22 August 2019



  • Planned constitutional changes and possible referendum are unlikely to trigger violence or affect business operations in coming year
  • Constitutional changes will face significant opposition from allies of Deputy President Ruto, who seek to protect his presidential ambitions
  • Proposed referendum will be of most interest to political elites seeking increased access to power and state resources, meaning that significant protests or unrest are unlikely


A group of MPs from the ruling Jubilee Party of Kenya (JPK), who support Deputy President Ruto, on 16 August criticised the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) for wasting public resources. The BBI is a twelve-person panel, comprised of advisers close to President Kenyatta and opposition stalwart Raila Odinga. It is tasked with recommending how to make the country’s political system more inclusive. For instance, the BBI will likely propose creating a prime minister, and a deputy, to lead Parliament, which would require constitutional changes. It will also reportedly suggest creating fourteen regional governments, with increased powers. The BBI has received widespread support from opposition parties, including the Wiper Democratic Movement, and Gideon Moi – son of former President Daniel arap Moi.

The BBI was launched alongside Kenyatta and Odinga’s “handshake” on 9 March 2018, which marked the end of a decade-long…

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