NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – A youth caucus bringing together representatives from all the 47 counties have accused judges who delivered last week’s verdict nullifying the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) of playing politics and activism.
The group known as ‘Youths United for Kenya’ said the five judges played politics in the ruling, and have now called for the election not selection of judges in the judiciary.
“Our bench has ridiculously very old judges who are so detached from the youths’ interests and therefore, do not understand or subscribe to the kuomoka “prosperity” ideology ofthe modern youth,” the group’s leader Alex Matere told a news conference Monday.
The group said the youth stands to lose a lot if the Court of Appeal does not reverse the decision the Constitutional court ruling nullifying the BBI constitution amendment process.
“We the people are supreme and have a right to change the Constitution as long as we follow the right procedure. As young people, we also have the power to amend the constitution and also the process of amending the Constitution,” Matere said.
They were reacting to the court ruling by a five-judge bench of Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Jairus Ngaah, Teresia Matheka and Chacha Mwita that among other declarations, noted that President Uhuru Kenyatta had violated the Constitution when he initiated the BBI process which it said could only be done by Parliament or the citizens through a popular initiative.
“The constitutional amendment Bill is an initiative of the president and the law is clear that the president does not have the constitutional mandate to initiate any constitutional changes through popular initiative,” the judges said in their ruling issued on May 13. The BBI team has filed a notice of appeal as well as the electoral commission.
The group further termed the ruling as a form of ‘judicial activism’ even as it accused some of the petitioners of being funded by international organisations.
By nullifying the constitution amendment process, the group said Judiciary is inviting ‘anarchy and violent revolution in Kenya.’
“If unchecked, this cartel will indirectly run the affairs of the National Executive and Parliament through legal jargon instead of facing the ballot. They must face the ballot not hide in the Constitution or other laws,” the group said.
It accused the five-judge bench of being too ‘personal’ in their ruling even as they linked it to the failure of President Kenyatta to appoint 41 judges saying it motivated to rule against the BBI process.
Should the court of appeal uphold the BBI ruling, the group said it will propose an amendment in the constitution that will ensure judges get elected by the people as opposed to the commission.
“In the period intervening our amendment proposal, JSC must urgently hire judges who are not just youthful but are youths,” the group demanded.
They vowed to press for the “resignations of all judges and public prosecution of all judges who are bankrolled by George Soros and his local networks.”
Matere said the group will further demand that the Judiciary budget be slashed and the funds channeled to finance Youth Fund, Higher Education Loans Board, Uwezo Fund and food stamps for the youth.