- Criticism by the Murang'a senator might be the best way to save the Building Bridges initiative.
- The senator in the letter predicted BBI's spectacular failure if the strategy to popularise the document is not changed in Mt Kenya.
Maendeleo Chap Chap leader Alfred Mutua on Tuesday praised Senator Irungu Kang'ata’s for saying the BBI is unpopular and likely to fail in Mt Kenya.
Mutua, who is also the governor of Machakos county and a presidential aspirant, said the Majority Chief Whip was courageous to share his worries with President Uhuru Kenyatta through a public letter. It was Page 1 in all three major national newspapers.
Kang'ata said the planned BBI referendum on constitutional amendments was headed for "spectacular failure" if the strategy promoting it doesn't change.
The Machakos governor said the senator's public criticism "might be the best thing to happen to the Building Bridges Initiative.
“What the courageous Senate Majority Chief Whip has done is to vocalise the whispers that have been going on around due to the propaganda by anti-BBI proponents,” Mutua said in a statement.
Mutua said the letter could be part of a master political game initiated by the President to give him a good reason to correct a few things in the BBI draft Bill.
"It's a technique I have seen used effectively. Let me stop speculating. The good senator's phone is off. If anyone gets in touch with him, please tell him I want to buy him a drink. He has made me proud,” Mutua said.
Kang'ata has come under fire from a cross-section leaders, especially from Mt Kenya region, who rebuked him for casting doubt on the success of the BBI in populous Central region, Uhuru's backyard.
The senator predicted BBI's failure if the strategy to popularise the document is not rethought.
Nevertheless, some leaders who have publicly condemned Kang'ata agree a number of the senator's concerns need to be addressed.
They say it is premature to judge the BBI Bill as it has just been published for public participation and discussions at the grassroots.
Ten governors from the Central Region Economic Bloc are among leaders who have criticised Kang’ata.
They accused him of breaching official protocol by addressing the President on the issue through a public letter.
“It raises questions why a senior member of government leadership in Parliament would choose this cheap populist method to address this issue to the President whose office is just a few steps away from Parliament,” they said in a statement.
Mutua came to the defence of Kang'ata, saying the challenges he raises are a call to arms to make the BBI a success.
“I am especially pleased that no less than 10 fellow governors issued a statement due to Senator Kangata’s letter. They have said all will be well and I am sure they will now, more than before, ensure all will be well. That is good for BBI,” he added.
He said leaders supporting the BBI should honour Kang'ata instead of condemning him and pressuring him to apologise.
“I support the BBI and President Kenyatta’s legacy and projects and anything that contributes to its success is welcome to me,” Mutua said
He continued, “The letter also raises questions. For example, based on my previous experience working closely for President [Mwai] Kibaki, I am asking myself, is there a communication breakdown in President Kenyatta’s political organisation? Who are the gatekeepers to the President?”
(Edited by V. Graham)