The credibility of the recently launched final Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report is at stake after a member of the task force claimed that the final draft was altered.
Maj (Rtd) John Seii claims that some of the proposals contained in the report were alien because they never featured in team’s initial deliberations.
Speaking during an interview with Kalenjin vernacular radio station Emoo FM on Thursday, Seii disclosed that members were ambushed to append their signatures on the report that was presented to President Uhuru Kenyatta and his handshake partner Raila Odinga on October 21, 2020, in Kisii, a day after the Mashujaa Day fete.
“We had no time to go through the document and the 14 of us looked at each other in total disbelief when we were asked to sign the final BBI draft that was set to be handed over to President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga,” said Seii.
Seii, a former chair of the Kalenjin Council of Elders (Myoot), singled out the proposal to introduce 70 Members of Parliament contained in the final report saying it was added without their knowledge.
“In our minds, we had heard the call from Kenyans to Kupunguza Mzigo. The donkey is tired and should be relived and if not so, then do not add more burden, ” he said.
“Then we saw the introduction of 70 MPs. Then we asked, where did the 70 come from? Who said this county should get them and the others will not get them.”
Seii claims Dr Florence Omose, a member of the task force, declined to sign the report.
“Omose declined to sign, arguing that she cannot sign what she had not seen. She was talked to until she accepted to sign, albeit with reservations. She asked why she was not given a chance to go through it first,” he said.
According to Seii, it took the team of experts time to convince them before the entire team penned their signatures.
“The summary of the report was read out to Kenyans during the Bomas launch. It could have been good if it was passed the way it was and experts only involved in identifying areas along Constitution, legislation and policy,” he said while referring to the first BBI report launched at Bomas in November 2019 before the team was sent back to structure its recommendations into implementable action plans.
The former military man also protested against Kenyans with divergent views being locked out of the BBI process.
“We feel even the word ‘inclusivity’, which was one of the thematic areas, has been betrayed. Why are people not being allowed to give their opinions?” he asked.
Seii’s sentiments have, however, been dismissed by BBI joint secretary Paul Mwangi, who termed them as “shocking”. Mwangi said the country’s leadership never interfered with the task force’s work.
“The allegations made by John Seii are shocking because we followed the same protocols that we had agreed on. The protocol was always that after discussions, we would go for a retreat and reach a decision on every matter,” he said.
Seii is among three elders said to have been picked by Deputy President William Ruto to join the BBI team following President Kenyatta’s March 9, 2018, handshake with Odinga. The team was tasked with the role of operationalizing their reconciliation across the country following the aftermath of the disputed 2017 election.
The DP expressed his reservations on some of the proposals contained in the final report during its official launch at Bomas in Nairobi on Monday, October 26.