Battle of Titans: List of Top Lawyers Working on BBI Appeal

  • Left to right: Siaya Senator James Orengo, former AG Githu Muigai and Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto
    Left to right: Siaya Senator James Orengo, former AG Githu Muigai and Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto.
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  • Days after a 5-judge bench declared the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) as null and void, proponents of the bill have constituted a high wattage team of counsel to appeal the ruling.

    On one hand, Attorney General Paul Kihara and his team already filed an appeal against the High Court judgement arguing that he was dissatisfied with the judgement.

    On the other hand, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his lawyers Arnold Oginga and Paul Mwangi, are alleged to be preparing arguments to support the appeal. 

    Combined, the two teams, one allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and the other to Raila, are said to have tapped no less than nine independent legal minds of our time, including those who had previously sided with Deputy President William Ruto.

    AG Paul Kihara

    Attorney General Paul Kihara Kariuki.
    Attorney General Paul Kihara Kariuki.
    File

    Attorney General Paul Kihara is touted to be the leader overseeing the appeal launched by leaders allied to Uhuru. A report by Nation indicated that Kihara had overseen numerous meetings at State House that were aimed at coming up with the right strategies to counter the ruling.

    Legally, the AG is allowed to receive and execute lawsuits directed at and on behalf of the office of the President. 

    Paul Muite

    Senior Counsel Paul Muite in court in 2017
    Senior Counsel Paul Muite argues in court in 2017

    Former Presidential aspirant Paul Muite, in phone communication with Kenyans.co.ke, confirmed that the BBI team contacted him to join them as part of the defence in their court appeal. He, however, is yet to confirm his participation noting that he was considering the case. 

    The Senior Counsel has been in the legal practice since the 1980s and at some point, he attracted global attention after challenging the then Mzee Daniel Moi-led one party state.

    In 1991, he received  Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award on behalf of a friend, Gibson Kamau Kuria but his car was stoned immediately he returned.

    After the 2017 elections, Muite was among the lawyers hired to represent Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in a presidential election petition pitting Uhuru against Raila.

    Kennedy Ogeto

    Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto
    Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto.
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    Attorney General Paul Kihara tapped the services of Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto in the filing of the high octane appeal against the ruling by a five-team bench who declared the bill null and avoid.

    In a 16-page document he filed in court, Ogeto is seeking to say the implementation of the orders pending hearing and determination of the case.

    Ogeto is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya of over twenty-seven (27) years standing. Before assuming office as the Solicitor General of the Republic. 

    Ogeto was the Managing Partner in the law firm of Ogetto Otachi & Company Advocates in Nairobi. At the height of his private practice, Ogeto represented former Police Commissioner Mohamed Ali at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague. He later acted for Uhuru Kenyatta in the same court. 

    Paul Mwangi

    Lawyer Paul Mwangi is the head overseeing a team executing an appeal from former Prime Minister Raila Odinga's front. 

    The lawyer is the former BBI joint secretary and has for a long time served as the legal adviser to the ODM leader. Raila hired Mwangi in 2011 when he served as the Prime Minister.

    In his sprawling career, Mwangi was among the first to blow the whistle on judicial corruption through his book Black Bar: "Corruption and Political Intrigues within Kenya’s Legal Fraternity."

    James Orengo

    d
    Siaya Senator and ODM's Senate Minority Leader, James Orengo
    File

    Siaya Senator James Orengo has also been tapped to join the BBI defence team barely two weeks after fallout with Raila over some sections contained in the document.

    Orengo openly defied Raila for his support of the addition of 70 new constituencies which are expected to expand the already stretched wage bill.

    The two leaders held a meeting and shortly after, Orengo took to social media to affirm that his allegiance to his party leader was unshaken.

    Githu Muigai

    Former Attorney- General Prof. Githu Muigai when he appeared before the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on the Medical Equipment Services at Parliament on Friday, February 21, 2020,
    Former Attorney- General Prof. Githu Muigai when he appeared before the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on the Medical Equipment Services at Parliament on Friday, February 21, 2020.
    The Standard

    Former Attorney General Githu Muigai has also been tapped to join the team compiling a defence against the annulling of the BBI bill backed by both Raila and Uhuru.

    It is still not clear if he has taken on the challenge but since 2019, the lawyer had called for law change arguing that the government in the then form was too large to manage.

    "We are running a government that we cannot manage, it is too large thinking in size and numbers. We need to revisit Chapter 6 of the Constitution," noted Muigai.

    Opposing team

    The newly constituted team will face off with that opposing BBI which includes constitutional lawyer Waikwa Wanyoike. 

    Wanyoike is the Litigation Director of Open Society Justice Initiative is an operational program of the Open Society Foundations.

    He also co-founded and served as the executive director of Katiba Institute in Nairobi for eight years.

    Despite having less publicity than the luminaries on the government side, Wanyoike has a record of winning landmark cases against the government including the High Court ruling that which declared the BBI null and void. Some of the cases include the deportation case against Miguna Miguna as well as a petition that awarded victims of Post Election Violence Ksh4 million. 

    The opposing team also includes former Presidential and Senior Counsel Martha Karua and Kituo cha Sheria leader Annette Mbogoh.

    Others in the team include Elias Mutua, Arnold Oginga, Esther Ang'awa, Evans Ogada, among others. 

    Constitutional lawyer Waikwa Wanyoike
    Constitutional lawyer Waikwa Wanyoike
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