Economist Ndii Move to Court to Stop BBI

Economist David Ndii: Photo Courtesy

A case has been filled in court against proposed constitutional amendments under the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

Economist David Ndii moved to the High Court seeking orders to block planned changes to the Constitution.  The BBI report salivates for the introduction of the posts of Prime Minister and deputy premiers.

Other petitioners, including Jerotich Seii, James Ngondi, Wanjiku Gikonyo, and Ikal Angelei, want the court to declare that Chapter Nine of the Constitution (Executive) cannot be amended either by Parliament or through popular initiative (referendum).

There are chapters they want to be declared, “unamendable” and “eternity clauses”; Chapter One on Sovereignty of the People and Supremacy of the Constitution, Chapter Two on The Republic, Chapter Four on the Bill of Rights, and Chapter Ten on the Judiciary.

The petitioners want the court to find that there is an implicit limitation to constitutional amendments in Kenya.

Should the court rule in their favor, it would thwart the proposals by the team appointed by President Kenyatta and Mr. Odinga.

The proposal came following the March 2018 Handshake in a bid to end the tension in the disputed 2017 presidential polls.

 The BBI task force said the new positions were aimed at making the government more inclusive.

The president in his state of the nation said that the promulgated constitution is ten years old and needs improvement to conform and adjust to emerging realities.

However, according to the petitioners, the Executive should not be altered saying their petitions have raised serious constitutional issues that should compel Chief Justice David Maraga to appoint a three-judge bench to address the case.

“The questions set out amongst other matters raised in the petition are substantial, novel and require consideration by an uneven number of judges, being not less than three to be assigned by the Chief Justice,” Ms. Seii said.

The Attorney General, Speaker of the National Assembly, Speaker of the Senate, and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission are listed as the respondents in the petition.

“Recent developments in Kenya’s legislative history confirm a threatened abrogation, contravention and violation of the five chapters of the Constitution and in particular Articles 256 and 257 by the respondents,” reads the petition.

 Article 256 details the amendment of the Constitution by parliamentary initiative, while Article 257 is about amendment through the popular initiative.

BBI campaigns, which were halted when the coronavirus struck, are like expected to resume anytime this month.

What do you think?

Written by Barrack Ongwe

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