The much-anticipated report of the Building Bridges Initiative was launched on Wednesday to great pomp and circumstance in the Kenyan capital. The initiative - the brainchild of President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader, Raila Odinga - was conceived nearly in March 2018 in the famous "Handshake" agreement that ended months of post-election violence and confrontations that had seen dozens killed by the police.
The BBI was tasked with inquiring into and making recommendations about nine areas that Kenyatta and Odinga had decided were crucial to the effort to "create a united nation for all Kenyans living today, and all future generations".
The report has come up with a wide-ranging series of recommendations, including restructuring government to re-introduce a hybrid system of government featuring shared power between a president and a prime minister with members of Kenya's Parliament now allowed to become part of the Cabinet. Election losers have been tossed a bone with the runner-up in the presidential elections automatically gaining a seat in Parliament as leader of the official opposition.
Taskforce was appointed by Gazette Notice No. 5154, published on 31 May 2018. It
was our privilege, as per the mandate, to evaluate the national challenges outlined in the
Joint Communiqu of Building Bridges to a New Kenyan Nation, and having done so, make
practical recommendations and reform proposals that build lasting unity.
In the report The Face of Kenya was captured in this process: more than 7,000 citizens from all ethnic
groups, genders, cultural and religious practices, and different social and economic sectors
were consulted. The Taskforce heard from more than 400 elected leaders past and present;
prominent local voices from the community; and young people who added their voice to
citizens in the Counties; 123 individuals representing major institutions, including
constitutional bodies and major stakeholders in the public and private sectors; 261
individuals and organizations who sent memoranda via (e)mail; and 755 citizens who
offered handwritten submissions during public forums in the Counties.