Kenya: Court to Rule on BBI Cases Thursday

Nairobi — The High Court will on Thursday render its judgment on the consolidated petitions against the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill that was passed by Members of the National Assembly last week.

The Senate was set to vote on the Bill Tuesday.

The High Court had in February issued a temporary conservatory order restraining the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from subjecting the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020 popularly known as BBI Bill to a referendum.

A 5-judge bench presided by Justice Joel Ngugi issued the order pending hearing and determination of the petition as consolidated by Turkana County Assembly, Thirdway Alliance and with six others.

On Thursday last week, 235 out of the 320 members of the National Assembly who participated in the voting exercise on the Second Reading of the Bill supported it against 83 who rejected while two abstained.

The vote was largely divided along MPs allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga against those loyal to Deputy President William Ruto who had vowed to shoot down the bill, following a series of meetings at his official residence in Karen and during countrywide political rallies.

Some eleven MPs, including Bahati's Kimani Ngunjiri, however voted in its favour despite having vowed to shoot it down.

The House then proceeded to plenary where a vote on the Bill's Third Reading was taken. 224 MPs voted yes, 63 rejected and 2 abstained.

The vote that lasted four hours was conducted through a roll call as others voted virtually.

The Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi will retreat to embark on the correction of typographical errors in the Bill before transmitting it to President Uhuru Kenyatta for assent.

Before assenting to the Bill, President Kenyatta shall request IEBC to conduct, within ninety days, a national referendum for approval of the Bill, subject to the determination of pending court cases challenging the Bill's constitutionality which was due on Thursday.

Once the court gives the electoral body the green light to prepare the national referendum, within thirty days after IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati confirms to the President that the Bill has been approved in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, the President shall assent to the Bill and cause it to be published.

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