Kenya: Governors Now Abandon Ugatuzi Initiative for BBI

30 November 2019

Council of Governors Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya raised eyebrows when he praised the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) during the launch of its report on Wednesday.

This is because the county bosses have independently been pushing for changes in the Constitution.

The Nation has since learnt that the governors are mulling abandoning their quest in light of the BBI report.

Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, who co-chairs the team advising governors on constitutional reforms alongside his Meru counterpart Kiraitu Murungi, praised the proposals contained in the BBI report.

Asked why the county bosses were abandoning their own push for constitutional changes, dubbed Ugatuzi Initiative, Prof Kibwana said the BBI report had accommodated most of the issues the governors had raised.

"The Constitutional Committee at the Council of Governors will sit and analyse the BBI report so that we advise governors on the way forward. We shall be seeking to bring Ugatuzi Initiative on board the national conversation stemming from the just-released BBI report because the report has addressed most of the issues the governors had raised.

"It would be pointless for the governors to continue pushing for an independent referendum," Prof Kibwana told the Saturday Nation yesterday.

This change of heart leaves the BBI as the only avenue for revising the Constitution after Dr Ekuru Aukot's Punguza Mizingo Initiative failed to sail through in the county assemblies.

Through the Ugatuzi Initiative, the governors were seeking the devolution of at least 45 per cent of the national revenue to the counties.

The county bosses also wanted to ring-fence five per cent of the devolved funds to the youth, women, senior citizens and farmers. The BBI report proposed counties should get 35 per cent of the national revenue.

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