Elected leaders from the Mt Kenya region and it’s diaspora have rejected calls for a referendum to ratify the recommendations of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
The leaders said holding a divisive referendum would negate the spirit in which the BBI committee was formed and in which it delivered its report after gathering views from all Kenyans.
The leaders, who addressed the media at an Embu Hotel on Saturday afternoon following their caucus held on Friday night and most of Saturday’s started their press conference with a disclaimer that they were not sponsored by any political faction and that they were speaking for neither the Tangatanga nor Kieleweke political factions.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri also attended the meeting, which had been billed as a Members of Parliament meeting, though his role in the meeting was not specified.
The leaders in the joint statement read on their behalf by Embu Senator Njeru Ndwiga said the BBI report had raised policy, legislative and Constitutional issues that could be implemented through the civil service or the National Assembly.
“Should any issue be found to be requiring a vote in a referendum then the referendum questions should be included in the 2022 General Elections,” they said.
They argued that a Referendum would be too expensive when the government is hard pressed to find money for its programmes and added that any money that could be used on the referendum had better be channeled to programmes to .alleviate youth unemployment or the President’s Big Four Agenda.
They said the caucus kicks off a programme to educate their electorate on the BBI report and said they will especially be looking at the aspects of the report that touch on the economies of the Nakuru, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Murang’a and Kiambu counties. Other counties whose leaders attended the caucus are Kirinyaga, Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Laikipia and Meru.
They said there were urgent policy reforms that will ensure the region’s dairy sector and their potato, pyrethrum, tea, coffee and horticultural farming are beneficial to the farmers who form the bulk of the area residents.
The leaders said the report came too soon after the very divisive 2017 General Elections that had devastating effects on the economy and that all leaders should be working together to help Kenyans get to work before they are again disrupted by the 2022 electioneering.