Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) was an agreement between two individuals to find common ground to restore peace and stability. It had no legal basis unlike Kenya National dialogue and Reconciliation process of 2008.
The written formal statement signed by the President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM Leader Raila Odinga does not amount to public policy. The Constitution of Kenya requires that the making of law or public policy and the implementation of the same is bound by national values and principles of governance as provided in article 10 and that there must be public participation.
Further, BBI operational budget was never appropriated in accordance with required public policy and legal procedures, and therefore failed constitutional principles of public finance.
BBI was nothing short of pacifying public and restore normalcy. However, it is turning out to be succession, self-preservation and continuity political strategy. All 9 issues are fully addressed by Constitution 2010. Implement it fully.
Referendum is political self-serving which is not based on well structured all inclusive participatory and comprehensive audit of Constitution 2010 to inform its implementation status. It is reckless, disastrous and irresponsible political volcano in country’s adverse economic and financial situation.
The circular by State House to government ministries and agencies to implement BBI 9 issues must have been informed by conclusion that those issues are well addressed in Constitution, 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.
Building Bridges Initiative will deliver nothing new to people of Kenya. The BBI process has been opaque, exclusive, inconsistent with the law and ineffective. The outcomes of the BBI process will be a rubber stamp of the predetermined “shared objectives” between Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga rather than an expression of the will of the people of Kenya.
What 2010 constitution says
Different provisions of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 address all the 9 issues that Uhuru and Raila stated in their ‘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, regional ethnicity and diversify.
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.
Handshake and subsequently formation of Building Bridges Initiative was meant to restore stability and create conducive environment to ensure constitution of Kenya 2010 was fully implemented. The best BBI can do is give recommendations on what is required to enforce the Constitution.
[By; Ndungu Wainaina, the Executive Director International Centre for Policy and Conflict-ICPC]