Opinion: Extending the BBI is all about buying the involved parties time
This Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) is now the vehicle to keep the relevance of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and the Jubilee government afloat. As they have a joint project, which has no proper mandate, but buys the President and his cronies time to loot. The BBI is a smokescreen and the project is not only flawed, but built on the wrong premises.
That Odinga is doing is, seems so that he has a purpose. Because without the BBI he would be a lost fellow, who claimed to be President, but gave it away with the handshake. That is how it seems. The Report showed this, like a hallow manifesto with grandeur and big-man words, but not the initial wording to make it a legal text.
That is why December, two weeks or so after the release of the report. The State and ODM still pushes the need for the Taskforce and the BBI. This means its a tool for legitimacy and buying time. Since, there is nothing substantial being done, neither motions nor bills being made with the recommendations from the report. Which is showing the real intent.
Just look at the statements made during the previous week on the matter, first the State House and than Odinga.
State House statement:
“The President and the Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga thanked the team for putting together a report that captures the aspirations of Kenyans and requested the Taskforce to continue leading the BBI process. The Taskforce will therefore steer the next phase of the process which will largely involve expanding and guiding public participation, and structuring recommendations by Kenyans into implementable action plans” (State House – ‘President Kenyatta Extends Term Of BBI Taskforce’ 12.12.2019).
Odinga statement on 17th December:
“ As a party, it is in our DNA to take a stand on critical issues of the day. ODM never stands or sits on the fence. We never sway with the wind from this side to that when the interests of the nation are at stake. That is what we have done with the Handshake and the BBI. We have taken a stand based on very clear understanding of what is to be achieved. We have been able to merge our interests as a party with the broader interests of the nation and supported the BBI. We are in this to redesign the architecture of our nation” (…) “ The BBI enabled Kenyans to voice these concerns that clearly threaten our nation. The same BBI gives us a chance to address these concerns. From here one, what we should be debating is what to adopt, what to amend and what to discard out of the BBI proposals” (ODM Reloaded – ‘REMARKS OF H.E RAILA ODINGA, EGH, ODM PARTY LEADER AT THE JOINT ODM PG/NEC ON THE BBI REPORT; DECEMBER 17, 2019’).
Clearly, they intend to do something, but seems like a fancy way of promising change, while conducting more consultations and more rallies for the same. They are supposed to gather more evidence and more public involvement into it. As they are supposed to find the consensus within the public and design the Republic thereafter.
However, that means the BBI will use more government funds for a supposed progression reports and whatnot. Not just the first findings. The BBI halfway project are getting a second mandate. To build on the foundation and supposed do something. Even if there are no real clear mandate, neither here nor there. Neither is the task nor the committee anywhere to be seen.
The BBI seems more and more like a side-show. A play for the guards. To keep preoccupied, instead of actually governing. Because, why do you need to govern, when you got someone in the future giving you guidance, while they are not in office. Why do the work? When someone else will tell you to do something else.
The BBI in this way, seems to be the meal-ticket, the safe-guard and the method to buy relevance of the ODM and Odinga. While Kenyatta get friendly faces from his arch-nemesis and his associates. In this way, get legitimacy and power. In a way, where he doesn’t even have to work. He can just read the delivered paperwork and call it a day.
That is how it seems now. The BBI as a project is just for show and PR. It is not for betterment nor for progress. This is a game for paid state officials jobs and keeping the status quo as it is. The BBI is just letting all the talk go, while the lack of governing is forgotten in the drama of the BBI. Peace.