~ Kuttuny leads anti-Ruto team to parallel BBI retreat in Kajiado~
~Anti-Ruto Rift Valley leaders to hold parallel retreat on BBI~
Following the release of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report by H. E President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, we have met today as leaders from the Rift Valley region to chart the way forward.
We have had fruitful deliberations on the contents of this critical report and we have agreed to form a caucus to champion the interest and welfare of our people.
As the Voice of Rift Valley who care about the interest of our communities, we have therefore reached the following key resolutions,
As leaders, we have resolved that an all-inclusive forum, bringing together all political parties and stakeholders including religious bodies be established to discuss the way forward on the Building Bridges Initiative recommendations.
This forum will pave the way for the establishment of a Committee of Experts (CoE) to draft the relevant Bills to actualize and concretize the BB I recommendations.
The CoE will then facilitate the collection of signatures and oversee the presentation of a constitutional amendment Bill to the relevant bodies including County Assemblies ahead of the national Referendum.
This all-inclusive CoE must comprise of individuals with firm legal basis who will be able to give us a final document
We are proposing that the Referendum be held by August 2020. We, therefore, call on the Executive and Parliament to quickly enact a Referendum law and speed up reforms at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to ensure that it is properly constituted to handle the Referendum.
As leaders, we are concerned about the state of our economy and appeal to the President to constitute an Economic Recovery Team to steer the country out of the current economic situation facing the majority of Kenyans.
We propose that the government urgently reviews existing economic policies to ensure that enough money is in circulation for small and medium enterprises to thrive.
We appeal to H.E the President not to relent in compelling National government and County governments to clear all pending bills owed to women, youth, SMEs and contractors.
We ask the President to direct that all pending bills be cleared before Christmas to enable Kenyans to enjoy Christmas and pay school fees for students joining Form One as well as cater for medical expenses.
We are concerned about the slow progress in the fight against corruption and economic crimes.
We, therefore, call on H.E the President not to relent in his resolve to fight corruption.
It appears that there has been a go-slow in the prosecution of corruption cases.
We want the Judiciary, the DPP and the DCI to expedite the prosecution, hearing, and determination of cases currently before Court.
2) Plight of Farmers
As leaders from the grain basket of our country, we want to appeal to President Kenyatta to order the immediate opening of the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) stores so that it can take in maize following the heavy rains.
The TEA subsector, which used to be the number one foreign exchange earner is today on its death bed.
We want the government to intervene and tackle the crisis facing the tea industry by providing fertilizer subsidy and guarantee the market to ensure that farmers in our region get returns for their investments.
We appeal to the President to direct the Treasury to release Sh2 billion urgently to help stabilize milk prices that have seen a litre drop to a low of Sh20.
We equally appeal to the President direct the immediate suspension of importation of milk powder to cushion farmers from cheap imports.
c) Kenya Meat Commission (KMC)
We have resolved as leaders that the government should as a matter of urgency intervene and pump in money to bail out KMC.
The bailout money should help the government in the livestock offtake program to avert any further losses arising from the flood disaster.
The revival of KMC is critical to the existence of the livestock subsector given that vast parts of Rift Valley is inhibited by pastoralists communities.
We appeal to the National government to urgently provide relief assistance to families of victims of the landslide in West Pokot and other parts of the country affected by floods.
Businesses in the recent past have suffered owing to the high rate of taxation.
We are therefore appealing to the government to find better ways of dealing with businesses and entrepreneurs accused of non-payment of taxes to ensure businesses are not closed down hence job cuts.
5) INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
The country has witnessed a peaceful working and business environment following the March 9, Handshake between the President and former Prime Minister.
But in the recent past, we have witnessed a disturbing trend and deterioration of relations between the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and its employees.
We demand that the government urgently steps in and ends the persistent wrangles between TSC and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) for the sake of our children’s education and a better working environment for teachers.
The government should increase funding for youth employment and internship programs to help alleviate their suffering.
7) WOMEN and PERSONS with DISABILITIES
There is a need for the government to increase funding and ensure that this disadvantaged group gets their right share of Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO).
We appeal to the President to order investigations into the 30 percent procurement quarter for Youth, Women, and Persons with Disabilities since we strongly feel that AGPO has been infiltrated and taken over by cartels and rich tenderpreneurs posing as youth and women.
8) SKEWED STATE APPOINTMENTS
There have been concerns about alleged skewed appointments in State jobs.
In the spirit of inclusivity, we are calling for an all-inclusive government that reflects the face of Kenya.
We, therefore, appeal to all leaders to desist from unnecessary attacks on the Head of State and render him the necessary support to execute his national mandate of unifying the Nation.
We thank you.
RIFT VALLEY LEADERS.