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Court consolidates BBI cases, sets hearing date

By Kamau Muthoni | January 22nd 2021 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Nakuru Law Court presiding judge Justice Joel Ngugi speaking after launching the Malaika Social Justice center at Sega in Siaya county on 21 February 2020. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

The High Court has declined to stop the ongoing signature verification by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

The court also set March 17, 18 and 19 to hear seven cases challenging the bid to amend the 2010 Constitution through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), and directed the cases be fully heard and settled.

Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) had urged Justices Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Jairus Ngaah, Janet Mulwa and Chacha Mwita to intervene, claiming that public money would be used in vain.

But the judges noted that application would eat into so much time which ought to be utilised to settle the case.

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“When your house is burning, you do not go running after rats,” Justice Ngugi told Knun lawyers to illustrate that court ought to determine the case either way for the country to move forward.

The court also rejected Attorney General Paul Kihara’s plea to suspend the hearing of the cases in order to allow the Supreme Court to settle two suits filed by Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and Nandi and Kericho counties.

Kihara’s lawyer Immanuel Mbita informed the judges that there was a likelihood of the two courts delivering contradicting verdicts on the same issues.

“The matter cannot be lying before the Supreme Court and the High Court for determination. We pray that we stay these proceedings until the ones at the Supreme Court are determined,” he said.

But the judges said the AG could raise the same issue before the Supreme Court. BBI has attracted 11 cases out of which seven are filed before the High Court in Milimani by economist David Ndii and others by the nurses union, Thirdway Alliance, Justus Juma, Isaac Oluchier, Morara Omike and Isaac Ogola and James Gitau.

While two were filed in Mombasa, the remainder is before the Supreme Court. The cases before Milimani Court has 27 parties.

Owing to the huge number of parties, the court directed that it will consolidate the seven cases. Each party will have 30 minutes to argue its case.

Meanwhile, the AG and the BBI team raised concerns that Thirdway Alliance had filed an application before the Supreme Court to be enjoined in the two cases. But the party’s lawyer Elias Mutuma said the court locked them out.

 


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