Kenya: Counties Integral Yet Sidelined in BBI Push - Embu Speaker

26 January 2020

County assemblies are key pillars in the push for constitutional change yet organisers of BBI rallies have sidelines members, a speaker has said.

Embu's Josiah Thiriku noted on Saturday that MCAs have been left out of events that lead to grand public rallies aimed at popularising the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

The rallies that have featured Kenya's top politicians have taken place in Kisii, Kakamega and Mombasa counties so far.

The key figures in the push are President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga, who birthed the BBI after their March 9, 2018 handshake, whose primary goals are national healing, reconciliation and development.


Speaker Thiriku said ward representatives should be empowered to sell the BBI to the people.

During a media briefing in his office, he gave reasons why grassroots campaigns are better than one-off mega rallies in selected towns in each of the 47 counties.

MCAs are largely in support of the BBI, he said, adding they can become the initiative's "expert mobilisers".

He added that the ward reps can reach more people because they interact with them at the grassroots level daily through meetings.

He also said they will be more committed as they will own the initiative.


The speaker further said the public needs consistent sensitisation on contents of the BBI report, a goal he noted cannot be achieved through a single meeting in a county.

He declared the BBI message safest in MCAs' hands, noting they remain behind with the people when politicians leave after the rallies.

Mr Thiriku further noted the need to uphold the principle of inclusivity, a key rallying call of the push for constitutional amendments, by involving all leaders in propagation of proposals.


However, Mr Thiriku welcome the BBI team to Embu on February 2, assuring "wholehearted and overwhelming support" from MCAs and their electorate.

He distanced himself from Jubilee Party's Tangatanga and Kieleweke factions, saying Embu's agenda is for the people to embrace the BBI.

The speaker said residents do not want the bickering that has made headlines recently.

He noted that supporters of both factions in the county are united on the initiative.

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