During the Supreme Court proceedings following the 2017 bungled presidential election, the Bench dealt with an imperious presidency. The President could not understand how the Supreme Court nullified the election of a powerful incumbent.
Before the IBBI report was published, voters were said to want a president with a popular mandate. They did not want two centres of power. Now that they got a ‘powerful president’, the clergy don’t want an ‘imperial president’.
Shifting goalposts may delay or derail the process. When Mwai Kibaki became president in 2002, he promised a new constitution within the first 100 days of taking office. He didn’t until 2010, three years into his controversial second term. Former activists who surrounded the ‘change’ President Kibaki, like former Gichugu MP Martha Karua and Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, want BBI deferred.
Rather than seeking to improve the draft, some demands could torpedo the initiative. Once granted, it could open floodgates for other interest groups to make further demands.
Nine key issues sprout from the original Building Bridges Initiative of 2018: Shared prosperity, inclusivity, divisive elections, dearth of national ethos, ethnic antagonism, devolution, corruption, security and human rights.
The March 2018 amity between the advocate of liberation politics Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta was a reconciliation pact. It’s the foundation of BBI, whose report is the subject of partisan rancour. It’s a clash between agents of the status quo and pro-change forces. The Uhuru-Raila pact ended post-2017 post-election fires. It’s marketed as the vaccine for future post-election misadventures.
Refining the BBI report is a fair demand, which should be granted. Derailing the initiative to preserve a skewed Executive, which has been dominated by two of 43 tribes for 60 years, is selfish and anti-nationhood.