14-05-2021 by redazione
Kenya's High Court has declared illegal the process initiated by the President of the Republic of Kenya and opposition leader Raila Odinga called the Bulding Bridges Initiative (BBI), calling it unconstitutional.
The BBI came about after the famous 'handshake' in which the two historic rivals agreed to work together to change the constitution and find a solution to lead the country ahead of the 2022 elections.
The reasons relate to the unresolved problems that lie at the heart of the country: tribalism, corruption, inclusiveness.
For one section of the public, the BBI is just an attempt for Kenyatta to stay in the government after his second term, which would not be possible under the current laws, and for Odinga to fulfil his dream of becoming President in his eighties.
With the creation of the roles of Prime Minister and President, this would be possible.
The BBI began as a citizens' initiative, expressed to citizens during public appearances around Kenya, as long as it was possible before the pandemic restrictions.
After gaining public support, the amendment was submitted to the 47 counties and passed with a large majority. Only 6 counties did not vote for the proposed amendment to the constitution.
Opponent of the bill was only current Vice President William Ruto, who is much feared and hopeful of becoming the country's next leader. His ethnic group, the Kalenjin, have also been opposed in their home counties and in Parliament, where the BBI has landed in recent weeks, passing with an absolute majority both among MPs and in the Senate.
"There is a huge God in heaven who loves Kenya," Ruto wrote on his twitter profile after the ruling.
But all this could now be nullified by the five High Court judges who ruled late Thursday motivating that the President has been acting with an abuse of power since the formation of BBI, violating Chapter VI of Kenya's constitution for attempting to change the constitution through an unconstitutional process that is actually an initiative of his government rather than a popular motion. The judgment read by Magistrate Judge Joel Ngugi, states that the president committed a fatal legal error in attempting to amend the constitution through a people's initiative and that a referendum can only be reached after the parliamentary process under the current constitution or on a genuine people's initiative.
"The president cannot be an initiator and at the same time an arbiter in the amendment of the constitution," the court expressed, "the conflict of interest is clear: the president exceeded his powers when he proposed amendments to the constitution outside of his clear mandate.
Glaring to the judges is the fact that it was Kenyatta who chaired the BBI Implementation Task Force.
At the same time, therefore, the judges declared unconstitutional the referendum that was to be held next August to ask citizens to approve the changes expressed by the BBI. In addition to Kenyatta, the Independent Electoral Commission of Kenya (IEBC) is also being sued for wrongdoing.
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