Kenya: Muthama Terms BBI Unity Agenda a Paradox, Says Factionalism on the Rise

17 January 2020

Nairobi — Former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama now says the Building Bridges Initiative Report (BBI) has generated more discord in the country in the wake of its popularization that has witnessed bitter confrontations between leaders in the country.

Speaking exclusively to Capital FM News, Muthama said the report which was released at the Bomas of Kenya on November 2019 poses a great threat to the country's peace and stability citing the emerging political factions in the country.

"Before BBI the country was divided into two groups, National Super Alliance (NASA) and Jubilee. After the BBI was born, Jubilee is divided into two and NASA is divided into four. So, anybody who is saying that BBI is there to unite Kenyans is not telling the truth," he said at his Muthaiga office on Thursday.

Muthama was referring to President Uhuru Kenyatta-allied Kieleweke faction within the ruling party and the rival Tanga Tanga group loyal to Deputy President William Ruto.

In NASA, Muthama noted that all the four principals namely: Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetangula have divergent views about the document.

Muthama who recently thrust himself back into the political arena with a possibility of him staging a comeback in the 2022 polls, affirmed that the political discourse in the country on BBI if left to persist will be detrimental to Kenyans.

The vocal Wiper Party member at the same time poked holes on the 156-page BBI document released in November 2019 noting that a constitutional amendment process is unwarranted.

He observed that except for the proposal that touched on the creation of the position of the Prime Minister and the seat of the Official Leader of Opposition, all the other proposals have been widely captured in the current 2010 constitution.

"I want someone to tell me other than the creation of a few slots in government, what else was new in the BBI document that we do not have in our constitution?" he posed.

He emphasized that the BBI document and its discourse had brought forth wastage of public funds citing the ongoing countrywide regional meetings that are aimed to drum up support for the document.

"The money we are spending out there to sell this document should be utilized to help poor Kenyans who are suffering from different issues and problems," he said.

Muthama made the remarks amid a looming showdown in Kakemega on Saturday following the cancellation by police of a parallel BBI meeting in Mumias.

The Mumias meeting by politicians mainly allied to Ruto was organized after 12 MPs from the western region announced they will boycott a BBI meeting convened by Francis Atwoli, Secretary General for the Central Organizations of Trade Unions (COTU).

Reacting to President Kenyatta's Tuesday address to the nation where he reiterated his support for the BBI report and his wish to have the challenge of majoritarianism in elections, Muthama noted that incorporating an election looser in government will not solve the country's problems that are usually occasioned by the hotly contested election.

He affirmed that over the years the interests of Kenyans at large have always been disregarded but much emphasis was given to the needs of satisfying the needs of "five communities namely: Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya, Kamba and the Kalenjins."

Muthama said there was an ulterior motive by a section of leaders who were out to selfishly pursue their agenda, in the process failing to disclose to Kenyans the real intention of the BBI document.

"What we need right now is the adherence of the law and lead according to what the constitution says,' he said.

On referendum, Muthama was very categorical that he will not put up with such calls and vowed to lead a campaign urging Kenyans to reject it.

If push comes to shove, Muthama maintained that he will support a parliamentary route in amending the document.

When he addressed the nation on Tuesday, President Kenyatta reiterated that BBI is not aimed at creating positions for anyone, adding that his agenda is to leave behind a legacy of a united Kenya free of corruption.

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