Nyanza leaders hold strategy meeting to drum support for BBI

Nyanza leaders hold strategy meeting to drum support for BBI

ODM leader Raila Odinga (Right) flanked by other leaders. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

A section of Nyanza leaders yesterday met in Kisumu to strategise on how to campaign for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

The leaders meeting came ahead of next week’s gathering called by ODM leader Raila Odinga with select political leaders, business leaders, elders and professionals from the region to market the BBI.

Yesterday, Nyanza BBI Coordinator Bob Madanji convened a meeting of a few leaders, including serving and former MPs, at Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o’s boardroom to plan for Raila’s Monday meeting.

Madanji confirmed the meeting was on but the press was only invited to the Monday meeting.

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Sources told the Saturday Standard that the leaders raised concerns that although BBI was popular in Nyanza, civic education had not been done to sensitise the voters on the contents of the report.

There was a general feeling that for the region to support the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill 2020 without wavering, then there is need to go out and market it to the electorate.

The concerns come as an anti-BBI team planned to troop to the rural areas to campaign against the document, saying they want to know what is at stake for the common mwananchi.

On Thursday, Communist Party of Kenya (CPK) Deputy Leader Booker Ngesa vowed to lead a “revolutionary movement” known as ‘Kongamano la Mageuzi’ to seek for “restorative justice”.

Ngesa said the country had lost direction because great revolutionary minds such as Siaya Senator James Orengo and Prof Nyong’o had taken a back seat.

“These are the people with whom we coined Social Democratic Party (SDP) and began a revolutionary movement to change the administrative system in this country. Today they are relaxed,” said Ngesa.

He said the likes of Orengo and Nyong’o are no longer interested in pulling the tide against political establishment because they are now part of the system and this is why they are coming in to fill the void.

“CPK is coming up as an alternative party to the new Kenyan generation ready to take over from the current crop of politicians because we have a progressive mind,” Ngesa said Kisumu.

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He vowed to lead anti-BBI campaigns in Nyanza, especially in Siaya County where he comes from, setting the stage for a backlash from local leaders, led by governor Cornel Rasanga, backing BBI.

Rasanga declared after the County Assembly ratified the BBI Bill that they will now go out to market it and let the people understand what gains lie in store.

The BBI Bill is expected to be taken to Parliament and then finally brought back to seek the consent of the people through a referendum.

Yesterday, sources at the Nyanza leaders’ meeting chaired by Madanji and Kisumu Deputy Governor Mathews Owili agreed to push for endorsement of the BBI Bill in all the region’s six counties.

Also present were Kisumu Special Projects Director Ruth Odinga and MCAs.

Already, ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna has sent out letters to all MCAs, MPs, senators and governors for an urgent consultative meeting in Kisumu on Monday.

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The meeting comes hot on the heels of last week’s Sagana State Lodge meeting held by President Uhuru Kenyatta to start active BBI campaigns.

In the Sagana meeting, at least 10 county assemblies assured President Kenyatta that they will pass the BBI Bill within the required timeline.

Politics of deceit

He questioned the motive of those opposed to equal allocation of resources to all parts of the country and cautioned Kenyans against politics of deceit perfected by some leaders against good tiding.

The president thanked the county legislators for endorsing the BBI process, saying the reforms will strengthen devolution and accelerate Kenya’s socio economic transformation.

According to Sifuna, the Kisumu leaders’ meeting with Raila will have not more than 200 people.

Nyong’o’s team held consultative and planning meetings on Thursday and yesterday ahead of the event.

The BBI Bill needs to be passed by at least 24 counties for it to move to the next stage. 

It was taken to the county assemblies after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced it had verified more than 1.1 million signatures in support of the report.

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