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The Communist Party of Kenya (CPK) calls on all Kenyans to reject Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). BBI is a fraud and a political gimmick calculated by the corrupt ruling elites so that they can maintain their neo-colonial capitalist system in power through the 2022 national elections which will be dominated by tribalism, corruption, false hope, and propaganda. It has nothing to do with perpetuating the interests of the majority of Kenyans. It also has nothing to do with peaceful elections, national development, or the eradication of the system of exploitation and oppression of person by person.

 

The BBI process is a product of the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga following the flawed and disputed 2017 presidential elections in which many Kenyans, particularly the youth, and including children, were killed police officers. However, and shamefully so, the BBI document is silent on the issue of families who lost loved ones through the organised violence that was perpetrated by the same people who are now whipping up public and tribal emotions among Kenyans so that they may support the BBI.

 

The truth is, BBI has nothing new to offer Kenyans. Any positive idea it purports to offer is already and comprehensively addressed by the Constitution of Kenya 2010. In fact, BBI is reactionary and dilutes the Constitution and the democratic gains achieved by the Kenyan masses hitherto for purely narrow and selfish interests of the current political and economic elites. It seeks to take Kenyans back to the era of bloated governments which will eat up a huge chunk of taxpayers’ money that should otherwise be used for development.

 

RE-INTRODUCTION OF BLOATED GOVERNMENT

 

BBI purports to address the problem of election violence that has been happening in Kenya and causing economic problems and gross violations of human rights. This is already clearly addressed by the Constitution of Kenya which entrenches multiparty democracy and respect for human rights. Kenya do not need flowery regurgitated documents or referenda. What we need is the implementation of the Constitution to the fullest. The principles of multiparty democracy, that they violate with impunity, includes peaceful and corrupt-free elections; transparent, free and fair elections; and accepting election results whether one is the winner or loser. It is the same two proponents of BBI and their associates who have in the past ensured that elections are corrupted with money, violence, exclusion, rigging of elections, and above all, tribalism.

 

The imagination by the BBI team that those who have ascended to power through violence, stealing, bribing, and dividing people along ethnic lines will all of a sudden be at the forefront of championing for free, fair, transparent, peaceful and issue-based politics, remains just that, an imagination. In fact, they now think that if a few tribal chieftains from the five biggest ethnicities and two dominant religions are included in a bloated executive, then the face of Kenya will be achieved and tribalism will cease to exist. 

 

A more blatant fraud by the BBI is that it purports to introduce an (indigenous) parliamentary form of government and a position of Prime Minister. You cannot have a parliamentary form of government and prime minister when he or she is appointed and is also sacked at will by a powerful president who is elected directly by the people. The BBI also seeks to add more powers to the President by recommending that Principal Secretaries (PSs) who are the accounting officers in the ministries, be appointed directly by the President without subjecting them to any parliamentary vetting and approval. Clearly, the BBI is a scheme to erode the democratic gains that we have so far achieved as a country.

 

BBI also purports to invent an “indigenous” Kenyan system; yet that system only seeks to serve a few rich people, while the majority of the working people and the poor masses dig deeper into their pockets to sustain the system.

 

PROFITS BEFORE PEOPLE

 

BBI seeks to elevate the private sector above the State sector as the main driver of our economy. For them, profits are more important than the prosperity of the majority of Kenyans. We remind Kenyans that it is this very idea of “less State, less Government” that was forced down on Africans by the IMF and World Bank in the 80s and 90s that led to the escalation of poverty on the continent that we are still grappling with today. Clearly, BBI is based on the capitalist system as its ideology and praxis, yet capitalism has failed in Kenya as it continues to exclude the majority of citizens from the means of production and in participating effectively in the economy. The system has continued to escalate social contradictions, manifestations of poverty and underdevelopment while also plunging the country deeper and deeper into debt burden, imperialist domination, and slavery.

 

There cannot be national unity of Kenya as BBI claims because Kenya is divided into classes of the rich and the poor, the few and the majority, the haves and the have-nots. Wherever there are classes there will be class struggles. Tribalism and corruption are manifestations of the capitalist system. Without replacing the capitalist system with the socialist system, all talk about peace, equality, common nationhood, and fighting corruption will remain as elusive as the ideas proposed by BBI.

 

Concerning the issue of culture in Kenya, this is also clearly addressed by the Constitution of Kenya. The BBI is proposing ridiculous, romantic and meaningless solutions. National culture is not planted upon people as BBI suggests but is instead created and recreated, born and reborn through deliberate, sustainable, social and national development, struggle and ideology geared towards the liberation of all citizens from the system of exploitation of person by person. Kenya is a society divided into classes and such societies can never have a single national culture.  

 

PROMOTION OF IMPERIALIST INTERESTS

 

More importantly, BBI is deliberately being used by foreign imperialist interests to compromise the sovereignty and interests of the people of Kenya. We say this because it introduces some two dangerous ideas. First, it seeks to have our disciplined services and forces, that is, our soldiers, police personnel, intelligence officers, prison officers, wildlife police, forestry police, the coast guards, and the national youth servicemen and women to be recruited by foreign linked private companies. It is like saying that a Kenyan company should be allowed to recruit American, British or Ugandan soldiers! Even failed States cannot allow that to happen. The solution to corrupt recruitment processes in our security forces does not and cannot lie in surrendering our security to imperialist countries. 

 

The second national security compromise that the BBI seeks to introduce is the removal of the existing limitations on holders of dual citizenship with regards to holding constitutional state responsibilities. BBI recommends that only the President and the Cabinet Secretary for Defence should be prevented from holding dual citizenship. They fail to understand that in the world today, Trade, Environment, Communications, Culture, Education, Science and Technology among other fields are an extension of security, control, war, and defence. They also fail to understand that under international law, some pronouncements by the Foreign Affairs minister can actually bind a country legally. The existing limitations in the Constitution are there to protect Kenya's national state secrets and interests. The BBI proposal of dual citizenship without limitations will make the Country more vulnerable to infiltration by all sorts of foreign interests. They have forgotten that in the World today there exist nation-states and diverse and often parallel nation-state interests.

 

KILLING DEVOLUTION

 

On devolution, BBI purports to support county governments, but tacitly proposes the reversion of the Nairobi City County to the National Government. The reason given is as disrespectful and unintelligent as the proposal itself. They argue that since Nairobi hosts the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and since UNEP and other diplomatic agencies must be served with proper infrastructure, electricity, uninterrupted water supply, sewerage services, communication services among other services, then the Capital City must fall under the National Government. In other words, BBI is telling Kenyans that devolution is a failure as it cannot perform the functions outlined in the Constitution. They are also telling us that the UN and the diplomats are more important than the poor majority of Nairobi and Kenya at large. For them, Poor Kenyans can continue experiencing poor services …... but no, not the foreign diplomats!

 

This proposal exposes the contemptuous view on devolution by the architects of BBI. The UNEP is just an excuse. New York, which hosts the United Nations headquarters has a Governor and a Mayor. The cities of Geneva, Vienna and other UN seats also have their own elected leaders.

 

ACCOUNTABILITY FOR KES 10 BILLION

 

Lastly, BBI is already a failure as the bridge that it attempts to build has already been broken by the principal contractors themselves. Kenyans are already dangerously divided over the very BBI. In the meantime, BBI has already consumed KES10 Billion, and it seeks to consume another KES11 Billion. The BBI taskforce did not attach their financial statement in their first report. CPK asks, to whose pockets did this money go to? We demand accountability for every shilling that was and will be allocated to the BBI taskforce.

 

CPK appeals to the exploited and oppressed Kenyans and all patriotic and progressive Kenyans to demand for the full implementation of the Constitution of Kenya and use it to remove the capitalist and imperialist system and replace it with the socialist system. True, the spirit of the Constitution reflects what the majority of Kenyans said and wished: socialism!

 

By Booker Ngesa Omole

National Vice-Chairperson

Communist Party of Kenya

 

February 20, 2020

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