Politics

BBI task force fails to agree on proposals

BBI task force fails to agree on proposals

Summary

  • A source from within the task force said that the President’s office had been furnished with an advance copy of the draft report before an appropriate date for the handover is announced.
  • On Saturday, the task force chairman Yusuf Haji downplayed the stand-off instead saying people who are eager to know contents of the report had resorted to speculation.

A list of sticky issues that are yet to be agreed upon by handlers of President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga is delaying the release of the final report of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) task force.

The Sunday Nation is privy to the last-minute manoeuvres by both camps to reach a consensus on issues ranging from the fate of the National Treasury, Nairobi County and how to achieve two-thirds gender rule in elective positions to pave the way for the official handing over in August.

While in the draft recommendation they all agree to reintroduce the position of prime minister, a major point of departure has been whether to have an executive one or not. The term of the task force expired last month and they were expected to have handed in the report at least by last weekend, according to some insiders.

A source from within the task force said that the President’s office had been furnished with an advance copy of the draft report before an appropriate date for the handover is announced.

The team leaning towards Mr Odinga’s side wants an autonomous National Treasury fashioned like that of the United States of America. The President’s side prefers that the status quo, where the executive arm of government controls it is maintained.

SOUND DECISIONS

Those in favour of autonomy argue that the move will make the Treasury undertake sound decisions on matters of finances and economy of the country without interference from outside forces.

On representation, there are those pushing for an increase in women seats in Parliament to bridge the gender gap, another area that has not attracted consensus.

Another faction wants a law passed to ensure that a running pair for President and deputy president, governor and deputy governor should not be of the same gender. This has yet to be agreed on.

The desire by the leadership to hand in a document supported by all members has seen it take more time within what they are calling ‘clerical’ stage.

Some of the members want counties given powers to nominate MPs as opposed to political parties. It would mean, the higher the population of a county, the more nomination slots it gets.

On Saturday, the task force chairman Yusuf Haji downplayed the stand-off instead saying people who are eager to know contents of the report had resorted to speculation.

“I understand people want to know what is in the final report. We are ready to hand in the document as soon as we are invited by the appointing authority to do so,” he said.

EXUDED CONFIDENCE

But as Senator Haji exuded confidence, Sunday Nation established that some of the key BBI supporters who are not satisfied by some of the recommendations may end up fighting it after the launch. This is one of the concerns within the handshake corridors as Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga seek a broader support for the document.

“You can only talk of a deadlock if the committee gave a date of submitting the report and failed to honour it,” ODM secretary-general Edwin Sifuna said.

Two high-ranking task force members who are opposed to having an additional 47 elected women to the Senate insist that the House should be retained in its current form.

This despite other members pointing out the National Assembly is already too bloated with 349 lawmakers hence there should be no additional members in the House.

CAPITAL CITY

The proposal to have Nairobi as a metropolitan authority under the ambit of the national government got the nod of those allied to the President while the other camp wants the capital city to remain as a county with a governor in-charge to protect the gains of devolution.

ODM chairman John Mbadi said he is not aware of any deadlock between the President and Mr Odinga even as he confirmed without divulging more details that most of the issues have largely been agreed on.

“What is causing anxiety among Kenyans is just when the report will be released,” Mr Mbadi told the Sunday Nation.

The steering committee had in March suggested that it could present its report together with a draft referendum Bill for those sections of their proposals that would require a referendum

In its November 2019 report, the Haji team wants the prime minister, who will be the head of government business and will manage the day-to-day activities of government, to be an elected MP appointed by the President with the approval of MPs, but with no additional salary or allowances.

Additional reporting by Wanjohi Githae