Kenya’s Building Bridges Initiative: Thriving Plan or Political Agenda?

At the outline it only states to promote equality throughout Kenya, but Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) plan can lead to further divides rather than ending them. In a plan championed by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga, the delimitation of not having boundaries can give rise to divides within the political spectrum of the nation.

Presently, the two leaders working hand-in-hand are more focused on promoting reconciliation in the wake of disputed election 2017, which threatened to fuel insurgency of the same magnitude as 2007. The disrupted violence at that time saw more than 1,100 people losing lives.

The so-called Building Bridges Initiative foresees a plan that won’t dictate winner takes it all monopoly, instead it will reduce executive’s power, while increasing the role of parliament, as per Bloomberg claims. According to the further claims, the document was verified by people, who asked not to be identified, because the information is still confidential and last minute changes are possible.

A plan that implies foes who are now friends, progress remains an assurance policy, which will make everything top-notch. However, this is what even other politicians thought when they welcomed the idea, but it has since caused fuss in the ruling Jubilee Party.

As the idea lays out, Odinga would be the next president in 2022, leaving Kenyatta’s deputy, William Ruto, out of contention.

“Ruto is deeply suspicious of BBI because he sees it as a vehicle to create a coalition that excludes him,” said Nic Cheeseman, a professor of democracy at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. “The threat is that this then raises the political temperatures, and each side starts to prepare for the worst,” he added.

The Kenyan politics is driven by five major groups which includes, Kenyatta’s Kikuyu, Ruto’s Kalenjin, Odinga’s Luo, the Luhya and the Kamba. And the power is majorly in the hands of the party that secures support from at least three groups.

The politics in nation is, thus, a live wire that catches fire with change in influence. To top it, these ethnic coalitions have already given rise to disputes between Kenyatta and Ruto supporters, bringing the nation to a standstill.

Therefore, when Ruto backed Kenyatta for the presidency, he kept in mind the opportunity to become the next president in 2022, until Odinga entered the frame and the game turned over his head.

Odinga, who is currently the leader of Orange Democratic Movement and failed to attain power in his last four attempts, has also had a conflicting relationship with Kenyatta. However, in March 2018, the duo came together and reached a deal; terms for which are still not published.

A final version of the Building Bridges Initiative report will be presented to Kenyatta and Odinga this week, according to Martin Kimani, the secretary of group that is working on the term.

It is expected that besides proposing changes to the way the government is structured, the panel is also ought to convey how to tackle with corruption, and how to share the nation’s prosperity. However, the initiative would still be subject to national debate and even a referendum before it is formally adopted.

Nonetheless, if Odinga takes over the charge of the next government and Ruto is sidelined in the name of building new bridges, the political stability is sure to shake up once again.

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