President Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga on Wednesday publicly unveiled the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report.
Speaking during the launch at Bomas of Kenya, Kenyatta and Odinga preached unity and the end of divisive politics in the country.
“Being ambitious is good, it is healthy but don’t let your ambitions overshadow our ability to fix those things that will help you achieve your ambitions,” said Kenyatta.
He added: “We cannot build Kenya with one day. Let us focus on what will put us together. We have 42 different cultures that we should be proud about. Let us embrace our culture and tradition.”
On his part, Odinga narrated what pushed him to agree to a unity pact with Kenyatta after the acrimonious 2017 presidential election.
“Our people wanted us to burn your [Kenyatta] portraits and start collecting taxes. I realized that was taking us to Somalia. It took us 19 hours [the meeting leading to March 2018 handshake]. It wasn’t easy. We had called each other all sorts of names,” Odinga said.
About the BBI report, Odinga noted: “Usiangalie hii ripoti ati ooh Raila atakuwa nini. Hii sio mabadiliko ya Raila. Kenya itakuwa hata baada ya miaka mingi.”
He commended the report’s recommendation that government officials and civil servants should not engage in private business. “Watumishi wa umma wasifanye biashara. Toka kwa serikali ukafanye biashara,” said Odinga.
Odinga said there will be a team of experts who will look at the report’s recommendations and urged that its fate should be decided in a referendum. “Usiwachie wabunge. Wacha wakenya waipitishe,” he added.
Among the key recommendations made in the report is the re-introduction of the Prime Minister’s post, a mixed cabinet (experts and MPs), and the allocation of more resources to county governments.
The report recommends a President with executive authority and who will be directly elected by the people, while the first runners up in a presidential election will be directly nominated to Parliament as leader of the official opposition.
The report says the Executive will comprise the President, Deputy President, Prime Minister, and Cabinet Ministers. To be declared President, a candidate must garner at least 50 percent plus one vote, and at least 25 percent of total votes cast in at least 24 counties.
The President shall remain Head of State and Government, and Commander in Chief of the Defense Forces while the Deputy President, remains the President’s principal assistant, and running mate at the ballot, according to the report.
The Prime Minister shall be an elected member of the National Assembly and will be nominated by the President and approved by Members of Parliament. The PM shall control and supervise the execution of day-to-day functions and affairs of the government as well as be the leader of government business in Parliament and chair of Cabinet Sub-committees.
The report further recommends all public officers should be banned from doing business with the government. It also recommends that all wealth declaration forms should be open to public scrutiny.
To promote whistle-blowing, the report proposes whistle-blowers should be given a reward of five percent of recovered proceeds. It also recommends the elimination of sitting allowances for salaried public officers, a move likely to hit MPs and MCAs.
Further to this, the report recommends that the running mate of every candidate for governor should be of the opposite gender.
The BBI team also recommends the transfer of Health sector personnel from county governments to an independent Health Service Commission, a centralized employer for doctors and nurses.