Seven judges set to hear BBI appeal case
All eyes are on the Court of Appeal, which is hearing an appeal against a High Court decision that declared the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) process unconstitutional, null and void.
The hearing of the appeal will run for four days consecutively to Friday after the president of the Court of Appeal Justice Daniel Musinga named a seven-judge bench to hear the case last week.
The seven judges include presiding judge Daniel Musinga, Justices Roselyn Nambuye, Hannah Okwengu, Patrick Kiage, Gatembu Kairu, Fatuma Sichale and Francis Tuiyott.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, the BBI national secretariat and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Bommission (IEBC) challenged the High Court ruling that slammed breaks on BBI reggae.
With about 13 months to the general election, the BBI appeal is a high stake case, with President Kenyatta and his handshake partner Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga pushing for constitutional amendments before next year’s polls.
The High Court issued a permanent injunction restraining IEBC from undertaking any processes in the constitutional amendment drive.
And on May 17, IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati initiated the process of lodging an appeal with regard to the Commission’s legality and constitutionality in relation to quorum.
“There are two conflicting judgements on what constitutes our quorum which we would like the Court of Appeal to shed light on. We want to know should we rely on the statute or the law,” said Chebukati.
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The IEBC currently has three Commissioners out of the required nine Commissioners.
Chebukati ruled out any crisis at the Commission, saying the ruling gave them stay orders to perform its mandate with regard to the proposed referendum.
The decision of the High Court came barely a week after lawmakers passed the constitutional amendment Bill in Parliament.
Out of the 320 Members of the National Assembly who participated in the voting exercise, 235 supported the bill, 83 voted against it while two abstained. At the Senate, 51 Senators voted in support of the bill while 12 voted against it and 1 abstained
Mr. Odinga said Saturday the High Court did not render the right verdict but urged the public to respect the ruling of the court. President Uhuru Kenyatta is yet to comment on the ruling.
Pro-BBI leaders have also protested the ruling with BBI Secretariat Co-Chairs, Junet Mohamed and Dennis Waweru, saying Kenya is at risk of constitutional crisis following the ruling.
The High Court ruled that the President, who initiated the constitutional amendment process together with Mr. Odinga did not have the authority under the Constitution of Kenya (2010) to initiate changes to the Constitution as a constitutional amendment, but by Parliament through parliamentary initiative or through popular initiative.