BBI pause offers chance to factor in divergent views

What you need to know:

  • Historical injustices such as exclusion and marginalisation in access to public resources have to be resolved.

The next steps in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) remain uncertain since the launch of signatures collection was put off indefinitely this past week.

On paper, the BBI national steering team states the launch was postponed to allow for the publication of the requisite Bills. However, the answer is in the politics of BBI. Strong undercurrents have come into play that forced the postponement.

Far from achieving its objective, namely to create peace, cohesion and demolish negative ethnicity and political divisions that degenerate into violence during elections, the BBI is becoming a divisive process due to the way it is being pushed. Its principal objectives are noble.

The country has to find a permanent solution to the perennial divisions and violence that follow every election. Historical injustices such as exclusion and marginalisation in access to public resources have to be resolved. Every effort must be made to create a cohesive society that provides opportunity for everyone to succeed.

However, fundamental questions have been raised about the BBI proposals as currently crafted. The argument is that the document requires to be reviewed to address critical societal issues.

Unfortunately, key BBI proponents have repulsed all the entreaties to refine the contentious provisos. This contradicts the very spirit of the initiative.

The delayed commencement of signature collection is an opportune window to consider those contrarian views. On many occasions, the principals have expressed a strong desire for a non-contested referendum, which means they want consensus.

That can only be achieved by listening to those with opposing views. Which is not to say the process should be held to ransom by critics, but that we should let reason to prevail.

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