As Kenyans, the highly anticipated knowledge of the BBI proposal has finally matured. Uhuru, Ruto and Raila’s agenda shall finally be made public to all Kenyan citizens.
In the famous words of His Excellency the late former vice president George Saitoti,”there comes a time when the nation is more important than an individual”. The statement appeared tailor-made for the occasion when President Uhuru Kenyatta and his political archrival Raila Odinga made peace and shook hands in what is now popularly known as the ‘Infamous Handshake’ on March 9, 2018.
In the face of the country’s make or break moment, both Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila decided to set aside their selfish hard-lined differences for the common good of all Kenyans and the future development of a great Kenya.
The climax and moment of true leader man ship and good spirit came in the form of the subsequent establishment of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), a framework that would help address and find amicable solutions to the nagging issue of divisive elections in a murky political landscape that would shape Kenya for the better or for the worse as well as many other subjects that have proved to be the country’s Achilles heel since independence.
The BBI team went around the country collecting views from the public on how best to address the country’s liability factors that hinder this 3rd generation country from progressing to be a super power among this great world’s nations and mitigations factors to help overcome its subsequent ailments.
This suggestions include:
1. ETHNIC ANTAGONISM AND COMPETITION
Ethnic division is unarguably the worst and most deep-rooted of Kenya’s problems. The relationship between some communities has deteriorated with time, degenerating into an ugly setup of ‘us against them’. This has seen communities aggressively challenge others and engage in unhealthy competition, at times with blood consequences. President Uhuru and Raila aimed to create an environment in which Kenyans can engage in healthy competition devoid of ethnic profiling.
2. DIVISIVE ELECTIONS
Elections have been an emotive issue in Kenya. The cycle of elections has unfortunately tended to be characterized by violence. The country gets almost crippled during campaigns and even long after the election exercise is completed. It impacts on investment and economic activity apart from being a threat to human life. Divisive elections have cost Kenyans their jobs and livelihoods, and the ethnic polarization is not suitable for development. With the help of BBI, Kenya should be able to overcome the negative cycle by understanding that in itself, an election is not the solution to the national challenges. Kenyans ought to adhere to the constitution and the laws of the land. This way, it would be easy to bring an end to ethnic antagonism and profiling while promoting inclusivity, devolution, and transparency.
Corruption has been identified as an existential threat to Kenya. It is not only destroying lives but also dwarfs public trust and prosperity. It is a generational phenomenon in the country since independence, and now it is being passed to the young generation. Corruption has shattered the hopes of young people to forge an honest and proud living. The evil has undermined both public and private institutions alike necessitating urgent action if any hope is to be restored. This fight has to receive the backing of both political leaders and the citizens for it to succeed. BBI represents a new dawn in Kenyans politics as the task force tries to fiend long-term solutions to critical challenges such as divisive elections, corruption, and negative ethnicity. The awaited report will give way forward and is seen as what will unite the country once and for all.
4. LACK OF NATIONAL ETHOS
There is a fear that Kenya has been defined internationally by its negative politics and the challenges that come along with it. Corruption and violence are synonymous with the country when it comes to the international community. Even though Kenya is home to many positive attributes, citizens have failed to define and promote their national ethos. BBI was challenged with establishing how Kenyans could enjoy nationhood and patriotism through common characteristics, beliefs, and aspirations.
Inclusivity has been identified as one of the biggest challenges Kenyans face. Diversity has been used to divide the country instead of uniting it. Kenyans are separated by geographical location, language, and religion, among other things. Many parts of Kenya feel left out and alienated by the significant communities, especially those that have been in leadership positions. BBI was tasked to ensure that public institutions are accountable and impactful to all Kenyans at the national and county level.
Devolution is the major talking point from the Kenyan 2010 constitution. In as much as it has had its successes, several impediments have hindered the devolved units from serving their constituents effectively. There have been calls for the national government to relinquish some powers and more funds to the county governments. Some governors have even suggested that they should be in charge of the security apparatus within the counties. Devolution has also led to exclusivity in counties where some communities find themselves isolated by the people in those counties, thus creating marginalization. County governments are also struggling to be economically viable. Some of the suggestions that have come across as a remedy for this situation is for counties to coordinate their development plans in clusters defined by geographical and economic sectors. BBI was formed to work under the guidance of the president and former prime minister to promote a universal approach that will help Kenyans understand the role of devolution in contributing to the development of the nation.
7. SAFE AND SECURITY
It is a core mandate of the government to assure Kenyans that they are safe and secure. Unfortunately, many Kenyans are left at the mercy of natural and human-made disasters. The lives of Kenyans are always threatened by hunger and drought. Lives are under threat, and that is why there is a need to initiate practical efforts to ensure that Kenyans in distress are accorded the aid they need. Solutions should be advanced for warring communities to reject violence and embrace alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. The government is also to work with Kenyans to unite them against terrorism and related challenges.
8. SHARED PROSPERITY
The late socialist politician J.M Kariuki described Kenya in 60’s as a nation of 10 millionaires and 10 million beggars. The BBI recognizes that majority Kenyans lack decent income and poor business environment. The document will ensure Uhuru and Raila work together to see every part of the country is developed at the same pace. 9. Responsibilities and Rights Kenyans must have their human and civil rights respected and enforced. No Kenyan should have his right compromised no matter the circumstances.