Opinion

The hidden gems that we must not throw away in the BBI – Senator Kibiru

By Charles Kibiru

The Court of Appeal stopped the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) process last week over what the judges termed as violation of certain legal processes.

While respecting the court’s verdict, it must be said that Kenya risks losing a golden chance to tweak and fortify her constitutional framework as a prerequisite for the propulsion of our country to better tidings and greater destiny. 

When all is said and done, and despite the court ruling, few would gainsay the fact that BBI held the promise for a more equal, united and prosperous Kenya.

Thankfully, there are other avenues that the good in BBI can be implemented and made to benefit Kenyans. The Secretariat is already exploring other ways through which some of the content of the BBI document can ultimately see the light of day.

I sincerely hope another chance will be found to secure BBI’s transformative agenda. After all, the law is made for man, not the other way around!

Whatever has gone wrong with BBI, we must never throw the baby with bath water. One of the proposals that is dear to some of us who were at the forefront pushing for its implementation was the one-man-one-vote-one-shilling principle.

This section had a clear object which was to bring about fairness and equity in the distribution of national resources. This dream – which was very dear for our forebears as the fought for independence – must never be allowed to abort and those who believe in it must join hands and relentlessly fight until this goal is realised.

I am convinced this is the right way to go for us to end the marginalisation of some parts of the country in the sharing of the national cake when all of us indiscriminately pay taxes. We owe it to the future generation to correct past wrongs and BBI provided such a wonderful opportunity to do so.

The Mt Kenya region was particularly set to benefit immensely from the BBI as it was aimed at correcting the skewed sharing of national resources that has retarded development in the area despite the immense human and natural resources in the area.

Leaders from all corners of this country must work to dismantle the systematic marginalisation of some citizens. It can never be right that children from Mt Kenya region are being given Sh2,000 as bursary while others are getting ten times more.

Lopsided allocation of resources has never been the basis to build a united and an economically powerful country. And this is not ethnicity; I would say the same thing if any other part of our beloved nation was so marginalized.

No one who loves this country and our children should propagate such a blatant injustice where regions that contribute more to the national coffers get less disbursement. We must find ways to remedy this situation now.

It sad that BBI process has been taken on rocky road, risking all the good things it promises. Beside the court poking holes on the legitimacy of BBI’s proposition, the process itself was heavily poisoned by toxic politics.  Although it was clear to all and sundry that BBI had very good proposals, a section of leaders resorted to petty politics and condemned it wholesale as a decrepit piece of work. It is not that BBI naysayers do not appreciate how this document would have transformed this country. They do, but they chose to sacrifice the gems therein for transient political expediency and selfish interests.

As the BBI secretariat goes to the Supreme Court to seek resuscitation we cross our fingers, hoping for a flicker of light in the otherwise dark tunnel the Court of Appeal cast the BBI prospects into.

One can go on and on about the benefits of BBI prototype, however, aside from the one-shilling-one-vote agenda, seeking to ensure that peace prevails before, during and after the elections is an all-time winner. How would anyone argue with such an initiative, considering our elections have always been polarising and divisive courtesy of cyclic and toxic whipping up of ethnic sentiments?

Surely, must we throw away the baby with the bathwater?

Mr Kibiru is the Senator for Kirinyaga County and Chairman of Finance and Budget Committee of Senate  

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