NAIROBI, Kenya June 29 – The hearing on the case against a High Court ruling that nullified the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) kicked off Monday setting the stage for an epic legal battle that will run until Friday.
Appeal Court President Daniel Musinga, who is presiding over the seven-judge bench called for decorum during the submission of arguments from the appellants and respondents’ legal counsel teams who have each been allocated two hours to make their case.
“Counsel and parties let us all conduct ourselves as officers of the court in keeping with the decorum and professionalism expected of us,” he said.
Solicitor General Ken Ogeto in his defending the state and President Uhuru Kenyatta pleaded with the Appeals Court to dismiss the High Court ruling, accusing judges in the Constitutional Court of relying on Wikipedia and Google in their ruling.
“The judges did not rely on the law,” he said, “they relied on Wikipedia and Google and that is not the law.”
Justices Roselyne Nambuye, Hannah Okwengu, Patrick Kiage, Gatembu Kairu, Fatuma Sichale and Francis Tuyoitt are also part of the bench that will render the verdict on the BBI case that was thrown into disarray by the five Judges of the High Court on May 14.
The appeals were filed by the Attorney General, BBI Secretariat, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki whose submissions were made by the Solicitor General asked the Bench to uphold the fidelity of the Constitution when it finally renders its decision on the case.
He pleaded with Bench to restore sanity and protect the sovereignty of the people.
The Attorney General filed 31 legal grounds of appeal against the BBI judgement.
“Our appeal is nothing more than a plea to this honorable court that for fidelity to our Constitution and simply a call for the restoration of the people’s sovereign will. We invite this court to affirm the Constitution as enacted by the people. We also invite this court to affirm that it is not for this court or any other court to re-write our Constitution,” he said.
While faulting the High Court ruling that rendered the BBI process null and void, Ogeto was categorical that the five Judges had a personal vendetta against the President and underscored that their Judgement was entirely illegal.
He noted that the Judges erred in their decision, saying that they deliberately ignored the evidence that was presented before them while insisting that nothing prevents the President from initiating a Constitution amendment process.
“Even so in the present case, the President never played a role that the learned Judges claimed that he did. The learned Judges simply ignored the evidence that was adduced as to who the promoters of the amendment Bill was. It seems to us that the learned Judges were keen on personalized attacks against the President,” he said.
Justices George Odunga and Prof Joel Ngugi who were part of the 5 Judge-bench that shot down the BBI process were left out in the appointments for elevation to the Court of Appeal with President Kenyatta noting that the duo have serious questionable integrity.
Ogeto stressed that the five High Court Judges disenfranchised the millions of Kenyan voters by ignoring their endorsement to the popular initiative.
The electoral commission had verified close to four million signatures of Kenyan registered voters who had supported the initiative.
“We invite the Court to uphold the will of the people,” Ogeto pleaded.
According to the hearings sequence, the BBI Secretariat will be next in line to make their submissions followed by the electoral body IEBC and the counsel team of President Kenyatta will be the last to submit their case.