Updates: BBI Bomas conference as it unfolds


Kenya moves towards yet another historic moment as President Uhuru Kenya and ODM leader Raila lead the country in the launch of the final Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report at the Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi.

Standard Digital brings you the live coverage of the event, which could possibly shape the country’s political system.

Sunday evening: Event organisers put final touches to the preparation at Bomas of Kenya.

Monday early morning: Media crews arrive at the Bomas of Kenya.

7:00 am: Kenyans start arriving for the event. Security tight.

Leaders, mostly MPs also begin to arrive ahead of the event.

8:00 am: MP William Kamket (Tiaty, Kanu) says the report is good but did not meet all the expectations. Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay, ODM) says the report is good and addresses various issues.

9:00 am: Leaders continue giving their views on the report. Mutula Kilonzo Jr (Makueni Senator, Wiper) says some areas in the report require no referendum. Says the public can easily be confused in the politics of succession. Says the technical committee failed to provide technical advice on implementing proposals such as on governance. Says Kenya needs the best presidential election in 2022 and no need of vetting IEBC official, only flawless technology needed.

10:00 am: COTU Sec-Gen Francis Atwoli says some of their grievances were not addressed but is optimistic the proposals will be included at a later stage. Says BBI proposals are generally good save for the areas that need few corrections.

Says the BBI is good for Deputy President William Ruto. Argues the DP will not be a loser in case he fails to clinch the presidency in 2020 election.

ODM leader Raila Odinga arrives for the launch of the BBI report at Bomas of Kenya.

Others leaders among them Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula, Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka arrive for the event.

Kenyans continue giving their views on the report.

10:20 am: Agriculture CS Peter Munya says BBI report is good. Cites inclusive leadership, more resources for devolution and equality of votes as the upgrades of the report.

Says the report promises economic revamp given the economic incentives touched on it.

Says it’s important for IEBC commissioners to ‘live’ after presiding over an election-meaning limiting their terms to 4 years is ok.

Says increasing the seats will help in improving representation will bring equality of votes.

10:20 am: Agriculture CS Peter Munya says BBI report is good. Cites inclusive leadership, more resources for devolution and equality of votes as the upgrades of the report.

Says the report promises economic revamp given the economic incentives touched on it.

Says it’s important for IEBC commissioners to ‘live’ after presiding over the election, meaning limiting their terms to 4 years is ok.

Says increasing the seats will help improving representation which will bring equality of votes.

10:27 am: Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi (ODM) tells KTN News that he is happy that his constituents will realise the benefits of actualisation of the report after he has served his last term. Says leaders should divorce the process from personal ambitions.

Says the talk that the BBI is trying to lock out DP Ruto is inaccurate. Emphasises that succession politics should be delinked from the BBI.

10:30 am: DP William Ruto arrives at the venue for the event.

Kenyans in attendance continue voicing their opinions. Laud the efforts by the team to give youth tax holiday when repaying Helb loans and starting a business. Some argue that a president and a governor should be granted powers to dismiss their deputies.

10: 38 am: Master of Ceremonies leading the singing session.

Speakers reminded to stick to the program, warned that those who will deviate the program will have their microphones switch off.

10: 43 am: Siaya Senator James Orengo (ODM) speaks to KTN News. Says the BBI proposal on electoral laws will bring electoral justice. Says like US constitution was amended over time; Kenyan law can go through similar changes.

Says ministers coming from Parliament is a popular culture helping governments drive their agenda.

On gender parity, Orengo says the BBI proposals could bridge the gap in the required threshold. Says Parliament has failed in legislating laws for achieving two-thirds gender rule.

Orengo says DP Ruto has not been sidelined in the BBI report. Adds the DP chose to be on the sidelines himself. Not a fault of the president.

10:51 am: Band singing as leaders and Kenyans expect the arrival of the president for the event.

10: 57 am: Presidential motorcade make way into Bomas of Kenya as President Uhuru arrives at the venue for the launch.

11:04 am: Band singing Kenya Kipenzi Chetu, Kenya Nchi Yetu as instruments feel the air. The event is approaching its climax.

Master of Ceremonies orders DJ to play Mashujaa Day theme song Mimi ni Shujaa on Kenyan heroes. Gathering on feet to dance the song.

11: 11 am: President Uhuru welcomed in the arena.

MC alerts gathering for National Anthem and East African Anthem.

Sheikh Yusuf and Bishop Jackson Ole Sapit (Anglican Church) lead in prayers.

11: 17 am: Master of Ceremonies welcomes guests, invites musician Rufftone. Sings his hit song Mungu Baba Twaomba.

11: 22 am: Gathering watches short advert on BBI report, encouraging Kenyans to read the document.

11: 24 am: BBI taskforce Vice-Chair Prof Adams Oloo invited to speak. Says, “That baby is born, alive and kicking and the parents are ok.” Urges the steering committee to stand up. Recognises the team of experts, a young group that helped them too is recognised.

Oloo says team traversed all the 47 counties and 297 constituencies were represented in the report. Says youth, women, civil society, women, persons with disabilities and politicians were heard. Says government agencies appeared at the KICC forum and trade unions and other sections of society.

Says experts continued receiving the memoranda physically and via emails.

Says the report is multi-faceted and covers all the required pockets of concerns in society and governance.

11: 34am: Lawyer Tom Macharia and governance expert Paddy Onyango address gathering on the content of the report.

Mr Macharia explores the economic recommendations of the report such as incubation shops to address youth unemployment. Emphasises incentives for the youth like 4-year moratorium before repaying Helb loans.

Applause as he reads the BBI report recommendation on steps to meet gender parity. Covers recommendation on fighting against corruption, fraudulent land acquisition and upgrading the ODPP.

Covers recommendation on the reformation of the IEBC, creation of Leader of Official Opposition, creation of PM and DPM posts. Recommendation on renaming Cabinet Secretary to Minister-to be appointed from the National Assembly.

Creation of health body to harmonise health functions in counties and national government.

11: 42 am: Mr Paddy Onyango addresses the gathering on the BBI report. Covers Persons with Disability Act the report proposes to be repealed. This includes Kenya Sign language Bill for the deaf. Says team proposed a bill to solve the historical injustices. Says the committee recommends the issues to be addressed in phases but given priority.

Says IEBC Act seeks to strengthen the commission from interference as envisioned by the report. Says report contemplates that the commissioners are to be vetted afresh and if found fit will continue with their term. Says there is a recommendation that persons with disabilities form electoral colleges in parties to elect one of their own.

Says party disputes to be resolved internally before moving to tribunals, in which they will prove that internal mechanisms have yielded no fruits.

Says where violence is meted against women in the electoral period to attract tough penalties.

Campaign financing: Mr Onyango says there is a requirement that candidates seeking state office should declare sources of their funds for accountability.

Police: Says report recommends that IPOA be elevated to a Chapter 15 commission to bring discipline and finish extrajudicial killings by the police.

11: 52 am: Mama Pendo (Lencer Achieng’) and Baba Pendo- Says they are attending the event to preach peace. Urges politicians to continue preaching peace.

“Don’t leave us in pain as you move with your affairs,” says Achieng’.

Joseph Abanta (Pendo’s father): Says the Handshake brought peace. Says life should continue even after politics. “May my child’s blood be the last to be shed,” he says.

Joseph Kawe: Says he is one of the victims of the PEV since a tender age.

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