Junet speaks after Supreme Court’s BBI judgement

Thursday, March 31st, 2022 17:16 | By
Suna East Member of Parliament Junet Mohamed. PHOTO/Samwel Kariuki

Suna East Member of Parliament Junet Mohamed has welcomed the judgement of the Supreme Court that declared the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill unconstitutional.

In a statement, Junet, who served as BBI co-secretary alongside former MP Dennis Waweru, said the ruling provided a platform for future generation that Kenya's constitution can be amended.

"The Supreme Court has agreed on a number of issues we raised, and, as expected disagreed on others.

"Kenyans, especially future generations, must be glad to know that our constitution can be amended. More importantly, there now exists judicial clarity on how to amend the constitution," Junet said.

He further said the judgement affirmed Kenya's democratic space which he said has grown overtime.

"The judgement affirms our belief in the rule of law and constitutionalism. It also demonstrates the maturity of our democracy and its core institutions," he added.

The apex court on Thursday ruled that President Uhuru Kenyatta ought not to have initiated the referendum issues, through a popular initiative which is against Article 257 of the Constitution which guides the process of amending the supreme law, with five of the seven judges saying the president is not an ordinary citizen and therefore should not have to lead the project.

Justices Martha Koome (CJ), Philomena Mwilu (DCJ), Smokin Wanjala, Ibrahim Mohammed and William Ouko ruled that the BBI bill which was felled by the High Court and the Court of Appeal was unconstitutional while Isaac Lenaola and Njoki Ndung’u dissented.

“The president cannot initiate constitutional amendment or changes through a popular initiative under Article 257 of the Constitution. Njoki Ndung’u dissented. The big aspect of this issue is that the president initiated the amendment process. Njoki and Lenaola dissented.

“Consequently, under Article 257 of the constitution, the Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2020 is unconstitutional, ” Koome said after all the seven judges had given their ruling.

Seven-judge bench of the Court of Appeal, in August last year, disappointed the president when they declared the initiative, which had been endorsed by county assemblies and Parliament, unconstitutional, a position that was reaffirmed by the Supreme court.

They ruled that the BBI constitutional committee, a body created by the president, was illegal, adding that Mr Kenyatta had failed the leadership and integrity test and warned that the president could be sued in his personal capacity.

While issuing their ruling, five High Court judges- Justice Joel Ngugi, Justice George Odunga, Justice Jairus Ngaah, Justice Teresia Matheka, and Justice Chacha Mwita, in a scathing ruling delivered in May last year, blocked the government-backed plan to make fundamental changes to the country’s constitution, arguing that it was irregular, illegal and unconstitutional because Uhuru had violated the constitution by initiating a process which ought to have been started by ordinary citizens.

The judges rubbished the five million votes collected from citizens by the BBI task force to support the referendum push and ruled that the initiative was not started, or led, by citizens, and that only the people, not the government, can initiate and conduct a process to amend the constitution through a referendum.

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