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Court of Appeal throws out BBI

The Court of Appeal has today, Friday, August 20 upheld the High Court judgment that termed the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Referendum Bill process illegal.

A seven-judge Court of Appeal dig dip into far-reaching political and legal implications and also exposed President Uhuru Kenyatta noting that it was not a popular initiative as submitted to the court by the BBI proponents.

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According to the Court of Appeal president Daniel Musinga and judge Patrick Kiage, the president is only limited to protecting and defending the Constitution.

Under our constitutional architecture, the president cannot initiate the process of amendment of the constitution as a popular initiative. His intentions were noble but the execution was not in line with the constitution,” Musinga ruled.

Kiage further stated that the president doesn’t have powers to alter the constitution even though he enjoys others.

His duty is to obey and defend it in keeping with the oath of allegiance…..The spirit of the constitution must preside and permeate the process of judicial interpretation and judicial discretion,” Kiage stated.

According to the court of appeal, civic education, public participation, assembly debates preceding a referendum are some of the things that can cause changes to the structure of the constitution.

“I hold that a referendum cannot be effective unless the initial three steps have been involved and engage in a real and substantive manner as opposed to a ritualist and minimalist manner akin to a mere token ticking of boxes,” Kiage added.

The bench further found fault with the BBI secretariat for the way they carried out public participation questioning them from providing only the English version on the internet and leaving out the Swahili version.

They also argued that the BBI defence team did not provide means they used to collect statics of the number of people who accessed the internet and read the English version and understood.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga has issued a statement addressing the verdict.

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“It is likely that today’s Court of Appeal ruling is not the end of the conversation and the parties involved will each make their own decisions on how to proceed from the decision that has been delivered today. ‘’But we feel that we have to move on as the issues involved need to be deliberated upon to the fullest extent,’’ Raila said

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