Almost a year after the Handshake, the Building Bridges Initiative Advisory Taskforce presented its final report to President Uhuru Kenyatta. Thereafter, in a colourful ceremony attended by almost all politicians at the Bomas of Kenya, the full report was launched and released to the public for reading and further scrutiny. The Building Bridges Report encompasses nine key areas of focus that have been identified to be vital to the building and sustaining of a stable and united Kenya. The nine areas examined are: the lack of a national ethos, the responsibilities and rights of the State and the citizens respectively, reducing ethnic antagonism and competition, divisive elections, inclusivity, devolution, shared prosperity, corruption and safety and security. The matter of Commissions and other cross-cutting issues were also looked into.
In its opening remarks of the report, the Taskforce states that ‘more than 7000 citizens from all ethnic groups, genders, cultural and religious practices, and from different social and economic backgrounds were consulted.’ Further, it provides that more than 400 elected leaders, both past and present; youth from the counties, 123 individuals representing major institutions and 751 citizens via handwritten submissions participated in the public forums that were held to collect views during the process.
The recent 2019 census results show that Kenya has 47, 564,296 people. The Taskforce provides that it consulted ‘more than 7000’ citizens. Is this really representative of the views of all Kenyans? Were all Kenyan citizens given an opportunity to make representations on the nine key areas supposed to create a better Kenya?