Five-judge bench starts hearing 8 cases challenging BBI
Published on: March 18, 2021 11:53 (EAT)
Eight cases challenging the looming BBI referendum were heard on Wednesday by a five-judge bench that amalgamated the cases into one. Petitioners questioned the BBI process to amend the Constitution terming it a dangerous move. In submissions made by lawyers representing the 8 groups, the five-judge bench was urged to use the court’s unlimited powers to dismiss attempts to amend the Constitution. According to the petitioners who made their presentation virtually, the public was completely locked out from the amendment of the country’s supreme law. The anti-BBI crusaders insisted that BBI does not reflect the will of the people. Petitioners also questioned the manner in which the BBI bill was presented to the county assemblies saying it was hurriedly done in a choreographed script to lock out Kenyans especially those with dissenting voices. Even before the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2020 was presented to county assemblies, petitioners faulted the signatures verification exercise by the IEBC saying it was flawed. The petitioners accused promoters of the bill of using public funds to influence the process to have the country subjected to a referendum yet majority of the clauses can be passed by Parliament. The petitioners who had the better part of the day to make their case told the five judge bench that the process to amend the Constitution through BBI has not met the constitutional threshold since majority of views were left out during the first and second round of presentations held by the BBI taskforce. They claimed the BBI process was a one man show from the onset terming it a presidential project. “The president is not the constituted power. There’s no doubt an initiative powered by the president can’t be a popular initiative, ” submitted LSK President Nelson Havi. The defence team has been lined up for Thursday, March 18 to submit their counter arguments and why the amendment process should go on.