Government outlines mandate for reforms team

Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. He has said that the Building Bridges team has been gazetted. FILE PHOTO | ANDREW KILONZI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • The Building Bridges to Unity Advisory Task Force has been given one year to submit its comprehensive advice to President Kenyatta.
  • The government wants the team to evaluate the national challenges outlined in the joint communique and make recommendations that build lasting unity.

The government has gazetted the 14-member team formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga to draw up plans to end hostilities among Kenyans.

It has now been converted into a task force.

It will hence be referred to as the Building Bridges to Unity Advisory Task Force, and has been given one year to submit its comprehensive advice to President Kenyatta.

Through gazette notice No 5154 dated March 24, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua has laid out the task force’s terms of reference based on the joint communique issued by the two leaders after their March 9 meeting, promising to end the "explosive stalemate" following the raucous October 2017 election.

In their joint communique titled "Building bridges to a new Kenya nation", the two leaders announced the rollout of a programme that will implement their shared objectives of tackling ethnic antagonism and competition, lack of national ethos, inclusivity, devolution, safety and security and corruption.

They also pledged to "stand together" to pursue the country’s shared prosperity agenda and asked Kenyans to support the initiative.

The government wants the team to evaluate the national challenges outlined in the joint communique and make practical recommendations and proposals that build lasting unity.

The team will also be expected to outline the policy and implementation modalities for each identified area.

It has also been mandated to conduct consultations with citizens, religious leaders, cultural leaders, the private sector and experts at both county and national levels.

"In the performance of its functions, the task force shall regulate its own procedures including appointing revolving co-chairs from among its members," the gazette notice says.

Both Mr Paul Mwangi and Mr Martin Kimani - who have been chairing the team's sessions - will now be joint secretaries and they will be the spokespersons.

The task force will regulate its own procedures, within the confines of the Constitution, and form technical working groups if need arises.

Mr Kinyua said the team will have to consider and propose appropriate mechanisms for coordination, collaboration and cooperation among institutions to bring about the sought changes.

It will also solicit, receive and consider written memoranda or information from the public and where necessary carry out or cause to carry out assessments or research that may inform its mandate.

The task force will make periodic written recommendations for action by government and will submit its comprehensive advice not later than one year after its official launch by President Kenyatta.

Once in full operation, the team is expected to advise President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga on how they should deal with the problems that cause disunity.

Once the task force finalises its work, the two leaders will begin countrywide tours to popularise efforts to create a "new Kenya".

It has been suggested that when it was first mooted, the team was a campaign for a constitutional review to alter the country’s governance structure to make it more inclusive.


In recent weeks, Mr Odinga has told his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party to prepare for a constitutional review process, which, if adopted, would herald a new governance system involving whittling down the powers of the presidency and creating the position of prime minister.

"Addressing some of these issues may require changes to some of our laws and even amendments to the Constitution.

"When that time comes, we must be bold enough to pick up the challenge as a matter of duty to the nation," Mr Odinga told the party’s National Executive Council three weeks ago.

But the proposal to amend the Constitution has caused ripples in the ruling Jubilee Party, with allies of Deputy President William Ruto arguing that the deal with Mr Odinga is meant to influence succession politics.

Members of the task force are Dr Adams Oloo, Agnes Kavindu, Busia Senator Amos Wako, Florence Omose, Saeed Mwanguni, James Matundura, Major (Rtd) John Seii, Bishop Lawi Imathiu and Samburu Woman Representative Maison Leshomo.

Others are Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji, Morompi ole Ronkai, Bishop Peter Njenga, Rose Moseu and Zecheus Okoth.


You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.