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Coast biggest loser in BBI verdict, leaders say

By Standard Team | August 23rd 2021

Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Shock and jubilation rippled through the Coast region after the Court of Appeal affirmed the lower court’s verdict that declared proposed constitutional amendments null and void.

Proponents of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) termed the verdict a blow to the region’s quest to address historical land injustices and political and economic marginalisation.

Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi said the proposals in the BBI sought to strengthen devolution and allocate more funds to the counties, in line with the region’s beliefs in federalism. Kingi said the BBI sought to foster cohesion and promote an equitable share of the national resources.

“While we respect the decision by the judges to nullify the BBI process, it is important to note that there is a need to have structured and strategic deliberations on how we can consolidate the gains achieved through devolution and ensure more resources trickle to the grassroots,” said Kingi.

Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, a fierce critic of BBI, said the verdict was a sign that “God will not abandon his people.”

“They bragged that with lawyer James Orengo they will not lose the case. They forgot that he is also human and there is God in heaven,” Jumwa posted on her social media platforms.

She said those who said “nobody can stop reggae should humble before God”, and allow all Kenyans to have a conversation on what ails the nation. Ganze MP Teddy Mwambire, who recently replaced Kingi as Kilifi Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) chairman, said the region would have benefited from extra constituencies and wards.

“The extra constituencies and wards would have translated to more money to the region and employment opportunities for our people,” said Mwambire, adding that increased allocations to the counties would have seen more development in rural areas.

Mvita MP Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir said those celebrating the court’s decision have forgotten who fought for the independence of the judiciary.

“We respect the courts. It is a pure show of maturity and total independence of the courts. It is easy for people to forget that it is people like Raila Odinga who paid with blood for us to get that,” he said.

He said the ODM party will hold a parliamentary group meeting to deliberate on the way forward early next week. “I’m perplexed to see MPs who overwhelming voted in parliament for BBI celebrating the defeat. This is the hypocrisy of the highest order,” he said.

United Green Movement (UGM) members stage a demonstration in Mombasa County in support of BBI judgement. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Senator Mohamed Faki said Coast residents had pegged hope on the BBI to solve historical land injustices.

“Our only hope to save these constituencies lies with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission which has the mandate to carry out the delimitation of boundaries one year before the general election. Our concern is that there is limited time before the next polls,” he argued.

The constituencies targeted were those with a population below 133,000. Kwale Woman Representative Zuleikha Hassan argued Coast had lost many opportunities, including the proposed constituencies for the region. She noted that Kwale and Mombasa counties were getting three constituencies each while Kilifi extra four constituencies.

She said the region was to benefit in terms of infrastructure, water and food security, following the proposed increment of devolution funds from 15 per cent to 35 per cent. “We had expected the devolution funds will be increased to finance several development projects,” she noted.

Central Organisation of Trade Union Secretary-General Francis Atwoli said he had accepted the verdict and advised against a further appeal at the Supreme Court.

“BBI fell because of the proposal to introduce the Judiciary Ombudsman and the bad blood between the Executive and the courts,” he said.

[Benard Sanga, Patrick Beja and Philip Mwakio]

Download the BBI Judgement by all seven Judges - Civil Appeal No. E291 of 2021
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