BBI REPORT

BBI Report fell short on addressing the necessary substantive structural reforms

In Summary

• International Center for Policy and Conflict says BBI report is serious indictment on the Kenya Government failure to fully and faithfully implement reforms stipulated in the Constitution of Kenya 2010.

• Says the Report recommendations require administrative  and legislative actions with sufficient political good will to succeed.

President Uhuru Kenyatta receives the BBI report from task force chairman Senator Yusuf Haji on November 27.
PANACEA? President Uhuru Kenyatta receives the BBI report from task force chairman Senator Yusuf Haji on November 27.
Image: PSCU

International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) notes that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce Report is serious indictment on the Kenya Government failure to fully and faithfully implement reforms stipulated in the Constitution of Kenya 2010.

The Report further exposes how disregard to implement the legislative structural, political and economic reforms agreed during the 2008 Kofi Annan led Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation framework remains the fundamental root cause of the recurring electoral and political conflict in Kenya.

BBI is a backdoor political ploy for politicians to establish mechanism for sharing of political positions.

The BBI report offers nothing  new and substantive to warrant Constitution of Kenya 2010 amendment and referendum.  

The Report recommendations require administrative  and legislative actions with sufficient political good will to succeed.

The BBI taskforce must arrived to conclusion that the country has enough laws and institutions which are never implemented.

And therefore the taskforce, gave road map on how those laws and institutions should be enforced.

The Annan mediation long-term issues that needed expeditious implementation would not only have addressed the root causes of the crisis but also deepen and broaden Kenyan democratic foundations.

Such reforms and mechanisms will comprise, but are not limited to, the following:

1.      Consolidating national cohesion and unity;

2.      Land reform;

3.      Tackling poverty and inequity, as well as combating regional development imbalances, particularly promoting equal access to opportunity;

4.      Tackling unemployment, particularly among the youth;

5.      Reform of the Public Service and security sector;

6.      Strengthening of anti-corruption laws and public accountability mechanisms;

7.      Reform of Public Finance and Revenue Management Systems and Institutions;

8.      Addressing issues of accountability, transparency and impunity.

On July 19, 2019 Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua issued a circular directing all government ministries and agencies to implement BBI 9 issues.

This must have been informed by conclusion that those issues are well addressed in Constitution of Kenya 2010, by the past commissions and taskforces whose reports' recommendations have never been implemented, and that BBI had no legal binding foundation.

The 9 issues only needed constitutional enforcement by relevant government institutions.

The BBI Report conformed this circular was accurate and well informed on the final content of the BBI Taskforce.  

The BBI Report affirmed that the Handshake was meant to restore stability and create conducive environment to ensure Constitution of Kenya 2010 was fully implemented.  

Different provisions of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 address all the 9 issues that BBI taskforce was tasked with as stated in 'Handshake' statement.

Examples include: Article 10 gives the national values and principles of governance in which ethnicity is not included.

Article 27 on equality and freedom from discrimination, expressly prohibits the state or any individual from discriminating another person directly or indirectly on the grounds of ethnicity.

There is no exception on how political parties are formed and organized, article 91 (2) provides that a political party shall not be founded on an ethnic basis or engage in advocacy of hatred on that basis.  

Article 1, 10, 6, Chapter 12, 130, 174 and 232 addresses solidly issues of devolution, inclusion and diversity.      

The provisions of Chapter 6 of the Constitution of Kenya on leadership and integrity address the issue of corruption.

Ensure compliance with the provisions of this and address deeper problem of institutional failure in fighting corruption.

Rights and responsibilities have been addressed in chapter 4 of the Constitution on the Bill of Rights, whereas safety and security and safety are addressed in chapter 14 of the Constitution on national security.  

The Constitution of Kenya 2010 is unequivocally clear and meticulously articulates the principles of inclusion, equality, diversity, non-discrimination and participation. However, there is no solid law both at national and county levels to enforce these principles in practice.  

On the elimination of duplication of governance and resources by both the county and national government, devolved system of governance requires restructuring the central government infrastructure bureaucratic set up and devolving the administrative, political, security and fiscal authority to the county governance system.

The national government should only be represented in counties by technical officers and the heads of the technical units working and coordinating with their equivalents in the county departments.

National government functions should be carried out through county administration.  

  There is limited adherence with the national values and principles of governance, as well as principles on integrity and leadership.

The National Government and county governments have not been effective in enhancing regional and ethnic diversity in recruitments to public offices.

This has had the effect of limiting the extent to which national cohesion and unity can be achieved On Security reforms, the Constitution provides that security agencies exercise their powers and functions in line with the Constitution and that they are subject to the authority of the Constitution and Parliament.

Unfortunately this fundamentals shift has not been implemented, respected and upheld.

Further the National Government has not set national security objectives and policies and implements them in accordance with the broader constitutional objectives and purposes, and accords County Governments key role to participate in the management of county security.

It is our conclusion that politicians should stop polarizing the country with their misinformed positions on the BBI report.  

Kenya Law Reform Commission should be mandated to convene and Chair a special all-inclusive technical working group to look into BBI report recommendations,  and in full adherence to the Constitution of Kenya 2010,  draft necessary legislative, and  administrative reforms  that need to be implemented expeditiously.