Why Ruto's Plan to Grant Raila Powers Will Fail - Experts

President  William Ruto during the campaign period.
President William Ruto during the campaign period.
Daily Nation

High Court advocate Duncan Okatch on Thursday, December 8, alleged that President William Ruto's push to create the position of the official opposition leader was likely to collapse following the Supreme Court's ruling on the amendment of the Constitution. 

Speaking during Citizen TVs' morning show Day Break, Okatch argued that the proposed bill is indicative of being sponsored by the president and to a large extent, the Supreme Court declared that the president cannot initiate or sponsor a constitutional change.

"This bill is akin to being sponsored by the President. They have to decide If it is supposed to be a parliamentary or popular initiative, but in terms of the president's involvement, it will land them back to court on who is spearheading the process," he revealed.

Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang.
Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang.

Homabay Senator Moses Kajwang on Tuesday, December 6, terming the creation of the office unconstitutional.

"You cannot do it within the framework of the current Constitution without amendments and that requires the country to go to a referendum," Kajwang' explained.

He further trolled Kenya Kwanza for rejecting the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), yet it was hell-bent on amending the Constitution.

"The people gave us the power to demonstrate and made us the official opposition. These changes Kenya Kwanza is seeking can only be granted by the people and not via Parliament," the Senator argued.

On March 2022, the Supreme Court blocked changes to the Constitution initiated by former President Uhuru Kenyatta. Six of the seven judges ruled constitutional amendments must come from ordinary citizens, not the President.

Chief Justice Martha Koome read the verdict of the judges.

“The President cannot initiate constitutional amendment and changes through the popular initiative under Article 257 of the Constitution,"  CJ Koome read, indicating that Lady Justice Njoki Ndungu dissented. 

In its ruling, the Supreme Court agreed with the previous verdict of the two lower courts, the High Court and the Court of Appeal, declaring the initiative unconstitutional.

The clamour for creating the opposition office has seen Azimio-leaning legislators demand a fully funded office of the Official Leader of the Opposition, whose creation was proposed during a Kenya Kwanza parliamentary group meeting on Monday, December 5.

Azimi principals Raila Odinga and Martha Karua during a press briefing at Capitol Hill on Monday, December 5, 2022..jpg
Azimio principals Raila Odinga and Martha Karua during a press briefing at Capitol Hill on Monday, December 5, 2022.

Raila Odinga's coalition party wanted his office, if approved by the National Assembly, to be funded by the ex-chequer and have at least one annual address to Parliament.

Equally, the Odinga-led coalition sought to be granted powers to nominate members to statutory commissions.