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Intrigues before BBI report launch as team balanced interests

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Barely a week after the release of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report, details of the intrigues that led to the compilation and presentation of the report continue to emerge.

The Sunday Standard has learnt that even as the BBI team presented a united front to the republic it had, in the course of its life cycle, gone through a roller coaster of emotions with members advocating different ways of actualising the report.A key divisive issue, which taskforce members say was eventually settled, was the now thorny issue of a referendum.

Just as it has divided the political class, the referendum option also split the taskforce right in the middle, with some members thinking it would be the best, next logical step for the BBI report while others argued that the responsibility of such a decision did not sit on their shoulders.Multiple sources we spoke to also hinted that the report was changed several times for the ‘greater good of the nation.’

BBI insiders say some original proposals were thought to be too divisive, and thus were left out entirely. One such key recommendation was creation of the position of an Executive Prime Minister.

Less polarising

But after much horse-trading and consultations, the team settled on a non-executive Prime Minister, a proposal seen as less polarising.

“Ours was to make recommendations in the first stage and it is for Kenyans to discuss and agree on what should remain or removed from the report. Once crystalised, it is at that second stage that the mode of implementation is to be decided,” said Busia Senator Amos Wako, a member of the BBI taskforce.

During the debate, the taskforce agreed that Kenyans will decide on whether recommendations will be implemented in an administrative manner, legislative or referendum.

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“Everyone had his own idea but we had to approach the issues in a positive way by being conscious to the fact that we had to succeed in preparing a report that would unite the country. It is also premature for people to debate about the mode of implementation at this stage when they are supposed to read the report and decide on the issues,” he added.

The team agreed on this even as the political hype on referendum reached crescendo with politicians raising the issue in rallies as they prepared their supporters on the BBI report outcome.Apart from the thorny referendum issue, it has also emerged that the report that was eventually presented to the public was a watered down version of the originally submitted report.

An MP close to the proceedings of the BBI team during and after their term said there had been fear among senior state officials that the original report which had proposed a radical change in the structure of government would have caused furore and they decided to make changes.

Publicly opposed

“There was a feeling that some politicians had prepared enough ground to reject the report and to deflect their pursuit it became necessary that the report looks more amenable,” said the MP who sought anonymity.

The report proposes the position of Prime Minister who would be appointed by the president from a party with majority in Parliament or one that is popular with the MPs.

But according to sources, the original document that was completed by the BBI team on October 23 had proposed an Executive Premier complete with two Deputy Prime Ministers.It is this proposal that caused concerns and the President reportedly asked the team to revisit the document and amend the recommendation.

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However, members of the task force have gone on record, terming these assertions as baseless. “We have had the report and did not share it, those allegations are rumours,” BBI joint Secretary Paul Mwangi said.

Bishop Lawi Imathiu, a member of the team, said the report they wrote is what they presented to the President and the spirit of those in the committee was that of ‘one Kenya one people.’

“I did not notice changes, though there were people who were interested to suggest changes but the committee was patriotic and stood for what was best for Kenya,” said Imathiu.

The creation of a powerful PM and the two deputies had been publicly opposed, including by Deputy President William Ruto and his allies, who argued that the BBI should not be used to create positions for the political class at the expense of the tax-burdened Kenyans.

The writing was thus on the wall that if the recommendation was contained in the document, it was a sure way of having it rejected, a consequence that the President and the ODM leader were not ready to carry.

“The proposal for a powerful Prime Minister had already leaked, and this was done deliberately to test the waters. They realised that this was a very unpopular proposal among Kenyans and could easily be used as a strong ground to have the report rejected,” said a source.“It would have been an exciting topic for the opponents of BBI, as they would have used it to whip the emotions of Kenyans to reject any proposal that would create extra positions,” revealed the source.

But while speaking at the Emoo Radio Station morning show one of the team members Maj (Rtd) John Seii admitted that there were some areas which were not in their initial report but had been altered.“In the part of the whistle-blowers, we were not specific on the percentage, but ‘they’ put it at 5 per cent,’ Major (Rtd) Seii said. In making recommendations in the final report, Mr Wako told the Sunday Standard that there was no interference from the President, Raila or the DP.

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“If there was any political interference, we could not have reached a consensus on various issues as a team. I did not receive any call from the principals and the taskforce was left to work independently,” he said.

Recounting how the journey started, the Busia Senator said despite having been named as Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji’s co-chair, the first step was to do away with the position in order to have one team leader.

“The first thing we did was to reject the concept of a co-chair that could have created two sides in one team yet we were there to work on a document aimed at unifying the country. We put the co-chair appointments aside and decided to work by putting the country’s interests first,” he said, adding that the selection of the taskforce members represented the face of the country.

Spent less

Members of the team were Dr Adams Oloo, Prof Morompi Ole Ronkai, Archbishop Zacheus Okoth, Rose Moseu, Agnes Kavindu, Florence Omose, Maison Leshomo, Maj (Rtd) Seii, Bishop Imathu, James Matundura, Prof Saeed Mwanguni and joint secretaries Mwangi and Amb Martin Kimani.

Wako also said the team spent less than Sh250 million which was funded by the government, the EU and US.

By Sunday Standard Jacob Ngetich, Moses Njagih and Everlyne Kwmaboka

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Justin Muturi’s encounter with Uganda’s famous kneeling culture

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Speaker of the National Assembly, Justin Muturi, was recently treated to a famous Ugandan culture when a male adult knelt before him.

Muturi is currently leading the Kenya contingent that is competing at the East Africa Assembly Games in Kampala.

While on a tour of the Vipers Stadium, alongside his Ugandan counterpart Rebecca Kadaga, Muturi sat and watched as a smiling chap knelt before Kadaga in a bid to help her sign the guest book at the venue.

Kneeling before adults, especially prominent personalities, is a common occurrence in Uganda.

As part of the practice, women are encouraged to kneel before their husbands while exchanging greetings and when serving them food.

By NN

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Jowie to spend Christmas and New Year at Manyani Prison

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The family of murder suspect Joseph Irungu alias Jowie, has cried foul after he was moved from Kamiti Maximum Prison to Manyani.

Manyani Prison is in Taita Taveta County.

Jowie has been at Kamiti Maximu Prison since 2018 after he was arrested in connection to the murder of Monicah Kimani.

Jowie

He was arrested as police could not corroborate his claim of being shot in the shoulder at Langata which he reported at Lang’ata Police Station.

Joseph Irungu alias Jowie’s family members broke down in court on Tuesday as he is was denied bail.

Jowie has remained behind bars during the trial period.

Justice James Wakiaga said he agreed with the prosecutor that Jowie is a man with access to guns and therefore witnesses would be afraid to testify against such a person.

Below are reasons why Jowie was denied bail.

1 He might interfere with the case.

2. He is a threat to himself.

“THE FIRST ACCUSED IS NURSING A GUNSHOT WOUND WHICH ACCORDING TO THE PROSECUTION IS  SELF INFLICTED IN AN ATTEMPT TO COMMIT SUICIDE.

BUT ACCORDING TO THE ACCUSED IT IS AS A RESULT OF AN UNFORTUNATE INCIDENT AFTER HE WAS SHOT AT.

Jowie in court
Jowie in court

Wakiaga added,

WHICHEVER WAY YOU LOOK AT IT THE ACCUSED PERSON IS UNDER THREAT OF DANGER AND SHOULD BE UNDER CLOSE SUPERVISION AND THAT CAN ONLY BE ACHIEVED UNDER PROTECTIVE CUSTODY WHERE EFFECTIVE POLICING IS POSSIBLE.”

3. He has no permanent residence given the fact that Jacque Maribe’s house is now a crime scene so the court fears he might be a flight risk in layman’s language anaweza potea.

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4. He is a dangerous person for the fact that he owns a gun and some potential witnesses might feel intimidated.

5. There was no tabled evidence to show that Jowie could not be able to access specialized medical attention.

He had submitted that he was in need of specialized medical attention thus he be granted bail.

By Mpasho

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Chile Military plane goes missing with 38 aboard

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A Chilean military plane board 38 individuals is reported to have gone missing just after takeoff from the country’s south for a station in Antarctica. It is believed to have crashed.

Crew members aboard C-130 were seventeen, and the others were passengers.

Chile air force statement on Tuesday added: “all national and international air and maritime means available in the area are continuing the search (for survivors) in the sector where communications were lost with the aircraft.”

The aircraft lost contact about over an hour after taking off. The plane took off Monday at 4.55 pm (19:55 GMT) from an airbase in Punta Arenas in Chile’s far south and contact was lost at 6.13 pm.

The onboard members were to sort logistical support roles at Chile’s Eduardo Frei Antarctic base — the country’s largest, the Air Force said.

The crew was as well being flown to examine the base’s floating fuel supply pipeline and carry out any anti-corrosive measures at the facility.

“The plane did have a satellite positioning system, but it did not appear to be working during the early morning search, “said Eduardo Mosqueira, Commander of the Fourth Air Brigade.

President Sebastian Pinera’s country has been facing severe civil unrest in decades. He said in a tweet, he would fly to the southern city of Punta Arenas with Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel.

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Upon arrival, he would speak with Defense Minister Alberto Espina on how to conduct the search and rescue mission using aircraft and navy vessels.

This is the latest occurrence in the country. The Chileans have been protesting social and economic inequality as well as entrenched political elite for almost two months.  In a report by the Organization of American States, this crisis and its demonstrations have resulted in 26 deaths and over 12000 injuries.

 

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