Appellate court upholds ruling against BBI

Court of Appeal President Daniel Musinga during the BBI appeal ruling on August 20, 2021 in Nairobi. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

The courts have dealt President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM party leader Raila Odinga another blow after declaring the Building Bridges Initiative Constitutional Amendment Bill (2020) illegal. 

In the judgment on Friday, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the High Court to find the three-year quest by President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga to amend the Constitution through the BBI as unconstitutional. 

The process started in March 2018 following a political truce between the two leaders. 

The judgment, in which the second-highest court was heavily critical of President Kenyatta and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), stated that the BBI Bill was unconstitutional and usurped the people's sovereign power. 

The seven-judge bench also issued a permanent injunction restraining the IEBC from processing the Bill or subjecting it to a referendum. The Bill had already been approved by parliament. 

The judges also upheld the High Court's finding that the President has no authority to promote amendment of the Constitution through a popular Initiative and that he can be sued with respect to his actions or omissions in the Constitution. 

"The popular initiative cannot be used by the government or the people's representatives. Popular initiative is for ordinary Kenyans," said the judges. 

The judges also threw out contentions by the government and the BBI secretariat that Kenya's Constitution does not have a basic structure. 

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