ODM leader Raila Odinga has expressed his disappointment with the judgement of the High Court, which declared the entire Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) process illegal, but warned politicians against personalised attacks against the court.
Speaking for the first time since the court delivered the verdict, the former Prime Minister likened the judgement to moments of danger and peril that have characterised Kenya’s struggle for constitutional reforms.
“I urge that we restrain from personalised attacks on the court and its members. We may disagree with the court but we must respect its ruling and its freedom to exercise its judgment as it understands the legal and constitutional matters before it,” he said in a statement on Saturday.
A five-judge bench ruled on Thursday that President Uhuru Kenyatta acted in excess of his powers when he initiated the process of amending the Constitution through the BBI.
In the hard-hitting ruling, the judges singled out multiple legal blunders that President Kenyatta committed in his desire for law reforms.
They said the head of State made a fatal legal mistake in attempting to change the Constitution through a popular initiative, an avenue that is not available to him.
“The President cannot be an initiator of, and an umpire in, amendment of the Constitution,” ruled justices Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Jairus Ngaah, Teresia Matheka and Chacha Mwita.
Accusations against the judges
Some of the judges on the bench have come under attack, with a section of the political class accusing them of throwing out the Bill to spite the President.
In addition, the BBI Secretariat, which said it will appeal the ruling, accuses them of engaging in partnership with the civil society and a section of politicians who have been opposed to the process.
Pokot South MP David Pkosing said the judgement was motivated by the President’s refusal to appoint 41 judges to both the High Court and the court of Appeal after they were nominated by the Judicial Service Commision after intensive interviews.
Justices Ngugi and Odunga are some of the victims of the President’s refusal as they were to be promoted to the Court of Appeal.
They were among the 11 persons whose appointment the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) recommended but President Kenyatta is yet to give his nod.
Mr Pkosing, who also chairs the parliamentary Transport committee, said the two judges should have recused themselves as, according to him, they were conflicted. He said the bench delved into matters the petition never touched on.
“A judge cannot rule on a matter like Chapter Six [of the Constitution], that was not sought by the petitioners. It is impossible to accept the High Court ruling as objective rule of law, never. It was too personal… Was the president on trial? The ruling was an attempted coup in a civilian democracy like ours. It must be reversed immediately,” he said.
While disagreeing with the observation, Mr Odinga maintained the position by the State Law Office, which has indicated its desire to seek a review of the judgement in the Court of Appeal.
“We will move to the Court of Appeal to present our case as to why we think the High Court did not render the right verdict. We will do so with sobriety and with respect for our judges and courts,” Mr Odinga, noting that the ultimate aim of the BBI promoters is to strengthen, not undermine, the judiciary.
Machokos Governor Alfred Mutua & Wife Lillian Nganga Announce Separation
Machakos Governor Dr. Alfred Mutua and his wife Lillian Nganga have separated. The two love birds issued statements on Sunday, announcing that they agreed to part ways amicably about two months ago.
With the separation Ms Nganga ceases being the Machakos County First Lady.In his separation note, Mutua said that despite going their separate ways, they will remain to be friends.
“There is a song by Roger Whittaker that has the line: “the first time we said hello, we started to say goodbye.”
Lillian and I have been a blessing to each other. Two months ago, we decided to slowly disengage. We are in amicable terms and remain very close as friends. We will continue to talk, meet and share ideas constantly.
Lillian has been an excellent First Lady and even though she will do some projects under the Lillian Nganga foundation, we have agreed she can continue with her county projects.
She will be a close advisor as I Govern Machakos County and run for President because I trust her sharp insight and heart. She has always been my number one fan. Our love for each other is permanent but I think at times, space and new directions are important.
I thank God for bringing Lillian into my life and the many ways we have made each other grow. We have had a laugh and at times a tear but all in all we have been a power couple and very happy. We celebrate life and are pleased that we have reached this decision in a mature, agreeable manner.I am a happy and blessed man and we have agreed we will protect and support each other”.
On the other hand, the Machakos First Lady Lilian Nganga said steps down announcing break up with Governor Alfred Mutua.
Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi removed as Kilifi County ODM Chairman
Kilifi governor mason Kingi has been replaced as the Kilifi County chairman of the Orange Democratic Movement party.
Teddy Mwambire, Ganze member of Parliament has taken over the Chairmanship.
Kingi is accused of being disloyal and having aligned himself with a new political party. He has been spearheading formation of a Jumuia coastal political party as a way to increase the stakes for Coastal region in the 2022 politics.
This has seen him clash with a section of ODM leaders from the region, who have been calling for his removal from the chairmanship position.
Kingi’s replacement comes days after the Kilifi ODM youth league chairman Samir Nyundo resigned from the Orange party.
The Kilifi Governor was conspicuously absent during ODM party leader Raila Odinga’s recent tour of Kilifi County.
Deputy President William Ruto blocked from traveling to Uganda
Deputy President William Ruto was on Monday blocked from travelling to Uganda.
The DP’s office says Ruto was scheduled to make a private visit to Uganda but was told to first seek clearance from the Head of public Service.
Three members of parliament who accompanied the DP were also blocked temporarily before being allowed to travel.
The deputy president is said to have arrived at airport, all set for what would have been his second trip to Uganda in less than a month, but he could not be cleared for take off, his spokesman David Mugonyi saying in a brief statement.
“He was told that he had to first seek clearance from the head of public service, when he called Joseph Kinyua, he said he wasn’t aware of such a directive,”’
Ruto is said to have been kept waiting at the Wilson airport from 2pm to 5;15 pm when his journey aborted.
But sources in government who did not want to be named owing to the political sensitives of the matter pointed to the travel protocols the require public officials such as the deputy president to be cleared before leaving the country.
Under the national security council procedure on travel by top public servants, the Deputy President’s foreign trips must be cleared by the president.
CS’s and PS’s are however cleared by Head of Public Service.
Ruto was to travel with three MPs allied to him Kiharu’s Ndindi Nyoro, Kapseret’s Oscar Sudi and Kinango MP Nenjamin Tayari.
The three lawmakers were also reportedly kept waiting at Wilson Airport for more than three hours and later cleared leaving the DP behind.
“Sisi tuko hapa Kampala tumefika tulikuwa tukuje na DP kutembelea Yoweri Museveni, tulifika airport saa saba tukingojea DP alipofika alianza kuambiwa kuana orders from above hawezi ruhusiwa kutoka nje ya nchi,” Ndindi Nyoro said
It was not immediately clear what was on the DP’s agenda in Uganda…but his last trip in early July raised political eyebrows in the region with a section of newspapers reporting that he had sought the intervention of president Yoweri Museveni in mending fences with President Kenyatta.
He is also said to have discussed business opportunities in the neighbouring country.
A report in the Sunday Nation even suggested that Museveni had expressed concern over what he saw as the DP’s confrontational approach in dealing with President Kenyatta, which he feared could cost him politically.
The DP has since put out a social media post which seems to refer to the latest incident.
At 6.46 pm on Monday, he wrote on Twitter handle ‘isorait…tuwachie mungu’.
One more sign of the strained relations between the DP and sections of the same government he is still constitutionally part of