Raila Breaks Silence After BBI Declared Unconstitutional

ODM leader Raila Odinga has praised the Supreme Court’s decision on the Building Bridges Initiative, saying it upholds Kenyan people’s sovereignty.

Raila said in a statement on Thursday that the ruling affirms that the governmental organs must submit to the decision of the people and never usurp their sovereignty.

“I wish to applaud the verdict particularly in the background of questions surrounding amendments to the constitution,” Raila said.

The former prime minister also pointed out that the Supreme Court upheld all of the initiative’s terms except for the section where the state was chastised for taking part in a citizen-centered process.

Read: CJ Koome Hits Out at Lawyers Ahmednasir, Havi For Commenting on BBI Case on Social Media

“I note that the BBI process has been upheld. What has been faulted is the role that the State is said to have played at the commencement of the popular initiative.

“I’m particularly pleased by the introspection that the Chief Justice has stated regarding the role of Judiciary in the Constitutional order and its relationship with other arms of government,” Raila added.

The Supreme Court, in a majority judgment on Thursday, affirmed that the process to amend the constitution through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) was illegal.

The ruling was delivered by a seven-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Martha Koome, Deputy CJ Philomena Mwilu, Justices William Ouko, Isaac Lenaola, Mohammed Ibrahim, Smokin Wanjala and Njoki Ndung’u.

Read Also: Final Blow for BBI as Supreme Court Declares Bill Unconstitutional

The judges found, that the purported popular initiative was initiated by President Uhuru Kenyatta and not the common mwananchi ‘wanjiku’. The court held that a popular initiative is a preserve of the people and not their representatives. Justices Lenaola and Ndung’u dissented.

BBI is a product of the March 9, 2018, political truce between President Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga, popularly known as the handshake.

BBI sought, among others, to expand the Executive and introduce the office of the Prime Minister and two deputies as part of what the handshake duo termed as efforts to solve historical injustices bedevilling the country.

In the Thursday judgment, the Supreme Court also gave its pronouncement on five other matters before the court.

The court overturned a ruling by the Court of Appeal that the Basic Structure Doctrine applies in Kenya with Justice Lenaola dissenting. This now paves way for the amendment of certain clauses of the Constitution that the lower court ruled were ‘unamendable’.

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Written by Eva Nyambura

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