BBI at a glance: Uniting Kenya through legal and policy reforms

November 24, 2020 - Reading Time: 2 minutes - By Wanjiku Mwai

The Steering Committee on the implementation of the Building Bridges Initiative made recommendations on the implementation of the Report, which are structured in the following thematic areas:

  • Constitutional;
  • Legislative;
  • Policy; and
  • Administrative.

Proposed Constitutional Reforms

Chapter Two on formative aspects of the Republic.

This chapter is to be amended to address regional integration, cohesion, shared prosperity and the centrality of the economy. This will eventually harness regional trade, investment and people-to-people links to increase our prosperity, opportunities for investment and enhance our security.

Chapter Three on Citizenship
This chapter is to be amended to strengthen the national ethos by outlining the responsibilities of citizens. The current Constitution has rightly imposed various socio-economic duties on the state but does not envision any responsibilities on the part of the citizen.

Chapter Four on the Bill of Rights
This chapter is to be amended to provide a constitutional underpinning for the privacy of citizens’ personal data as an emerging area in human rights owing to significant technological developments in this area.

Chapter Six on Leadership and Integrity
This chapter is to be amended to intensify the fight against corruption by strengthening the relevant institutions. This includes providing a mechanism for more expeditious conduct of investigations, prosecution and trial of corruption-related matters.

Chapter Seven on Representation of the People
This chapter is to be amended to resolve issues of divisive elections arising from electoral processes.

Chapter Eight on the Legislature

This chapter is to be amended to remodel the Parliamentary system by bringing the Government back into the House, including the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers, Cabinet Ministers, the Attorney-General and the Leader of the Official Opposition, being the person who was the runner-up in the Presidential election.

Chapter Nine on the Executive
This chapter is to be amended by expanding the national executive in order to promote greater inclusivity, and mitigate the drawbacks of the winner-take-all electoral formula. This recommendation proposes the introduction of the office of the Prime Minister and two Deputy Prime Ministers. It also provides that Cabinet Ministers may be appointed from among members of the National Assembly.

Chapter Ten on the Judiciary
This chapter is to be amended to enhance judicial accountability to the people of Kenya. This means that while the independence of the Judiciary must be protected as a fundamental principle, the Judiciary should equally be accountable in a clear manner to the sovereign will of the people of Kenya. It is therefore proposed to introduce the independent office of the Judiciary Ombudsman, who shall sit on the Judicial Service Commission.

Chapter Eleven on the Devolved Government
This chapter is to be amended by creating a County Ward Development Fund, increasing the resources to the Counties from the current 15% to at least 35% and embedding the monitoring, implementation and impact assessment of Article 43 rights in the President’s State of the Nation address and in the budgeting process.

Chapter Twelve on Public Finance
This chapter is to be amended to streamline public finance principles and processes to promote efficiency and ensure expenditures are directed to maximising utility. The proposals give special attention to the actualisation of the rights guaranteed under Article 43 as well as strengthening devolution.

Chapters Thirteen, Fourteen and Fifteen
These chapters are to be amended to ensure the Public Service, National Security agencies and Commissions and Independent Offices are not only strengthened but are accountable to the people of Kenya and have internal accountability systems that clearly and transparently separate the power of appointment and promotion from that of
interdiction and censure.

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