Kenya: Uhuru, Raila Assemble Team to Lead BBI Campaigns

President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga have crafted a high-powered team to spearhead the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) campaigns across the 10 regions in the country.

The team that the BBI secretariat said will be unveiled "in due course", is tasked with conducting civic education on the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2020 ahead of the referendum expected in June.

It will be under the command of the two 'Handshake' partners -- President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga, BBI secretariat co-chairman Mr Junet Mohamed said.

"The campaigns launch will be done on the same day the handshake happened on March 9," Mr Mohamed told the Nation.

President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga struck a truce on March 9, 2018 and will be celebrating three years of the Handshake next week.

The Nation can reveal some of the names floated to lead the 10 teams across the country.

Nationwide campaigns

President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga will oversee the nationwide campaigns as Mr Mohamed and his co-chairman, Mr Dennis Waweru coordinate the 10 teams spread across the 10 regions of Coast, North Eastern, Upper Eastern, Lower Eastern, Central, Nairobi, North Rift, South Rift, Nyanza and Western.

The leadership of the six regional economic blocs, including Frontier Counties Development Council, North Rift Economic Bloc, Lake Region Economic Bloc, Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani, South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc and Central Kenya Economic Block have also been earmarked to help in the campaigns "as the BBI document is crucial in promoting devolution".

Sources privy to the secretariat's plans told Nation that a provisional list for the campaign teams has Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho earmarked to lead the campaigns at the Coast.

Garissa and Mandera governors Ali Korane and Ali Roba and Secretary of the Jubilee Parliamentary Group Adan Keynan will be tasked with leading the BBI drive in North Eastern.

In Upper Eastern, consisting of Meru, Embu, Tharaka-Nithi, Marsabit and Isiolo, Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi, and deputy majority chief whip in the National Assembly Maoka Maore, are expected to lead the team.

Campaign teams

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, the Nation has established, is also earmarked for a key role in the drive in the region.

In Lower Eastern, bringing together Machakos, Kitui and Makueni counties, Wiper and Narc leaders Kalonzo Musyoka and Charity Ngilu, who is also Kitui Governor, will play a lead role in the BBI campaign, while National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth will lead the team in Central Kenya.

In Nairobi, nominated MP Maina Kamanda and his Makadara counterpart George Aladwa will "conduct the campaigns under the command of the President and Mr Odinga."

In Rift Valley, which had earlier been marked as a 'red zone' due to Deputy President William Ruto's influence, Kanu chairman Gideon Moi, newly-appointed Jubilee deputy secretary-general Joshua Kutuny, Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos and his Kajiado counterpart Joseph Ole Lenku will lead campaigns in the North Rift and the Maa region, while Kanu secretary-general Nick Salat, nominated MP and Knut secretary-general Wilson Sossion as well as Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui will handle the South and Central Rift.

In Nyanza, Kisii Governor James Ongwae and his Kisumu counterpart Prof Anyang' Nyong'o will lead the team. Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, Ford-Kenya's Moses Wetang'ula and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya will lead Western region.

Political showdowns

The Nation has established that the group crafting the regional campaign teams has been advised to come up with an acceptable list to avoid political rivalries that would derail the programme.

Of concern is Eastern, Western, Central and Rift Valley where political showdowns are likely to be witnessed.

"The team is of the view that all the political heavyweights should be involved as well as the leadership of the regional economic blocs," meaning, "governors will have a key role in the campaigns," the source said.

However, BBI's Mr Waweru neither confirmed nor denied inclusion of the persons in the teams.

"We've not finalised the list, but the one you have has some names that will probably be included in the final list," Mr Waweru said.

The political leaders will work with leaders from others sectors, including civil society, trade unions, the Church and special interest groups, and will be bolstered by BBI technical teams to ensure proper civic education.

National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya said that after successful approval of the Bill by the requisite assemblies, they had already started the process of its passage in Parliament.

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