Attorney General (AG) Paul Kihara Kariuki has filed a petition appealing judgment on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) bill, citing dissatisfaction in the decision made by the five-bench judge.
The petition filed through Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto claims that the AG will suffer prejudice if the stay orders are not granted.
“The 1st respondent will suffer prejudice as the applicants will proceed to execute the orders rendering the appeal nugatory and causing not only the 1st respondent but also the citizens of Kenya at large irreparable harm,” read court papers.
The BBI Bill, officially known as Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020, was declared null and void by a five-bench judge on Thursday, May 13.
According to a ruling by judges Prof Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Jairus Ngaah, Teresia Matheka and Chacha Mwita, President Uhuru Kenyatta does not have the power to initiate a Constitutional amendment.
The five bench judges ruled that even the BBI Steering Committee unconstitutional.
“It is our finding that popular initiative is a power reserved for Wanjiku neither the president or any other state organ can utilize article 257 to amend the constitution. President cannot purport to directly initiate a constitutional amendment. He isn’t part of parliament. He has no power under the constitution to initiate changes under the constitution since parliament is the only state organ that can consider the effecting of constitutional changes. The president is not permitted to amend the constitution using popular initiative,” said the judges.
The judges ruled that the President should have used the parliamentary initiative by petitioning the National Assembly through the Attorney-General to consider the desired amendments.
The appeal by Kihara comes a day after BBI secretariat co-chairs Junet Mohamed and Denis Waweru dismissed the ruling as judicial activism, vowing to appeal.
“This was a very deliberate design to plunge the country into a constitutional crisis and chaos through judicial activism,” Junet said.
The Suna East MP claimed that there exists an unholy marriage between the Deputy President William Ruto-led faction (Tanga tanga), the civil society and the judiciary.
“We note the celebration of the ruling by politicians and the civil society operators who have dismissed BBI from the word go. These politicians are determined to ignore the fact that four million Kenyans signed the BBI amendment Bill,” added the legislator.
On Saturday, May 15, ODM party leader Raila Odinga who is President Uhuru Kenyatta’s handshake partner said BBI proponents will appeal the ruling.
He also asked BBI supporters to refrain from attacking the court and its members.
“Supporters of the Constitution Amendment Bill, including myself, have been disappointed by the High Court ruling,” he said.
He added, “We may disagree with the court but we must respect its ruling and its freedom to exercise its judgment as it understands the legal and constitutional matters before it.”
The AU envoy further noted that the BBI seeks to create a country of strong institutions and where citizenship means the ability and opportunity to realize one’s full humanity.