Court Rules on Petition to Halt BBI

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    President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga at KICC in Nairobi for the National launch of BBI signatures collection exercise. November 25, 2020.
  • The High Court in Nairobi has ruled on an application that sought to stop the IEBC from receiving signatures from the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) secretariat.

    In his ruling on Wednesday, December 9, Justice Jarius Ngaah granted the applicant, one James Gitau leave to file a motion arguing that Kenyans in the diaspora were not well involved in the process. 

    However, the judge refused to grant his wish to have the BBI referendum push halted until the matter was heard and determined. 

    President Uhuru Kenyatta appending his signature on the Constitution Of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 at KICC on November 25, 2020
    President Uhuru Kenyatta appending his signature on the Constitution Of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 at KICC on November 25, 2020

    “Leave is hereby granted to the applicant to file a substantive motion for the foregoing orders. The prayer for leave to operate as stay of any action by the respondents in processing the collection of signatures for the Building Bridges Initiative is refused,” the ruling read. 

    Justice Ngaah added that Gitau should file his motion and serve all the parties within 7 days and its respondents would be expected to file responses within 7 days from the date of receipt. 

    This means that both processes; the BBI signature collection and court case, would have to proceed concurrently. 

    Gitau is a Kenyan living in the US and had sought to have the IEBC made to include representation from the diaspora community in the signature collection process of voting. 

    Speaking to, ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna revealed that the BBI secretariat would proceed to submit more than 5 million signatures on Friday, December 11. 

    “The law does not stipulate where the signatures should come from. Even if all of them were from Nairobi, they would still be viable,” he stated. 

    The ruling had some of the political class confused, among them Nairobi Senator Millicent Omanga who interpreted it to mean that by allowing the case to proceed, the signature submission would be stopped.

    Blogger Dennis Itumbi had also falsely announced on Twitter that the court had stopped the process. 

    “There is no such order. Do not read court orders on your own as if you are reading the newspaper. Get your lawyer friends like Karori Kipchumba or Senator Kipchumba Murkomen to help you decipher legal texts,” Sifuna corrected the blogger. 

    An image of Sifuna
    ODM party Secretary General Edwin Sifuna speaking at a past event.
    ODM Party