Kenya: MCAs Rubbish Constitutional Court Decree on BBI Amendments

Nairobi — A caucus by County Assembly Members has termed the High Court judgement nullifying the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Constitution Amendment Bill as a threat to sovereign powers of the people, national unity, and devolution.

Addressing journalists on Sunday, Victor Mutuma, Leader of Majority in Meru county and chair of the caucus, who was accompanied by representatives from all the 47 counties, expressed disappointment with the BBI ruling saying the judiciary "cannot subvert the will of more than four million Kenyans who validated the BBI report."

"By holding that some sections of the Constitution cannot be amended whether by popular or parliamentary initiative or what they generally term as 'eternity clauses', the judges boldly and without any solid analysis took away the sovereign powers of the people," Mutuma said.

He said judges abused indirect powers donated to them by the Constitution even as he claimed the Judiciary was under siege by the civil society.

"The judgement does not acknowledge that a constitution is a living document that must be responsive to the needs and desires of a society at any given time, it presupposes that the 2010 constitution was made for a tiny minority of Kenyans in this case the judiciary and civil society groups," their statement read in part.

The caucus said that the if the judgement is adopted by the Court of Appeal, it will set a trend whereby Kenyans cannot amend the constitution in order to address social and economical issues but will instead "resort to anarchy and violence."

"In the event, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court adopts this judgment, Kenyans will suffer from the perspectives of the devolved systems of government," Mutuma added.

Attorney General Paul Kihara announced that on Monday, he will file an appeal on the judgement on the BBI bill delivered on May 13.

The High Court ruling by a five-judge bench of Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Jairus Ngaah, Teresia Matheka, and Chacha Mwita among other declarations, noted that President Uhuru Kenyatta had violated the Constitution when he initiated the BBI process which it said could only be done by Parliament or the citizens through a popular initiative.

In their ruling, the judges also ruled that anyone can institute a civil application against the president for violating the Constitution when he initiated the process of amending the Constitution because he acted outside his mandate.

"President Uhuru Kenyatta violated Article 131 (2) (c) of The Constitution of Kenya. He has failed to respect, uphold and safeguard the Constitution. He has failed the leadership and integrity test under Article 73 (1) (a). The entire BBI Bill is an invalid and void exercise," the court ruled.

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