President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday unveiled the Building Bridges Initiative report with an assurance that the proposals in the document are aimed at building a cohesive and progressive country.
The President, who addressed the nation from Bomas of Kenya, said the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report is meant to address some of the challenges facing the country such as unemployment, electoral violence, poverty and corruption.
He said the BBI process is not against any one politician and cautioned the political class against divisive politics saying individual thirst for power should never be allowed to override national interests.
“I appeal especially to the political class. Do not divide Kenyans, they do not deserve it. We are here talking about their wellbeing. We are here talking about their peace,” said the President.
“This is not about us as leaders but it is about the 47 million Kenyan patriots. Let us read it and we can come back here at a time around early next year,” said the President.
The President who was joined by Deputy President William Ruto, Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and former Vice Presidents Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi among other national leaders challenged Kenyans to read and internalize the recommendations in the report without the undue influence of political rhetoric.
He said the report by the Presidential task force that was headed by Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji has a wide range of recommendations on an array of issues such as the country’s governance system and suggestions on ways of bridging the economic divide between the rich and the poor in the country.
The BBI report proposes that an executive president will continue heading the government with a vice president as a principal assistant.
However, it proposes that the President will nominate a Prime Minister from the largest party or coalition in parliament who will be in charge of the daily running of government.
The report recommends that Cabinet Secretaries be selected from within and outside parliament and the for role to be renamed to Cabinet Ministers.
The report contains proposals aimed at tackling corruption with a recommendation to bar civil servants from doing business with the government.
On gender equality in leadership, the report makes a number of recommendations key among them being that in a case where the governor is a man, his deputy should be a lady and vice versa.
President Kenyatta said the recommendations, if accepted by Kenyans, will create an enabling environment for an inclusive government adding that his biggest preoccupation is how to keep the country peaceful and progressive.
“Let us focus on what unites us and makes us cohesive and let us remove negative ethnicity,” the President told thousands of delegates drawn from a cross the country and representing different interest groups.
Deputy President Ruto said it was a historic moment for the country as Kenyans come together to discuss proposals that are aimed at writing a new chapter for the nation.
“We are coming together from different backgrounds to have a conversation about our present and project into the future,” the DP said.
He thanked the President for the efforts to unite the country and cautioned politicians against hijacking the process for their selfish interests.
Former Prime Minister Odinga narrated how private talks between him and President Kenyatta led to the handshake on the steps of Harambee House that bred the BBI process.
He said the purpose of the BBI report is to foster unity in the country, create equity among Kenyans, bridge gaps in the country’s governance structure and deal with other national challenges including corruption.
Tanzania’s Foreign Affairs Minister Palamagamba Kabudi who spoke as a special guest of the President asked Kenyans to shun tribalism saying the vice is a threat to Kenya’s standing as East Africa’s leading economy.
Prof Kabudi said is known for its educated, innovative and enterprising people but it was confounding to neighbours how the most progressive country in the region is still the most tribal.
Other leaders who spoke at the launch event included political party leaders Musalia Mudavadi (Amani National Congress), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper Democratic Movement) and Moses Wetangula (Ford Kenya) among several oth