The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) launch drive in Bungoma was characterized by low turnout as some key leaders snubbed it.
Reports now indicate that a phone call from the Deputy President William Ruto’s close ally and Kimilili Mp Didmus Barasa made all Bungoma county Mps, majority MCAs and key religious leaders skipping the fete.
A leader who spoke to this writer in confidence, stated that they received calls instructing them not to attend the launch of BBI signature collection until there is consensus.
“We agreed on one principle not to attend the event, even the organizers themselves ignored us, so it was a pay time, the Law Maker rubber-stamped on what we had already agreed upon,” he said.
Only a handful of ward leaders and religious leaders graced the ceremony which was very brief and hurriedly conducted.
This comes three days after the first time Jubilee Mp announced to lead a no campaign against BBI in Bungoma County something that be bearing fruit.
The Mp said that he was infuriated with the fact that Pro BBI didn’t want to consider any dissenting voices and have some changes in the document hence he has vowed to lead a no campaign in the region to see that the document fails.
“It seems that some leaders have made up their minds and cannot listen to any other leaders especially from the opposing side, a good document should be amended first before it is passed to avoid offending articles that can hurt a common Mwananchi,” he stated during a conference in Nairobi last week.
Barasa has been instrumental in setting up projects in his constituency that has left his rivals and neighbours tongues wagging while other leaders have been left wondering where he gets the money.
The first time legislator has constructed over 12 storeyed classrooms in his constituency, phased out grass thatched houses and replaced them with iron sheets and has been keen in ensuring that his subjects live a better life.
The Mabanga Farmers Training College event was snubbed by all the Nine Mps, the senator, a majority MCAs and key religious leaders.
Earlier on Khalaba MCA Okumu Majimbo said that they were not prepared early enough and only received invitation through mobile phones from the Governor’s PA Stanslaus Wepundi.
“We are not against BBI, we want it but the governor as the county BBI coordinator should involve us through convening a consultative meeting with the assembly leadership, we play a critical role as ward leaders,” said Majimbo.
Religious leaders also gave the function a wide berth and missing in action were Christ the King Catholic Church Priest Fr.Christopher Wanyonyi and his Anglican Church of Kenya counterpart Bishop George Mechumo who got a massive following.
Leading the signature collection were Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa, Council of governors Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya and Bungoma governor Wycliffe Wangamati.
Wamalwa said that BBI has brought together all leaders in the country and it is the best way the direction the country is taking.
“We are visiting all the counties in Western, we want to see that all Kenyans embrace BBI so that we can have a change of the constitution, this is the best document so far that will stop post election violence,” he said.
He called on Western leaders to put aside their differences and collect enough signatures that will help in the passage of the document, this is the spirit of the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga,” said Wamalwa.
He pointed out that BBI is going to increase funds to the wards and ensure that development is realized in the lowest area of devolution.