Irungu Kang’ata warns President Kenyatta of BBI unpopularity in Mt. Kenya
Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata has written a letter to President Uhuru Kenyatta declaring that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) is unpopular in the Head of State’s native Central Kenya region.
Kang’ata says only two in ten people in Central Kenya support the BBI, a finding he said is based on his own personal observations over the Christmas holidays.
In a bold letter covering several other issues, the Murang’a Senator told the President that a ruling party candidate could be defeated in the forthcoming election of Nairobi Governor, saying such an outcome would embarrass the government and undermine its legislative agenda in the Houses of Parliament.
The polite salutations in the opening stages of the letter quickly yielded to the explosive details of what Senator Kang’ata, under an apparent strain of courtesy, termed ‘prospects and challenges’ of the BBI.
According to Kang’ata only two out of ten respondents supported the BBI, two others were indifferent while six opposed it; out of the six, majority were women and youth, men above 50 were listed as among the bulk of few supporters.
While admitting that his survey was not scientific, Kang’ata called for a more structured survey with properly identified respondents, scientific sampling procedures, employment of good research tools and questionnaires, further imploring the President to use his other sources of information to corroborate or counter his conclusion.
The Majority Whip, in the letter, avers that though most of his respondents were from Murang’a County, the sample size was big enough for him to make a logical inference.
“Your Excellency, I concede I may be wrong. In fact, I wish I was wrong and that my views are a mere pessimistic view of things. However, if I am right and we do not take urgent remedial measures, I will pin myself permanently in the pillar of the shame of spectacular defeat,” he wrote.
The Senator also used the revenue sharing debate stalemate at the Senate as an example of why there was need to flag matters beforehand.
Kang’ata, who took over from Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika who was ousted as the wrangles in the ruling Jubilee Party intensified, noted that one of the factors affecting the popularity of the BBI in the region was that it had been framed as a Jubilee factional agenda and that the internal problems of the party had been weaponized and used to deflect the Mt. Kenya people from its benefits.
He advised the President to bend backwards and rally all Members of Parliament from the region irrespective of their political faction, this seemingly seen to be in reference to the ‘Kieleweke’ and ‘Tanga Tanga’ factions.
“Your personal intervention would help at this juncture with BBI ratings being on a downward spiral,” he stated.
“I propose a parallel BBI supporting structure headed by a quasi-politician be established to manage MPs. Maybe a well-resourced office of the Secretary General can suffice…Alternatively, you can take personal charge of the process in the region.”
Kangata’s letter also raised the alarm to President Kenyatta that the use of the Provincial Administration and what he referred to as other forms of hard tactics was being interpreted as the government using its hard power to force its citizens to endorse the BBI.
While politely appearing to call for removal of the Provincial Administration in the process, Kang’ata said the “government has an iron fist. I propose we find ways the government wears velvet gloves…In my humble view, Provincial Administraion in BBI process should be invincible…”
In the letter, Kang’ata pronounced his support for the BBI report which he says contained many benefits for the region which may be lost forever if it failed.
“There is no guarantee a new regime where our son is not on the driving seat will offer these benefits to the region. They include creation of new constituencies, embedding in the constitution ‘one man, one shilling, one vote’ principle and more resources to the counties,” he stated.
He went on to warn that if the BBI flopped, small constituencies like Mukurweini, Othaya and Mathioya would be lost and so will the new third generation revenue sharing formula.
As he appealed to the President to take the bull by the horns, the Majority Whip stated that better resourced counties with a just and fair constitutional revenue sharing formula was a better insurance for the welfare of the Mt. Kenya region in the period beyond his regime and that BBI would bring to end the undermining of the Mt. Kenya diaspora whom he said were political punching bags since the early 90s by enhancing power sharing.
In his concluding remarks, Kang’ata appears to pour ice-cold water on the chances of the Jubilee Nairobi Gubernatorial candidate warning the President of the prospects of the government candidate losing in the race since the competitors had offered better candidates capable of rallying voters.