By Kithure Kindiki
I have finished a second reading of the BBI report. It:
1. Is 90% about us politicians and only 10% about the people that we lead.
2. Is hell-bent on leading a broke Country into an expensive referendum, while almost all of the proposed reforms can be achieved through a faithful implementation of the Constitution as it is, Constitutional amendments that do not require a referendum & initiating new statutory & policy instruments.
3. Does not provide any practical solutions to the already crippling public debt (current ceiling of Ksh 9 Trillion will be hit in the next two years according to the National Treasury, yet President Kibaki’s administration left a debt of only Ksh 800B, and a ceiling of Ksh 1 Trillion).
4. Enlarges the size of both the National Assembly & the Senate, and creates at least three new Commissions (on health, youth and police respectively) escalating the already bloated public wage will. The wage Bill is at Ksh 800B which is 50% of the Ksh 1.6 Trillion the KRA hopes to collect. We must downsize the wage Bill to below KShs 500 B no matter the cost.
5. Has failed to provide bold, concrete & practical suggestions on how we can stop losing Ksh 600B every year (per EACC) to theives perched high in leadership of National & County Governments & in Civil Service, as well as their families, cronies & surrogates.
6. Conveniently fails to provide remedies out of the near bankruptcy that we are in. The Country’s economy has collapsed & the Nation technically insolvent. With an annual budget of KSh 3 Trillion currently, KSh 900B is for debt redemption, KShs 800B is for public sector wages & allowances, KShs 350B is for other forms of recurrent expenditure , while Kshs 600B is lost through corruption (per EACC)…yet KRA collection is stuck at KShs 1.6 Trillion at best.
7. Kills the Senate completely. The only proposed “innovation” for strengthening this House of Devolution is to transfer Women Reps to the Senate. There is a complete failure to appreciate that Senates/ upper Chambers in all jurisdictions exist principally to protect the federal units/regions/States/devolved units against the excesses of the Centre.That is why Senate works on the principle of one County, one Vote; on equality of Counties & thereby cushioning marginalized communities & ethnic minorities from the harsh excesses of majoritarian dictatorship. With the death of the Senate ( the second death , the first one having occured in1966), devolution will be left to the devices of the whimsical manipulation of the National Government administration of the day & a National Assembly which operates on the majoritarianism principle.
8. Forces Governor candidates to have a running mate of opposite gender (which is in itself un-democratic) while curiously, it does not impose the same requirements on Presidential candidates. This shows the thinking that at the Counties is where you dump unpleasant experiments, by interfering with composition & roles of Senate and forcing Governors to respect Women while exempting the National Executive from the rule.
9. Simplistically assumes that if you reward the top 5 most populous ethnic communities (going by our voting propensities), the 39 communities constituting Kenya’s ethnic minorities are inconsequential & the country will be politically inclusive, stable and prosperous.
10. Assumes if you give a political seat to an ethnic chief, then the community’s social, economic & political grievances have been addressed.
11. Proposes no viable mechanisms of healing the wounds inflicted through a century trauma, corruption, gross & systematic violation of human rights, land grabbing, class inequalities, deliberate marginalisation of certain parts of Kenya & skewed sharing of national resources, development projects, public appointments & the like.
12. Is an eclectic mix of pain-killer solutions to serious, deep-seated problems that require a complete surgery to lift millions of our people from abject poverty as well as the inclusion & bettering of the lives of subsistence farmers, cobblers, shoe shiners, cooks, house helps, micro enterprise traders, lower cadres in the disciplined forces & civil service, watchmen, fisher folk, peasants & all the other suffering lot in our midst.
For the aforementioned reasons, unless I am eventually pursuaded otherwise by alternative, well argued & reasoned explanation before the vote on the BBI proposals, I OPPOSE.