When the Kenyan President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and former prime minister Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga received the BBI (Building Bridges Initiative) report, most Kenyans were enthused by the prospects of a new dawn that spelt the much required unity and cohesion precipitant. The creation of the post of a powerful prime minister and two deputies was on the lips of all pro government/pro handshake moderates who were later angered on the realization that the hyped report was “an empty shell” passed on to Kenyans to decide its contents.
This came as a blessing in disguise for the proponents of an expanded government, and a hard slap across the face of the “tanga tanga brigade” allied to DP Dr. William Samoei Ruto who had gone round the country claiming the BBI report was engineered to create positions for Hon. Raila Odinga and other political retirees, yet it said nothing to that effect.
As the new year begins, political activities have heightened with the pro-BBI team led by former prime minister Raila Odinga with the blessings of president Uhuru Kenyatta doing rounds across the country to drum support for and heighten debate on recommendations to be considered in the final draft of the BBI report. However, most Kenyans claim that the ongoing regional meetings are a decoy to endorse and rubber-stamp certain popular and unpopular recommendations in the final report and make it “mwanainchi owned”.
The inclusion of an executive prime minister and two deputies in addition to the presidency (President and Deputy president) is being supported by a majority of Kenyans as a solution to an all inclusive government. This will also reduce corruption because there will be two logical centers of power where one shall check the excesses of the other. However, there needs to be a clear outlining of the responsibilities of the created offices to avoid duplication of duties and overlapping mandate. Otherwise Kenyans might suffer the excruciating experiences born out of the Kibaki-Raila led 2008-2012 coalition government also known as the “nusu mkate government”.
Devolving 35-45% of our annual budget to county governments shall actualize development to the lowest cadre of administration. Counties should also be encouraged to cut on their recurrent expenditure and focus more on infrastructural development to actualize the devolution dream.
By allowing MCA’s (Members of County Assemblies) implement/drive the national/county development agenda at the ward level, both national and county governments have demonstrated the goodwill required to take “maendeleo hadi mashinani” where the common mwananchi shall fully participate, own and run the development agenda. Therefore voters shall need to elect well educated, qualified, performance oriented representatives to their county assemblies to work this magic.
However, the recommendation on gender equality requiring a female deputizing an elected male or a male deputizing an elected female leader may suffer setbacks. The country shall need to do more than reserving seats for our female leaders.
There are several other recommendations being made by Kenyans on how to better governance, fight corruption and nepotism, and ensure equitable distribution of resources through county governance structures.
The most glaringly unpopular recommendation to the BBI initiative is the creation of regional governments. Most tired and retiring governors mentioned in high level corruption and pilferage of county resources are thirsting for safety nests to avoid being held accountable. They also seek to manage and control county resources in the name of regional governments. Such unpopular recommendations should be resisted by all Kenyans and such governors forced into retirement or jail if found guilty.