President Kenyatta extends term of BBI Taskforce

Written By: Claire Wanja
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the BBI Taskforce
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President Uhuru Kenyatta has extended the term of the Building Bridges taskforce.

The taskforce will now steer the next phase of the process of the report which will involve expanding and guiding public participation, and structuring recommendations by Kenyans into implementable action plans.

This follows a meeting between, President Uhuru Kenyatta, opposition leader Raila Odinga and members of the taskforce at State House, Nairobi on Wednesday evening.

According to State House Spokesperson Kanze Dena Mararo, in the meeting, the President and the former prime minister thanked the team for putting together a report that captures the aspirations of Kenyans and requested the Taskforce to continue leading the BBI process.

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The unveiling of the report a few weeks ago has drawn mixed reaction amongst Kenyans.

While the political class has largely endorsed the initial draft presented by the senator Yusuf Haji team at the Bomas of Kenya, its implementation has divided political opinion.

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During the launch of the report, the president assured that the proposals in the document are aimed at building a cohesive and progressive country.

The President said BBI report is meant to address some of the challenges facing the country such as unemployment, electoral violence, poverty and corruption.

He said the BBI process is not against any one politician and cautioned the political class against divisive politics saying individual thirst for power should never be allowed to override national interests.

“I appeal especially to the political class. Do not divide Kenyans, they do not deserve it. We are here talking about their wellbeing. We are here talking about their peace,” said the President.

“This is not about us as leaders but it is about the 47 million Kenyan patriots. Let us read it and we can come back here at a time around early next year,” said the President.

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He said the report by the Presidential task force that was headed by Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji has a wide range of recommendations on an array of issues such as the country’s governance system and suggestions on ways of bridging the economic divide between the rich and the poor in the country.

The BBI report proposes that an executive president will continue heading the government with a vice president as a principal assistant.

However, it proposes that the President will nominate a Prime Minister from the largest party or coalition in parliament who will be in charge of the daily running of government.

The report recommends that Cabinet Secretaries be selected from within and outside parliament and the for role to be renamed to Cabinet Ministers.

The report contains proposals aimed at tackling corruption with a recommendation to bar civil servants from doing business with the government.

On gender equality in leadership, the report makes a number of recommendations key among them being that in a case where the governor is a man, his deputy should be a lady and vice versa.

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President Kenyatta said the recommendations, if accepted by Kenyans, will create an enabling environment for an inclusive government adding that his biggest preoccupation is how to keep the country peaceful and progressive.

“Let us focus on what unites us and makes us cohesive and let us remove negative ethnicity,” the President told thousands of delegates drawn from across the country and representing different interest groups.

Former Prime Minister Odinga narrated how private talks between him and President Kenyatta led to the handshake on the steps of Harambee House that bred the BBI process.

He said the purpose of the BBI report is to foster unity in the country, create equity among Kenyans, bridge gaps in the country’s governance structure and deal with other national challenges including corruption.

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