The Building Bridges Initiative taskforce has distanced itself from Ekuro Aukot’s Punguza Mizigo Initiative, the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) and the Ndung’u Commission. The taskforce which visited West Pokot County on Wednesday to collect views from residents on the constitutional review said the initiative is independent and it has no relationship with the aforementioned commissions.
This is after residents raised concerns over the Punguza Mzigo initiative after IEBC confirmed that the Dr. Ekuru Aukot-led team had managed to collect over 1 million signatures, paving the way for major constitutional changes prior to approval at the Counties, and they also lamented over reports of TJRC and Ndugu’s commissions which they said have not been implemented.
The BBI chairperson Mr. Yusuf Haji clarified that the task force has its own mandate. “We have come here to collect views and we don’t know anything about Punguza Mizigo,” he said, “We only heard of it through the media and politicians.” The Chairman called on Kenyans to give the taskforce humble time to execute its mandate and finish its work to give them a final report. “We are not doing politics but collecting views…” he said.
The BBI vice-chairman Adams Oloo said that they have two more Counties to go before wrapping up the whole countrywide exercise and that the team will give out the report later this year, in October. Residents who attended the forum at Horizon Hotel in Kapenguria raised concern over the marginalization, historical injustices, tribalism, lack of enough funds in the devolved units and corruption.
They said that for that a long time, the Pokot community has been marginalized and sidelined in development. Residents said that the TJRC and Ndung’u commissions report should be implemented. West Pokot Maendeleo ya Wanawake Chairperson Mrs. Mary Mariach said funds allocated for Counties should be increased. “The funds allocated for Counties is very little. Counties are faced with a lot of challenges,” she said, “We need roads, water and schools.”