The much anticipated Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) final report was finally presented to President Uhuru Kenyatta and his handshake partner Raila Odinga on Wednesday after months of waiting.
In the report seen by this writer, key proposals include the amendment of the 2010 Constitution to expand the national executive in order to promote greater inclusivity and mitigate the drawbacks of the winner-take-all electoral formula.
The 11-member Building Bridges Initiative Steering Committee led by Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji proposes the introduction of the office of the Prime Minister and two Deputy Prime Ministers.
“A person is eligible to be nominated as the Prime Minister if the person is a member of the National Assembly who is the leader of the majority party or coalition of parties in the National Assembly, ” the report reads.
The Prime Minister shall be appointed by the President within seven days of being sworn into office after a General Election.
The nominee shall be approved by MPs.
The proposed roles of the PM include:
(a) Be the leader of government business in the National Assembly;
(b) Oversee the legislative agenda in the National Assembly on behalf of government;
(c) Supervise the execution of the functions of ministries and government departments;
(d) Chair cabinet committee meetings as assigned by the President;
(e) Assign any of the functions of the Office to the Deputy Prime Ministers; and
(f) Perform any other duty assigned by the President or conferred by legislation.
The position shall become vacant if the holder of the office is dismissed by the President; ceases to be a member of the National Assembly in accordance with Article 103; resigns from office in writing addressed to the President; or is impeached from office.
If the position is declared vacant the President shall nominate another person and forward the name to Parliament for approval.
The report further proposes a mixed cabinet that will see ministers appointed from members of the National Assembly.
Also proposed in the report is the reintroduction of the position of Leader of Opposition in Parliament.
According to the proposed law, the Leader of Official Opposition shall be the person who received the second greatest number of votes in a presidential election; and whose political party or coalition of parties has at least twenty-five per cent of all the members of the National Assembly.
The BBI team also seeks introduction of the independent office of the Judiciary Ombudsman, who shall sit on the Judicial Service Commission.
The BBI task force was established following President Kenyatta’s March 9, 2018, handshake with Odinga to operationalize their reconciliation across the country following the aftermath of the disputed 2017 election.