Kenya:Uhuru appeals court ruling on BBI

By Samuel Ouma

President Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta, through his lawyer Waweru Gatonye has appealed the High Court ruling that halted the Constitutional amendment process popularly known as Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

The President accused the five-bench judge of hearing a matter against him and finally issuing a verdict without ensuring he had been served in person.

He also faulted the judges’ verdict stating that he had violated Chapter 6 of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity and could be sued in his personal capacity.

“The learned judges held and issued a declaration that Mr. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta has contravened Chapter 6 of the Constitution, and specifically Article 73(1) (a) (i) of the Constitution of Kenya, by initiating and promoting a constitutional change process under Article 257 contrary to the provisions of the Constitution.

“The learned judges held and issued a declaration that the President does not have authority under the Constitution to initiate changes to the Constitution, and that a constitutional amendment can only be initiated by the President through the Honourable Attorney General in Parliament through a Parliamentary initiative under Article 256 of the Constitution,” read the court documents in part.

Apart from President Kenyatta, the opposition Chief Raila Odinga, Attorney General Paul Kihara Kariuki, and the BBI secretariat have also filed applications against the May 13 ruling.

Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal has certified Kenyatta’s appeal as urgent and directed appellants to serve respondents with written submissions within three days electronically.

The respondents are also required to submit their responses within three days of receiving the application.

The newly appointed Court of Appeal President Justice Daniel Musinga would be expected to constitute a bench to hear the case. Justice Musinga was appointed on Monday, May 24.

The court nullified the entire process claiming it was unconstitutional. It argued Kenyatta initiated the process, a mandate given to ordinary citizens by the Constitution.  The court also faulted the BBI signature collection, which the State instead of Kenyans led.

Furthermore, the High Court also declared the BBI constitutional committee illegal.

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