Western leaders clash over BBI

From left, Former Kakamega Senator Dr. Boni Khalwale, Matungu Mp Justus Murunga, and Mumias East Benjamin Washiali . [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Politicians from western Kenya have clashed over the suspension of signature collection for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report.

Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa and Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala welcomed the suspension, saying it will allow for dialogue on the report.

Washiali said Kenyans deserved an opportunity to speak out and have their views put into the document that will be presented to them in a referendum. “We have the opportunity of making a more inclusive document that all parties will agree on and will bring unity,” he said.

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Malala cautioned that bulldozing the document will only cause further division.

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“If we discuss and come up with a unifying document we may end up using only Sh2 billion and not the projected Sh14 billion in a referendum,” he said at the burial of Kakamega County Chief of Staff Robert Sumbi at Mumias Sports Complex.

However, the pro-BBI brigade, led by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya dismissed the demand by the leaders, terming them “pure wastage of time on an already decided document”.

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Oparanya said the die is cast on the BBI report and it will be passed soon.

The Council of Governors (CoG) chairman said counties will support the report because it has proposed increment of resources to the grassroots.

“I have been at the forefront fighting for the betterment of devolution because as governors, we have faced difficulties in the last two terms in terms due to limited resources,” Oparanya said.

Nominated Senator Naomi Shiyonga said the BBI reggae had not stopped as is being propagated by critics.

“We wanted to make sure that the report is inclusive and doesn’t leave someone out but it will be passed,” said Shiyonga.

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Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati said the report was an indication that Kenya was embracing devolution.

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