Local News

Coast Somalis say they are undecided about BBI

Community says they want to understand the pros and cons of the proposals.

Jan 27th 2021 · 2 min read
Coast Somalis say they are undecided about BBI

The Somali community at the Coast has distanced itself from leaders who have aligned themselves to the pro or anti-Building Bridges Iniaitive factions.

Community businessmen, professionals and workers on Sunday met for the first time to analyse the pros and cons of the BBI bill.

They said they have not made any decision about the document as a community because they have not yet internalised it.

“This is the first of a series of meetings that we will hold so that we ensure every member of the community in the Coast knows what the BBI is all about,” chairman Mohammed Huri said.

The community has tasked their lawyer Hassan Sheikh Abdiazziz with interpreting the document to help community members to understand it.

“We are not looking at the surface. We want to look deeper and know what is hidden behind so that we can make the right decision for our community as a whole,” Huri said. The community met at the Royal House in Kizingo.

Huri said the community members have been anxious to know where they stand or which direction they should take, prompting the series of meetings.

On Sunday, only the elders in the community met. There will be other meetings for women and the youth at later dates.

In October last year, a section of leaders from the Somali community in Nairobi led by Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hassan declared support for the BBI, saying it promotes peace and unity.

The MP said the Somali community will be one of the major beneficiaries of reconciliation and inclusivity.

In Mandera, Governor Ali Roba, Senator Mohamud Mohammed and area MPs in July last year declared their support for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s partnership with ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Huri said it is too early for them to make a stand on whether to support the document or not because most of the community members do not understand the initiative.

“We want to establish what benefits this BBI will bring to our community, whether it is right to support it or not,” said Huri.

Aden Gullet, a prominent businessman in Mombasa, said those leaders from their community who have already taken a stand have done so as individuals.

“Many of them are looking for positions. As a community, no one has come to explain to us what the BBI is exactly and its pros and cons. That’s why we decided to have our own forum to demystify the BBI,” said Gullet.

The businessman said devolution has proven a success although more can be done.

“Sometimes mistakes are made not by the leaders but by the people who elect the leaders. This time we want to ensure we do not make a mistake with the BBI,” said Gullet.

Former community chair Hassan Ibrahim said there are many stories being peddled around about the BBI but the community wants to understand it before they make any decision.

“We are not following anybody’s opinion. We want to make our own informed opinion,” said Ibrahim.

He said the community has also tasked various legal brains from the community to explain the document in a language the community understands best.

He said it is never too late to understand the BBI.

last updated: 2021-01-27@09:01