Supreme Court begins hearing appellants against the BBI judgment
The Attorney General has faulted the Court of Appeal verdict to stop the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) driven constitutional review process.
The AG said the Appellate court erred in stripping the president’s immunity and his right to engage in political discourse.
The president’s chief legal advisor asked the Supreme Court to overturn the Court of Appeal verdict, reinstate the president’s stature as the BBI appeal got underway at the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court began a three-day marathon hearing of the BBI appeals case.
The Attorney General led the onslaught to resuscitate changes to the Constitution, poking holes in the Court of Appeal's ruling that declared the review initiative unconstitutional.
The country’s chief legal advisor warned the Court of Appeal had stripped the president of his immunity while in office.
Lawyer Kamau Karori, representing the AG, submitted that: “It is necessary that the president has decisional freedom to make decisions that are key and important to safeguard the interests of the country. If the president is detracted because of the fear, every decision he makes may attract civil liability against him. It would have a chilling effect on the ability of the president to make decisions that are important to the people of Kenya.”
The Attorney General fiercely defended the president’s involvement in the push to review the supreme law saying he was within his rights. This in contrast to the Court of Appeal verdict.
“The only way that the rights of the president to participate in the initiative or the process can be limited is that the person who is seeking that limitation must demonstrate compliance with the provisions of Article 24 of the Constitution. No such demonstration has been done by any of the parties or by the Court of Appeal itself,” added Karori.
The AG defended the distribution of the 70 new constituencies saying the move in no way infringed on the mandate of the electoral commission as ruled by the Court of Appeal.
Karori said: “The people deliberately removed the mandate of allocation of constituencies from commissions and reserved this for themselves because the problem that was noted in the Kriegler report was brought about because the issue of constituencies was left entirely to the ECK.”
IEBC submitted that the Court of Appeal got it wrong in its verdict that the commission was not properly constituted, asking the Supreme Court to remedy the position and safeguard the independence of the commission.
“IEBC was always properly constituted…it had the quorum mandated by the Constitution itself, and there can be no higher law than the Constitution,” said Githu Muigai, representing the commission.
With the Court of Appeal indicating that the commission did not undertake public participation on the BBI referendum bill, IEBC submitted public participation was not under its purview.
The Attorney General and IEBC case seeks to overturn the decision that muted the push to change the Constitution backed by the BBI secretariat and Azimio la Umoja movement leader Raila Odinga.
President Uhuru Kenyatta presents his case on Wednesday.