Appellate judges shoot down BBI appeal

Appellate judges shoot down BBI appeal

The Court of Appeal made a final ruling on August 20 that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) was only but meant to hijack and alter the existing Kenyan Constitution through a popular initiative, thus null and void.

The 7-judge bench has said the process was unconstitutional and that it was done not in the best interests of the people.

At the same time, the Court of Appeal says President Uhuru Kenyatta contravened Article 6 of the Constitution by initiating the a change on the Constitution of Kenya.

“The President has no powers under the Constitution to initiate changes of the Constitution,” said the Judges.

The Court started its ruling on Friday morning. It took long because every judge was reading his/her own independent judgement.

The Court of Appeal also ruled that the BBI steering Committee as appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta was unconstitutional, null and void, and that should be disbanded.

As it goes, the BBI Reggae was put to a halt, pitting the Bill proponents spearheaded by both President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga.

From What can be seen, the decision to nullify BBI extends political rivalry between the anti-BBI chiefs headed by the Deputy President William Ruto and his once crony,  the president.

It is not known whether the two (Odinga and Kenyatta) will move to Apex Court, but Mr. Odinga has already said that it was time for the nation to focus on more important issues as the country gears towards next general election.

Also Read:

  1. Seven judges set to hear BBI appeal case
  2. Court of Appeal holds conference on BBI appeal
  3. Battle to save BBI moves to Court of Appeal

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had projected to spend a colossal Ksh.14 billion had the BBI sailed through.

IEBC interim CEO Murjan Hussein Murjan told Parliament in October last year that the amount would depend on the number of new voter registrations before the vote.

“We have on our own sat down and asked ourselves the budgetary requirements in the event of a possible referendum.

“We have already estimated that the referendum to change the Constitution will cost us Sh14 billion. However, we are still refining the budget,” he told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) during the scrutiny of the commissions’ books of accounts for the year to June 2019.

Mr Murjan said the Ksh.14 billion budget was based on 19.6 million voters that registered for the 2017 General Election.

“The budget could go up because of the number of registered voters who will, in turn, determine the number of polling stations, polling staff to be hired and other logistics,” he said in response to PAC chairman Opiyo Wandayi.

Odinga for Presidency

Garissa Township MP Aden Duale pushed Mr Murjan to state on the record the cost of the anticipated referendum.

Attorney General Paul Kihara, however, has hinted at moving to the Supreme Court, perhaps to challenge court decision through Justice Steven Gatembu Kairu that “the President can be sued in his personal capacity for anything done or not done in that capacity.”

Rarieda Member of Parliament Otiende Amollo told supporters of the ODM not to be worried about the fall of BBI, noting that Odinga is now free to concentrate on his presidential ambition.

He said Odinga now has all the time to effectively battle against Deputy President William Ruto, who he said “has had no burden “, for the top seat in 2022.

Otiende spoke in his constituency during the burial of Rarieda ODM chairman Onyango Omolo, and said they now want to focus on having Mr. Odinga at State House, adding that the Constitution can still be changed later.

He was flanked by Siaya Senator James Orengo, fellow MPs Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja), Samuel Atandi (Alego/Usonga) and Siaya Woman Representative Dr. Christine Ombaka.

Senator Orengo, on his part, stated that the fall of BBI is not the first setback in the quest for Constitutional change in this country.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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