Lodwar, November 9, 2020 (Governor’s Press Service)— Turkana leaders have faulted Building Bridges Initiatives (BBI) report for omitting community’s views in the current draft being debated.

The leaders led by the Governor Josphat Nanok, accused the BBI secretariat of failure to include community views presented to them in March this year.

“As leaders, we are so disappointed that our views were omitted from the report. This BBI has more problems than the 2010 constitution that is under implementation,” Governor Nanok said.

The Governor further said that the report will be rejected if it does not consider the interest and the views of the Turkana people and other pastoralists communities. “Other Pastoralist communities are disappointed as well because the document will further marginalize the communities that are still grappling to benefit fully from the fruits of devolution.

Nanok further pointed out that the contentious issues are those that are being amended in the 2010 constitution through the BBI document that is now being reviewed by all Kenyans.

Addressing leaders’ forum at Ekales centre in Lodwar during the review of the BBI document, the Governor said they will leave no stone unturned, adding that the document should reflect the interests of all Kenyans.

“We need inclusivity in this document. BBI document was at a verge of being rejected by Kenyans if they had to pass it at a referendum because the draft had a lot of a normallies which are vested on certain interest of some individuals,” the Governor said.

He said the Pastoralists elected leaders have picked out 12 issues that affect marginalized communities across the Northern frontier Counties.

Governor Nanok said issues to do with revenue sharing in the document remain fishy because it is like giving with one hand and taking away with the other, thus derailing socio-economic development of the region.

The Governor said with this decision, Turkana tends to lose 1.5 billion of its annual allocation as indicated by the BBI report.

He said the decision shall take back the country to another fresh senate debate on revenue allocation that had already been concluded and determined. “We should get our rightful allocation of revenue based on the poverty indexes, the vastness of the areas and population size,” he stated.

Nanok suggested that the 70 additional special seats should be distributed equally among the 47 counties the remaining be shared based on population size.

The Governor also said that the BBI report was not considering the two thirds of the gender seats and instead it has further marginalized women across the country.

He said the 47 women representatives should not be removed and be taken to the senate as senators as suggested by the BBI report.

The Governor further touched on land issue, saying that community land should be registered so that pastoralists benefit from their natural resource. “Before compulsory acquisition all community land should be registered. The county government and community must be consulted and therefore participate in exploration of natural resources in the county,” he said.

On the equalization fund, the Governor said Equalization Fund period be extended from the 20 years to 30 years since some of the years have already elapsed with no funds reaching the Counties, adding that the fund should be released as conditional grants to cater for specific development projects in the region.

The Governor echoed sentiments by local leaders and residents to have the document amended to allow the senate to become an upper house to veto all decisions from parliament and vet top government officers too.

He said that the office of Ombudsman should not be put together with the Judicial Service Commission to promote independency of the judiciary.

He added that IEBC should be left as an independent body and should not be influenced by key political parties as the BBI suggested.

He said the top five seats that have been created under BBI should consider regional and gender balance.

He urged the locals to continue observing Covid 19 measures because Turkana is now badly affected by the disease as the number of infected people had hit more than 100 people.

On his part, Turkana Senator Malachy Ekal registered his disappointment on the BBI after finding out that the revenue allocation formula that he fought for in the Senate two months ago had been secretly sneaked back through the back door into the document.

“Attempt to bribe me three times by a top party official to reject the revenue allocation formula proved futile because the formula had robbed Turkana their rightful national cake.” Ekal said.

Turkana Central MP John Lodepe urged other communities residing in Turkana to unite with the Turkana people either to reject or adopt the document as they are part and parcel of the county.

Turkana West Daniel Epuyo and his counterpart for Turkana East asked the community to reject the document as community interests have been left out.

“Let us reject this document because it is only for the top executive not for us the marginalized people of Turkana,” They said.

At the forum, the Woman MP Joyce Emanikor said that the nomination of women in parliament basing on votes garnered by a party is unfair as the criteria is not clear on the number seats allocated to women for both National and County Assembly.

The speaker of the County Assembly Ekitela Lokaale said that the 2019 census exercise was doctored as many residents were not counted. He said the census exercise was a fishy scheme to create an avenue for the BBI draft to deny the locals their rights.

Earlier on, the County Attorney Erastus Ethekon and Deputy County Secretary Robert Loyelei took the participants through the BBI document so that they can understand and make informed decisions before the onset of a referendum.

Present during the event was Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro, County Attorney Erastus Ethekon, CEC Namuar Emathe (Finance and Economic Planning), CEC Jane Ajele (Health), CEC Chris Aletea (Water Service, Environment and Mineral Resources), CEC George Emojong (Tourism and Culture), CEC Philip Aemun (Agriculture, Fisheries and Pastoral Economy), CEC Lokaimoe Losike (Roads and Infrastructure), CEC Charles Lokiyoto (Education, Sports, Youth and Social Protection) and CEC Benson Lokwang (Public Service and Disaster Management), Chief of Staff Ebenyo Nakiporo, CCO Pauline Lokuruka, CCO Joseph Ekalale Imoni and KNUT Secretary Peter Ewaat among others. A host of County Directors also attended and supported the organization of the forum.

Others who spoke are County Assembly Majority Leader, Bethuel Kobong’in, Chairperson of Women Caucus in the Assembly, Dorcas Epusiye, Chairman Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Pius Ewoton among others.