BBI verdict: Uhuru, Raila camp vows fight is not over


President Uhuru Kenyatta and Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga during the launch of the collection of signatures for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) at KICC in Nairobi on November 25, 2020. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

The final nail on the Building Bridges Initiative coffin set proponents and detractors of the controversial Bill mourning and celebrating in equal measure.

Deputy President William Ruto and his allies celebrated the verdict, while allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga welcomed overturning the verdict on applicability of the basic structure doctrine in Kenya. But they endured the sting left by BBI’s fall.

Dr Ruto had started his party before the Chief Justice Martha Koome-led Supreme Court rendered its judgement, gloating on Twitter on impending fall of BBI.

“BBI nullification by Supreme Court of Kenya at this period of economic struggle in our nation is a big win for 50 million-plus Kenyans. “Mungu yupo (there is God),” Dr Ruto tweeted.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka said the Supreme Court decision had opened the window for a future BBI process, immediately after the election. He said it was agreed by all, on account of diminished time between now and election in August, that BBI was a deferred agenda.

“Personally, I am pleased by the outcome which underscored our correctness on five out of the seven issues at stake. With that in mind, nobody can afford to say BBI is dead. If anything, the court’s findings on basic structure have made our route clearer,” he said. “With slight amendment to the Constitutional Amendment Bill and a little tinkering with the process, we will be good to go.”

Mr Odinga also waded into the debate and tweeted: “We will not stop deliberations on the way forward that will decide on a future course of action that protects the interests of all those who voted to see the amendments come to light.” ?

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi said the judgement had settled the matter of who can amend the Constitution.

“That ruling agrees with some of the issues raised when the Bill was here in regard to the power of the House, the power of any member to move amendments,” Muturi said.

Dr Ruto’s allies flooded Twitter with celebratory remarks. “Well, it took a determined cat to stop the noisy, noxious, nuisance that was the BBI Bill reggae. It matters not that the Supreme Court has held that the Basic Structure Doctrine is inapplicable in Kenya. In the end, all that matters is the pronouncement, ‘It is null and void’,” lawyer Nelson Havi wrote.

ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi said: “I congratulate the Supreme Court judges for their bold decision which essentially puts a stop to the BBI reggae. Kenya is indeed fortunate to have a strong and independent Judiciary to which the people can always turn to when those in power become outrageously impertinent.”

Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula said BBI had polarised the country and led to misuse of public funds.

“NULL & VOID. I repeat NULL & VOID!” Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said.

Proponents of BBI argued that the Supreme Court had granted them a window through which they could resuscitate the process after the August 9 elections.

“Reggae is BACK. Its main impediment was the Doctrine of Basic Structure. All seven judges THREW it out. All the other ISSUES, in this case, are nothing but legal MUSINGS,” Mutahi Ngunyi said.

In a statement, Thirdway Alliance leader Ekuru Aukot said the Supreme Court had stopped an attempt to usurp the power of the people.

“We are happy to have saved Kenyans more than Sh500 billion in every electoral cycle that would have been expended in sustaining the lifestyles of a few individuals,” Aukot said.