The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) was started in March 2018 when President Uhuru Kenyatta shook hands with his erstwhile opponent Raila Odinga, and signed a deal to end the cycle of deadly post-election violence.
The two leaders formed a 14-member team to spearhead the process of addressing nine issues identified by the two principals as problems facing Kenya.
Chaired by Garissa senator Yusuf Haji, the team went across the country and in November 2019 —later amended thrice to a final document in October 2020 — made far-reaching recommendations to amend the Constitution as well as administrative and legal changes to achieve the BBI dream.
The proposed changes re-introduced prime minister’s post, who will be the Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly, and will be responsible for the day-to-day running of government including supervising execution of functions by Cabinet ministers and government departments.
The office holder will be an elected Member of Parliament, and leader of majority party or coalition in National Assembly. He will then be appointed by the president, with the approval of the majority of parliament.
There shall be two Deputy Prime Ministers, appointed from among the 22 Cabinet Ministers, both can either be non-MPs as is currently the case, or also from the National Assembly. Those Ministers appointed from outside parliament will be incorporated as ex-officio members of the House.
The BBI also proposes establishment of the Leader of Official Opposition, a fully-funded office with a shadow Cabinet, to be occupied by the first runners-up in a presidential election with the requirement that the party or coalition he or she leads has at least 25 per cent of the members of the National Assembly.
The BBI also proposes the creation of 70 extra constituencies—to make it a total of 360—to be spread out from among different counties, with Rift Valley planned to get 23 new constituencies, Nairobi 12, Central Kenya 11 and Coast 10.
The document proposes the nomination of as many women as are required to meet the constitutional requirement that one gender does not get more than two-thirds of elective positions.
At the Senate, BBI wants a 94-member House, with one man and one woman elected from each of the 47 counties.