Kenyan court set to rule on controversial Constitutional amendment process

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The Court of Appeal in Kenya is set to rule on the country’s halted controversial Constitutional amendment process also known as the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

The Bill aims to reintroduce the position of the Prime Minister, two deputies and increase the number of parliamentary seats.

The court in Nairobi is expected to either uphold the High Court ruling declaring the process illegal and unconstitutional or invalidate that ruling, giving the electoral commission the go-ahead to prepare the country for a referendum process to amend the Constitution.

The appellants who include President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Attorney-General, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) are seeking to overturn the High Court judgment, which ruled that amending the country’s Constitution through the BBI was unconstitutional, null and void.

The ruling also faulted Kenyatta for “acting in excess of his powers” for initiating the process of amending the Constitution.

The court held that the only way to change the Constitution is through parliament.

The battle to amend Kenya’s Constitution begins:

The BBI follows the March 2018 handshake between Kenyatta and Odinga after they publicly declared that they have ended their political differences.

The two argue the initiative that would alter the composition of the executive arm of government, as well as parliament, would end the cyclical electoral violence witnessed in Kenya every election year by ending the winner-take-all system of elections.

Building Bridges Initiative bill passes Kenya’s County Assemblies

In February, more than 24 County assemblies passed the Constitution Amendment Bill paving the way for the mini plebiscites.

While both Kenyatta and Odinga have touted law reforms as crucial to uniting the country, Deputy President William Ruto has seen the reforms which come as the country prepares for Kenyatta’s succession as a way of edging him out of the presidential race and a boost to Odinga’s chances.