Kenya: President Calls BBI Critics 'Directionless'

President Kenyatta and Nasa leader Raila Odinga when they met at Harambee House on March 9, 2018.
5 December 2019

President Uhuru Kenyatta has dismissed Building Bridges Initiative critics and assured his Mount Kenya base that he was on top of things.

Mr Kenyatta added that his focus was on ensuring post-election violence never occurs again in the country.

POLITICAL NOISE

"Even before we released the report, they were all over telling us about its contents. Now it has been released and they have taken us along a new direction," the President said in Mang'u village in Gatundu North Constituency, where he launched the expansion of St Francis Mang'u Health Centre that the Japanese Embassy built.

He went on: "Those are directionless people... mwananchi wants to know how their lives will be. It doesn't matter who the leader is; it can be whomsoever. Whether it's Waweru, Njuguna, Haji or Onyango, that person won't change your life for the worse. I'm talking when a bit angry because every morning, one is bombarded by political noise," he said.

The President told politicians to stop taking his silence for being uninformed.

CALLED OFF

"They see me keep quiet and think I'm clueless. Let me tell them I'm on top of things. When time comes, I know who makes decisions. And it's not those talking now," he said.

He said he wasa was monitoring the moves political players were making and their public utterances before making his statement in January.

"Your only desire is to live peacefully and not who will lead you in future. Any politician that will not transform you for the better should not be your friend," he said.

Mr Kenyatta spoke as Mt Kenya leaders affiliated to him called off a meeting planned for Thursday to review the BBI report. The meeting, organised by the Mt Kenya Foundation at Ole Sereni Hotel in Nairobi, was cancelled following criticism by a faction of MPs aligned to Deputy President William Ruto.

TANGATANGA

Murang'a Senator Irungu Kang'ata, while confirming postponement, said the Tangatanga legislators had vowed to skip the meeting.

"It's unfortunate that the planned meeting has been called off since the Tangatanga brigade vowed to give it a wide berth. It's so sad since the meeting was planned in good faith and they had been invited," he said.

The meeting organisers included National Assembly Deputy Chief Whip Cecily Mbarire and Deputy Chief of Staff Njee Muturi.

Mr Kang'ata told the Nation that the meeting was neither a Tangatanga nor a Kieleweke affair but was rather aimed at reviewing the report to identify gains for the Mount Kenya region.

The meeting, which was to come barely a week after Tangatanga leaders held a meeting in Embu, had elicited varying reactions among leaders. Mathioya MP Peter Kimari said the Nairobi meeting was the main one.

DISMISSED

"This was the official meeting. I was to attend because we were to have the experts take us through the BBI report," he said.

Gatundu South lawmaker Moses Kuria, however, dismissed the meeting saying all the leaders who attended the Embu meeting would not be available as they were planning for the BBI sensitisation campaigns.

"They sidelined us when they were planning the Sagana State Lodge meeting in Nyeri; they involved ODM during the Bomas of Kenya meeting and they wanted us now to attend their meeting.

"Let them invite Mr John Mbadi, Gladys Wanga and Sabina Chege. We held our meeting in Embu and we are busy implementing our decisions," he told the Nation. He added that after the Embu meeting the over 50 leaders agreed to hold a BBI tour in the Mt Kenya region starting in Meru on January 7.

Meanwhile, leaders from the Rift Valley will be meeting at a yet-to-be-disclosed venue for two days to discuss the report.

DELIBERATE

Soy MP Caleb Kositany, who is among the organisers, said that all leaders from the region, irrespective of their political affiliations, were welcome.

"As political leaders, we know BBI has good proposals to Kenyans and we want to study the document keenly to make informed decisions," Mr Kositany, a close ally to the Deputy President, said.

Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono confirmed that he will be attending the meeting, which is also expected to deliberate on the 2022 succession.

"Yes, I'm party to it and I'll be attending. We need to take a stand on pertinent issues affecting the country," Mr Rono said.

Additional reporting Ndungu Gachane and Wycliff Kipsang

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