Kenya: BBI Report Suggests Creation of More Political Posts To Tackle Election Violence

The Building Bridges Initiative’s report released on Wednesday suggests the creation of more senior political posts in Kenya including that of the prime minister and increase payments to regional governments in a bid to end cyclical election violence, reported Reuters.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and rival Raila Odinga launched the report that they call a road map for unifying the country and ending deadly violence around elections. The commission that made the report was formed last year after the two leaders came together after a national election in which 100 people, most of them protesters, were killed in 2017.

The post-election violence in 1992, 1997, 2007 and 2017 forced the Kenyan Supreme Court to nullify the presidential election over irregularities and order a fresh vote, which the opposition boycotted.

The report in question recommended the creation of the post of the prime minister, replacing the electoral commission and increasing the governments’ share of the national budget from 18% to 35%. Currently, Kenya’s government is led by the president, and the country does not have a prime minister. The holder of the prime minister’s position will be appointed by the President from among the MPs with majority seats in the national assembly.

The report also proposed the runner-up of the presidential election should be given a new post of the official leader of the opposition. It takes aim at widespread corruption, saying government officials should not engage in business while in office.

President Kenyatta said the report should spark a national debate that will lead to reforms.

 “These proposals … are not the end but the beginning of a much-needed debate about the new Kenya,” Odinga said.

Some political observers criticized the report as they had hoped for bolder recommendations against corruption.

Anti-corruption expert John Githongo said the report seems like muddled.

Economist David Ndii, who was Odinga’s chief strategist during the election, called the report an “Uhuru-Raila self-preservation political project.”

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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