LAW CHANGE

Key Uhuru-Raila men tasked with delivering BBI referendum

Regional bigwigs to lead BBI campaigns to parry away critics.

In Summary
  • Key parliamentary leaders among them Muturi, Keynan, and Kimunya to lead House troops.
  • Keynan and Yusuf Haji to looby Muslims and the Somali community in push for BBI.
ODM leader Raila Odinga receives the BBI report from task force vice chairman Adam's Oloo at the Kisii State Lodge on October 21. 2020.
ODM leader Raila Odinga receives the BBI report from task force vice chairman Adam's Oloo at the Kisii State Lodge on October 21. 2020.
Image: ANGWENYI GICHANA

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM chief Raila Odinga are banking on key regional and national political players to push through the BBI process.

The final report was unveiled on Wednesday, after a nearly two and half year process to find solutions to the country's main problems.

From Parliament, the epicentre of the BBI process, to the political field, Uhuru and  Raila will rely on influential politicians to campaign for the document.

Already, some sections of the political class have criticised the report, as have some voices in civil society.

Regional political kingpins allied to the President and the ODM leader are among those who will be tasked to popularise the report.

Lean teams of political heavyweights have already been drawn from Nairobi, Western, Coast, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Eastern, Northeastern and Central Kenya regions. 

There are reports that a national BBI campaign team will be established to coordinate various initiatives likely to be unveiled by the politicians and pro-BBI forces across the country.

There would also be teams that would lead targeted campaigns for marginalised groups and vulnerable segments of society in what could create a force to propel the  process.

At the apex will be the campaign secretariat answerable to Uhuru and Raila, while beneath it will be various teams coordinated by regional bigwigs as well as parliamentary leaders.

Speaker Justin Muturi is expected to be a key player in pushing the key legislative proposals set to be enacted by Parliament.

On Thursday, National Assembly Majority Whip and Igembe North MP Maoka Maore confirmed that Parliament was ready to take up the challenge.

“The troops are ready and we are waiting for instructions,' Maore said adding that the House will not disappoint Kenyans

The Star has established governors will also be involved.

Some of them have played a key role in the hosting of BBI popularisation forums that were stopped by the coronavirus pandemic.

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Cotu boss Francis Atwoli are expected to shore up BBI support across Western Kenya.

In Nyanza, Siaya Senator James Orengo and Kisii Governor James Ongwae will take charge.

At the Coast, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and his Kilifi counterpart Amason Kingi would spearhead the campaigns, while events in Eastern will be led by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka.

To bring on board the populous Somali and Muslim community, Jubilee joint secretary for parliamentary affairs and Eldas MP Adan Keynan and Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji, the BBI chairman, will take charge of campaigns in Northeastern.

Keynan is expected to marshal troops in Parliament as well his backyard.

“The BBI is the baby we have been waiting for a long time, as the Jubilee secretary of parliamentary affairs in the House, my work would be to lobby members across the board to support bills that will be brought to Parliament,” Keynan told the Star.

"We will stop at nothing to ensure that the BBI process in and outside Parliament is a major success," said the Eldas MP.

In the President's Central Kenya backyard, former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth and Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru will spearhead the BBI process.

In Deputy President William Ruto's Rift Valley backyard, Baringo Senator and Kanu chairman Gideon Moi will lead various teams from the region to counter any threats that might be bossed by DP's allies.

Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos, a key Moi ally from the region, will be tasked with rallying together other governors to back the process.

In Nairobi county Jubilee nominated MP Maina Kamanda said he will take the lead in the campaigns.

“For Nairobi, it is a done deal. We will paint Nairobi BBI throughout and I want to say that we do not face any challenge in marketing BBI in the capital city,” Kamanda said.

The former Starehe MP said BBI opponents won't stand a chance once he rolls out  the campaigns.

“When we said the future was BBI, some people started opposing us but you can see by yourself that there is no turning back on the road that we started,” he told the Star.

Parliament will play a central role in the implementation of the BBI report through legislation.

At least 12 broad legislative proposals are expected to be enacted by Parliament to implement parts of the BBI report.

The BBI report, which proposes changes to the country's governance structure, will finally be subjected to a referendum for Kenyans to approve or reject the changes.

The report will officially be unveiled at the Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi, on Monday in what would set the stage for the camapaigns.

The president's successful push to overhaul the leadership of the National Assembly and the Senate by kicking out Ruto allies could provide a smooth ground for the report to sail through.

Uhuru and Raila have started drumming up support for the BBI report and have during their rallies in Kisii, Nyamira and Kisumu insisted the process to address Kenyans' problems started with the unveiling of the document on Wednesday.

“BBI is not about me or Uhuru it is not about making me president and Uhuru prime minister, that is propaganda,” Raila said on Wednesday during the unveiling of the BBI report at the Kisii State lodge.