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Kenya is governed by rule of law and not rule of men, Ruto says after BBI ruling

NATIONAL
By Brian Okoth | August 21st 2021
Deputy President William Ruto. [File, Standard]

 

Deputy President William Ruto says the Court of Appeal decision that halted the BBI caravan on Friday proves that Kenya “is governed by the rule of law, and not the rule of men”.

Addressing journalists at his Karen residence in Nairobi on Saturday, August 21, Ruto said it’s high President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government shifted its attention to the Big Four Agenda, which, he argues, was given a wide berth after BBI constitutional change push was birthed.

The DP lauded the Judiciary for withstanding immense pressure from other arms of government during the BBI push.

 “It (August 20, 2021 BBI appeal ruling) marks the second time our courts have pronounced themselves on this matter. On both occasions, our courts were bold, clear and unmistakable,” he said.

“Without any doubt, the court brought the voice of Wanjiku to life, and called on us to move to the most pressing needs of our citizens and our nation.

“The court’s decision reaffirms that Kenya is a country governed by the rule of law, and not the rule of men; where the Constitution and the sovereignty of the people are supreme, and not the political elite.”

The DP said, contrary to popular perception that he was celebrating BBI’s fall at the Court of Appeal, no one has lost in the legal contest.

“No one has lost and no one has won. It is a win-win for both the people and the Constitution. The people have won, the Constitution has won and the rule of law has prevailed,” he said.

“I laud the courage of the judges who have bravely defended the Constitution. God bless them. This is, therefore, a moment of reflection and appreciation. We celebrate our institutions which have come of age; foremost, the Judiciary. We rejoice in the timeless spirit of freedom that remains alive in our land.”

Ruto said the Court of Appeal’s August 20 decision further emboldens the Judiciary for posterity.

“We may now live our lives and build our nation with the confidence that the brave patriots of our Judiciary stand ready, capable and courageous to secure the promise of our national anthem that justice be our shield and defender.

“In this spirit, it is time for us, especially the political class, to set down our battle standards and shed our partisan armour and unite in actualising the aspirations of ordinary citizens.”

The DP said it is about time Kenya moved on from the BBI conversation.

“It is time for us to join hands and pursue the priorities of wananchi with the same urgency and vigour that has been dedicated to the BBI. We must make up for all the time lost, resources spent and opportunities forgone in the knowledge that time is of the essence. For truly, it is never too late to do the right thing. We must urgently retrace our path to the Big Four Agenda.”

Ruto further stated that the court’s decision shows that Wanjiku is the most important person when crafting decisions about the citizenry.

“We cannot and must not, in all honesty, embark on a discourse about the future of our nation without the largest owners of that future; the wananchi.”

On Friday, August 20, a seven-member Court of Appeal bench upheld High Court’s May 2021 decision that declared BBI constitutional change drive unconstitutional.

The Justice Daniel Musinga-led bench ruled that it was unlawful for President Uhuru Kenyatta to initiate changes to the Constitution through the popular initiative route, which is reserved for the mwananchi.

The judges also held that the electoral agency, IEBC, was not properly constituted when verifying BBI signatures ahead of a would-be Referendum. At the time, IEBC had three commissioners, instead of the quorum threshold: five.

One of the proponents of the BBI, Raila Odinga, has since urged Kenyans to move on, saying focus should now shift on preparations for the 2022 General Election.

Odinga, who is the ODM leader, is on the record saying he won’t appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision at the Supreme Court, Kenya’s apex court.

The BBI was seeking to, among others, expand the Executive structure by introducing a Prime Minister post and two Deputy Prime Minister positions.

The proposed reforms had also suggested an increase in the number of constituencies from the current 290 to 360.

While vouching for BBI, President Kenyatta and Raila Odinga said an expanded Executive structure would provide long-lasting healing to Kenya’s perennially divisive politics.

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