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The highlights of the BBI report

With the BBI report now officially out, Kenyans have a chance to review the detailed proposals outlined under the nine-point agenda set out under building bridges initiative.

Here are the highlights of the key recommendations proposed under each of the BBI agenda.  

Lack of national ethos

Noting that there has been a lack of a national ethos that binds the country together, the BBI report proposes to build a common vision for Kenya and formulate goals that should be pursued as a nation by, among other things,

  • Writing the official history of Kenya as a nation
  • Teaching ethics as a compulsory subject throughout the school curriculum.
  • Removing the ethics mandate from the ethics and anti-corruption commission and giving it to NCIC.
  • Replacing boxing day with a national cultural day

Responsibilities and rights

Despite the existence of a bill of rights to protect the rights of the citizenry, Kenyans still lack a healthy regard for their responsibilities as citizens.

To ensure the citizenry meets their responsibilities to self, family, community, and country, the report proposes the following key actions:

  • Writing out a charter of citizen responsibilities to be borne by every Kenyan citizen, which should include the responsibility to self, family, and community.
  • Encourage Kenyans between 18 and 26 years to voluntarily serve Kenya for 6 months.
  • All cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries, and their families will be expected to attend government-run public institutions – be it hospitals, schools as a means of ensuring that such institutions work to the benefit of all Kenyans irrespective of social class.

Ethnic antagonism and competition

Although Kenya is a nation of diversity, this has often led to misunderstanding and conflict.

Among the proposals contained in the BBI report to managing diversity especially in the competition for power include:

  • Ensuring that all public boarding secondary schools enroll half of their student populations from outside the county.
  • Doing away with the winner-takes-all model of the presidency and establish a more inclusive political system.
  • Accelerate the process of EAC confederation to expose Kenyans to other ethnic communities
  • Strengthening the office of registrar of political parties to deal with ethnicization of politics.

Divisive elections

General elections in Kenya have often been characterized by heightened tension and violence, which stalls economic activity.

To stop elections from being a do or die event, the BBI report proposes a more inclusive political system where more communities play a bigger participatory role in governance.

This can be achieved through:

  • Change the nature and structure of the executive to make it more inclusive by creating the position of the prime minister
  • Establish an office for the leader of the opposition who will be runner up of the presidential election
  • Renaming the position of cabinet secretary back to cabinet minister due to perception
  • Crafting a cabinet comprising of technocrats and elected members of parliament
  • Where necessary, the president can name some MPs as state ministers to help cabinet ministers in their work at the national assembly.

Inclusivity

All citizens should have a feeling of national life and feel involved in the management of the country’s affairs in order to build national stability.

To enhance citizenry participation in national life, the BBI report proposes the following:

  • Establishment of the office of the public rapporteur to conduct all public participation
  • Minimize the power of cartels who use power and corruption to shape governance and policymaking
  • The public service commission and county service boards to undertake selective recruitment of candidates from minority groups.
  • Remove all handicaps to dual citizenship rights

Shared prosperity

In order to promote prosperity, the BBI report recommends that

  • The country needs to have a 50-year plan and work towards it in phases of 5 years to 10 years
  • Give incentives to the people in the diaspora to remit more money
  • Develop a local human development index
  • Eliminate all sitting allowances for public officers on salary
  • Promote technical education and employment as a respectable engagement

Corruption

Many Kenyans believe the system is rigged and rewards corruption. To fight this, the BBI report proposes to:

  • Target bankers and banking executives promoting money laundering
  • Banning public officers from doing business with the government
  • Promote whistleblowing by giving rewards of 5% of recovered proceeds
  • Enhance freedom of media and whistle-blowers who report corruption
  • Make Kenya a 100% e-service nation
  • Make all wealth declaration forms open to public scrutiny

Devolution

In order to address the challenges that are hindering the success of devolution, the report recommends

  • Retention of all 47 counties but encourage then to form regional economic blocks
  • Finalizing the transfer of functions from national to county governments
  • Parastatals carrying out county functions should be wound up or restructured
  • Transfer health sector personnel element from county governments to an independent health service

Safety and security

To address safety and security, the BBI report calls for the following:

  • Ensuring that safety and security is prioritized on government programs
  • Development and operationalization of a national emergency, disaster and crisis management strategy
  • Promulgation of article 208 for the operation of a contingencies fund
  • Strengthening cybersecurity capabilities
  • Co-ordinating the prevention of radicalization and violent extremism initiatives in ministries
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