President Uhuru Kenyatta met governors from Rift Valley at the State House Nairobi for a briefing on the upcoming BBI rally in Nakuru. During the meeting the president stressed ODM leader Raila Odinga’s role in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) forums as key.
Uhuru emphasised that he doesnt want March 21 rally at Afraha Stadium to cause cracks that may lead to ethnic tensions. The meeting that was not attended by all the governors from the Rift Valley region came on the backdrop of rising political tensions in the Rift.
The president had to explain it that they calmed the tensions after striking a deal signified by the handshake on March 9 2018. A governor who attended the meeting quoted President Kenyatta telling the governors that Raila is his partner in the BBI drive and must be allowed to the process.
Raila has led all the BBI rallies in Kisii, Kakamega, Mombasa, Garissa, Kitui and Meru but Uhuru has not attended any although there have been calls from the politicians allied to the DP William Ruto inviting the president to attend and lead the rally that will be held at historic Afraha Stadium. So far, the president has not heeded to that call.
The governors who attended the State House meeting were Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu), Josphat Nanok (Turkana), Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet), Stanley Kiptis (Baringo) and John Lonyangapuo (West Pokot), Paul Chepkwony (Kericho), Hillary Barchok (Bomet), Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia) and Lee Kinyanjui of Nakuru County.
Uhuru stressed on the importance of inclusion and why the Kalenjin nation needs not to isolate itself from the rest of kenyans as he directed the governors to ensure that the success of Nakuru meeting is marked by peace and unity.
The President instructed also instructed the county bosses to be fair and all politicians air their views, both from the opposition and government but literally it should be from Kielewe and Tangatanga.
Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, who will be the host stated that the State House meeting was to get blessings from the head of state to build a united platform for BBI.
“As we have shown before, Nakuru must recapture the lost spirit of BBI. We need to live up to the true meaning of building bridges. That’s what the president is insisting on and its for that reason the character and spirit of the Nakuru rally will be to bring divergent views together and reverse escalation of negative rhetoric,” Kinyanjui said.
After further consultations the counties making the Rift Valley bloc will again meet in Eldoret on Thursday to consolidate views into a memorandum to be submitted to the BBI task force team led by Senator Yusuf Hajji at the Nakuru meeting.
There are leaders from the region who have bowed to stay away from the rally if Raila Odinga of ODM will be the man to receive their recommendations to the BBI task force. It is such kinds of rising tensions that led to Nakuru meeting between the leaders that was scheduled for march 7 and that of Eldoret.
They wanted President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto to attend because they dont understand and recognise Raila’s stewardship. When Uhuru and Ruto publicly made a pact to work together and unite their ‘warring factions’ they did it in Nakuru in 2012.
Uhuru must be concerned with the hard line stand taken by a section of Rift Valley leaders over BBI.
West Pokot Governor Prof John Lonyangapuo told the press that his colleagues committed to embrace unity and inclusivity during the rally after the consultative meeting with the president as they also embarked on series of consultative meetings in their respective counties to rally the people in readiness for the Nakuru rally.