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BBI Appeal Case Begins

A seven-judge bench constituted by the President of the Court of Appeal Justice Daniel Musinga has begun hearing the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) appeal case.

The hearing of the appeal has been scheduled to take place for four days consecutively from June 29-July 2, 2021.

The seven judges picked to hear the high-stakes case include Presiding Judge Daniel Musinga, Justices Roselyn Nambuye, Hannah Okwengu, Patrick Kiage, Gatembu Kairu, Fatuma Sichale and Francis Tuiyott.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, ODM leader Raila Odinga, the BBI National Secretariat and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) filed separate petitions challenging the High Court ruling that declared the bid to amend the constitution through the BBI as unconstitutional.

The petitions were however after consultation consolidated into one case.

Top constitutional lawyers in the country are part of the legal teams that will be battling out in court to salvage the initiative spearheaded by the President and his handshake partner ODM leader Raila Odinga.

They include lawyers James Orengo, Githu Muigai, AG Kihara Kariuku, Paul Mwangi, Otiende Amolo, Ben Sihanya, Jackson Awele and Arnold Odinga.

Others are Eric Gumbo, George Oraro Keneddy Ogeto, Paul Nyamodi and Kamaku Karori.

Those opposing the BBI are led by John Khaminwa, Nelson Havi, Elias Mutuma, Dudley Ochiel, Morara Omoke, Michael Karanja, Muthoni Thiankolu and Charles Kanjama

A five-judge bench of the High Court last month ruled that the President does not have authority under the Constitution to initiate changes to the Constitution, and that a constitutional amendment can only be initiated by the President through the Attorney General in Parliament through a Parliamentary initiative.

The court further ruled that President Kenyatta had violated provisions of Chapter 6 of the Constitution on leadership and integrity, and that he can be sued in his personal capacity and not as the head of state.

Over the weekend, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga exuded confidence proponents of BBI will win.

Raila who spoke on Saturday during the burial ceremony of former Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo, Raila confirmed that the BBI legal team is prepared to overturn the High Court decision that declared the BBI initiative unconstitutional.

“We’re confident that through this competent team, we’re going to succeed. The BBI is going to move forward,” he said.

By Alice Gworo

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