NOT CAST IN STONE

Allow BBI report amendments, Kiunjuri urges

Former Agriculture CS says issues raised by various groups should be considered

In Summary

• Former Agriculture CS says while many Kenyans support the report, they want several issues addressed.

• He termed it hypocritical for leaders to say the report will not be opened up for amendments.

TSP leader Mwangi Kiunjuri in Thangira village, Murang'a county, on Thursday.
TSP leader Mwangi Kiunjuri in Thangira village, Murang'a county, on Thursday.
Image: Alice Waithera

The Service Party leader Mwangi Kinjuri has told the government to open up the Building Bridges Initiative report for public scrutiny and review.

Kiunjuri on Tuesday said various groups have raised several issues they want to be considered. Most Kenyans support the document but have reservations about a few sections, he said.

“We were told to read the document and we did. What did they want us to do after reading?” Kiunjuri asked.

He said Kenyans need to be told the advantages the report presents and the shortcomings of the current Constitution so they can make informed decisions.

“We are now informing Kenyans and educating them on the report but at the end of the day, we need their views to be incorporated,” he added.

Earlier, Kiunjuri said the adoption of some of the proposals made by leaders from the pastoralist communities will take away what is good for Mt Kenya in the BBI. 

“There should not be selective inclusion and skewed initiations. We have noted with concern that the Mt Kenya region and some sections of the Rift Valley region are not being invited and are largely being treated as complainants,” Kiunjuri said in a statement.

“There are some irreducible minimums that must remain intact for the objectives of the BBI to be achieved.” 

However, speaking during a burial ceremony in Thangira village, Maragua, the former Agriculture CS termed it hypocritical for leaders to say the report will not be opened up for amendments.

ODM leader Raila Odinga on Monday ruled out any significant alteration of the report, saying only editorial work will be done. But Kiunjuri said the report should be reviewed if its true intention is to unite Kenyans.

 

“At the end of the day, the issues being raised are not more than 10. We have seen governors, MCAs, the clergy and other sections of Kenyans raising concerns and we are asking, 'Why are we shying away from addressing the issues raised?" he said.

“We cannot say the document will not be amended, only to open it at night. Kenyans can see this is all politics. When the setup works for you and you think it can give you votes, then you prohibit amendments.”

Kiunjuri questioned why Raila agreed to have the document altered and then changed his mind. He said the final report should unite Kenyans and should not leave out crucial views.

Raila’s sentiments have been opposed by people, including Deputy President William Ruto, who has cautioned against building walls around the BBI report and locking out good ideas.

A section of MPs has also called for a minimum guarantee return fund that will include five per cent of the nationally generated revenue to be set up.

In Murang’a, MCAs have also called for the autonomy of county assemblies to liberate MCAs and enable them to oversee the operations of county governments.

Gatanga MCA Nahashon Gachuhi said a county assemblies service commission should be set up that will handle MCAs remuneration, similar to the Parliamentary Service Commission. He also wants governors to source their County Executive Committee members from counties and housing and vehicle grants issued to MCAs.

“MPs receive housing and vehicle grants of up to Sh15 million, while MCAs only receive Sh5 million loans to buy their vehicles and homes,” he said.

Gachuhi also wants the proposed ward development fund increased from five per cent to 15 per cent of the county’s revenue. He, however, praised the document for increasing the counties' allocation from at least 15 per cent to at least 35 per cent, saying it will boost development.