Don’t stop BBI reggae, AG tells court in activists’ case

Attorney General Paul Kariuki when he appeared before the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee at Parliament Buildings on 25/07/19. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Attorney General Paul Kariuki wants a case filed to stop the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) campaigns dismissed.

In a two-page objection to the case filed by David Ndii, Jerotich Seii, Jane Ngondi, Wanjiru Gikonyo and Ikal Angelei, the AG argues that it is too early for them to cut short the campaigns started after the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

“The petition as framed offends the principle of justiciability on account of want of ripeness,” the AG’s response said.

According to State lawyer Immanuel Mbita, the court has no powers to hear the case. He argued that Dr Ndii and his co-petitioners had framed their arguments as if seeking an advisory opinion, which can only be heard by the Supreme Court.

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He argued that the case was challenging the will of the people to decide on what they want, hence should be thrown out.

“To the extent that the petition challenges the sovereignty of the people of Kenya, more particularly the legality of Articles One, Two and Three of the Constitution, the petition is non-justiciable,” Mr Mbita argued.

After a near chaotic 2017 presidential election, a historic handshake on March 9, 2018 between the then nemesis Uhuru and Raila birthed what was referred to as a final bullet to slay perennial ethnic wars during elections.

The BBI team gathered views from Kenyans of all walks of life, and documented them in a recommendation touted as a cure for all the country’s social woes – negative ethnicity, political antagonism, corruption, among others.  

However, the petitioners argue that the country already has a good law, dealing with all the problems cited in the BBI document. The only problem, they say, is failure to comply with and implement it.

It is alleged that the intention of inscribing BBI recommendations into the Constitution will be through a parliamentary route. By this, the draft Bill will pass through Parliament, sidestepping the lengthy route of collecting and verifying one million signatures as well as the need to have the 47 county assemblies debate it, and at least 24 to pass it to reach the next stage.

The petitioners claim the country is now steering into unchartered waters, driven by a few political bigwigs instead of a wave of change by Kenyans which is similar to the quest to do away with the 1969 Constitution.

In the case, the petitioners argued that if the 2010 Constitution is changed, Kenya’s political future would uncertain.

“If they alter the four sections, we would be creating a new Constitution with a new political order,” the court was told. 

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