ODM leaders have issued fresh demand to make changes on the Building Bridges Initiative report barely a week after President Uhuru Kenyatta extended the term of the taskforce.
Party Mps confronted their boss Raila Odinga with new demands including proposal to have a powerful Prime Minister with two deputies.
Initial reports indicated that BBI would settle for a powerful PM but that ‘Odinga dream’ was diluted and made ‘powerless’ to avoid ruffling feathers with the governance structure.
In their last parliamentary group meeting and National Executive Council 2019, poked holes on the BBI document they launched with hype and fanfare last month at the Bomas of Kenya.
Deputy President William Ruto is fiercely opposed to creation of a powerful PM position because he wants to be the next president, powerful president.
The session that lasted hours in a Lovington hotel saw speaker after speaker demanding the position of the PM to be powerful to the government.
They argue that for inclusivity, the executive must be expanded to include a PM with deputies. They also want one deputy to be under 45 years of age to represent the youth.
ODM’s new demands are likely to cause fireworks over the festive season with Dp Ruto’s side already showing indications of rejecting any attempt to amend the BBI report.
Mt. Kenya region has been opposed to parliamentary system of governance saying it disadvantages their people in terms of representation.
ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna said that they are engaging in a sober debate on many recommendations and they will submit a detailed position on all areas to the BBI team at the right time.
The Yusuf Hajji led task force made ‘diluted’ proposals to change the executive and crushed ODM’s dream of having the position of an executive PM. BBI as it is proposes a non executive PM who would be picked by the president from a party with majority in parliament.
The team also proposes that the president remains the head of state, government and the commander in chief of the defence forces. This does not really change the winner take all situation it only creates a legitimate office for the runners up in a presidential race. The official opposition is dignified in the BBI document.
ODM feels this will still cause tensions and violence in every election cycle so they want to amend in the BBI’s second phase.
While addressing the meeting ODM party leader Raila Odinga also hinted at major recommendations terming the second phase a ‘makeover’ for the country.
Sources at the meeting revealed to KB that the Orange MPs are citing the executive model, resource allocation between county and national governments, and appointment of election officials and key areas that need readdress.
They are also demanding clear time frames for referendum to implement the improve report in second phase and are completely opposed to the president having the powers to hire and fire the PM.
Orange Mps expressed support for the 35% for the regional governments but they are still pushing for further amendments to have it based on the last edited accounts not the budget.
They argue that that will ensure that adequate resources are devolved to the counties to ensure full potential of devolution as envisioned by the crafters of the law.
As usual ODM has issues with the idea to restrict IEBC returning officers to one election, they claim they move is not necessary at all but they want the focus to be on preventing electoral malpractice and severe punishment for those implicated instead of changing all returning officers.
Mr. Odinga assured his party that all the issues they raised will form the party’s position when BBI team resumes its work next year.