginning of a major political battle tipped to shape the referendum and the 2022 presidential contest.
Dubbed Building Bridges to a United Kenya: from a nation of blood ties to a nation of ideals, the report makes a raft of proposals whose architects say provide the best solutions yet to deal with the challenges that have plagued the country for years.
The report is proposing policy changes in administrative, statutory and constitutional instruments that it says addresses the national challenges outlined in the Joint Communiqué of ‘Building Bridges to a New Kenyan Nation’.
Formed vide Gazette Notice No. 264, published on 10th January, 2020, the steering committee conducted validation of the Task force Report on Building Bridges to a United Kenya through consultations with citizens, civil society, the faith-based organizations, cultural leaders, the private sector and experts.
A proposal in the report that recommends expansion of the executive in what the drafters of the report says will promote inclusivity has generated most heat with opponents of the proposed changes saying they will not benefit the common man.
Deputy President William Ruto appears to have already set the stage to lead his troops against the document saying as currently designed, the BBI report has concentrated reforms towards creating jobs for the political elite.
Proponents of the report however says the re-introduction of the office of the Prime Minister and two Deputy Prime Ministers is meant to mitigate the drawbacks of the winner-take-it-all electoral formula and to end cycles of election violence witnessed in the past.
The launch of the report was a result of weeks of consultative engagements resulting from easing of political hostilities between President Kenyatta and his erstwhile political nemesis and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
On March 9, 2018, President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga held a meeting at Harambee house that sought to settle simmering political differences in what became known as the handshake.
The two leaders would agree on a nine-point agenda that sought to create a united nation for all Kenyans including future generations.
Dealing with corruption which they described as an existential threat to Kenya.
Promote national ethos with the country increasingly being affected by negative politics.
Address the devolution question.
Address the problem of divisive politics with the country often affected every election cycle.
Safety and security
Responsibilities and rights
Ethnic antagonism and competition