A section of Members of Parliament from Western Kenya and Nyamira have said they would rally behind the Building Bridges Initiative if its proposals would strengthen devolution.
They said the delegation of power and resources to lower levels had helped open up even the so-called marginalised areas in the country.
Speaking separately in Mumias East and North Mugirango Friday, where Deputy President William Ruto launched the Wanga Technical and Vocational College and led an empowerment drive for Boda Boda riders, respectively, the leaders said what Kenyans needed most is more funds channeled to counties.
Leaders present were Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi, MPs Ben Washiali (Mumias East), Malala Injendi (Malava), Enock Kibunguchi (Likuyani), John Waluke (Sirisia), Geoffrey Omuse (Teso South) and Joash Nyamoko (North Mugirango).
Others were Vincent Kemosi (West Mugirango), Shadrack Mose (Kitutu Masaba), Alpha Miruka (Bomachoge Chache), Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, and former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale.
“How come it has taken this long to prepare this report? It appears to have an ill-intention for this country,” said Mr Washiali.
He said the country would not accept any proposal that would frustrate devolution.
Kemosi said if the BBI committee got genuine views from Kenyans, “why are they hiding their report?”
Kibunguchi said the BBI report would have to be exposed to “serious public assessment” before a decision on it is made.
The Ford-Kenya elected MP said he would support it if it would seek to add more money to the devolution cause.
“Counties have proved to be engines of development; we thus need more attention, in terms of funds, allocated to devolved units,” explained the Likuyani Constituency lawmaker.
Kibunguchi added that the BBI would have to be fought tooth-and-nail “if it takes us back to the pre-devolution era”.
The MP further noted that he was on a mission to preparing the path for other Opposition MPs to follow in backing you (Dr Ruto) in the 2022 Presidential bid.
Kisii Deputy Governor argued that the country would not allow its leaders—such as the President—be elected by MPs.
Kenyans, he said, should elect their leaders from grassroots to the top.
Despite its content having not yet been made public, Sirisia MP said BBI would “destroy” the country.
Waluke noted that BBI was a one-man game-plan that needs to be vehemently opposed.
“The man behind it has perpetual hunger to change the Constitution for selfish reasons. There was no serious public participation in BBI, as a result, it is a useless report,” observed Waluke.
On his part, Omuse said Kenyans would oppose any move that would deny them a chance to have a say in the formation of a Government.
“This key function cannot be delegated to a few leaders such as the MPs; it is the public’s democratic right to exercise their voting powers,” he noted.
His sentiments were supported by Khalwale who said they would back a review of the constitution which does not create more seats for some leaders and put more burden on the people.
Miruka said they will evaluate contents of the BBI report.
“If it fails the common-man’s test, we would reject it. We cannot support anything that expands the Executive and leaves Kenyans burdened,” he added.
Mose noted that he would support the BBI, but on condition that it pushes for reforms that are progressive.
Meanwhile, the Deputy President assured the public that the Government was committed to reviving Mumias Sugar Company.
“There have hiccups in the revival of the factory; that is why we have opted to come up with a better strategy to rejuvenate Mumias Sugar,” he said.
Dr Ruto said the national Government would support the County Government of Kakamega in a new master-plan that would give a new life to the struggling sugar firm.
“We would find a lasting solution for the benefit of the farmers and the country. But we must also think of diversifying our agriculture to mitigate against any possible losses,” said the Deputy President.