Building Bridges initiative commonly knows as BBI is an initiative by the president of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta and former prime minister of Kenya Honorable Raila Odinga who is also an opposition leader in Kenya.

The initiative was coiled after the popular handshake between the two leaders on March 29 in 2019. The handshake happened at the time when the political temperature in the country was high after the 2017/2018 elections.

President Uhuru Kenyatta & Raila Odinga. Courtesy

The initiative according to the two leaders were meant to quench the political temperatures and bring all the communities together which had over time have been divided by the elections.

After the handshake, the BBI taskforce was set by both the president and NASA leader Raila Odinga to go around the country to collect views of Kenyans on the handshake and what they want in the future. Senator Yusuf Haji was appointed as chair of the taskforce and was responsible for collecting views countrywide and preparing the report in form of a proposal that was presented to the president and Kenyans at the end of 2019.

After the presentation of the BBI Report proposal to the nation last year at the Bomas of Kenya. The BBI taskforce period in the office was extended to go allow them to go around again across the country to fine-tune the proposals in the BBI document.

Upon the commencement of the 2nd round of BBI taskforce, leaders affiliated to Raila Odinga organized a parallel rally in the name of complementing the work of the BBI taskforce. And so far, the NASA affiliate rallies had reached Kisii, Kakamega, Mombasa, Narok, Garissa, and Meru.

Raila Odinga addressing BBI rally in Kakamega

BBI Facts And “Vitu Kwa ground”

BBI was coiled by both President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila to bring all Kenyans together, regardless of their tribes, political parties they belong or the area they come from. 

But according to “Vitu Kwa Ground” it seems it was meant to bring divisions among tribes and people who are not affiliated to NASA coalitions and those who are not close to the president himself.

However much the duo claims to be championing for the togetherness of all citizens. The division has been so far seen to be widening among some leaders and people following reckless utterance by some leaders in the BBI rallies led by Raila Odinga.

So far the president has neither attended BBI rally organized by his handshake partner Raila Odinga nor give his views to the BBI taskforce.

And here are some spotted examples that have sparked division among leaders and local communities.

Actually the BBI taskforce is conducting its mandate as required. It is the political class that is mishandling the way it has to be done.

In a rally held in Narok stadium (Renamed Ole-Ntimama), led by former Prime minister Raila Odinga, Senator of Narok county Ledama made some remarks that amount to hate speech according to National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) against other communities living in Narok. This by itself is a good example to show you that BBI has been misinterpreted either by NASA leader on what the rallies were meant to bring unity amongst all communities in Kenya.

It is in the same rally where the leaders of the Maa community lock out the leaders from other communities residing within Narok County terming the meeting to be addressing the issues of the Maa community only. The questions which have remained unanswered is, why were the leaders who are elected to represent people from Narok County not allowed to be heard? And why were the Maa community leaders used their Maasai language as communication language instead of nation language in the meeting which was held a day prior to the rally, yet the attendees were members from different communities?

Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina addressing Rally in Narok Stadium.

Another example is when Member of parliament from Gathundu south Moses Kuria was kicked out of the podium in Kitui by governor Charity Ngilu in Kitui county. Sources further indicate that Moses Kuria who arrived a bit late to the meeting was not allowed to go the dais where dignitaries guests were present. To avoid being ejected outside the BBI rally, Moses Kuria opted to humble himself.

Moses Kuria Saves himself from being ejected outside the Rally by taking “ground seat”

Another last example was a rally in Meru which was held in Kiharu stadium which brought together people of the Mt Kenya Region. Some members of the Senate and parliament affiliated to Deputy president did not get seats in the podium like any other honorable members present. That by itself shows how much inclusion and discrimination against some people perceived to be affiliated to a certain party.

BBI Real Face

BBI was meant to bring unity and help the people of Kenya have abetter county by getting to the roots of the problems the nation has over a long period of time suffer from.

Indeed there is a solution to every problem when people come together to solve the problem. Perhaps the approach could be a “down-top” Approach is more concrete solutions are to be realized in the future.

By inspections, BBI was down in a “top-down” Approach where the top leaders make a suggestion and spin the suggestions to common citizens. In many instances, this doesn’t work. However, the minimal percentage of success is there, that maybe help us as a nation solve the rooted cause of disunity during elections.